TagWinning a Close Rowing Race

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

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

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.

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

Rowing Seat Racing – Why Rowers Need To Be Vigilant

Whatever the rights or wrongs of selecting a rowing crew with seat races – if your coach is into it – you must learn how to handle it.

Making sure you do as well as you can is all about looking out for yourself. Here are some things you need to watch out for (other than rowing and pulling hard).

#1 Never Hold Back

Most seat racing in rowing is blind – you never know when you are going to be switched and tested. For that reason you need to make sure you give it everything in each race. And because  you are giving it everything you need to…

#2 Insist on Honesty and Fairness

If you smell a rat (that a rowing rival is trying to screw you)  then you need to speak up. Let your coach know. If it’s a crew fairness issue – tell the rowers that the seat racing is not fair. Let people know you are not happy.

Let them know you are angry.

This is a competitive situation and months (or maybe even years) of hard training and sacrifice are on the line.

For that reason everyone needs to play by the rules. Including:

  • Same rating (whether it’s capped or open)
  • Same start sequence (if its power 20 and settle to 38 – then it has to happen in every seat race)
  • Same finish sequence. Say you are doing 1000 meter seat races. You are switched into a boat and you break free with clear water up with 200 to go. Make sure your boat finishes off the finishing stroke sequence**

**If the crew you get switched into were cranking the rate up to 42 for the last 25 strokes – insist that it does the exact same in your seat race. Just because you are winning by a lot of water and rowing well, it should never be a reason to ‘save’ some energy for the next seat trial.

Because you must make as much time as possible in every race.

#3 This point is crucial.

The same applies to your crew if you are behind. Some crews give up towards the end of a race (especially towards the end of a set of seat races when everyone is tired). Insist that your crew finishes the race like all the other races.

Remember if your coach is using a seat racing matrix – every second counts towards your aggregate score. So even when you’re boat is losing you can still gain total time.

Police this yourself. Don’t expect your coach to spot these things. S/he will be busy taking times and watching how well everyone is rowing. So its up to you to ensure that your crew rows as hard (and sticks to the same rating) as all the other seat races you are involved in.

Even half a stroke less per minute for 10 strokes can make a big difference in a short seat race. So the bottom line is to be Vigilant. And if things are not being done fairly – Make it known. To EVERYBODY

#4 Watch out for Mental Weakness

You can mentally prepare for extremely hard rowing races using methods you might not have considered. And while seat racing is like real racing – from a mental point of view, you still need to watch out for mental weakness and tiredness.

Embrace The Fear

It’s ok to wake up with your heart pounding in your chest. Seat races and rowers make for a potent mix of adrenalin and fear.

You can use this to your advantage as long as it doesn’t consume you so much  that you can’t even pull the oar.

    While it goes without saying that you should try to instantly gel with the crew you have been switched into – you need to mentally blend also.

    Let the crew you join know you are psyched and ready for a fight – Ready to win.

    If someone comes into your crew invite them into the fold. Let them know they are welcome and that you are on their side. This is very important for:

    • Fairness
    • You own needs (you want to win)

    Even a few simple reassuring words can make a big difference. Get rowing immediately and tell them that it’s GOOD. Small reassuring gestures like telling them the boat is going well and that it feels like you are going to have a great race can be reassuring for both you the newcomer (not to mention the positive impact it can have on the entire crew).

    Make sure you brief (and re-brief) the crew on what the plan is. If it’s a set race plan from your coach –  repeat it. Just so you and the rest of the crew know exactly what’s happening.

    Also try to fix something the crew did not do well in the last seat race. Talk it through quickly and sharply. If it’s making the first 10 strokes better – make them better (but stay within your coaches instructions).

    Good Luck…

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

    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.

    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

    Rowers – Why You Must Always Sprint

    Rowers like pulling hard. On the erg and in the boat. It’s what gives us speed and makes us feel good. It makes us feel like we’re doing something honest and playing by the cardinal rule of rowing and erging – pull hard and go faster.

    But given that you spend most of your time erging and rowing at a rate below 24 strokes per minute you end up pulling A LOT of hard, slow strokes.

    Physiologically that’s fine(and necessary) for lots of reasons. But there is one major problem with it- especially for erging:

    You teach yourself to mainly pull slow hard strokes when all the money is at fast hard strokes.

    How You Can Fix It.

    Always finish your session with a stepped sprint. Whether it’s an hour long erg or a short series of 500 meter intervals, always finish the last work piece flat out. Why? Because you will benefit massively in millions of ways – both physically and mentally.

    Your body will adapt and respond to the increased stimulus you heap upon it at a point where you are under a lot of stress and fatigue. It will learn to expect that every rowing session you do will have a sprint to the finish. This is a great weapon to have in your armoury for tight races.

    Your mind will also respond in a positive way to finishing the session on a high. You will come away feeling good even if you didn’t have a good row. You will also come to realise that you will always be capable of going harder (and faster) no matter how tired you are coming to the line.

    But what about your long steady session?

    Yes, even if it’s a long 1 hour row on the erg, you should still sprint to the line.

    Here’s an example.

    • From about 3 minutes left, step up your rating and power slightly (1 second per 500).
    • Do the same with 2 minutes left.
    • Then in the last minute start to slowly nail it.
    • Incrementally increase your power and rating so that in the last 20 seconds you are all out – recruiting every muscle fibre and brain power in your possession.

    The same goes for shorter rowing workouts.
    Over time if you practice a sprint in the long sessions you will develop an ability to sprint for short sessions also. Even if you are only able to reduce your average power by 0.5 seconds per 500 it will be worth it.

    Sprinting is a great habit to develop. And it will not affect the general core purpose of a particular rowing session.

    Introduce it to your rowing and erging sessions and one day when you find yourself in a dog fight use it to blow your opposition away.

    P.S. Read the follow up to this article, where I clarify some interesting questions raised by one of our readers.

    3 Race Winning Rowing Workouts

    Have you ever wondered about the rowingworkouts you are doing day in day out? Ever wonder if they are designed to help you actually win a race. Late in rowing races is often the time when the outcome is decided and it’s often down to the looser actually breaking, more than the winner actually winning.

    But you can learn to win close races by preparing physically (and by implication, mentally) with specific workouts designed to get you familiar with severe pain tolerance – simulating the late stages of a race.

    But you should treat the following workouts with caution. Because of the heavy demand physically and mentally they will place on you, they should only be attempted when you are feeling relatively fresh and rested. Use them once a week at most and treat them with the degree of seriousness that race winning knowledge deserves.

    Here you go:

    #1 Under Over Intervals

    12 minutes total
    (2 minutes at Threshold Power + 1 Minute Above Threshold Power) x 4

    This is really tough training. Perfect for a controlled rowing environment like the erging. Your Threshold Power(TP)  is the power you could hold for 20 – 30 minutes all out.

    So for example, if your TP is 1:45 average /500 meters, then you would pull (1:45 for 2 minutes +  1:44 – 1:43 for 1 minute) x 4 (which is 12 minutes total)

    I first came across this type of training in the Lance Armstrong Performance Program. And the first time I tried it I was only able to do one 12 minute set. It was extremely difficult but after 3 – 4 weeks I was pulling 2 x 12 minutes with a 5 – 7 minute break between sets.

    #2 Five minute boosters

    (5 minutes at TP then 5 minutes easy rowing) x 5

    Take it a little easier for the first couple (maybe 1:46 in the under over example). The accumulative interval will start to really hit home for the final 2 sets. This is race winning territory. You are burning, you’re tired and the 5 minute rest is not enough to recover. Dig deep and always finish hard to the line.

    #3 Vo2 Max Intervals

    I have mentioned elsewhere about vo2 max boosting rowing intervals. But here is a different erg workout which again tests you in race winning territory.

    (1000 meters all out) x 3

    Each set should be done with a proper racing start and a short sprint to the line. This is severe training and is as much mental as it is physical. This workout should only be attempted once per week for a few weeks before an important race or test. When done properly your lactate tolerance will go through the roof – and your ability to win close races  will rocket with it.

    P.S. Thanks to Steve for pointing out the error in the Under-Over Workout – The correction is 4 times 3 minutes (12 minute workout).

    Related Article:

    1. Crash Your 2k Erg Score Test Strategy

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

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