This article covers setting up an annual program, from how to periodize with the seasons to what lifts to do, why you should be using the weight-room for STRENGTH, and how to adjust training volume so you are your strongest, fittest, and fastest when it matters most.
If I only had 10 lifts to take on a desert island to build a better rower, what would they be? When faced with limited training time and needing to do only those lifts that give us the most bang-for-our-buck, here are the lifts we turn to.
Aerobic fitness becomes less of a limiting factor and more of a baseline standard for rowers as rowing’s competition level increases and talent pool widens. In the world of competitive sports, the game-within-the-game is how to gain a lawful edge over your opponents in training or competing. According to renowned rowing strength coach Ed McNeely, excellent aerobic fitness has lost that edge and is now just a baseline requirement for competitiveness in the sport. McNeely cites several studies that support his claim that, “outside of technique, the one physical factor that is emerging as being the best predictor of rowing performance is peak power.” Here’s how you can use the weight-room to increase your rowing power.
One handy literature review I found during my “Research Methods in Sport Coaching” class last year was a review of 89 original research studies aiming to identify key factors in organization of sport and strength training for rowing, canoeing, and kayaking. I’ve taken their research and added my own experience and advice to develop the five keys to strength training for rowing. Master these five principles and you’ll be well on your way for short and long-term success in rowing.
“Periodization” sounds like a complex idea, but the term simply means having a system or organization to your training. One thing that all periodization systems share is a process of prioritizing one goal over another, whether it’s for the short-term (workout-by-workout), medium-term (week-by-week), or long-term (months at a time). The advantage of periodization, as opposed to a do-everything-at-once-ization, is the ability to focus on one main objective at a time.
A website about lifting weights telling you to…not lift weights? Not so fast! The deload week doesn’t have to just be a week off from the gym, we can actually use this valuable time to accomplish the goal of better recovery while also making progress in other areas and setting the athlete up for success in the following training block.
A collection of my articles to guide your summer training in the general prep block. Note that the seasonal outlines are designed with the spring 2k rower in mind. The methods are the same, but your arrangement of training blocks will be different if you row in a different competitive season (eg. summer competitive masters rowers).
It’s summer time and many of us are thinking of time away from the boathouse, ergometer, and spin bike. Often, this is out of our control, such as in the case of the high school student who has a summer job that conflicts with open gym or boathouse times. Sometimes this is in our control, such as a planned vacation or conscious choice to move rowing to the backburner for a few weeks or months and focus on other activities. The competitive athlete will never want to give up an edge to their competition, so while there is no true replacement for time in the boat or on the erg, here is how to stay in as good shape as possible to make smooth the transition back to specific training.
There are four main goals of the general preparation block of training. One of the most important is to restore muscular balance after a hard competitive season. Check out this article to learn what imbalances commonly occur and how you can train to set them right again.
For the spring 2k rower, fall sees the transition from general prep block to specific prep block. Learn the differences and how to design this block of training to produce the best results for you and your annual rowing performance goals.
Training with weights doesn’t have to be time-and-space-consuming if you have pre-planned workouts and structure within the weight-room. Here’s how you can implement effective circuit training to improve safety, team unity, and session quality.
The off-season is an important time to heal any injuries and restore bilateral symmetry from muscle imbalances caused by competitive sport. Having a structured off-season away from a primary sport helps maintain long-term enthusiasm in that sport. The off-season is a critical time to set yourself up for the next season by correcting bad habits, improving movement patterns, developing muscle size and strength as well as aerobic conditioning and speed in ways you cannot while competing in your primary sport.
Lifting weights is not as easy or simple as turning a group of athletes loose in the gym, or handing them a program and saying “go ahead.” If you’re a sport coach or an athlete, ask yourself: what would happen if we tried that system with sport practice? As a strength coach as well as a sport coach, I see a great disconnect between the two, almost as though many sport coaches believe that simply being around a weight-room will confer benefits of greater strength and power for their athletes. Here are my main reasons that athletes should work with strength coaches for at least part of the competitive year, if not year-round.
Episode 2 of the Strength Coach Roundtable is 55 minutes long and covers our top tips for training in the gym to carry over to performance on the water. Tune in to hear our favorite lifts, how we schedule training during the different competitive seasons, and more.