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First Degree Fitness Europe B.V.
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Training

E520 Training

Choosing Your Training Session

The type and the number of sessions you perform in a week should be determined by your ultimate goal. It is important to be realistic about the targets you set yourself.

There are three main goals that the rowing machine is appropriate for:

  • losing weight
  • getting fit
  • rowing faster, or training for competition
Losing Weight

The rowing machine can be a good tool to help you lose weight. Rowing is a low impact activity (reducing the chance of joint injury) and uses 70% of the body’s muscles dynamically, meaning it burns a lot of calories. A competent athlete can burn between 600 and 1000 kcal an hour and a fit athlete can use in excess of 1200 kcal/hour. To put this into perspective, the recommended daily intake for a healthy individual is approximately 2000 kcal for a woman and 2500 kcal for a man.

Getting Fit

The rowing machine is an excellent tool to improve fitness and can be used as part of training regime. Indoor rowing should complement any other training being performed, eg, weights, running or a fitness class.

Rowing Faster or Training for Competition

This is for the more experienced indoor rower or water-based rower who has a specific aim in mind, i.e. to improve a 2km time on the machine. It can take approximately 6-8 weeks of high intensity training to maximise your speed.

 

Training suggestions to meet your specific needs can be found below in “The Training Session”. All information in this section is for guidance and information purposes. A doctor and qualified coach should be consulted before beginning any training plan.

 

The Training Session

Once you have decided what the aims of your training are (see Training Advice) there are a number of different training sessions that can be used. This section aims to give you an idea of what sessions are available and which to use to meet your aims.

E520 Jody

Warm Up

Why Warm Up?

It is important to warm up your muscles before any form of exercise as it reduces the risk of injury. A warm up will allow your muscles to move more freely so that when you come to the training session your body is prepared.

A dynamic warm up is a good way to prepare for both indoor and on the water rowing.

 

What is a Dynamic Warm Up?

A dynamic warm up is a sequence of actions that systematically loosen your body to its full range of motion.

For a session on the rowing machine your dynamic warm up should enable you to perform the full motion of the rowing stroke. It should leave you feeling ready for ‘action’ for your training session and able to carry out the activity at the desired intensity.

An example of a dynamic warm up on a rowing machine would be:

  • full slide at a low intensity for 2-4 minutes
  • break down the elements of the stroke for 30 seconds each moving from ¾ slide all the way down to arms only
  • work back up to full slide, increasing the exertion

There are other dynamic exercises which can be used to warm up, such as:

  • jogging
  • walking lunges
  • bodyweight squats
  • heel flicks
  • high knees

By the end of the warm up your heart should be beating faster and you should feel warmer than when you began.

 

Training to Lose Weight

The best way to maximise your energy output is to row at a relatively low intensity for as long as you have time.

Example: if you have only one hour to train you should row at an intensity that allows you to complete the whole session. You should maximise the distance covered whilst maintaining good technique.

If you find this too monotonous, intersperse your training with Interval or Speed-Play training.

Interval Training

These are a series of short to medium pieces with rest intervals in between. The rest allows you to partially recover between each interval, the consequence being that you can exercise either for longer or more intensely. The duration and intensity for each interval depends on the session goals.

Duration/Distance Repetitions Rest Training effect
12-15 mins 2-3 2-4 mins Weight loss/fitness
6-8 mins 3-5 3-5 mins Fitness/Weight loss
500 metres 4-10 1 min Fitness

The training effect derived from the session depends on how intensely you row. However with this type of training it is important that all the repetitions are completed in either the same time or with the same distance.

Fartlek (Speed-Play) Training

Fartlek, is Swedish for “Speed-Play” and describes periods of light to moderate exercise interspersed with high output bursts. This type of training is very good for maintaining motivation during long sessions, as well as being an excellent method of improving general fitness.

The following are examples of Fartlek training:

5km row200 metres high intensity burst followed by 200m low intensity and 600m moderate intensity rowing. This should be repeated five times.

20 minute row One minute hard rowing, one minute light rowing and three minutes moderate intensity rowing. This should be repeated four times.

This type of training is very flexible, but the duration of the bursts should be kept short so that the moderate intensity element can be sustained at a reasonable level.

Training for Cardio Fitness

The rowing machine is an excellent tool for developing fitness and can form part of any training regime. The rowing sessions built into a programme must complement any other training being performed (i.e. weights, running or fitness classes). If you can train two to three times a week, you might want to mix the session to achieve a balanced programme.

The following are examples of sessions to increase fitness:

Aerobic training session (base level fitness) 20-40 minutes of moderate intensity rowing at a steady stroke rate (18-22 strokes per minute)

Pyramids This is a continuous session that increases the strokes per minute (spm) and intensity (gradually) before returning to a steady stroke rate and a lower intensity, for example:

4 minute @ 18 spm, 3 minute @ 20 spm, 2 minute @ 22 spm, 1 minute @ 24 spm, 2 minute @ 22 spm, 3 minute @ 20 spm, 4 minute @ 18 spm = Total 19 minutes

Fartlek Training see above description.

Training for Performance

Those who are more experienced at using the rowing machine and have a specific aim in mind, i.e. to improve their 2km time, need to be aware of periodisation.  You require approximately 6-8 weeks of higher intensity training to maximise your speed (remember to take into account other training sessions you may be performing).  During the build-up to your time trial, race or competition you will need to incorporate more lactate tolerance sessions (speed), varying the duration and rest period.  As a consequence there will be less of the other sessions, particularly the lactate threshold, as you will need more time to recover.

Lactate threshold session (develop aerobic capacity – general fitness)

Usually this is performed using interval training although it can be incorporated into Fartlek and continuous sessions.  Lactate threshold training is reasonably intense and you will be fatigued at the end.  You will need to be technically proficient as the stroke frequency can be between 24-32 spm.

An example of this:

Duration Repetitions  Rest  Stroke Rate (spm)
30 min 1 Continuous 24
6-8 min 3-5 3-5 min 24-28
4 min 4 4 min 28-32
Lactate tolerance and removal

These are short but very high intensity sessions.  They produce high levels of fatigue and as such require solid technique.  They do not use many calories for the effort they require, but are excellent at developing the ability to produce energy quickly (anaerobically) and resist the effects of lactic acid.  It is almost exclusively performed using interval or Fartlek training at high stroke frequencies.

Duration/Distance Repetitions  Rest  Stroke Rate (spm)
1 min 6-8 1 min 30-36
500m 6 1 min 30-36

 

Cool Down

Why Cool Down?

After exercise, it is important to see the cool down as part of the main session. It is a vital part of the training routine, and does not need to take a long time to perform. The benefits of carrying out a cool down are that it:

  • allows the body time to get the blood flow back to ‘normal’, reducing the risk of fainting and blood pooling
  • helps to clear lactic acid (produced during high intensity exercise)
  • is a good opportunity to increase flexibility
  • gives you time to assess the training session performed

How?

  • Stretches to develop flexibility should be done as part of a cool down.All sports need the muscles to be supple and most require them to perform movement patterns which are not always natural or comfortable.  Rowing is one of these, requiring a good level of hamstring flexibility amongst other muscles.  For this reason exercises to help develop a muscle’s flexibility should be incorporated into a cool down session or a stand alone flexibility session and performed regularly to keep them in this way.In order to develop and maintain muscle flexibility there are different types of stretches which can be done, these are detailed below: 
  • A stretching session should last for around 5 minutes.

Static Stretching – performed to increase flexibility and mobility.  A static stretch should be a slow and constant movement with the end position held at the point of mild discomfort – not pain, for approximately 30 seconds.

Dynamic Stretching – most commonly used as part of a warm up but can be used as a cool down as well. These are controlled movements taking you up to (not beyond) the range of motion required for your session.

How?

A cool down should incorporate the main muscle groups used in the session. It should take them through a similar range of motions used in the main session but at a gradually decreasingly intensity, allowing the body to resume its regular heart beat and breathing patterns in its own time.

Stretches to develop flexibility should be done as part of a cool down.

Flexibility

All sports need the muscles to be supple and most require them to perform movement patterns which are not always natural or comfortable.  Rowing is one of these, requiring a good level of hamstring flexibility amongst other muscles.  For this reason exercises to help develop a muscle’s flexibility should be incorporated into a cool down session or a stand-alone flexibility session and performed regularly to keep them in this way.

How?

In order to develop and maintain muscle flexibility there are different types of stretches which can be done, these are detailed below:

Dynamic Stretching – most commonly used as part of a warm up but can be used as a cool down as well. These are controlled movements taking you up to (not beyond) the range of motion required for your session.

 

Static Stretching – performed to increase flexibility and mobility.  A static stretch should be a slow and constant movement with the end position held at the point of mild discomfort – not pain, for approximately 30 seconds.

 

A stretching session should last for around 5 minutes.