Tag2k erg

Crash Your 2k Erg Score Test Strategy

Scoring good 2k erg times is all about doing what the good ergers do. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and when it comes to a 2k erg test, imitation of the top Olympic rowers is definitely they way to go.

So what’s the 2k erg strategy of rowers who regularly score great 2k times? And more importantly what do you need to do to erg like them?

Most of the top ergers follow the same pattern and it can be easily analysed by breaking the 2k test into 3 parts.

How to Start The 2k Test

They go off very hard for the first few strokes and settle down into their average pace early (after about 20 seconds). They then hold their split at an even manageable pace which is been worked out before hand using an erg score calculator, or from memory.

For example, say you want to pull sub 7 minutes for your 2k. You calculate that you need to have an average split of 1:44.3 /500 for the entire 2k. This will give you a finish time of 6:57.0.

What to do in the Middle

Having gone off hard for 20 seconds your average split might be around 1:40 and as you settle down into pace the average will climb.

Maintain pace and do not go for power 10’s or pushes unless you are experienced and fit enough to be able to cope with the extra power. This is a common mistake made by many beginner rowers (and some not so beginner!). If you want to get the most out of yourself you need to be pulling hard – on the red line with high average power.

Red lining your pace means that you are in a position where you are flicking between grinding to a halt and just about able to hang on and manage.

How to Finish

With 500 meters to go slowly raise your power (drop your split by 1 – 2 seconds/500) and hold it until 300 meters to go. From this point on it is all about slowly winding your power and rating up to the last stroke.

Some rowers prefer to delay the beginning of the push for the line to between 400 and 300 meters to go. Decide for yourself on the timing of your sprint. Factors like how good you feel or how fit you are will weigh heavily on the timing of your sprint.

If you have trained well and are well prepared then you will have practiced your sprint to the line. This is what all the great Olympic rowers do. And because they have practiced sprinting (no matter how hard it feels or tired they are) they are able to sprint on auto pilot – no matter what.

So if you have gone off hard and lowered your average power over the first 20 seconds. AND rowed the middle part of your 2k test on the red line. AND you have practiced sprinting in training (no matter how tired you are) you can row yourself to a 2k best time faster than you imagined.

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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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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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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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“How a High Carbo Diet for 2k Rowing and Erg Races Can Help You Go FAST”

Carbs are king for high intensity rowing. The harder you row – the more you burn.

First – a few simple truths:

  • Your muscles consume mainly carbohydrates (stored as glycogen) during a hard 2k erg or rowing race.
  • During an all-out maximum 55 strokes per minute sprint – almost all of your energy comes from carbohydrates.
  • On the other hand – at 50% of VO2max (which is around 69% Max Heart Rate intensity rowing) around 33% of your energy comes from carbohydrate.

In the beginning…

A high carbo loading diet was (and still is in different guises) a very popular method of improving athletic performance in the 1970s. Especially among marathon runners and cross country skiers.

But times have changed and most athletes & rowers are well aware of a good diet and its importance to high performance sport. Most good rowers (including lightweights) consume an excellent diet that has a high proportion of carbohydrates during training and in preparation for 2k racing.

But some still don’t…

Why a High Carbo Diet is Important for Rowing Training and Racing.

Rowing training fatigue is cumulative. Let’s take an example:

Say you erg on Monday and pull 3 x 1000 meters all out with  3 minutes easy rowing between work intervals. You go home and decide that you are too tired to eat and decide instead to watch the rowing scenes in ‘The Social Network’ over and over – just for err… kicks?

Then on Tuesday you do an early morning, on-water rowing session – 90 minutes at low rating and low intensity. But this time you do eat – before the session you have a coffee and a slice of toast. After the session, because you are in a hurry to get to work you leave the boat house immediately and end up eating nothing until lunch time. At which point you have a great big chicken caesar salad.

That evening (right after work) you have another erg session. This time it’s 5 x 5 minutes at Threshold pace. With a 5 minute break between work phases.

How do you think you would perform in that erg session?

Do you think that you would be pulling close to your best? (assuming the training load of the past 2 days is a normal load for you)

The answer is you would probably suffer hard because you have no fuel to fire your muscles because you’ve  eaten very little carbohydrates in the previous 24 hours.

In other words you’re glycogen depleted. And doing hard erg or rowing sessions (or 2k races) when you are glycogen depleted is NOT a good place to be.

Even over a week, you can slowly get depleted if you don’t keep topping up the fuel you’ve burned. This is even more problematic when it’s racing season and you are doing a lot of high intensity rowing sessions.

So the bottom line is when it comes to training – keep topping up. And remember – it’s cumulative (even over 24 hours).

2 Steps to Boosting Recovery Time.

After a hard interval rowing session or a long steady endurance session, eating carbohydrates within a short time can improve your recovery time. Aim to eat a carbo rich food with a high Glycemic Index(GI) within 2 hours of the session. During this time, your glycogen reloading ability is sky high so it’s a great head start in boosting your recovery time.

And the sooner the better.

If you can have something within 20 minutes of the rowing session it’s even better. And when it comes to competitive team or group situations, this can mean the difference between doing well at the following day’s 2k erg – and doing only average.

Here are some high Glycemic Index(GI) Food and Drinks:

  • Sports Drinks
  • Bagels
  • Raisins
  • Bananas (well ripened)
  • Dates
  • White Bread
  • Corn Flakes
  • Waffles
  • Doughnuts
  • Biscuits
  • Jelly Beans

The first few on that list are obviously healthier options than the last few. But you get the idea. Try to be organised and bring a little snack with you to eat immediately after training.

The next thing you need to do in your 2-step recovery eating plan is to eat a meal high in mid – GI Carbohydrates within 2 hours of training. Here are some examples of mid GI foods.

  • Wholemeal Pasta
  • Porridge
  • Muffins
  • Whole Meal Bread
  • Muesli
  • Whole meal Brown Rice
  • Durum Wheat Spaghetti
  • Potato

You should also include some protein and fats in your meal. And remember to rehydrate. Carbohydrate needs water to help store itself in your muscles and liver

A Final Word for Lightweight Rowers

Ideally you should be just above race weight 4 – 5 days before your big 2k. You wouldn’t want to be more than 2kg above for a lightweight man and slightly less than that if you are a lightweight woman.

But with practice and learning your body’s response to eating carbs and retaining water (1 gram of carbohydrate needs around 3 grams of water for storage) you can also take advantage of high carbohydrate recovery eating.

I’ve had considerable results with some experimentation with lightweight rowers I’ve worked with. Many initially came from an old school that said carbs are bad for weight control. We learned to disprove that notion and more importantly we learned to improve the rowers’ performance, health and well-being (feeling of happiness) using a high carbo diet with heavy training and steady weight control near big 2k races.

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