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2k Erg Test 7 Day Taper Plan

I do a 7 day run – in to the 2k erg, usually doing the following routine:

Day 7 (1 week before the test)

Hard workout. 1 Week out from the test is normally a time when I do my most intensive rowing workouts. I do repeats of pieces at or close to race intensity. I always make sure I do a long warm up and cool down on hard days like this.

Day 6

Moderate – Hard Workout. 6 days out I continue my test preparation with some more test power pieces and I really aim to be tired at the end of this day. I aim to cash in on the body’s natural ability to heal to a point stronger than when it was before the heavy training. It’s just like when someone breaks a bone – the bone knits together stronger than it was before the break.

Day 5

Moderate – easy workout. I use this as an active recovery day to help my body clear out any of the debris still lodged in there from my race preparation workouts on day 7 and day 6. I always erg for about 30 – 40 minutes and include some moderate power for about 5 – 10 minutes. I also use the opportunity to do some technical drills such as strapless erging.

Day 4

Rest. I do nothing on this day and try to recover from my race preparation workouts of day 7 and day 6. I make sure I nail my nutrition to ensure recovery and refuelling for the test.

Day 3

Hard – short Workout. I believe this day is an ‘open the pipes’ up day. I usually do 1 or 2 pieces at or close race power. Normally I do 1000 meters and 500 meters with a 5 – 10 minute break in between. I usually suffer a lot in these pieces because of the day of inactivity on Day 4. It’s also a good realty checker – it sharpens my mind as to how tough the test will be.

Day 2

Rest. I do absolutely nothing. I try to avoid all stress and energy sapping situations both mental and physical. I make sure my nutrition plan is helping me recover and build up a store of energy for the big one.

Day 1

Very easy workout. In this workout I normally do some light – moderate pulling for 20 – 25 minutes. I will pull some hard strokes during this time most around race power. I pull no more than 20-30 strokes 3-4 times. It’s important to work out if possible on this day because it keeps the body and energy systems flowing.

Day Zero

Test Day. This is a special day and your warm up is a key part. I will discuss my special warm up next time.

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Advanced 2k Erg Test Indoor Rowing Strategy – Part 1

A while back, I wrote an article about how to approach a 2k erg test and the strategy you should use to get your best score. The article focused on breaking down the 2k into 3 parts – the start, middle and finish – and showed a plan for each.

Usually it’s an excellent way of preparing for a 2k erg and executing it on race day but sometimes you need to use a different approach.

The standard 2k erg test strategy is for rowers who have a good training history and have a balanced type of fitness geared towards a fast 2k erg. This fitness is typical of a rower following a rowing training program over a long period of time.

But everyone’s different.

  • Not everyone racing a 2k erg has been training specifically for rowing for years.
  • You may have a short history of training and not have a well developed aerobic system.
  • Or you might come from another sport where aerobic endurance is key and you don’t have a well developed anaerobic sprint system.
  • Or you may have just started rowing within the last year and your fitness reflects your natural fitness (I’ll explain more about natural fitness in a moment)

Whatever your position, chances are that you have a pretty good picture about yourself and your current abilities. You might:

A. You love sprinting and you hate long distance or
B. You hate sprinting and you love long distance or
C. You love it all or
D. You hate it all (sorry about that!)

Either way, you should consider approaching your 2k erg tests depending on what you like.

Why?

Because what you like is usually what you are naturally good at.

Your Natural Fitness Type

Everyone is born with a certain type of muscle ratio between slow twitch and fast twitch. If you like (and are good at) long distance you probably have a higher proportion of slow twitch. On the other hand maybe you prefer pumping out a couple of 100 meter blasters in which case you probably have a higher percentage of fast twitch.

This first article looks at a 2k erg test strategy for Sprinters

Start

Go off hard – very hard. This is where you can get ahead and compensate for a slower middle section. But you need to know your limitations and ensure you sprint for only as long as you can without jeopardising the entire 2k. You are the best judge of this. It might for example be realistic for you to sprint for 200 and 400 meters.

Keep going until you feel like you need to settle into race pace and when you do settle – settle a lot. There is no point in trying to play the averages game with a big strong aerobic middle 1400 meters because you are not currently trained for this.

Middle

Here you should initially try to recover from your hard start. It might be that you settle to 1:45 after pulling 1:35 average for the start phase.

But you should still play to your strengths. Consider doing some power 10’s down the middle section making sure you spread them out well so you give yourself a chance to recover between bouts of power. A power 10 would for example go from 1:45 to 1:41 – 1:43 and you should aim to do no more than 3 -4.

But always ensure you pace yourself. Remember it is a 2k erg and you must budget your energy for this.

Finish

Towards the finish – do not go early. Leave it to a point where you can sprint again at maximum power until the last meter. Some sprinters can manage 20 seconds – around 100 meters. Others can do 30 – 45 seconds. The bottom line is that you are extracting the most from your natural ability – which is sprinting.

Finally

This type of approach to a 2k erg test is not the best way to get a good score. To get a good 2k erg time you must follow a good balanced rowing training program that trains all of your energy systems used in a 2k test.

This comes with time and patience, but if for the reasons I mentioned above you need to do a 2k erg test and know you are a good sprinter with a not so good aerobic base then this strategy could should for you.

The next article examines a 2k erg test plan for type B rowers – endurance.

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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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