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Making the Best of It

BY LUKE REYNOLDS
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER

Everyone has a preferred setting for an erg test.

For some, it’s their home boathouse, a familiar, low-distraction locale ideal for performing at your best. Some rowers prefer their own homes, the ultimate place of sanctuary and solitude. 

It’s not just location that matters, of course. The temperature, the music, the motivating support of coxswains and coaches—all these can affect how you perform while erging. 

In a normal-indoor rowing competition, these factors are out of your hands. But with both the 2021 World Rowing Indoor Championships and C.R.A.S.H.-B.’s going virtual, rowers now can control where they compete and under what conditions, thereby enhancing their chance of success.

Because I’ve never performed well in indoor-rowing contests, the prospect of not having to row in a big, unfamiliar event space, with all the attendant stress, is immensely appealing. If you’re anything like me, you, too, should be encouraged, and to prepare, you should begin thinking about upcoming erg races before the holiday break. 

The rest provided by winter break is an essential part of the season, and you should take full advantage of it. At the same time, you don’t want to lie fallow and go to seed. Instead, take part in activities to keep your body strong, such as running, skiing, and playing basketball with friends. Lacking access to a gym is no excuse. All you need is a pair of tennis shoes for an excellent workout featuring cardio and a body-weight circuit. 

The Workout: With 2Ks on the horizon, focus on strengthening fast-twitch muscle. Think jump squats, ladder sprints, stairs, etc. If you can perform this workout on a local track, terrific. Otherwise, use a stopwatch or GPS watch. The body-weight circuit focuses on your core. Your legs will be fried after all those sprints, so concentrate on your abs so your back can handle the load of the 2K starts.

Cardio

1-mile warm-up 

2 minutes, sprint

1 minute, jog

X5  

Body-weight circuit

1 minute, Supermans

50 Russian twists

2 minutes, plank center

1 minute, plank right side

1 minute, plank left side

1 minute, flutter kick

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