There are many Rowing Principles and truths for many out there. I decided to list 7 top basic ROWING ideas I base my coaching to help rowers to get on their best ROWING SPEED ever. I believe I can make rowers much faster with my training system on a shorter time because I follow to extreme accuracy the 7 ROWING Truths on my ROWING Training Program:
1- Develop the right coordination to be more efficient with your rowing.
When you learn to row only activating the right muscles and to keep the other ones relaxed, when you learn to fully relax on the recovery and have the boat working for you taking you to the catch, is when you row with the less effort the fastest. Rowing is not a beauty contest, you don’t win because you look good but because you are fast. The top crews are the ones that can with the top World fitness be the more efficient and row the more relaxed. If you look at any sport you will see that the winners flow, look just perfect and natural. Rowing is not different. This is the reason why I only make the rowers I coach row on the water or the ROWPERFECT3. I don’t let them develop their fitness doing the wrong movement to assure efficiency and correct muscle activation.
2- Don’t associate intensity with stroke rate.
I can have the rowers I coach reach very high lactate levels at rate 26. I can work at the limit for 30 minutes at rate 22. On the training I develop I associate intensity to Heart rate and lactate levels, Never to stroke rate. The reason of that is because I don’t want the rowers I coach to take ever a “ON” stroke with less work than a “RACE” stroke. What this means? Well if you row on the ROWPERFECT3 and work with Joulesxstroke you will find out that there is a value that is called Joulesx stroke. That value is the work you do every stroke. It is not Watts or Split. This value changes depending on the work you can produce every single stroke. The more intensity on the drive the more work. The time of the effort and the stroke rate if we produce maximum work possible on the drive will be the limiting factors. If I increase the rate I have less recovery time and my values will be worst. If I increase the time at a given stroke rate as the time goes on it will get harder to keep that same number and possibly the longer the time at maximum work the lower the average number. My idea is that if you do a 2km all out and you row at 36 strokes a minute and produce an average of Joulesxstroke of 800 for example, you should do all your strokes “ON” on training on the Rowperfect3 and the water above this number! ALL THE TIME!!!! The only way to do that is by rowing at a lower rate or less time! Remember split and watts are not JOULESX STROKE.
3- Length of stroke is as important as the power.
The power curve is the combination of the stroke length and the power. The stroke length is the base of your curve and the power applied the vertical. The longer and harder you push the better. Both are equal important. If I increase the power at the end of the race but reduce the length of the stroke I keep the same speed. If I increase the rate but decrease the power and the stroke length I might go slower. It is a combination of the 3, stroke rate, length of stroke and power. Increasing the rate if we don’t keep the other 2 at the same level doesn’t give me more speed. It is a HUGE MISTAKE to think that by increasing the rate we directly increase speed all the time, it depends.
4- Go specific.
The rowers I coach train REALLY SPECIFIC. What do I mean saying that? They row, row and row. They do as much as their body can handle doing the proper rowing stroke. I develop the power, coordination, and engine doing the rowing stroke. We only do other activities to don’t get too deep on injuries and mental saturation. The rowers I coach row PERFECT REPETITIONS the 97% of the time they train with my training system.
5- Speed is a reaction of good coordination.
I’m a believer that when you are able to coordinate the perfect rowing movement and be efficient and really relaxed is when you can go to full speed without any problem and have the stroke rate go to 50 strokes a minute. There is need of coordinated power and amazing body awareness and relaxation. By doing speed over and over you don’t achieve full speed. By learning to be the more efficient you can be and the more relax you can. A good example is tail wind. The crews that have not much power but are really coordinated can beat much stronger crews on tail wind because the skill level is more required and the power not as important.
6- It takes many good repetitions to make a real change.
It takes 100.000 PERFECT REPETITIONS to make a real change on your system. For me a real change is a technical change that you can repeat at full intensity on race day when you are on the last 500 meters and are really tired. If you have not achieved that then is just not a REAL CHANGE. I believe many coaches do too many drills to make the crew and themselves feel good by making the crew to do something correct but that goes away when the drill is not there anymore. My idea is that the drill is a way to FEEL what is right but to get there you need to make the 100.000 repeticions doing it right and you cannot do it with the drill all the time. You need to be able to do it each time by just rowing well and it is a process and the drill can help you to remember how it should feel when is right. You eventually need to be able to do it with NO DRILL for 100.000 repeticions. 100.000 repeticions are 60 training rows of 20km with each one PERFECT strokes with the change. Then you have wired the change in your body. If you do one day a drill and your crew does what you want for 200 strokes and you come in and think “I got IT” you are wrong. You got to help them experience how it feels but it will take them 99.800 more repetitions to have them do it on the last 500 meters on race day!
7- Slow down and make it heavier to help you change.
The best way to start a change is to slow down the movement by making the drive heavier by stopping part of the crew, adding a boungee cord or making the rigg heavier and also reducing the stroke rate. By doing that the rower can take control of his body and start making the change and the work to get to the 100.000 repetitions. The reason I use the ROWPERFECT3 is because i get earlier to the 100.000 repetitions, I don’t confuse the body by activating different muscles and on a different way on the water and on the land and I can see with the computer software real time, the direct feedback every stroke of the change I’m trying to wire on my body for 100.000 times.