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!

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 2/20/16: 5x1k w/ 4min Rest – Post Fastest and Slowest Times/Splits

Rowing WOD:CFRowing Trainer Course Drills

5 x 1k w/ 4:00 rest

  • Execute Race Pace
  • Row like it’s the middle 1,000m of a 2k

While it’s good to constantly vary your training to push your boundaries, there is something to be said about repetition to build your confidence!  Today’s Rowing WOD is an opportunity to build your aerobic capacity and work on a couple of tactical and technique fixes.

Have a game plan for each piece including the split and stroke rating you want to hold.  Ideally each piece will be done consistently or a little bit faster.  If you’re working on efficiency or sequencing, focus on one fix each piece.  Perhaps you find your breath and rhythm on the first.  Or maybe it’s sequencing and body preparation that needs attention on the second.  If you choose the right pace it will build your confidence and you will be ready to tear up your next 2k and Rowing WOD. Below are some goals and times to think about.  Our next 2k will be at CRASH-B’s on February 28th!

Post your fastest and slowest times!

Interval Time = 3:15; Goal 2k Time = 6:30

Interval Time = 3:30; Goal 2k Time = 7:00

Interval Time = 3:45; Goal 2k Time = 7:30

Interval Time = 4:00; Goal 2k Time = 8:00

Interval Time = 4:15; Goal 2k Time = 8:30

Interval Time = 4:30; Goal 2k Time = 9:00

Video Review 2/18/16: How can Kevin help you?

How’s it going Renegades? Today we’re taking a look at Kevin mid race. This is a video review that I put together to help him and you develop your stroke and find new areas to improve upon. I’ll be posting regular video reviews about once a week, usually on Thursdays. If you’d like feedback on your stroke or would like to see me talk about a certain area of the stroke, please let me know in the comments. If you’d like to be featured in the weekly Video Review please send me a 5 stroke video via email to pat@renegaderowing.com.

Also, if you’d like to join in the fun in person, the Renegade Rowing Club practices every Thursday morning at 6am and Wednesday evening at 6pm.  Everyone is welcome, just let me know via email – pat@renegaderowing.com, and I can get you the details on how to get started and join the group. Share your thoughts to comments and get fired up for CRASH-B 2016!

Strength and Conditioning WOD 2/17/15: “Rowing Helen” – 3RFT – 500m Row, 21 KB Swings, 12 Pull Ups – Post Time and Splits

Strength and Conditioning WOD:

The RRC attacking the 2k Row at the end of yesterday's practice.  Renegade Rowing League is coming up, Register Now!“Rowing Helen”

3 Rounds For Time

  • 500m Row
  • 21 KB Swings (24/16 kg)
  • 12 Pull Ups

Today’s focus is Rhythm and Intensity. Get in some good skill work by warming up with a Reverse Pic Drill and Pic Drill in your 10min Erg Warmup. Go hard for the start and finish of this workout, but be smooth and efficient through the bulk of the work. Focus on breathing and consistent pace.  Find the right scale so that each movement is challenging and pushes your intensity while allowing rhythm and flow.  A good goal would be holding a 2k-1 pace for the 500m pieces.

We’ve done this WOD a couple of times this winter.  Today is an opportunity to compete against yourself and everyone else on your team to have better form and go faster for Rowing Helen. Dig deep and push harder for the person next to you!

Take quality strokes and have fun pushing yourself.

Post your time for the Strength and Conditioning WOD to comments as well as your splits for each 500m piece.