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Category: Rowing

Posted on August 4, 2007 in CrossFit | Rowing | Workouts

rowers

Rowing ergometer times are dominated by heavier athletes. Check out the Concept II rankings for lightweight and heavyweights at every distance. Ergometer rowing is a heavyweight’s game!

The reasons for this are a complex blend of physics and physiology, and the influences differ from one type of ergometer to another and from shorter to longer distances. In fact, the science of rowing and ergometers gives ample opportunity to brush up on a lot of basic physiology, physics, and mathematics.

Tim Granger of Cambridge University has developed an algorithm that allows us to compare rowing scores at different weights. There are some inherent limitations, and Tim explains these on his site, but overall this is an excellent method to handicap rowing scores so that we can compare achievements.
For instance, using this algorithm we find that a 220-pound (100-kg) male with a 7-minute 2,000 meters equates to a 165-pound (75-kg) male rowing a 7:30 2,000 meters.

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Posted on July 10, 2007 in Rowing

damper

People often ask us at Concept2 what the damper on our rower does and where to set it for the best workout. The damper setting is important, but it does not determine how much actual work you are doing when you row.

Selecting a damper setting is not like selecting how much weight to put on a bar. In the case of the bar, if for one workout you load it with 100 pounds and lift it 10 times, and for the next workout you put 110 pounds on for 10 reps, you have clearly done more work in the second workout. The rower, or "erg," is different. It does not determine how much work you do; rather, it responds to the amount of force you put into the exercise. The more force you put into each stroke, the more resistance you will feel.

Rowing on the erg is really about producing power, and here I would like to clarify what I mean by power. Power is often confused with force, and, although related, they are different. Force applied over a distance yields work. Work integrated over time yields power. By this definition, lifting 10 pounds two feet is the same amount of work as lifting 20 pounds one foot. And if both those lifts are accomplished in one second, they require the same amount of power. Obviously, the speed movement of the two-foot lift would be greater than the speed of the one-foot lift if they both take one second.

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Posted on June 24, 2007 in Rowing

Competition is an incredible motivator. But even when the on-water season is over and rowing moves indoors for the winter, there are plenty of opportunities for competition, both against others and with yourself. In February of 1982, less than six months after Concept2 made our first rowing ergometer, a group of Olympic oarsmen in Boston organized the first "fun" indoor rowing competition. A friend called us and said, "We are going to hold a race on six of your ergs. Come on down and have some fun... Oh, and can you bring some T shirts for prizes?" I only wish I had come up with the idea. Today, rowers all over the world gather at these indoor rowing events, the largest of which involve more than 2000 people, many of whom have never rowed on the water. They come to test themselves in an atmosphere that literally pulls their best performance out of them.

I will be participating in this year’s C.R.A.S.H.-B (Charles River All-Star Has-Beens, named by and for its founders in 1980) international world indoor rowing championships at the end of February in the 55-to-59 age group. At 55, I regard being on the young end of that range as just more pressure to do well. This is a 2000-meter race, but my take on how to approach a race would be the same for a 500-meter or 30-minute test.

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Posted on June 16, 2007 in Rowing

rowtable

Once you’ve mastered the essentials of rowing technique, you can work to improve your rowing piece times and your score on CrossFit workouts that include rowing, such as "Jackie," "Fight Gone Bad," and "Tabata This." The ultimate goal is to generate maximal power on the rowing machine and maximize the number of calories or watts you can row in a set amount of time, with the lowest possible 500-meter pace times. Time spent on the rowing machine will accomplish both goals in addition to continually improving technique and efficiency.

In addition to training on the rower alone in various time and power domains, you can use rowing in nearly infinite combinations with other exercises to create workouts that cover a broad range of training modalities and goals. Here are some workouts incorporating rowing to get you started.

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Posted on June 9, 2007 in Rowing

certrow

Would you like to hone your indoor rowing training to target the specific areas where you need it most?

There’s a powerful source of international training data available on the Internet. Since 1999, rowers all over the world have been entering their personal best times for a variety of race distances on Concept2 rowers into a database called the Online World Ranking. The tests range from a 500-meter sprint to the 42-kilometer marathon, and the age groups range from under 18 to over 80. Men, women, lightweights, and heavyweights have all been submitting their times. There are now thousands of data points collected here. The database is easy to access, free, and searchable, so it’s easy to pull out just the data that you want.

OK, great. But why should you care about someone else’s rowing results? How can other people’s data help you to become faster and fitter?

There are a number of ways that you can use this data to improve your own fitness, from setting goals to monitoring progress to analyzing strengths and weaknesses.

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Posted on May 25, 2007 in Rowing

rowblur

Rowing, obviously, is a speed sport. The rowers who complete 2000 meters in the fastest time take home gold medals. When you train on an indoor rowing machine, speed is critical, but power output is equally important. Assessing speed and power combined gives a more complete picture of the athlete than measuring speed alone.

In CrossFit workouts, we often have participants of varying sizes competing against each other for space on the white board. Obviously, having a larger mass is beneficial and enables the athlete to pull faster times, cover more meters, and burn a greater number of calories. (This is one of the reasons that on-the-water rowing competitions divide athletes into lightweight and heavyweight categories.) To make results as comparable as possible—and as meaningful as possible in terms of power output and intensity—we can calculate each participant’s power ratio, which is the total wattage he or she generates divided by body weight (in pounds).

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Posted on May 25, 2007 in Rowing

RowFlaws1-th

What makes rowing popular with elite athletes and CrossFitters is exactly what many in the general fitness population dislike about it: your weaknesses cannot be hidden on the rowing machine. It is a human polygraph of physical and mental performance. Stroke for stroke, you are provided with feedback that both reveals any weak spots and very visibly demonstrates the relationship between performance and proper technique. If you want faster times, better scores, and superior performance, work to improve your rowing technique so you can harness your full potential.

Rowing engages all the major muscles of the body and works multiple joints through a large range of motion in a natural, powerful sequence in a no-impact manner. However, proper rowing technique is not an innate skill; mastering it requires instruction. The rowing stroke is very similar to a deadlift. In the drive (work) phase, the legs initiate the power, and arms remain straight. Then the hip flexors and torso muscles maintain the power through the leg and hip drive. Finally, the arms finish the stroke with an accelerating pull toward the torso that completes the smooth handoff of power from lower body to torso to upper body.

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Posted on October 15, 2006 in Rowing

a-hart_C2-th.jpg


Our purpose here is to show specifically how a simple goal, like rowing a seven-minute two thousand meters, can not only be systematically and deliberately approached from multiple protocols, but can generally encourage similar thinking in pursuing other fitness milestones.

Set the rowing ergometer for two thousand meters, row, and note the time at completion. Repeated regularly, the time to complete the two thousand meters will fall. Eventually, you may pass under the seven-minute mark and become one of the “better rowers.” This is one obvious and common approach to training for a 7 minute 2K on a rower (2K/7).

Let’s look at another approach. Set the rower for seven minutes and row, and note the distance on completion. Gradually, the distance for the seven minutes will increase. Eventually, you may pass the two thousand meter mark and become one of the “better rowers.”

The two approaches, “distance priority vs. time priority,” represent distinct yet converging processes for reaching the 2K/7.
These two approaches suggest a third: hold the rate constant for as much time or as many meters as possible.

This entire article is available in the CrossFit Store.

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