Be a Self Coach: Rowing Warm-Up with the Concept2 Power Curve

Using the Concept2 Performance Monitor to gain rowing feedback and coach yourself is a great use of warm up time before jumping into class.  This article will give you the ideal power curve, common faults you might see, and a couple of challenges to try in a 5 minute warmup pre-class or training session.  Here’s a quick video on the power curve to get things started.  Check it out and then read through the rest of the article for tips and challenges to try.

1. The Ideal Power Curve

Ideal Power CurveSet the monitor to display the power curve (or force curve) during your next warmup to really dial in body awareness and technique.  The ideal curve is a smooth inverted parabola with the peak located in the center of the curve.  If you can make this happen then your technique has a nice smooth transition of force being applied to the handle from the legs, hips, and arms.  Everything from your head to your toes is working together in a nice smooth sequence that results in an efficient application of power.

2. Common Faults

Self Coach Power CurveIf you ever see a double peak or a curve that looks like the profile of the Green Mountains in Vermont there is something missing or room for improvement in your technique.  The power curve represents your rowing technique graphically and that is why it can be used to self coach.  If you were to divide the graph into three sections along the horizontal, the curve at each of those sections would represent how you’re legs, body, and arms are being used to produce force.  If the valley of a double peak curve is in the middle, then you know there is something lacking or missing from how your body/hips are being used through the middle of the drive.  Try to focus on making the curve smoother, eliminating chatter/inefficiency, while emphasizing the swing of your body through the middle.  Can you keep the force/pressure on the handle constant through the middle of the stroke?

3. 5 Minute Warm-Up Challenge

Set the monitor to display the power curve (or force curve) during your next warmup and try the following challenges during each consecutive minute.  Can you create an ideal power curve during each stroke no matter what the challenge?  See the video above for what this warm-up  should look like.

  1. 1min – Legs Only Rowing (Consistent Body Angle/Arms Straight)
  2. 1min – Legs and Body Rowing (Arms Straight)
  3. 1min – Full Strokes @20 strokes/minute
  4. 1min – Full Strokes @24 strokes/minute
  5. 1min – Full Strokes @28 strokes/minute

Watch your power curve on the monitor during every stroke of the 5 minute warm-up.  Is it a smooth inverted parabola?  Where’s the peak?  Is there a double peak that you need to eliminate?  Is there chatter you can eliminate?  Be in control of your stroke at all times and maintain good posture.  If you find something that seems jerky or out of control try to change it and make it different.  Experiment a little and have some fun!  Power Power CurveIf you’re looking for an added challenge, as the stroke rating increases to 24 strokes/minute and then 28 strokes/minute, try to move the peak of the curve to the left and get the curve to start higher up the vertical axis with a very steep slope.  This will mean you’re very connected and getting good initiation with the legs.  The challenge then becomes can you keep the curve smooth and chatter free!

If you’re interested in learning more or getting out on the water, email patrick.larcom@communityrowing.org!

Don’t Row Bad! 3 ways to look hotter and last longer in …

Row Better, Be Awesome!Who doesn’t want to look hotter and last longer in all that they do?  If your rowing is bad and you think rowing sucks, you have an opportunity to live a stronger, fitter, and more vital life.  Don’t Row Bad.

Instead of telling you all the awesome reasons to row, this post will try to give you the pitfalls of rowing in hopes that you can avoid them, make rowing suck less, and have more fun with one of the fastest growing sports in the country.

When rowing pops up in the open, in next months programming, or at your next competition, follow these three tips to not Row Bad.

Don't: Have Bad Posture

Don’t: Have Bad Posture

#1 – Everyone Wants to Be Taller …

Posture is the key to vitality and the number one thing you will probably lose when you first start to row.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to sit all day in an office or in a car and then be expected to sit tall and row strong in the gym.  However, if you can focus on one thing that will make you more attractive, more efficient, and more productive it would be holding better posture.  Before picking apart any other part of your rowing stroke, take 5 minutes to focus on posture.

Be Taller: Have Good Posture

Be Taller: Have Good Posture

Try This: Row for 5 minutes and pause every 5 strokes to check your posture.  Can you enter and exit the pause with perfect posture?  Can you hold good posture all the way through the next 5 strokes?  Imagine your significant other or future significant other is about to walk into the room, how tall do you want to be when they see you for the first time?

#2 – Use the Bigger Guns …

Don't: Use the Arms before the Legs

Don’t: Use the Arms before the Legs

Most of us like to show off our guns at the beach, but they tend to get in the way when we row.  Our Bigger Guns, the legs, can create more power and move the boat further per stroke if initiated first.  Our legs have bigger muscles and more muscle fibers to use than our arms.  They are better suited for the heavier part of the stroke, the front end.  When the fan is moving the slowest at the front end of the stroke, focus on pushing with the legs rather than pulling with the arms.  Remember, at the front end of the stroke, when the arms bend, the power ends.  Do more! Use the Bigger Guns first!

At the Front End: Push Legs First

At the Front End: Push Legs First

Try This: Start at the front end and take 3 strokes using the legs only, then take 3 full strokes.  Repeat this sequence for 3 minutes.  Can you push the legs down without changing your body angle or breaking your elbows in the first 3 legs only strokes?  Can you blend the leg drive into the 3 full strokes without being robotic or breaking the elbows early?

#3 – Get Over Yourself and Don’t Fall Off …

Don't: Fall off your sit bones or pull w/ toes on the foot straps

Don’t: Fall off your sit bones or pull w/ toes on the foot straps

No one likes a big-headed know it all with an ego.  No one wants to fall of their seat.  Good things to remember when you finish the stroke.  If you were to let go of the handle at the end of the stroke would you fall backward off the seat?  If so you probably aren’t sitting in a good position.  Stay on top of your sit bones when you finish the stroke, don’t fall off them!  Also, if you don’t get over your seat/hips/sit bones before sliding forward you will end up doing more work than necessary and wasting energy.  Finish the stroke, sit tall, get your shoulders stacked over your hips, then relax and enjoy sliding forward.  Don’t pull yourself forward with your toes/foot straps.  Relax your legs!

Sit Tall, Be On Sit Bones, Keep Bottom of Foot Connected to Footboard

Sit Tall, Be On Sit Bones, Keep Bottom of Foot Connected to Footboard

Try This: Row with your feet on top of the foot straps for 5 minutes. Can you keep your feet connected to the footboards through the finish?  Can you stay on your sit bones and get over your seat before letting it slide forward?  How smooth can you be?  Show everyone you know what you’re doing, but be smooth.  No need for an ego.

If you practice these three tips one at a time over the next week as part of your warm up, you will look hotter and last longer in anything you set your mind to, especially rowing.

For even more pro tips and ways to increase vitality through rowing, sign your gym’s rowing team up for the Charles River Rowing League 2016.

If you don’t have a team let me know and I’ll help you set one up!

 

Congrats to all CRASH-B Competitors! Compete on the water at Community Rowing Inc!

Bob and Coach Pat CRASH-B 2016It’s been a long weekend, but it’s what we live for.  This past weekend I got a chance to interact and brainstorm with some of the best rowing coaches and athletes in the country at the What Works Summit at Community Rowing.  I got to hang out with the 5 alumni classes of the Institute for Rowing Leadership.  Then we all crushed it at CRASH-B 2016.

Erin CRASH-B 2016I was asked many times yesterday if I was racing.  While I would love to get on that Concept2 Erg and test my limits, I had a lot more fun coaching all 5 of the Renegade Rowers who competed yesterday.  Many of them PR’ed and all of them rowed like champs.  I’m proud to say that all of them were rowers yesterday as well as athletes.  They came prepared, went through their warmup, and executed a solid race plan.  All of them left it on the floor and I couldn’t be prouder.

The Renegades CRASH-B 2016So now what?

In the past couple of months I’ve started a new job at Community Rowing Inc.  In my new role I’m able to be the Rowing Ambassador that you know and love for more than just one gym or one community.  My new goal is to spread rowing to as many gyms and communities as possible.

One initiative I’m working on is to help gyms create their own rowing teams that compete and train together every year.  This Spring I will be running the Charles River Rowing League at CRI and I already have 6 gyms creating teams  to compete on the water!  Checkout the flyer below to learn more.  If you’re interested and you have a community or gym that would like to put a team together, please get in touch and I’ll help you make it happen.

Charles River Rowing League 2016

Also, I plan on updating the Renegade Rowing website to focus on consulting and private training.  If you would like to get on the water and become a better rower or get in the gym and get stronger, please get in touch.  If you know any friends in the Boston area who could use Renegade Rowing, please have them sign up for a consultation!

Rowing WOD 2/27/16: Row 2k – Post Time, Average Split, and Stroke Rating

Rowing WOD:

The Gentlemen of the Renegade Rowing League tearing it up!

The Gentlemen of the Renegade Rowing League tearing it up!

2k Row

  • Post Results to Comments.

Today’s Rowing WOD is a 2k Row.  It’s a test of how much pain and glory you can endure over seven to eight minutes.  Grab some friends and get after it.  This is the third time we’ve tested the 2k this winter.  Today you’re rowing in honor of those competing at CRASH-B’s on Sunday.  CRASH-B’s is the World Indoor Rowing Championship held at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.  Many rowers and crossfitters from across the world are flocking to Boston to see what they’ve got and drop the hammer.

If you’re one of the athletes competing at CRASH-B’s you should do some mobility and a few starts in place of today’s 2k.  Rest, hydrate, eat well, and get fired up for Sunday!

Post your 2k results to comments!

Rowing WOD 2/26/16: 2x12min w/ 3min Rest – Focus: Rhythm

Rowing WOD:

Smooth Is Fast!  These Renegades are ready for CRASH-B's!

Smooth Is Fast! These Renegades are ready for CRASH-B’s!

2 x 12min w/ 3min Rest

1st:

  • 2′ @20 S/M, 2′ @24, 2′ @22, 2′ @26, 2′ @24, 2′ @28

2nd:

  • 2′ @28 S/M, 2′ @24, 2′ @26, 2′ @22, 2′ @24, 2′ @20
  • FOCUS: Rhythm and Ratio
  • Post Distances to Comments.

Are you ready for CRASH-B’s or your closest indoor event?  The World Indoor Rowing Championships are this Sunday on February 28th.  Use today as a day to mentally prepare and recover.  Have fun hitting a lift or short conditioning workout, but use the Rowing WOD to smooth everything out, breath, and mentally prepare for Sunday.  Be sure to mobilize well before and after so that there are no kinks holding you back on race day.

Bring on the weekend!