Learn to Row

Why learn to row?

Rowing is an incredible activity:

  • It is a full-body fitness sport which takes place in a refreshing atmosphere that stimulates your senses while challenging you physically
  • You can learn the basics of rowing very quickly, yet it will remain a challenge throughout the years as you continue to improve
  • People of all ages, sizes, and physical limitations can learn to row and achieve a level of accomplishment that is both physically beneficial and personally rewarding
  • Rowing can be the ultimate team sport, where harmony, balance, rhythm, power and endurance all contribute to success and enjoyment

The fascinating sport of rowing, simply put, is a fun way to stay fit!  For those who are so inclined, it can also offer the challenge and excitement of racing, either in Cambridge, or further afield. If you already have some rowing experience, the Learn to Row course may not be the best route back into the sport; instead please contact the relevant Captain (Mens/Womens/Junior) about rowing with Cantabs.

What happens during a Learn to Row course?

Rowing VIII in the sunshine

“Learn to Row, Autumn 2011” participants, rowing in an VIII for the first time

The adult Learn to Row course takes place over 8 weeks, with one session per week and costs £90.  You will start off on indoor rowing machines and move onto the water in both sculling (2 oars per person) and rowing (1 oar per person) boats.  Recent course participants said:

“Learning to row has been, above all, a great confidence booster for me, and I feel so much fitter than before. It’s been really fun getting to know new people and developing a real sense of team spirit.”

“I would definitely recommend the Learn to Row course with Cantabs. Everyone is really friendly and the outings are great fun. Entering the Christmas Head at the end of the course was fantastic too!”

Do I need to have super-human strength and fitness?

Whilst anyone with super-human powers will be especially welcome(!), we respect the adage that you should learn to row well before you are asked to row hard, so the course is suitable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Advice about improving your fitness and land training will be readily available. For safety reasons, you should be able to swim a minimum of 50 metres. If you have any questions about this, please use the form below to enquire.

What happens after the course?

After you have attended a Learn to Row course, if we have a space in a suitable squad, there will be the opportunity to continue your membership of the club and further develop your rowing and/or sculling. Unfortunately, we may sometimes not have enough resources to accommodate everyone from the course, so we may have to put people on a waiting list to join a squad, and in the meantime suggest that they join another local club who currently have spaces available.

Under the Squads menu you can see a number of pages giving you an idea of the different crews with their aspirations and training levels. Additional crews also form on a temporary basis e.g., mixed crews for a specific event, or just for spending some extra time on the water.


If you are interested in a Cantabs Learn to Row Course, please send us your details using the appropriate form below.

Adults (scroll down for Juniors).
The September 2018 course is now full. The next course will start in April 2019.  

Juniors (11-18 years old)
For further info see the Junior Learn to Row Update. Sign up here to express interest: