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.

Start

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.

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.

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.

Extra 2k Erg Test Strategy Articles:

1. Advanced 2k Erg Test Indoor Rowing Strategy – Part 1
2. Advanced 2k Erg Test Indoor Rowing Strategy – Part 2

How To Mentally Prepare For A 2k Erg Test

1. Begin early

To guarantee a good mental preparation for your 2k erg test or race make sure you begin early. You probably do it naturally anyway. But once you are notified by your rowing coach or you take a personal decision to race a 2k erg test you should immediately begin the process of internal preparation.

Because usually, the more time you have to prepare,  the better you can be mentally prepared for the 2k.

2. Plan every detail

You must plan everything. And be absolutely meticulous about everything. Attention to detail is key. Decide exactly how you are going to prepare. Decide exactly on what you will do on race day. Have a 2k erg strategy well planned in your mind and practice it if possible at lower intensities in training.

Knowing exactly what you you are going to do  will reassure you and give you a strong base to launch your race plan on race day. Don’t fulfill to prophesy of he who fails to plan, plans to fail.

3. Train hard

I am a big believer in preparing physically for a 2k erg. I believe that an excellent physical preparation will give you enormous confidence and mental strength in your approach to the race.

If you are well trained and have developed the necessary fitness and mental toughness for the 2k erg in your training, then the need to do other extra mental preparation should not be as strong.

4. Better to be under than over cooked.

Never, ever over train with erg rowing when you are preparing for a 2k erg test. When you are tired and over trained the chances are that you will be weak mentally. Or at best you will be in a vulnerable mental state for the 2k.

This balance between under and over training is up to you. And will come with experience. But when you’re are in doubt – more is less.

5. Attack.

When it comes to race day, within the confines of your 2k test plan you should aim to attack. Our primitive natural defence mechanisms instruct us to either fight of flight. Adrenalin can be a great strength for a rower. It can make our rowing perceived exertion seem easier.  So use it. Aim to attack the erg test (within your plan) and do not fear it.

6.Keep those promises.

Remember the last 2k erg test you did? What promises did you make yourself during or afterwards? Did you keep them? Maybe you promised yourself that you’d train harder, smarter, get more sleep or eat better. We’ve all done it. But the real difference comes in keeping those promises to yourself. It’s all about personal integrity. It’s just between you and me. Keep your promises – and when it comes to preparing for a 2k erg test, you will thank yourself.

7. Understand that It will be difficult

Aim high, under achieve and you’ll feel bad.

Aim low, over achieve and you’ll feel great.

Expect an ok erg test, it’ll be hard and you’ll suffer mentally.

Expect a very difficult erg test , it’ll be easy and you’ll score a PB.

(I’ve used this tactic successfully many times).

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.

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.

2k Erg Test 7 Day Taper Plan

I do a 7 day run – in to the 2k erg, usually doing the following routine:

Day 7 (1 week before the test)

Hard workout. 1 Week out from the test is normally a time when I do my most intensive rowing workouts. I do repeats of pieces at or close to race intensity. I always make sure I do a long warm up and cool down on hard days like this.

Day 6

Moderate – Hard Workout. 6 days out I continue my test preparation with some more test power pieces and I really aim to be tired at the end of this day. I aim to cash in on the body’s natural ability to heal to a point stronger than when it was before the heavy training. It’s just like when someone breaks a bone – the bone knits together stronger than it was before the break.

Day 5

Moderate – easy workout. I use this as an active recovery day to help my body clear out any of the debris still lodged in there from my race preparation workouts on day 7 and day 6. I always erg for about 30 – 40 minutes and include some moderate power for about 5 – 10 minutes. I also use the opportunity to do some technical drills such as strapless erging.

Day 4

Rest. I do nothing on this day and try to recover from my race preparation workouts of day 7 and day 6. I make sure I nail my nutrition to ensure recovery and refuelling for the test.

Day 3

Hard – short Workout. I believe this day is an ‘open the pipes’ up day. I usually do 1 or 2 pieces at or close race power. Normally I do 1000 meters and 500 meters with a 5 – 10 minute break in between. I usually suffer a lot in these pieces because of the day of inactivity on Day 4. It’s also a good realty checker – it sharpens my mind as to how tough the test will be.

Day 2

Rest. I do absolutely nothing. I try to avoid all stress and energy sapping situations both mental and physical. I make sure my nutrition plan is helping me recover and build up a store of energy for the big one.

Day 1

Very easy workout. In this workout I normally do some light – moderate pulling for 20 – 25 minutes. I will pull some hard strokes during this time most around race power. I pull no more than 20-30 strokes 3-4 times. It’s important to work out if possible on this day because it keeps the body and energy systems flowing.

Day Zero

Test Day. This is a special day and your warm up is a key part. I will discuss my special warm up next time.

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.

Advanced 2k Erg Test Indoor Rowing Strategy – Part 2

This is part 2 of a series of articles about specific 2k erg test strategies for particular rowing athletes who are not suited to doing the standard 2k race plan.

The first 2k article looked at sprinters and how they should approach a 2k erging race differently from other types of rowers. This article looks at rowers who are more suited to (and prefer) long endurance type rowing and workouts. If you think that you are an endurance rower then this is a good way for you to approach a 2k and get the best erg score possible for you.

Start

Go off hard but settle down very early (after around 10 – 12 strokes). Like most endurance rowers the percentage difference between your sprinting power and average race power is probably not all that much.

So when you settle down into your race pace rhythm you should aim to set a power that is the maximum possible for you between 1900 meters and 100 meters to go.

It is better when you are an endurance rower to not vary your power or rate very much in the middle phase of the 2k. Endurance lends itself to a constant high, steady power output for most of the test.

Remember endurance rowers are very different to sprinters who are capable of varying their power a lot during the middle part of the race. Endurance rowers can tolerate an unbelievable amount of hardship for long periods of time.

Remember this.

And remember that you are not a sprinter so you should not do what they do.
 

Middle

This is 1800 meters of absolute endurance bliss.

And you must Red line it.

If you do it right you will suffer hard but it’s what endurance rowers like and enjoy – Long and Hard. Do not go for pushes or power 10′s because you are not genetically geared for it and you will probably have a physical and mental meltdown.

In fact, if you do it right you shouldn’t even want to do power 10′s because your rhythm should be so strong and deep that you would be in an unbreakable zone.
 

Finish

As you go through 500 meters to go, don’t even blink. Just keep working hard in your zone and in your rhythm. With 100 meters left on the monitor you should try and sprint.

But you may not be able to just like many extreme endurance ergers because you will have played the average power game and played to your strengths.

But timing and regulating your energy systems are crucial for the success of this approach for you. Knowing your body and mind well will help you arrive at the finish with just about enough to hold on.

Above all else, choose a middle base power that is sustainable for the entire 2k. 1900 meters will not cut it and you could end up loosing 1 second or more in the last 100 meters.

On the other hand if you are too conservative with your power and you decide to sprint, you will not get the most from your natural abilities.

In a word, it’s all about

Balance.
 

Finally

I mentioned at the end of the first article that both sprint and endurance type rowers should direct their their training so that they become better all rounder’s more suited to doing 2k ergs.

Remember rowing is around 70% aerobic and 30% anaerobic.

So if you feel like you are not in this area, adjust your training so that you become geared better towards the 2k erg.

I cannot emphasise this advice enough because if you want to get fast 2k erg times in the long run, sprinting and endurance alone won’t cut it.

Train Right for your Body Type – Discover your Key Erg Rowing Workouts

Everyone has a key erg rowing workout.

Or a number of them.

Finding yours is can make a massive difference to your erg scores (and your Rowing Workouts)– you just gotta know how.

A couple of years ago, a guy I know -called Mike- was doing around 4 erg sessions per week – in November. He was aiming for his crash b indoor rowing championships in February.

Mike is an organised kind of guy. He likes to have a plan – and to stick with it. Usually, he rowed 4 times a week and took 2 days off as recovery days. Sometimes – he did a swim session at his local pool on one of his recovery days.

Mike was working full time and had a busy schedule. But he took care of himself.

His Key Rowing Workouts

He always felt his key session of the week was 2 x 20 minutes at hard steady state – rate 24.

Mike went to the crash b’s – and did ok.

But Mike was not happy.

He felt he worked hard. Stayed diligent. Stuck with the program. And did every session down to the T.

Fixing His Erg Workouts

We got talking a few weeks after the indoor rowing erg competition and I suggested to him that he explore new erg workouts, new erg training plans and new sessions.

I reasoned with him that he needed to pivot and change direction radically with his training – and measure and observe the differences in his scores.

Just to see if it made a difference.

Yes – change for change’s sake but if it worked – great. If not then that was fine too.

But I also had a plan – so I came up with a few workouts that I had used or known about over the years and gave them to mike.

I advised him to try and find his key rowing workouts in the bundle I gave him.

I encouraged him to find the erg rowing workouts that feel as though they made a difference – not on the day of the workout – but a couple of days later – at the next or following erg rowing workouts.

You see Mike was in a great position to test new workouts. He took 3 days of the 5 in a week off and was clued in to his body and his recovery. He would be in a position to measure

  • By Feel (and)
  • By Numbers

It took him around 2 months – through May and June for him to get a feel for the new rowing workouts I had given him. It took him another 2 months to work out the difference between the ones he liked and the ones he didn’t like.

Finally it took him 1 more month to discover the ones that made a difference.

The Key Rowing Workout Sessions.

Mike became happy. And fast.

And because Mike only trained 4 days a week, he decided that he would only do key sessions.

So he ditched the 2×20 minutes and substituted it with a hard 30 minute workout at 26. He felt (and measured) the 30 minutes made him feel better in his 2 x 12 minute workouts and his 2 x 15 minute workouts.

He started doing under – over (3 x 3 minutes Rowing – under and over threshold) and found that they really helped him with his 30 minutes.

Ultimately – he discovered that all his key workouts became interdependent. Each key rowing workout helped another key rowing workout.

It became a virtuous circle.

My Rowing advice to you (if you need advice) is to do 3 things:

1. Change and be prepared to be radical.
2. Find new rowing workouts that will help you to improve
3. Learn what your key rowing workouts are and use them to create your virtuous circle.

Erg Rowing Technique – How to Leverage your Body

Staying Braced For Maximum Rowing Power.

Imagine this.  Imagine you are in a life and death situation. Imagine that you are out for a walk one fine sunny day. As your route passes by a cliff top you hear a shout for help. You lean over the guard wall and look down to see someone stuck on a ledge 50 feet below.

You must help this person and you must act quickly. There’s no one else around to help and you’ve got no cell phone coverage. You think about climbing down but that’s not going to achieve anything.

You look around and amazingly find a rope nearby. You decide to tie a big stick to one end and throw the other end down. You tell the person to hold on so you can pull them up.

Now what – what’s next. How do you do it? What is the best way to use your body weight and strength to lever this person up the 50 feet to safety?

Want to know what I’d do?

Well I’d anchor my feet against the wall and use all of my leg back and arm strength to lever the person up. Each couple of feet I would gain, I would wrap the rope around a nearby anchor to take the slack off the handle. I would then wind the slack piece of rope around the stick, release the anchor and pull again.

It’d be hard work but I’d know from erging and rowing that by bracing my feet low against the wall, I am able to hang and lever all of my weight from my feet through my legs, back and arms.

I also know that by keeping my arms straight makes me stronger and I don’t get tired. My arms only bend when the pressure comes off so I can wind the stick.

This is the feeling you need to get when you are bracing your feet against the erg foot plate. You need to hang your weight through your legs, back and straight arms onto the handle.

Remember:The seat is only used for balance.

 Here’s a simple exercise to get the feeling of hanging your weight on the handle.

  • Arrange for you and a partner and sit on the floor facing each other.
  • Connect both of your feet so that your right foot sole is pressing against your partner’s right foot sole. Do the same on the left side.
  • Both of you must keep both knees slightly bent.  Next, form a hook with your right hand by making an unclenched fist. Get your partner to do the same and connect by hooking each other. Do the same on the left side.
  • Now use your feet to anchor, your hands for levering and the ground as your balance point. Experiment with lighter and heavier partners to get that feeling of hanging your body weight.

P.S. You should read this erg rowing technique article I recently put up. It fits well with the stuff said above.

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 might 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.

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