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Longer rowerg sessions

Discuss various training methodologies for indoor rowing.
Share workout routines, training plans, and progress updates.
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Casper Blom
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2024 10:55 am

Longer rowerg sessions

Post by Casper Blom »

Over the period I have been asked how I approach rowing longer sessions daily on a rowerg.
So here are my 10 cents on what works for me.

A Concept 2 model D, PM5 rowerg arrived as a post X'mas present at my doorstep. Not that row ergometers or rowing on water were new to me, I just never owned one before, and simply have been an 'opportunity' driven erg rower. Where I stumbled upon one, local gym, work gym, hotel, friends, I would hop on and then sit there for some time.

So what is a longer rowerg session for me? After about 1 hour, I feel a groove settling in for breath, cadence and power and then I'll commit to that for another 30-60 minutes.
I can manage this about every day. A couple of times per week I visit the 3+ hour RowErg arena or spice up things with a VO2max session.

Goals first: Why does one want to row (long)?
For me, I am soliciting for gratitude from within, simply to be able to do this, in order to sustain my outdoors activities in the wild. There I take care of some "birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees" - and that makes me happy. Some physical challenges and upsets are always lurking around the corner, yet when remaining at arms length they keep me more grateful.
So it is the effect of the rowing that keeps me returning to the erg.

Intrinsic motivation helps for long hauls, as they are much easier to sustain than when one compares with others or wants to compete which can perhaps be perceived somewhat extrinsic (you require someone else to drive you) for your motivation. That is just fine, it just requires a different mindset, and it's not my cup of tea.

Know your max Heart Rate (and resting heart rate): this is essential as a starting point, as with many sports. It allows to get some sense for your HR zones. That then allows you to comfortably operate in for a long time (Z2 or Z3). Do some Max HR tests with some regularity, and don't cry too much as you see it measurably get lower as you age.

Stroke efficiency is what I aim for, so I expend as little energy as possible and get as far and quickly as possible. I believe the sweet spot to be similar to a mountain parabole. You can go at a too low HR, SPM and pace and wear out, similar to running below your base-pace. Obviously at the other side of the parabole, should you go to fast (eg. at 2k race pace) well, you will burn out after that.
I do not plan to complete a certain distance in a certain time, although routine brings some defaults to operate at, see below.

How do I try to get stroke efficiency? By playing the game of breathing. Because when I control my breath, I control (somewhat) my HR, and require to adjust pace rhytmically to that.
For me, the game of breath, is the clear and explicit starting point for the mindgame.
What works for me here is to apply in an alternating fashion 'zone-in' and 'zone-out' principles throughout the same longer session.
When zoning in, my mind has to deliberately focus on some part of technique (the catch, the return spring, the chin-up, the shoulder squeeze, pick as you like) and must see that combined with my breath. I do not allow my mind to wonder and will keep that in focus for about 500m or so.
Then I will deliberately zone-out. I will tell myself to defocus and think about things not rowing (eg. family friends, health music, play numbers games, chess to yourself whatever). When zoning out, there is no timer. Instead the amount is driven by the occasional looking at my stats on my PM5/EXR: If poor technique kicks in, I will see my HR go up and speed go down for example. If within about 10 strokes I can resettle, continue the zone-out. If not, zone-in again.
Occasionally I apply a harder zone-out technique, and that's one of meditation. So if you know how to do some meditation, I am of the opinion that it can sometimes be applied on a rowerg!
And zone-in, zone-out is what I keep playing at.

Generally I operate at 1 breath per stroke. I start the intake of air at neutral point in the stroke moving forward, then exhale after the start of the catch, and continue to exhale beyond the back spring point (not certain of correct English terms here). This is for me very important, as if I do not abide to these basic breath per stroke principles, I will see my HR go up by around 5 beats per minute, where nothing else in the stroke changes! That may not seem like much but if you row for 2,3, 4 or more hours, you will invariably notice the difference in your burn (down) rate.

For my length, weight, muscular build (74kg) I usually settle somewhere at 22spm, 165Watt (2:08-12 pace) at HR mid Z2. I only stop because I am fed up, need to go totheloo, or life matters catch up.

This appears to work for my long sessions.
Obviously for a 2k race pace improvement, I will tackle that quite differently! I am sure there are many many far stronger, bigger faster and better abled bodies out there to comment on that.

Happy rowing!

P.s. Adapting your body to the machine, instead of the machine to me, I strongly believe in. Get comfortable with discomfort, work problems (blisters, sore bums, stiff body parts) to fix them for good and then you're less reliant on a beauty case full accessories that you may forget when not at home and you become more resilient.
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2024 9:59 pm

Re: Longer rowerg sessions

Post by Ceebs.CBDB »

That is so fascinating. Thank you for writing this! I aspire to doing longer rows but my core is weak (past injury) and my back does get achy after ca 60 minutes, so 90min is probably most I’ve done with 40 min being the usual rowing duration.
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 29, 2024 10:09 am

Re: Longer rowerg sessions

Post by mike22 »

Longer rowing sessions are an excellent way to enhance cardiovascular endurance and build full-body strength. These extended workouts can help improve stamina, burn more calories, and tone muscles effectively. To make the most of your sessions, focus on maintaining proper form and consistent pacing. Hydrate well and consider incorporating intervals to keep the workout engaging. Remember to listen to your body and gradually increase the duration to avoid overtraining. Embrace the challenge and enjoy the numerous physical and mental benefits of longer rowing workouts. https://austintrim.co/ offers a wide range of high-quality labels and trim solutions for apparel businesses, with low minimum orders and competitive pricing. Their user-friendly platform caters to both boutiques and larger manufacturers, making them a preferred choice in the industry.
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