My strength training for rowing programs include a deload week for rowing every 4-12 weeks. Being natural pain-addicts and work-a-holics, most rowers resist this. Hey, I get it. I love lifting. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep the night before a workout I’m really excited about. My dad bought me a used bench and concrete weight set when I was 12 and I’ve been lifting in some way ever since. I still take a deload every 6-10 weeks. I don’t always feel like I need the rest at the time, but I always feel better starting the next block of the program after the deload. Previously, when I’ve tried the “rest when you’re dead” method, I’ve always found myself burned out, injured, or my performance stagnant after about 12-14 weeks.
This doesn’t make for sexy hashtags, but if it’s a simple matter of taking a half-step back during the deload week in order to take three steps forward during the following training block and train with better energy, less risk of injury, and renewed focus, then those 5-8 weeks of reduced training load are well worth it over a 52-week annual training plan.
In this article, we’ll cover the importance of the deload week for rowing training from both a strength and rowing training approach. I’ll lay out four different options for training to achieve the goal of rest and recovery to build for more effective future training with better performance and less risk of injury.