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Boost Your Middle 1000 Meters with This Rowing Workout

This is a new rowing workout that we’ve had good success with recently. It’s a great workout that can be done in the boat or on the erg. Most of the rowers and ergers that have tried it all said it helped them to precisely:

  • Row a really hard rowing session
  • Touch many training zones
  • Stay motivated (it’s a mentally alerting workout)
  • Jolt from the comfort zone into new rowing territory.

But be warned – of all the rowing workouts that ergrowing.com recommends this one is one of the toughest.

But most of all it’s a rowing workout designed to help you develop an awesome middle 1000 2k race pace.

Here it is:

Warm Up:

  • Warm up for around 20 minutes with some solid rowing.
  • After around 10 minutes do a 1 minute pipe opener rating 30 – 32 rowing hard.
  • Next (after a short break) do 3 x 15 strokes at rate 32, 34 and 36 respectively.
  • Take around 1 minute easy rowing between each 15 stroke push.
  • Finally do some easy rowing for 2 – 3 minutes and get ready for the actual rowing session.

Phase I

  • Row hard at 32 strokes per minute for 30 seconds, then drop the rate down to 30 for the next 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this wave for a total of 5 minutes.
  • In other words you will do each rate (30 and 32) 5 times in a row at 30 seconds each continuously for 5 minutes

Take 5 minutes easy rowing and repeat the 30 second rowing wave for 5 minutes.

  • After that take 5 minutes easy rowing again and repeat the wave a third time.
  • Row easily for 5 minutes and take a short break.
  • 7 minutes after finishing the 3rd rowing wave begin the next phase.

 

Phase II

  • 12 minutes steady rowing rate 28.
  • Focus on power and rhythm developed in the 5 minute wave phase.
  • Take a 5 minute rest and repeat the 12 minute workout.
  • That’s it!
  • Warm down in the usual way.

Rowing Tips:

For the 5 minute wave workout make sure you work hard. For some rowers (and rowing crews) rating 30 – 32 in the summer racing season is easy. But if you do it with extra punch and purpose, you will get an excellent physically challenging workout.

But here’s the best part. Most rowing workouts focus (mainly) on the physical training effect of the program. Very few have a physical element intertwined with a specific technical & physical element built into the workout.

Very few are designed so that it would be impossible to do a good workout without using your technique and physicality properly.

Let me explain.

In this workout, when you drop the rate down from 32 to 30 strokes per minute you should actually row harder. That’s right – you should actually work harder in the water.

Now to some rowing coaches (and rowers) doing something like this is borderline rowing heresy– it betrays the very fundamentals of ratio and rhythm with the timing and speed of the boat.

Accepted.

That stuff is all fine and dandy and in the real world of racing 2k competitively its actually crucial. But in the world of training and practice you need to learn to improve your weaknesses.

And you know what one the biggest weaknesses (technically & physically) of mid level rowers and rowing crews is?

The 2k Rowing Settle Slump

Is that point of a rowing race where crews make a change from the after start phase to the middle of the 2k course phase. It’s the point where most crews actually lose speed and set themselves up for a slower than potential  middle of the course pace..

It happens because rowers and crews lighten off the work rate in the water way too much.

Trust me. 50 – 60 % of rowing crews (at mid level) do this in every race.

Powering down as the rate drops causes two things:

  • A drop in speed (because rate and power drop)
  • A distortion of the rhythm (power drops more than rate)

The distortion of the rowing rhythm causes all sorts of problems for the rest of the race. Crews get too tired rowing in an incomplete rhythm that is not a direct match of the boat speed.

Here’s How To Solve It.

The rhythm at the beginning of a rowing race is generally good amongst most crews. But most lose it when they drop the rate down for the middle 1k.

Of course it is necessary for survival to drop the rate and power (even the best crews in the world could not hold the rate, length and power of the start phase for the entire 2k – although some are getting close)

You and your crews need to train and practice the transition from the racing start into the middle 1000. Doing the 5 minute workouts (with 30 second waves) will help you and your crew practice that transition.

So when the rate drops by 2 pips – Harden On In The Water.

But what should you do when the rate goes back up to 32? Pull lighter? Pull the same?

I’ll leave that up to you to feel it out. But most will pull harder.

 

Is this an Erg Workout?

I’ve tried this rowing workout on the erg and found it to be a very demanding erg session. Be warned this workout should only be attempted when you are mentally and physically fit. And more importantly, should only be attempted once a week – max.

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7 Steps To Seriously Effective Erg Technique

1 – Super Quick Hands.

You can never be too quick with moving your hands away from the finish of the erg  rowing stroke.

Not only does it help rhythm and power towards the finish, but if done correctly it can really set you up for the next stroke by recycling some of that dynamic energy built up during the power phase.

2 –  Follow your hands

Use the speed and energy of your hands away from your body to swing your body over the hips. A lot of Ergers make the mistake of not moving the body past vertical in the recovery phase.

If you don’t then you never be able to achieve maximum power in the power phase

3- Lift your knees smoothly.

This is especially important if you are a rower. Most of the time rowing Ergers will really emphasise the separation of the hands, body swing forware and slide on the recovery phase.

That’s fine if your game is proper rowing technique. But on the erg this is a waste of time and energy. The idea is to keep recycling the energy dynamically. If you delay or make a sticking point along the stroke cycle then it’s just wasted energy.

4 – Be set up and ready for the power phase.

Once your seat wheels are on the move towards the beginning of the stroke you need to be thinking only of one thing – the next stroke. Most rowing coaches will call this heresy but they are looking at it from rowing-a- boat perspective. Ergers are looking at it from the fastest possible erg perspective.

5 –Take it easy on the easy phase.

When it’s easy make it easy. In other words when you are going up to take your next stroke allow yourself to take it easy. Taking it easy doesn’t mean taking it slow. RELAX. If you can learn to relax then you will save A LOT of energy.  Even by just by thinking ‘easy’ makes the blood flow and mind feel strong.

6 – Use the easy phase to make the power phase easier.

This is one of the most important tips you will read at erg rowing.com Most rowing coaches will never mention it because they don’t even know it exists. Most average rowers don’t know about it. The top Ergers however DO know about it.

You won’t  see it by watching YouTube. You won’t even see it at the CRASH B’s. It’s so imperceptible that it’s almost invisible. You just have to know it exists, find it, feel it and use it. I’m talking about recycling dynamic energy. If you find it you can save unbelievable amounts of energy and when you get the feeling you won’t let it go.

To find it you need to approach the beginning of a new stroke with perfect speed. It’s a very subtle feeling. A lot of rowing coaches will say that you need to slow down the seat as you go for a new stroke. Recycling dynamic energy demands that you actually maintain your seat speed or slightly faster.

When you do it correctly and you hit the next power phase you will feel a reduced load with the same split or even lower. I don’t have percentages, because I can’t measure it but take it from me, once you can hit this sweet spot, you will save yourself a lot of pain. Remember recycling dynamic energy.

Another way of thinking about it is to keep the wheel spinning. Feel as though you are tapping the wheel along. You are not ‘muscling’ the handle on the power phase.

Recycling dynamic energy is closely related to rating which I examine below under rating.

7 –   Sequence your power phase.

If you can dance (well!), then you will know that sequence and timing is crucial. Similarly the power phase of an erg stroke is all about sequence and timing. Strongest – Next Strongest – Weakest. Legs – Back – Arms in that order. Simple, yet it’s absolutely the most efficient and effective way of pulling the handle.

To get the most from this sequence you need to follow the advice in the next article very carefully.

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3 Summer Erg Workouts for Rowers

If you are a rower, it would be a good idea to do some erging during the summer rowing season. Even if it’s just 1 erg session per week it can really benefit and help your rowing.

Erging in Summer will help you

  • Keep in touch with the erg for the following winter
  • Row some fitness boosting workouts without having to rely on a crew.
  • Extract a maximum rowing related workout from yourself – without worrying about rowing crew technique.
  • Get some extra rowing sessions in (good if you are looking to get an edge over your rivals and are involved in a seat-racing or selection scenario)

All of the following workouts are designed to be short and hard. In summer the priority should be with your on – water rowing sessions. But if you feel you need to erg for any of the reasons above, it would be better if you could just get a quick, effective session in without adversely affecting your crew rowing.

But the thing is – you need to be able to judge this for yourself. And it depends on lots of factors.

Here are some things that you should consider:

  • Your current training load (and how tired you are)
  • Your overall fitness base (and ability to recover from extra sessions)
  • Your time – and the priority you give to rowing or erging
  • Your rowing technique – some people believe that erg can affect your rowing boat technique in a negative way. This is an important consideration if you are a novice or are less experienced rower. Beginner rowers’  rowing technique can be more impressionable and open to influence.

The last point is very important. Say you have spent the past 5 weeks learning how to load your legs in co-ordination with your back and arms. Then you get on the erg and hammer out 5 x 500 meters (causing you to pull and jerk your shoulders at the catch) – you could set yourself back a long way in terms of technical development.

In summer, rowing coaches pay close attention to rowing technique.

But it’s not really a big problem for more experienced rowers – they can usually hold their technique regardless.

Here are the workouts.

Summer Rowing Session #1

  • 8 x 500 meters / 1 minute rest
  • Do 8 times 500 meters with a 1 minute rest.
  • Aim for a consistent average erg score.
  • You can vary the intensity using average power or rating.
  • Or, if you are feeling really good, extend the session to 10 x 500 meters.

 

Summer Rowing Session  #2

  • (16 strokes hard / 5 strokes light) x 15
  • Row hard for 16 strokes (this is 30 seconds if you are rating 32 strokes per minute)
  • Row light for 5 strokes (15 seconds of you rate 20 strokes per minute)
  • Repeat 15 times

Again you can vary the intensity using rate and power. A higher rate will obviously make the work phase shorter.

If you are feeling Olympic, you could take a 5 minute rest after the 15 repetitions and repeat the whole set again.

Summer Rowing Session  # 3

  • 3 x 1000 meters (rest time: same as your work time)
  • This session is great and one of the best (in my opinion) for summer rowing training.
  • The session is based on the erg workouts that boost your Vo2 Max article and you should read it for more details.

Important. For all the workouts, you should warm up well (as you would for any hard rowing workout). Also bear in mind the timing of the session. If you are using the erg to get ahead and do some extra sessions by yourself make sure you do them when they will least affect your actual crew rowing sessions.

The best time to do them is when there is no rowing seat racing imminent. And you know you will have plenty of time to recover for the next important crew rowing session. I stress important here, because you need to decide which crew rowing sessions are important.


Related Articles

1. Crash Your 2k Erg Score Test Strategy
2. How To Mentally Prepare For A 2k Erg Test
3. Boost Your Middle 1000 Meters with This Rowing Workout
4. 7 Steps To Seriously Effective Erg Technique
5. 2k Erg Test 7 Day Taper Plan

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