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Rowing 101

How much have you thought about rowing lately? Here are some words of wisdom from our Fast & Strong Program Director, Gina Wileman!

Splits and Stroke Rates - Does anyone really know what those numbers mean anyway? 

Ever go out on a run and get caught in the middle of a group of the younger set?  And by younger set, I mean the younger set that are under 4’ tall!  Yes, the elementary school kids!  Ever notice how they push up to a race start and when the gun sounds they, as my 10 year old son would say,  “bullet out” moving as quickly as their little legs can go.....for about 1 whole minute! Then they pump the brakes. Hard!  This will happen over and over again for the duration of the event regardless of the distance.  

You see these kiddos don’t understand pace.  As a result, these poor little guys are all over the place.  And  they’re exhausted too!  Most of us have learned (somewhere after elementary school) that this type of running isn’t very efficient...in fact it’s kinda crazy!  We know know that it’s  much smarter to run a smooth pace that you can maintain than red lining within the first minute.  Well, surprise, the same is true on the rower.  Unfortunately for us, many of us look like those little kiddos, sprinting and then gasping for breath, wondering what the hell just happened. Understanding a couple of key parts of your rower can save you from looking brand new and also help you to leave a little something in the tank for those occasions when rowing is only one part of a super fun training day! 

Avoid a Bullet Out and Pumping the Brakes approach to rowing!

So, how do I find a smooth pace or even learn to  increase my pace while avoiding a “bullet out and pumping the brakes style?? It’s simple. Practice!!! 

Try these methods below to increase your pace. (AKA lowering your split)

  1. Increased power or DRIVE through your legs.  This will directly increase your pace - which will be reflected as the split pace number goes down per 500m. This this is a great place to work using muscular strength and maintaining a HR that doesn’t get out of control. 
  2. Increased Stroke rate (shortening the recovery phase) can also increase your pace.  This will tap into more of your aerobic capacity and if you need to build an engine, you’ll feel this fast! 

Practice: and make progress! 

 5x  :30Work  / :30Rest  - increase drive WITHOUT increasing your stroke rate

5x :30Work / :30Rest   - increase BOTH drive and stroke rate.  This will feel more like a sprint.

Notice the difference.  Notice where you can work.  Notice how long it takes you to recover.   Drop in to a rowing class and learn more!   Next class this Sunday Oct 29th @8:15-9:00am.

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