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Advanced 2k Erg Test Indoor Rowing Strategy – Part 2

This is part 2 of a series of articles about specific 2k erg test strategies for particular rowing athletes who are not suited to doing the standard 2k race plan.

The first 2k article looked at sprinters and how they should approach a 2k erging race differently from other types of rowers. This article looks at rowers who are more suited to (and prefer) long endurance type rowing and workouts. If you think that you are an endurance rower then this is a good way for you to approach a 2k and get the best erg score possible for you.

Start

Go off hard but settle down very early (after around 10 – 12 strokes). Like most endurance rowers the percentage difference between your sprinting power and average race power is probably not all that much.

So when you settle down into your race pace rhythm you should aim to set a power that is the maximum possible for you between 1900 meters and 100 meters to go.

It is better when you are an endurance rower to not vary your power or rate very much in the middle phase of the 2k. Endurance lends itself to a constant high, steady power output for most of the test.

Remember endurance rowers are very different to sprinters who are capable of varying their power a lot during the middle part of the race. Endurance rowers can tolerate an unbelievable amount of hardship for long periods of time.

Remember this.

And remember that you are not a sprinter so you should not do what they do.
 

Middle

This is 1800 meters of absolute endurance bliss.

And you must Red line it.

If you do it right you will suffer hard but it’s what endurance rowers like and enjoy – Long and Hard. Do not go for pushes or power 10’s because you are not genetically geared for it and you will probably have a physical and mental meltdown.

In fact, if you do it right you shouldn’t even want to do power 10’s because your rhythm should be so strong and deep that you would be in an unbreakable zone.
 

Finish

As you go through 500 meters to go, don’t even blink. Just keep working hard in your zone and in your rhythm. With 100 meters left on the monitor you should try and sprint.

But you may not be able to just like many extreme endurance ergers because you will have played the average power game and played to your strengths.

But timing and regulating your energy systems are crucial for the success of this approach for you. Knowing your body and mind well will help you arrive at the finish with just about enough to hold on.

Above all else, choose a middle base power that is sustainable for the entire 2k. 1900 meters will not cut it and you could end up loosing 1 second or more in the last 100 meters.

On the other hand if you are too conservative with your power and you decide to sprint, you will not get the most from your natural abilities.

In a word, it’s all about

Balance.
 

Finally

I mentioned at the end of the first article that both sprint and endurance type rowers should direct their their training so that they become better all rounder’s more suited to doing 2k ergs.

Remember rowing is around 70% aerobic and 30% anaerobic.

So if you feel like you are not in this area, adjust your training so that you become geared better towards the 2k erg.

I cannot emphasise this advice enough because if you want to get fast 2k erg times in the long run, sprinting and endurance alone won’t cut it.

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Erg Rowing Workouts For Your Body Type

Everyone has a key erg rowing workout.

Or a number of them.

Finding yours is can make a massive difference to your erg scores (and your Rowing Workouts)– you just gotta know how.

A couple of years ago, a guy I know -called Mike- was doing around 4 erg sessions per week – in November. He was aiming for his crash b indoor rowing championships in February.

Mike is an organised kind of guy. He likes to have a plan – and to stick with it. Usually, he rowed 4 times a week and took 2 days off as recovery days. Sometimes – he did a swim session at his local pool on one of his recovery days.

Mike was working full time and had a busy schedule. But he took care of himself.

His Key Rowing Workouts

He always felt his key session of the week was 2 x 20 minutes at hard steady state – rate 24.

Mike went to the crash b’s – and did ok.

But Mike was not happy.

He felt he worked hard. Stayed diligent. Stuck with the program. And did every session down to the T.

Fixing His Erg Workouts

We got talking a few weeks after the indoor rowing erg competition and I suggested to him that he explore new erg workouts, new erg training plans and new sessions.

I reasoned with him that he needed to pivot and change direction radically with his training – and measure and observe the differences in his scores.

Just to see if it made a difference.

Yes – change for change’s sake but if it worked – great. If not then that was fine too.

But I also had a plan – so I came up with a few workouts that I had used or known about over the years and gave them to mike.

I advised him to try and find his key rowing workouts in the bundle I gave him.

I encouraged him to find the erg rowing workouts that feel as though they made a difference – not on the day of the workout – but a couple of days later – at the next or following erg rowing workouts.

You see Mike was in a great position to test new workouts. He took 3 days of the 5 in a week off and was clued in to his body and his recovery. He would be in a position to measure

  • By Feel (and)
  • By Numbers

It took him around 2 months – through May and June for him to get a feel for the new rowing workouts I had given him. It took him another 2 months to work out the difference between the ones he liked and the ones he didn’t like.

Finally it took him 1 more month to discover the ones that made a difference.

The Key Rowing Workout Sessions.

Mike became happy. And fast.

And because Mike only trained 4 days a week, he decided that he would only do key sessions.

So he ditched the 2×20 minutes and substituted it with a hard 30 minute workout at 26. He felt (and measured) the 30 minutes made him feel better in his 2 x 12 minute workouts and his 2 x 15 minute workouts.

He started doing under – over (3 x 3 minutes Rowing – under and over threshold) and found that they really helped him with his 30 minutes.

Ultimately – he discovered that all his key workouts became interdependent. Each key rowing workout helped another key rowing workout.

It became a virtuous circle.

My Rowing advice to you (if you need advice) is to do 3 things:

1. Change and be prepared to be radical.
2. Find new rowing workouts that will help you to improve
3. Learn what your key rowing workouts are and use them to create your virtuous circle.

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Erg Rowing Technique – How to Leverage your Body

Staying Braced For Maximum Rowing Power.

Imagine this.  Imagine you are in a life and death situation. Imagine that you are out for a walk one fine sunny day. As your route passes by a cliff top you hear a shout for help. You lean over the guard wall and look down to see someone stuck on a ledge 50 feet below.

You must help this person and you must act quickly. There’s no one else around to help and you’ve got no cell phone coverage. You think about climbing down but that’s not going to achieve anything.

You look around and amazingly find a rope nearby. You decide to tie a big stick to one end and throw the other end down. You tell the person to hold on so you can pull them up.

Now what – what’s next. How do you do it? What is the best way to use your body weight and strength to lever this person up the 50 feet to safety?

Want to know what I’d do?

Well I’d anchor my feet against the wall and use all of my leg back and arm strength to lever the person up. Each couple of feet I would gain, I would wrap the rope around a nearby anchor to take the slack off the handle. I would then wind the slack piece of rope around the stick, release the anchor and pull again.

It’d be hard work but I’d know from erging and rowing that by bracing my feet low against the wall, I am able to hang and lever all of my weight from my feet through my legs, back and arms.

I also know that by keeping my arms straight makes me stronger and I don’t get tired. My arms only bend when the pressure comes off so I can wind the stick.

This is the feeling you need to get when you are bracing your feet against the erg foot plate. You need to hang your weight through your legs, back and straight arms onto the handle.

Remember:The seat is only used for balance.

 Here’s a simple exercise to get the feeling of hanging your weight on the handle.

  • Arrange for you and a partner and sit on the floor facing each other.
  • Connect both of your feet so that your right foot sole is pressing against your partner’s right foot sole. Do the same on the left side.
  • Both of you must keep both knees slightly bent.  Next, form a hook with your right hand by making an unclenched fist. Get your partner to do the same and connect by hooking each other. Do the same on the left side.
  • Now use your feet to anchor, your hands for levering and the ground as your balance point. Experiment with lighter and heavier partners to get that feeling of hanging your body weight.

P.S. You should read this erg rowing technique article I recently put up. It fits well with the stuff said above.

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Rowing Workout for Serious Rowers

Is your Erg Rowing Workout file getting  a little old this summer? Do You feel like you are not getting a return from your rowing workout sessions? Well, here’s a nice rowing workout blaster plan to blow out those summer cobwebs. (And help you discover more ideas for a new erg or rowing workout)

The Blaster Pyramid Rowing Workout

First – How to Warm Up

  • Begin with some easy rowing for 10 minutes.
  • Then do 1 minute at medium power rate 26 – 28.
  • Take a short break and do 15 strokes at high power rate 28 – 30
  • Row light for 20 strokes and then do another 15 stroke push at high power rate 30 – 32
  • Again row light for 20 strokes before doing a 10 stroke push high power rate 32 – 34.
  • Take a short break before rowing continuously for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Next get ready for the blaster rowing workout proper.

Before you begin this particular rowing workout you need to remember a couple of things.

First: Row or erg efficiently.

Second: Focus on a good rowing workout rhythm

Third: Have a plan. Even though the rowing workout is not a 2k all out, you should still follow a good rowing workout strategy.

Fourthly: Set yourself up. That includes setting a correct drag factor setting and also adjusting your footplate to the correct position.

This rowing workout focuses on a pyramid system. Here it is:

  • 2 x 250m with 3 minute rest.
  • 2 x 500m with 5 minute rest
  • 1 x 750m with 7 minute rest
  • 2 x 500m with 5 minute rest
  • 2 x 250m.

So as you can see. Begin with a 250m and when you finish take a 3 minute rest. Repeat the 250m before moving on to the 2 x 500m. The long 750m in the middle of the rowing workout is the peak of the session. See below for an explanation on the rowing  intensities.

This rowing workout is a stinger and is best left for a time when you feel like you need a sharpening session. Also make sure that you are in good physical and mental shape before attempting this workout.

The Blaster Rowing Workout Intensity Guidelines

The first 250m rowing workout blasters should be done at close to maximum power and speed. This is an important step for the rest of the erg or rowing workout. Don’ t try to save yourself  because in a rowing workout like this one – every stroke counts.

The 500m sections should be done at a lesser intensity than the 250s. You could for example try to practice the 1st 500 of your race. In fact a rowing workout like this one is great for trying out different things. You get a number of chances to tweak your racing routines.

The 750m should not be done at maximum. Remember over longer distances you need to be smart. A good example of approaching this section of the rowing workout is to use it to practice the middle 750 of your race pace. Alternatively, if you are feeling tired you could aim to do race pace – 2 seconds per 500m on your split power.

Like all rowing workout (for the boat and the erg) you need to be personally aware and responsible to your own needs and requirements. This erg rowing workout is designed towards sharpening you up and getting you in peak physical condition for a 2k erg or rowing race.

And like all good erg rowers, you should aim to train and develop your physical and mental rowing skills towards a strong 2k erg score test strategy. And have this in mind when you approach any rowing workout.

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Learn Good Erg Rowing Posture

Did you know that there are 1000’s of things that you can do to make yourself a better rower – starting right now. And almost all of them are non rowing tasks.

Changing habits are hard. And the bad news is that this tip requires you to change one of your habits.

But first:

 

I Have a (non Rowing) Question for You…

Where are you sitting right now? Are you at a desk – crouching down looking at these very words on your monitor? Or maybe you’re on the couch at home slouching down flicking through your ipad? Or are you on a bus or train, on your way to work reading this on your phone?

You could be anywhere reading this.

Wherever you are and whatever device you are reading this article on, I want you to  think about one thing – right now.

 

Just one simple thing.

 

And when you think of it, I want you to do something immediately afterwards.

 

Ready?

 

Your posture.

 

How is your posture?

 

Are you sitting correctly?

 

Or, are you slouching down with a curved back, tense shoulders and protruding chin?

 

If it’s the last one – change it right now. Make yourself sit correctly so that you are maintaining your back and spine in a good neutral position.

How to correct it:

Uncurl your back, rotate your pelvis and sit on the bones of your ass. That’s the same bones that stick down those 2 holes in your seat as you are rowing in the boat. And same bones that sit on the seat of the erg (and somehow always get really sore after a really long erg session).

 

But What Has All This Got to do With Rowing?

And more specifically, helping you to row faster?

Well let me show you by telling you a short story. I heard this once a couple of years back and was amazed by its simple brilliance. At the time Peter Haning was coaching some rowing crews.

Haning was 3 times World Champion in the Lightweight Men’s Single Scull from 1993 – 1995. In some ways he was ahead of his time because he rowed with a particular style and technique that is not unlike the current rowing styles and techniques. Most notably was his flat back and upright body position.

But though he rowed upright with a flat back he still got a great dynamic body action with lots of length generated from swinging his body both forward and back.

I don’t know if it was by accident or design that he rowed this way, but the fact is that it was great to watch.

And deadly effective.

Anyway – back to my story. When he was coaching, he once subtly corrected a rower who was on a public computer on a hotel lobby checking his email. Very courteously and helpfully he motioned to the guy to sit up a little. To correct his posture from the slouching position he was in.

Before you say anything – this wasn’t a case of Haning getting involved in something that was none of his business (even though the rower was not one of his athletes). This was a guy who had seen this rower actually row out on the water and saw his limiting problem.

And like all good coaches he took his opportunity to impart his knowledge freely and helpfully – in the right context.

The rowers problem was a pronounced curved back. This curved back was – with time – making him inefficient and have some of the following adverse problems:

  • Weak finishes of his rowing stroke
  • Tired a lot especially towards the end of races
  • A generally a poor performer into strong headwinds
  • Have thoracic back tightness (which lead to injury threats)
  • On more than one occasion in a rowing race had difficulty breathing (his chest was constricted with the curve)

You would think that this guy should have been able to solve this problem, long before Haining came along. Especially since he was getting intensive (and good) coaching from his university rowing coach. But no matter how hard he tried in the boat to correct his problem, he still reverted back to his old habit when he was under pressure.

 

That is until the day he got a subtle bomb dropped on him by a 3 time world champion. Who showed (and fixed) him his problem for him in 10 seconds.

 

You see, it was not about his posture in the boat that was the major cause – it was about his posture out of the boat.

So Remember This:

Sit up and be aware of your posture until you have created a new (good) habit. And you will go a long way towards avoiding some of the problems this guy had with his rowing technique.

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