Conditioning – On the rower

This post is basically just for you Darragh….because I know you need all the help you can get.

I am going to talk about ‘conditioning’ in its broader context at some stage but here I want to talk about the ways that I look to use the Concept II rower in particular…I am going to do so very briefly and will look to edit and expand this post if and when I get any questions about it…so this post will just be quick and to the point hopefully.

Firstly, like all aspects of strength and conditioning it is important to understand the continuum that you are looking at…in this case with the rower this continuum has sprint work at one end…something like max effort work over 100-200 metres….an effort of…just for the sake of discussion…of say 15-30 seconds at one end and a more endurance based effort at the other….typically and again for the sake of discussion 2000+ metres or more….now…before people start picking this to pieces…there is a difference between doing a ‘training’ 2000 metre effort and a ‘competition’ or ‘race pace’  2000 metre effort…a race pace 2k that I might do in 6min and 45 seconds puts very different demands on my body than a training 2k that I might do in 8+ minutes…what we are essentially talking about here with this continuum we are looking at is a max effort sustainable for 15-30 seconds at one end and an effort sustainable for an extended period of time at the other….with everything else in between. This everything else includes a multitude of various interval sessions and efforts placing a variety of differing demands on the body.

So with that in mind….if you are looking at improving your rowing you first have to decide what elements of your rowing you are looking to develop….are you looking to improve your sprint capacity or your endurance capacity….are you looking to improve your power or are you looking to improve you aerobic work capacity?

The important thing to understand is that you can’t ignore one while focusing on the other….this is the mistake that people make in all forms of training. People fail to understand that all elements and aspects of training have their own continuum on which they fall.

This is why you read countless articles about powerlifters who suddenly reach another level after doing something outside the element of the strength continuum on which they are focussed….all the focus on is pure strength work…working at the lower end of say the 1-5 rep range for example who then start introducing some prowler work….or start going for a walk….start doing some strongman training….it doesn’t matter what it is….they get an improvement because they start making gains in some other element of the continuum and as a result of this their general performance improves. Do you follow?

It is the same with work on the rower….if you want to improve your sprint capacity then the principle of specificity holds true and the bulk of your training should be focused on this area but it shouldn’t exclude everything else. You want to get better at pure power work….you should do plenty of that…BUT if you really want to get good…you should also do some sprint intervals….do some long intervals…..and do some endurance work….because they all feed into each other. Naturally the inverse is also true….if you want to improve your aerobic capacity…your endurance than that should make up the bulk of the work you do…but you also need to include some long intervals….some sprint intervals and some pure power work.

As with all elements of training…it is about getting the balance right.

Now to Darragh’s question specifically and again in brief…if I was rowing for fat loss….what I would do is this:

Do 1km…get off the rower…have a bit of a stretch and loosen up. I’d get back on the rower and do 10x150m with 30 seconds recovery between efforts…I’d bury myself on these…then I would advise you fall off the rower…if you are still alive a few minutes later I would get back on and row and easy 2-5km depending on how much time you had and how fat you are.

My Own Training

I am going to keep some details of the training I am doing myself here in my new locale.

It breaks down like this:

Sunday: Sunday is Gods day…so resting on Sundays 🙂

Monday: Going to do some Hill Intervals in the middle of what will be some easy steady state cardio. I’ll do some mobility work either side of this session. Then in the PM I’ll hit the gym for some strength work. I’ll detail the sessions as I go.

Tuesday: Going to go for a walk in the morning then I’ll also accrue a little upper body volume and trunk/core work with 10 supersets of 5 pull ups and 15 push ups and 60 seconds of bridging. In the PM I am going to hit the gym for some conditioning blocks before heading to do a MMA class.

Wednesday: Going to do some Hill Intervals in the middle of what will be some easy steady state cardio. I’ll do some mobility work either side of this session. Then in the PM I’ll hit the gym for some strength work. I’ll detail the sessions as I go.

Thursdays: Going to go for a walk in the morning then I’ll also accrue a little upper body volume and trunk/core work with 10 supersets of 5 pull ups and 15 push ups and 60 seconds of bridging. In the PM I am going to hit the gym for some conditioning blocks before heading to do a MMA class.

Friday: Going to hit the gym for a repetition session.

Saturday: Going to do a MMA session in the afternoon.

That will be my training week for the foreseeable future.

So it took a while

This blog actually got sidelined but I’ve decided to revive it….not that anything actually dies on the interweb.

I am going to work my way back through this blog and tidy it up. What I mean by that is to spend a bit of time going back and writing what needs to be rewritten or updated and maybe remaking some of the videos. This blog was pretty much always written on the fly and the videos were the same…people asked questions and I made videos.

For those of you that don’t know…or are in the least bit interested I am back in Australia now…to be specific I am central western New South Wales…and it is bloody beautiful….more about that in later posts.

I am back training hard…in a new gym…I am back personal training…with new clients…and I am back training MMA…and loving it.

So in short I am going to get back to blogging if for no other reason than I used to love it and getting back ranting and raving I am sure will help control my blood pressure.

So you can looking forward to me rewriting history as well and documenting the present and predicting the future.