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    Back in the Saddle

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    It’s often easier to get brand new folks interested in the sport of indoor rowing than to inspire those who spent time logging countless strokes on the rower decades ago. “You couldn’t pay me to get on that thing,” is a quip I’ve heard numerous times from former collegiate rowers. The horrible memories of erg workouts endured (daily) all winter long, year after year, seem to be summoned with just the sight of a rowing machine.  Some manage to push the demons aside, but then hop on the rower only to get frustrated by the splits they see. My advice: Get over it! You and I both know the erg’s copious benefits far outweigh the potential damage to your self-esteem. It can also be fun. The key is eliminating the need to put yourself on the floor after every workout. Simply move. Focus on form over splits, take a few short breaks to stretch it out, and throw on your favorite tunes. Find your way back to the erg with the following rowing routines:

    The Warm-Up

    Row for three minutes at an easy pace at around 22-24 strokes per minute focused on technique. If you need a technical refresher, take a peek at a couple short videos on my Vimeo page:

    The Workout

    30 seconds legs-only rowing. Focus on the push off from the footboards to feel the power generated from the quads. Intensity should be medium. Stay calm and take your time as you return for another stroke. 

    30 seconds body only. The focus here should be on the hip hinge. Think of your torso “like a door” and your hips as its hinge. Open and close the door by leaning forward and backward. 

    30 seconds arms only. Brace with the core (shoulders behind the hips) and pull handle to torso. Don’t pause with the handle; let the arms extend quickly. 

    30 seconds full strokes. Put legs, core, and arms together for full-stroke rowing and feel these three components come together as one. Row at a medium pace at a 22-24. 

    Rest for two minutes and the go:

    2 minutes easy at a 22-24. Revisit the technique and find the flow. 

    1 minute medium and a 24-26. Focus on generating power at each part of the stroke. 

    1 minute easy at a 22-24. Recover here to get ready to fire-up the legs and lungs.

    1 minute hard at a 26-28.  This is uncomfortable, but not breathless. Go for leg power while keeping solid technique.

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