Tagergo test

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.

Learn More Insights in the 2K Erg Book...

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...

2k Erg Test Meltdown – 5 Steps for a fast recovery

So you go off hard. First stroke, second stroke, third… Harder, faster, harder. You’re pumped and blowing out all that nervous energy that’s been building up all day long.

You start to think “ok – it’s a 2k erg let’s see if I can settle down into a good strong rhythm”. Stick to my guns. Do what I planned.

But now at 1713 meters to go, you get that creeping feeling. All is not well deep inside the core of your engine.

NO!

Not today. Please…

You continue on rowing and try to ignore the fact that your legs feel weak and empty. You’re burning up inside and every stroke feels heavy and torturous.

You haven’t planned for this. What will you do?
 

Step # 1. Do Not Stop

This is often the first thing that comes into your head when you’re faced with a 2k erg test meltdown.
You just wanna let it go – it’s not your day and that is it. But whatever you do, please Do Not Stop. Because the next 4 steps, can and will, get you out of a deep hole and help you salvage something from the day.

Have you ever been in a situation where the difference between a good race and a bad one comes down to just 1 stroke? Not the last one, but somewhere out on the course like 743 meters from the finish line. Someplace obscure where you let it slip through your hands.

If you can hold on around that danger stroke and give yourself a chance to continue you can really learn big things about yourself. Almost anyone can do it when it’s easy – right? We’ll what about when it’s really, really hard?

This is the time where you earn that inner strength and confidence that can set you up for the rest of your rowing life. It’s what sets the great rowers apart from the good.
 

Step # 2. Back Off Immediately

Ok it’s only a 2k erg – a short distance with little time to mess around, but if you back off on the power and follow the next step you will save yourself a lot of pain and failure in the long run.

How much should you back off?

Well if you were aiming to pull even splits of say 1:40 for the middle 1000, you should go to 1:42 or 1:43. Back off enough so that you can recover.
 

Step# 3. Rate Higher

Immediately after backing off on the power you need to increase your rate. You need to keep it light. Keep the wheel spinning along. Take the load off your legs, back and arms. Stop muscling the handle like you want to choke it. Back off, rate higher.

And just spin it . . nice and lightly with a nice high tapping along rhythm.

If you were at 33, go up to 35.
 

Step # 4. Close Your Eyes

Relax your face and close your eyes. We rowers love to show how hard it is. There’s nothing like showing off our ‘I’m being tortured’ face right through a 2k erg.

Well in damage limitation mode you absolutely must quit being tense – immediately .
And close your eyes.

Why?

Because your mind plays tricks. When you’re in 2k erg test meltdown your body wants out and your mind will do everything it can to make it happen.

It will make 1:43 feel like 1:37.

So shut the windows, relax and don’t look out. Tap the wheel along with relaxed muscles and a nice, high light rate.

It will help your to blood flow. It will help you recover.

You just need to have patience. And faith.
 

Step # 5. You will come round.

Recovery will come, but when it does, Do NOT start muscling the handle back down to 1:40.

You need to nurse it back down, slowly and incrementally in time with your ability to absorb the extra work load. And don’t worry, it’s never too late. Even if your 2k average power target is still high you can always sprint like never you’ve never sprinted before – to the line. And yes, you can open you eyes again.

But you will only be capable of sprinting if you have followed the steps. And when it comes to the sprint make sure you don’t go too early. Do 40 seconds – max.

Make the sprint pay. Give it everything. Be angry. Be annoyed. And when you get to the finish line, be absolutely finished.
 

What if it doesn’t work?

It should work. It always will unless there’s something seriously wrong (like you are ill or something).Done correctly, you will recover and limit your losses.

Better than putting your head down and rowing yourself to a standstill.

Believe me. I’ve been there.

Learn More Insights in the 2K Erg Book...

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