It’s common advice in strength training to keep a training log, but I find there’s often minimal instruction as to the how and why of data collection, how to also track your rowing workouts, and then how to actually use the data to inform your training. Tracking your rowing workouts and strength training offers numerous potential benefits. Knowing exactly what weights, sets, reps, meters, minutes, and intensity you did in previous rowing workouts improves session efficiency and can be motivating as you see the small gains add up over weeks, months, seasons, and years of training. I love the feeling of filling up pages and notebooks, and have my last 10 years or so of training that I can look back on. I can also look back on all that data to try to figure out trends and what has worked and not worked in my own training. For self-coached or solo rowers, your training log might be your best, or only, workout partner keeping you accountable for putting one session after the next. For masters rowers, the training log can provide all of this, as well as valuable clues to determine what training you respond best to, and what training might put you over the edge in recovery ability.
I don’t use 1-rep maxes or strength standards for rowing training. There are lots of ways that strength coaches and rowing coaches can evaluate the efficacy of a rowing training program. What does it tell me about a rower’s ability if they squat 225lbs for one rep? Pretty much just that the rower can squat 225lbs for one rep. Without the context of this lift, it means very little. Strength standards have also always seemed to lack context, even when they are designed around other rep max ranges. Strength is a skill, and rowing is a skill, and I’m not sure that one is predictive of the other. However, we still need some way to evaluate the efficacy of our training program, right?
The racing season has ended, the final races rowed, and you’re ready to start down the road of off-season training. The off-season is a crucial time to set yourself up for the rest of the year. In this article, we’ll cover the major goals of off-season rowing strength training, general program guidelines, and example strength training programs for openweight, lightweight, and masters rowers.
This article is Part 1 in my strength training for rowing annual programming series. Read “The Basics of Strength Training for Rowing” for the general overview of the annual strength training plan, and then individual block-by-block articles after this one for Part 2 Specific Prep, Part 3 Pre-Season/Pre-Competitive, and Part 4 In-Season/Race Prep.
Table of Contents:
- Off-Season Rowing Strength Training Goals
- Off-Season Rowing Strength Training Programs
- Training for Openweights
- Training for Lightweights
- Training for Masters Rowers
- Combining Strength and Rowing Training