Tagerg test tactics

Goals of the 2k Erg Experiment

I’ve been getting lots of questions and comments from people asking what the point of the 2k erg experiment is.

But first I want to show you what the group of rowers and ergers did in the run in to the 2k last weekend as their ‘taper’.

Here’s what they did:
• 6 days before: 3 x 1000 meters
• 5 days before: 4 x 500 meters
• 4 days – no training and rest (or for some a light swim)
• 3 days – erg 40 minutes easy
• 2 days – 30 minutes easy with some power 10’s (3 – 4)
• 1 day – 20 minutes erg easy
• Day 0 – 2k Race

Goal # 1

Anecdotally, over the years I’ve learned a lot (through trial and error and instruction from world class rowing coaches) about the timing of the run into an important 2k erg or mini – peak. This is very different from peaking once and once only each season which I have already written about.

The goal of the experiment is to confirm my beliefs that:

Doing 1 x 1000 meters just below pace and 1 x 500 at finishing pace a few days before the test can considerably improve the chances of scoring well.

This is no big deal as most rowers use this or a similar type of approach to their tests.

Goal # 2

But the second more specific goal is to find out when the best time to do it is.

• Normally I’ve done this workout 2 days before the 2k.

• But I’ve heard of rowers having good results doing it 3 days before.

Also

Almost all of the rowers I’ve worked with all performed better when they did the ‘pipe opener’. And I want to confirm this (because the group did not do it this in the run-in to the first test).

I want to confirm my belief on when the best time to do the pipe opener is (2 or 3 days).
I won’t reveal which day I feel is better until after the 2k erg in case the tests get psychologically skewed.

As I say it’s just a non scientific test to have some fun and try to confirm some ideas I have developed over the years with my involvement with world and Olympic teams.

Inexpensively in a club environment.

And I would like to share it with you.

The 2k Erg Test Experiment

This is a non-scientific test and the goal is to discover if there is any difference in the 2k erg scores of the rowers and ergers with different training plans in the final days approaching the test.

1. First read the article that explains the context to the 2k test.

2. Also read the goals of the experiment.

3. Read the results and findings of the 2k erg tests here


Tuesday January 25.

We erged for 40 minutes at around 60% of average 2k power.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 9942 meters 2:00.7 Avg/500
A2 – 42 YO Male 9811m 2:02.3
A3 – 18 YO Female 8293m 2:24.7
A4 – 28 YO Female 9139m 2:11.3

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 7741 meters 2:35.0 Avg/500
B2 – 28 YO Female 8462m 2:21.8
B3 – 19 YO Male 10408m 1:55.3
B4 – 56 YO Male 9146m 2:11.2

Most rowers and ergers felt recovered after the 2k test last Saturday. Sunday was a day off for the group. Monday was an easy and steady cross training day. And Tuesday was this 40 minute erg. We’re aiming to do 3 x 15 minutes tomorrow at a little harder pace than today.


Wednesday January 26

We Erged 3 x 15 minutes at a pace slightly above U2. We took a long break between workouts – 10 minutes and took the opportunity to drink some fluids and also get off the erg to move around.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 3820m (1:57.8) 3836m (1:57.3) 3807m (1:58.2)
A2 – 42 YO Male 3759m (1:59.7) 3785m (1:58.9) 3787m (1:58.8)
A3 – 18 YO Female 3189m (2:21.1) 3198m (2:20.7) 3187m (2:21.2)
A4 – 28 YO Female 3513m (2:08.1) 3502m (2:08.5) 3480m (2:09.3)

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 2920m (2:34.1) 2929m (2:33.6) 2952m (2:32.4)
B2 – 28 YO Female 3280m (2:17.2) 3292m (2:16.7) 3304m (2:16.2)
B3 – 19 YO Male 3978m (1:53.1) 3961m (1:53.6) 3920m (1:54.8)
B4 – 56 YO Male 3516m (2:08.0) 3505m (2:08.4) 3510m (2:08.2)

The group were feeling pretty tired after this session but we‘re aiming to do a long steady easy workout on Thursday.


Thursday January 28

60 minute erg at very easy pace at around U1 pace.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 14308 2:05.8
A2 – 42 YO Male 13824 2:10.2
A3 – 18 YO Female 11757 2:33.1
A4 – 28 YO Female 13081 2:17.6

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 10721 2:47.9
B2 – 28 YO Female 11264 2:39.8
B3 – 19 YO Male 14950 2:00.4
B4 – 56 YO Male 12739 2:21.3

Tomorrow is a very easy day. Most of the group are going to go for a light run, swim or bike for ~ 40 minutes. We are planning a hard weekend of 1000’s and 500’s.


Saturday January 29 2011

3 x 1000 meters just below 2k pace. 10 – 12 minute break between sets. Here are the results:

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 3:24.4 3:25.2 3:24.7
A2 – 42 YO Male 3:27.9 3:30.1 3:31.4
A3 – 18 YO Female 4:01.2 4:03.5 4:03.7
A4 – 28 YO Female 3:44.3 3:45.8 3:46.4

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 4:26.7 4:27.5 4:29.8
B2 – 28 YO Female 3:59.7 4:01.3 3:59.0
B3 – 19 YO Male 3:16.2 3:17.1 3:17.4
B4 – 56 YO Male 3:45.3 3:46.2 3:47.5

Sunday January 30 2011

4 x 500 meters 5 minute break between sets.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 1:40.2 1:40.5 1:39.2 1:41.3
A2 – 42 YO Male 1:43.7 1:44.1 1:42.8 1:41.5
A3 – 18 YO Female 2:00.1 1:59.2 2:00.3 2:01.3
A4 – 28 YO Female 1:49.2 1:50.5 1:52.7 1:53.1

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 2:12.4 2:10.8 2:11.7 2:13.8
B2 – 28 YO Female 1:58.6 1:58.2 1:58.8 1:57.9
B3 – 19 YO Male 1:38.4 1:37.6 1:36.4 1:35.8
B4 – 56 YO Male 1:51.2 1:50.3 1:50.5 1:49.7

Monday January 31 2011

This morning we met as a group and did an active swim/stretching workout for areound 30 minutes. It was a very easy session, with more stretching than swimming. It was also a good chance to have some fun and and informally discuss the training we did at the weekend.


Tuesday February 1 2011

Today is the day the training changes between the 2 groups. Group A did 1000 meters at pace on the erg today. Group B did a 40 minute steady erg.

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 3:26.4
A2 – 42 YO Male 3:29.3
A3 – 18 YO Female 4:04.6
A4 – 28 YO Female 3:45.6

Group A were still feeling tired since the weekend workouts and most went slower on average than Saturday’s 1000 meter workouts.

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 7242 (2:45.7)
B2 – 28 YO Female 7505 (2:39.9)
B3 – 19 YO Male 9860 (2:01.7)
B4 – 56 YO Male 8602 (2:19.5)

Most of Group B were also feeling tired but most felt better after the 40 minute easy workout.



Wednesday February 2 2011

Today was Group B’s turn to do the 1000 meters in and around 2k erg pace. Group A did the 40  minutes easy erg. Here are the results:

Group A

A1 – 21 YO Male 7126 (2:46.3)
A2 – 42 YO Male 7921 (2:31.5)
A3 – 18 YO Female 9820 (2:01.4)
A4 – 28 YO Female 8332 (2:24.0)

Group B

B1 – 33 YO Female 4:25.3
B2 – 28 YO Female 3:57.6
B3 – 19 YO Male 3:16.5
B4 – 56 YO Male 3:43.9

Thursday February 3 2011

20 minutes easy erging and stretching. Talking and preparing for the 2k erg test tomorrow.


Friday February 4 2011

The 2k erg test. Read about the 2k results and findings here.

Group A

Friday 2K January 2K PB
A1 21 YO Male 6:48.1 6:48 2k 6:44
A2 42 YO Male 6:54.2 6:54 2k 6:39
A3 18 YO Female 8:10.8 8:11 2k 8:06
A4 28 YO Female 7:22.4 7:24 2k 7:24

Group B

Friday 2k January 2K PB
B1 33 YO Female 8:52.1 2k 8:54 8:54
B2 28 YO Female 7:53.2 2k 7:57 7:45
B3 19 YO Male 6:27.8 2k 6:28 6:28
B4 56 YO Male 7:27.3 2k 7:25 7:23

How To Make Every Session Count – Why You Should Sprint #2

I got an interesting email the other day from  Mike, shortly after I wrote about the sprint in rowing and why it can give you a competitive edge. He asked why I thought sprinting wouldn’t affect the general purpose of a particular erg workout. And gave an example of a session where you might be rowing long and steady on a lighter day before a harder quality day of erging.

Would sprinting on the lighter day tire you out so that the following day’s quality session would be affected?

He got me thinking.

Continue reading

2k Erg Mental Toughness – 2 Essential Tips Guaranteed To Prevent Choke

I’m worried.

I keep thinking about that 2k next week.

I keep thinking about the last 2k erg test when I just folded up.

And choked.

I like every other rower who chokes does so because of the pain. Or the expectancy of it  – even 4 minutes before it actually arrives.

But this time it’s different. I have a new plan. I leaned something very important from someone who’s been there before. Someone who overcame mental collapse at 2k erg tests. Many times before he discovered what to do about it.

Here’s what he told me
 

Tip #1. Harden into it

There are 2 main types of fitness. First is physical.

The second is mental fitness. Rowing on the erg trains this also. But not that much.

Ok I hear you say. But what about all those hard rowing sessions, hour long ergs, 10k ergs or the dreaded 3 x 20 minute erg? Yes I admit that those sessions do train you to be tough for that exact type of training.

But 2k erging is different.

You need to get acclimatised to taking pain. Dealing with it. Tolerating it.

So how do you do it?

In a word – Training. Both physically and mentally. Doing repeated hard short rowing physical intensity will train your body. Buy it will train your mind more and you will grow accustomed to hardship. And like all rowing training  you must time it perfectly. Only do it for 2 – 3 weeks max before the 2k test. Otherwise you will get tired and will break down.

I like doing 5 minutes all out. Or 1000 meters flat out. Repeats. A few times a week (2 max). Have a look at my 2k erg race winning plans article, where I describe exactly how to prepare physically (and mentally) for the 2k.

I guarantee you that a hardened mind will not give in easily on race day.
 

Tip # 2. Start Slowly In The 2k

Most mental rowing breakdowns happen because of a fear of what’s to come. Long before the really hard part arrives, you are thinking too far ahead and imagining how bad it’s going to feel. And it never really comes because you fold up.

The mind it a complex machine but by pushing the right buttons it can be manipulated.

If you can begin slower than usual (1 – 2 seconds per 500 split) for a few hundred meters (200 – 400) you will give your mind and body a chance to be fooled. Tricked into believing that it’s a good day at the office and that it will not hurt that much.

Then slowly allow your confidence to grow. Steadily and surely release your shackles. Break free an allow yourself to flow. And ultimately unleash hell on that erg. To the line.

Learn More Insights in the 2K Erg Book

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See Book Contents

Best Erg Footplate Position – A Definative Answer.

Over 1 Million times a day, people search google for “correct erg footplate position” or “best foot plate on the erg”.

Ok I’m exaggerating by approximately 999,997.

But you will be surprised about how many ergers and rowers do not set the footplate position correctly on the erg.

Did you know that the correct footplate position can make a massive difference in power and technique?

And good technique = more efficient power = (life is easier! (or faster) – take your pick)
 
 

So what is the best foot plate setup?

The goal is simple. You need full length sliding and maximum power through your feet and legs.

Full length is vertical shins at the beginning of the power phase. Most people either over-compress or under-compress and neither is good. And unless you have a mirror or a good coach beside you, it’s impossible to tell if your shins are vertical at the catch. So get some help.

But there are more factors you need to consider to ensure a good erging  foot plate position.
 
 

Your Height.

Taller people generally have larger feet and need to position the footplate low (with maybe 1 or even zero holes showing).

Otherwise their toes and balls of their feet would be overhanging the top of the footplate. Which is and a big waste of power and a definite short slide maker.

Smaller shorter people generally have shorter and smaller feet. If you are like below 6 ft you need to put your footplate higher up (with 2, 3 or even 4 sets of holes showing).

Why?
Because you are not in an efficient position to gain maximum power from your leg drive when your feet are too low. Plus it’s a mechanical certainty that you will open up too early with your body-swing on the power phase.

Which means a weak acceleration to the finish of the stroke.

Next time you are erging, try it out. Set your feet lower than you usually do and you will find that it feels really weird. You’ll discover that it feels like you can row a lot longer and getting to the catch is a breeze.
 

But on the erg, longer is not always better.


If you are under set with your feet and you are over-compressing at the catch there will be a delay in getting your legs fired up. And you will accumulate more lactic acid (pain – which we don’t like!) because of the acute angle between your upper and lower leg.

A good footplate position should allow you to power up easily and horizontally.

The best way for you to pull the handle is in a straight line – as close to your strong levers (legs, back and arms) as possible.

Weightlifters do it all the time. Have a look on YouTube for some Olympic Weightlifting techniques and pay attention to how they all emphasise the bar remaining close to the body as much as possible during the lifting phase.

Ok rowing is different, but not all that much.

You gotta keep that handle straight and close to your body as much as possible. Otherwise it’s like trying to stretch out at full reach and pick up your grandmas favourite (and really heavy) ornament from her mantelpiece. A dangerous move and not guaranteed to give you a result!
  

The Proportion between your legs and back.

You might be a tall person with long legs and a short back. If that’s the case you need to set low. On the other hand you might be tall with a long back and short legs

If you think you are in this category you need to fix your footplate high. Even if your feet overhang a little.

Because there will be too much of a gap between your handle and feet.
  

Your Hip and Ankle Flexibility.

You might have ankle, achilles tendon, knee or hip flexibility problems which might prevent you from rowing at full slide length. In that case you need to drop your feet low (at the cost of being more ii) because good length is more important than maximum efficiency.

The bottom line is keep the footplate as high as possible, without overhanging with your toes and balls of your feet. Without being so restricted that you cant even get past half slide with your seat.

Learn More Insights in the 2K Erg Book

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See Book Contents

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