An English teacher once told me if you want to get people’s attention use onomatopoeia’s, so I just did. Let me say welcome to all that read this and beware, I’m pretty blunt but I like to think I know what I’m talking about. This blog will be all about training, nutrition, supplementation, and a few other random tid-bits here and there.
A little bit about me:
I started rowing as a freshman in high school in
Now enough about me and on to what you all truly care about, getting faster, being healthy, and beating your enemies into submission…..on the water via weight-lifting. Today will outline some basic training plans as to what would benefit a rower most and how to incorporate it into your weekly/monthly/yearly training schedules.
Rowing requires many different aspects when it comes to weight lifting. It is a sport that requires power, speed, and balance. Therefore we will approach weight lifting in the same manner and train all aspects of what it is we do in our sport. Throughout the years I have tested on myself and other athletes/clients as to what is most effective and have come to find that breaking training down into micro-cycles works the best. Micro-cycles are training periods that are 6-9 weeks long and are geared towards increasing a certain type of performance.
This relates to rowing like this:
6-9 weeks of power training
6-9 weeks of speed training
6-9 weeks of corrective symmetry/balance training
Rinse and repeat.
Power training is going to be geared towards getting your max’s up, i.e. the maximum amount of weight you can lift for 1 repetition in certain exercises. This is done through a variety of ways, in particular lifting heavy weight, low reps being the best way. The only way you’re going to be able to lift heavier is to lift heavy things, i.e. more weight. I prefer full body training 3 times a week for this. It allows your body to recovery in particular your central nervous system which is already extremely taxed due to the nature of our sport. Lifting 3 times a week is also not going to take away from your water time and isn’t leaving you suffering from DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) that will inhibit your performance on the water. A basic power routine that I have my clients do is the 5×5. Its 5 sets of 5 repetitions for 3 exercises on each of the 3 days. It would look something like this:
Standing Military Press
The weight would be ramped up over the 5 sets so that your heaviest set is your last set. You’ll be increasing your overall power and breaking your previous 5 rep max relatively soon following something like this. For the specific workout (complete with formula’s, percentages, etc. feel free to shoot me a pm and I’ll explain it in a lot more depth and get you set up on your own).
After the power phase of training you’d move on to speed training. This is the phase that you take the power you have just gained and make it more specific to rowing as well as much more explosive. Without this phase all your new found strength really won’t matter on the water. You have to get it so that your body can fire your muscles quick enough with that power so that it makes a difference. This will be achieved via explosive lifting. There are many different routines that can help achieve this but the bottom line is, lift explosively. Even if you have a heavy weight and it may look as though it’s moving slow, you should be applying your maximum force to move this weight as fast as possible. This will help recruit more muscle fiber as well as increase the capability of your central nervous system to fire your motor units much more quickly. Yet again for specific routines feel free to shoot me a message.
The last microcycle before repeating is the corrective balance/symmetry training. This is possibly one of the most important phases for sweep rowers in particular. As a sweep rower it is most likely that you will be developing imbalances on one side of your body compared to the other side due to the fact that you may be rowing one side significantly more then the other. To correct this, a basic full body routine using dumbbells is the best way to fix these imbalances. Every exercise can be done via barbell or dumbbell, and for correct symmetry problems using dumbbells is going to help most. The key is to lift only as much weight as your weakest side can lift. For instance, if you can only 1-arm row 80 lbs on your right arm while you can do 90 lbs on your left arm, use 80 lbs for both right and left arm movements. This will help bring up your weak side instead of making the imbalance even worse. A basic 3×10 cookie cutter routine can be used for this that you can find on any type of lifting website or magazine. For those who would prefer to limit their gym time to 3 days or so I again offer up my help and will e-mail you premade routines by me that will do all the work you need to be done in 3 days. I personally do not like spending long amounts of time in the gym and would rather be on the water so I have geared most of my routines around that idea.
I hope this has helped you gain an understanding of what type of basic format to follow when lifting for rowing. Next week will be geared on the different ways to increase recovery. As rowers we tax our bodies often and recovery can allow for more optimal workouts as well as less pain/soreness over the course of your training.
Have questions? Feel free to shoot me a pm and I’ll post them as well as the answers in here.