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Thread: Rowing (erg) whats best?

  1. #1
    Moderator Mossdog's Avatar
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    Rowing (erg) whats best?

    Any top tips for using a rowing machine to help with training during an extended period of none running due to injury?

    I'm more interested in maintaining (or building) endurance stamina than speed per se, and hopefully keeping a climbing ability.

    Is it just a case of clocking up a regular, daily, shed-load of kilometres on the machine?

    Setting a high drag factor (no cross dressing jokes please ), or medium (water-like) resistance?

    Any thoughts/experiences will be much appreciated.
    Am Yisrael Chai

  2. #2
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of the indoor rower, although don't do it at all nowadays. It's very good for all body strength and I highly recommend.

    Personally I'd just set it up to the highest level and get used to pulling at that drag, you'll get used to it.

    Quite similar to running in terms of what you can do... i.e. sprints, or longer distance. I think the best distance is 2000m as that is the recognised Olympic distance. If you're brand new to rowing then 8mins or below is a good time for 2000m. My pb was 7mins04 and that is severely hard work, and I think ranked me well into the top 100 in the country for my weight at the time.

    Like running, constant effort over the distance is the best way to go quickly. Set the readout to give you your speed per 500m, for 8mins you need to average 2:00/500m.... it's quite hard work to pull under about 1:55/500m, and to maintain that kind of pull over a sustained effort is serious work. To get 7mins04 I had to average 1:46/500m which I'm pretty proud of, but then you see the Olympic rowers can do it around 6mins or below, and I can't even generate that power for one stroke, it's unbelievable....

    1 minute sprints are also good hard work, but if you want endurance then I'd stick to 2000m.

    As far as technique goes, do some research as it's quite easy to get this wrong and end up with a sore back. Similar to swimming (I guess), concentrate on generating power with each stroke rather than hammering out as many strokes per minute with less intensity. I think this is the commonest beginners mistake.
    Last edited by Travs; 24-01-2018 at 10:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Moderator Mossdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travs View Post
    I'm a big fan of the indoor rower, although don't do it at all nowadays. It's very good for all body strength and I highly recommend.

    Personally I'd just set it up to the highest level and get used to pulling at that drag, you'll get used to it.

    Quite similar to running in terms of what you can do... i.e. sprints, or longer distance. I think the best distance is 2000m as that is the recognised Olympic distance. If you're brand new to rowing then 8mins or below is a good time for 2000m. My pb was 7mins04 and that is severely hard work, and I think ranked me well into the top 100 in the country for my weight at the time.

    Like running, constant effort over the distance is the best way to go quickly. Set the readout to give you your speed per 500m, for 8mins you need to average 2:00/500m.... it's quite hard work to pull under about 1:55/500m, and to maintain that kind of pull over a sustained effort is serious work. To get 7mins04 I had to average 1:46/500m which I'm pretty proud of, but then you see the Olympic rowers can do it around 6mins or below, and I can't even generate that power for one stroke, it's unbelievable....

    1 minute sprints are also good hard work, but if you want endurance then I'd stick to 2000m.

    As far as technique goes, do some research as it's quite easy to get this wrong and end up with a sore back. Similar to swimming (I guess), concentrate on generating power with each stroke rather than hammering out as many strokes per minute with less intensity. I think this is the commonest beginners mistake.
    Cheers Travs, that's really helpful.
    Am Yisrael Chai

  4. #4
    I have used an erg for 15 years. A good workout to be had - you can make your legs wobble.
    Approach it like running sessions- intervals, lsd, ladders etc.
    2km is the usual competition distance. Row your own sessions,distances and times.
    Wisdom states that cycling :running distance wise is 3:1
    imo rowing:running is 1.25: 1

    Research drag factor - a high df is not better- and how it relates to strokes per minute and power output.
    Research and aim for correct technique.
    Take the rower outside if you can - you will operate better.

    Get a seat pad.
    Enjoy the thinking time,
    Last edited by JohnA; 25-01-2018 at 10:34 PM. Reason: spelling

  5. #5
    Master mr brightside's Avatar
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    The Pete Plan is one of the best training schedules about. Oddly, in competitions you can select whichever drag setting you like, meaning 1 is not necessarily harder or easier than 10. I never got to the bottom of why this is before it started to screw my back up. Good while it lasted, though, and once you start using the proper 3 phase technique you drop about 5spm and get very knackered very quick.
    Luke Appleyard (Wharfedale)- quick on the dissent

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    Moderator Mossdog's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all of the advice.

    I sussed out pretty quickly from some great youtube vids about the importance of technique and style and how less can be more regarding power and training effect. So far I've done two nights of 2x5000 metres with a 500m split of 2:31 average. A break between each session with some squats left me feeling quite toasty and 'glowing' in a very cold garage, so I like to idea of rowing outside when possible, or with the garage door open at least.

    I'm going to try a single 10,000 m 'trip' over the weekend. And yes John A! Great advice regarding a seat pad. Maybe I'm just a whimp but I'm thinking of wearing my cycling bib with gel pads for the next sessions.
    Am Yisrael Chai

  7. #7
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    Had a bash on the indoor rower in the gym this morning, having not been on one since my 20's.

    My previous best for 2000mtrs was 7:04.... but spurred on by a young clubmate who is in his University rowing team, recently going sub-7, i thought i'd have a go and see how i stack up against my younger self....

    Admittedly i'd done a 7.5 mile run and a full weights session, so i wasn't expecting great things.... however 3 minutes in and i was on 6:48 pace.... sadly the chain kept getting caught on something inside the machine and it kept catching and jumping, so i had to abort.... being a commercial gym, i expect it is a long time since that rower was put through such a workout....

    I'm not totally sure i could have maintained 6:48 pace for the full 2km, but i think that sub 7mins was there for the taking.

    I shall return!!

  8. #8
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    Found a new desire for rowing as general conditioning/training away from running.

    I need to fully read up on it to make sure i'm not missing any muscle groups etc, but finding it enjoyable anyway.

  9. #9
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    Had another attempt at a sub-7 2000mtrs tonight.

    Held the pace for 4 and a half minutes, then started to slip off, so called it a day.

    Not entirely surprising, considering did a tough running session last night... but moderately encouraged, and i'll have another go when time allows.

  10. #10
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    Finally went sub-7 for the 2000mtrs tonight!

    Paced it well, never veering faster than 6:56 pace, and finally hitting the finish in 6:59:6

    I could have held it for another 30secs, maybe even another minute... but i couldn't push any harder in the final 30secs to bring it down to 6:58

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