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Go with the row

Fitness tips, Relaxation, Mind and Body
BigB
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Re: Go with the row

#632350

Postby BigB » December 7th, 2023, 4:20 pm

51.1 km in 6 days !!

Bravo.

I'm doing 6km 3 times a week and was feeling quite good about that.....

Tedx
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Re: Go with the row

#632361

Postby Tedx » December 7th, 2023, 5:00 pm

BigB wrote:51.1 km in 6 days !!

Bravo.

I'm doing 6km 3 times a week and was feeling quite good about that.....


Cheers B.

6.7km + 6.7km + 8.4km + 8.4km + 10.2km (split am/pm run) + 10.7km (split am/pm run).

Like I said, the weather has been freeeezing, so I'm absolutely doing nothing else by way of exercise. Even the missus, who is a runner and HATES rowing has been deterred by the conditions (particularly underfoot) and has taken to the rower.

It's warming up a bit now though, so she's off out. I HAVE to 100 miles this month and don't want to fall into the traps of last month. So while I'm up for it, I'm doing it. Can't see me doing this come the turn of the year though. I plan some weights, bands, power walking as well as the rowing.

moorfield
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Re: Go with the row

#634393

Postby moorfield » December 16th, 2023, 5:34 pm

I've started using a Concept2 at local sports centre. I'd be interested to know how people are using the drag factor 1-10 ? It seems to me I can set it low 4ish and end up doing silly number of strokes per min, or set it high on 10 and slower steadier stroke rate. I prefer the latter for working on technique etc. actually. A mate of mine regularly posts his stats on Strava and seems to manage a very low stroke rate (20-21) and 2k in about 8 mins.

Anyway, these youtube videos might be of interest.
https://www.youtube.com/c/DarkHorseRowing

Tedx
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Re: Go with the row

#634395

Postby Tedx » December 16th, 2023, 5:42 pm

moorfield wrote:I've started using a Concept2 at local sports centre. I'd be interested to know how people are using the drag factor 1-10 ? It seems to me I can set it low 4ish and end up doing silly number of strokes per min, or set it high on 10 and slower steadier stroke rate. I prefer the latter for working on technique etc. actually. A mate of mine regularly posts his stats on Strava and seems to manage a very low stroke rate (20-21) and 2k in about 8 mins.

Anyway, these youtube videos might be of interest.
https://www.youtube.com/c/DarkHorseRowing


I find it takes a lot more concentration to go at 20-21... .but it is very effective at covering the kilometres. Over a half hour row my rate normally starts around 24-25 and ends around 28-30. Any faster than that and it's a mess.

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Re: Go with the row

#634407

Postby BigB » December 16th, 2023, 6:24 pm

moorfield wrote:I've started using a Concept2 at local sports centre. I'd be interested to know how people are using the drag factor 1-10 ? It seems to me I can set it low 4ish and end up doing silly number of strokes per min, or set it high on 10 and slower steadier stroke rate. I prefer the latter for working on technique etc. actually. A mate of mine regularly posts his stats on Strava and seems to manage a very low stroke rate (20-21) and 2k in about 8 mins.

Anyway, these youtube videos might be of interest.
https://www.youtube.com/c/DarkHorseRowing


I read something a few years ago about proper rowers (as opposed to gym rowers, like me) and C2 use - they tended to focus training in the range of drag 4-6, so they could simulate realistic stroke rates of 35-40. I find it hard enough to maintain 30spm for more than a short while and generally average about 26 on a 6km row.

When I started did use max drag and try and keep the stroke to 21-22, trying to get more performance out of less effort. But to do that, the stroke was too long, going beyond vertical at both ends of the stroke, and consequently losing continuity of the strokes.

Stroke at a higher cadence with tighter/shorter technique appears more efficient, at least for me. Ditto for cycling, I have increased my cadence about 3-4 years ago, and am now slightly quicker/more efficient.

I do still use a highish drag factor, but that's because it's the only vaguely resistance type of exercise I do for upper body so I use it as an artificial way of doing some arm/shoulder/back work.

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Re: Go with the row

#634458

Postby Hallucigenia » December 16th, 2023, 11:11 pm

moorfield wrote:I've started using a Concept2 at local sports centre. I'd be interested to know how people are using the drag factor 1-10 ? It seems to me I can set it low 4ish and end up doing silly number of strokes per min, or set it high on 10 and slower steadier stroke rate. I prefer the latter for working on technique etc. actually. A mate of mine regularly posts his stats on Strava and seems to manage a very low stroke rate (20-21) and 2k in about 8 mins.


With 1-10 you're talking about fan settings, which are just a way to adjust the underlying "feel" of the machine which will vary depending on how gummed up it is. So fan 8 on a new machine may feel the same as fan 4 on an older machine. Drag factor is the number to target if you want to normalise the differences between individual machines, you can find it from the main menu with :
More Options | Display Drag Factor

or it's one of the fields on the (excellent - use it!) Ergdata app from Concept2.

Almost no real rower will ever put the fan on 10, it's just a way to get injured. It's certainly not the way to get the hardest workout - people think of fan settings as "resistance", but on a Concept the resistance is proportional to fan speed, and the drag factor is more like a bike's gearing - somewhere in the middle allows you to work most efficiently, which allowed the most speed and hence the hardest workout.

Male Olympians will typically aim for a drag factor of 120, Olympic women 110 or so, the less fit may want to use 10-20 less than that, some heavyweight Olympic men may go as high as 130-135. Personally I use 120 drag for everything, which on a new machine translates to just under fan 8 but I have gone down as low as fan 2.5 on a really scummy old machine - adjust the fan until the drag factor is what you want.

Back when I was rowing on water seriously, we had to do at least one long piece a week of 40 minutes at 75-80% heartrate and I still do that as the heart of a cardio session - in fact I'll do a full Concept triathlon, 5 minutes on the bike to warm up, 40 min on the rower, then 5 minutes flat out with alternate arms on the skier. We used to do a lot of slow-up-the-slide work to practice control and I'll do most of the 40 minutes at ~18spm; I might let myself do the last 5-10 minutes above 20spm, but if I'm over 20spm for the whole piece then it doesn't count. I can see why normal people might not want to do that on a regular basis but you should give it a go, it's all about being very slow and controlled up the slide, then exploding back down it.

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Re: Go with the row

#634637

Postby moorfield » December 17th, 2023, 10:37 pm

I did 6km/30 mins today at "7", 25 increasing to 30 s/m, but didn't feel particularly "worked out". I'd like to be able to do a slow stroke rate and feel knackered after 30 mins - any tips ? Technique feels like it's getting better though.

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Re: Go with the row

#634914

Postby Hallucigenia » December 19th, 2023, 12:01 am

moorfield wrote:I did 6km/30 mins today at "7", 25 increasing to 30 s/m, but didn't feel particularly "worked out". I'd like to be able to do a slow stroke rate and feel knackered after 30 mins - any tips ? Technique feels like it's getting better though.


As I say, resistance on a Concept comes from how fast you spin the wheel, and it sounds like you're still setting the fan too high to get an effective workout. It sounds like you should be on a drag factor of no more than 100, maybe 90. Yes it's a bit of a faff normalising the drag factor at the start of a piece, but trust me it's worth it.

The key to a good rowing stroke is really "exploding" at the start of the stroke to really get that wheel spinning, then maintaining a drive, but then really drop it down as you go back up the slide. Don't be like the gorillas who zoom backwards and forwards at the same speed, you need a real contrast between punching the drive phase and then calming down for the recovery phase. Once you start going below 20spm it feels agonisingly slow going forward, so slow you can almost feel the wheels turning, but it's just a question of educating your leg muscles in controlling that forward motion. What is essential is that you don't hang around at the front of the stroke, as soon as you reach the front you are in position and exploding backwards. Think of it like doing leapfrog or riding a Space Hopper, you explode upwards as soon as you reach full compression.

In what follows I assume you have the monitor set to show 500m splits as that's the only mode that matters for Concepts, none of this calorie nonsense. If you're doing 6k in 30m, that implies a steady state split of 2m30s/500m - others can read the following with that in mind and adjust accordingly.

Do 10 strokes at 18spm - no hanging about at the front, just really slow up the slide - at steadystate + 20s (ie splits of 2m50s in your case). Really gentle, just to get you used to how slow you have to go up the slide, concentrate on getting in a really strong position at the front of the stroke - no leaning too far forward, no bum shoving as you go up the slide.
Then 10 strokes at 16spm - so even slower and more controlled up the slide so you feel the contrast even more - but steadystate +5s (2m35s, still comfortable)
Then the same again - 10 strokes at 16spm and steadystate +5 - but close your eyes for strokes 4-7, really feel the rhythm.
Then 10 strokes at 14spm and steadystate -10 (2m20s) - not quite flat out but still really punching the start of the stroke whilst still keeping it even more controlled going forward up the slide.

You're allowed one stroke above the stroke rate per set, any more than that in a set where you can see the monitor and you have to go back to the start.

Then if you like, repeat all 4x10 closing your eyes for strokes 4-7 of all sets.

And I'll repeat - this is about feeling the contrast between the punch at the start of the stroke and the calm of the recovery, also really controlling that slow roll of the wheels going back up the slide so that you're not hanging about at the front of the stroke, you're straight into the next stroke.

Rowing on water means you have to be super-clean and quick at either end of the stroke as otherwise you end up with your oar stuck in the water and catching a crab (Very Bad), so we do a lot of technique work on that and it's one reason why we're a lot more efficient than the average gym gorilla. Quite often after a flat-out Skierg I'll wind down with 500m of gentle technique work on the rower, like without footstraps. It's not easy, so don't expect it to be pretty but without feet in the straps you have to be really quick and clean around the turn to get your weight back onto your feet. You need to be equally clean and quick at the start of the stroke, about the nearest you can do for that is just doing half-slide to stop you faffing about before starting the stroke.

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Re: Go with the row

#634922

Postby moorfield » December 19th, 2023, 6:11 am

That's awesome, thank you for that.

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Re: Go with the row

#635095

Postby Hallucigenia » December 19th, 2023, 5:24 pm

I meant to say if it's not obvious - if you're struggling to do 2m20s splits at 14spm, then work out what you can do flat out at 14spm and then knock "a bit" (5-10s?) off that to get it down to something that is hard but you can control, then do the other sets at 15s and 30s slower than that.

moorfield wrote:I'd like to be able to do a slow stroke rate and feel knackered after 30 mins - any tips ?


As I hinted, I do all my long pieces based on heart rate, which ensures you keep working at the appropriate level. So if you're serious about indoor rowing then a chest belt is essential - watches tend not to record HR well when rowing due to the movement of your wrist. They're not expensive, maybe £25 for a no-name one - there's little premium for dual-mode belts that can do Bluetooth and the old fitness wireless standard ANT+ so you might as well get one of those, a lot of gym kit is ANT only. Concept have a good article about heart ranges here :
https://www.concept2.com/indoor-rowers/ ... rate-range

If you're not feeling it after a long piece at 75% of heart range then I'm not sure I can help! But it's a different kind of knackered to doing a 2k, you're puffing a bit but you feel it in your muscles. Having said that I can keep going, I've done a couple of half-marathons (21k) at that pace and though I'm not sure about doing a full marathon, it'd be nice to try a 30k at some point.

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Re: Go with the row

#635098

Postby Tedx » December 19th, 2023, 5:44 pm

The key to a good rowing stroke is really "exploding" at the start of the stroke to really get that wheel spinning, then maintaining a drive, but then really drop it down as you go back up the slide. ]

Or in your head ...

POWER! patience.......patience.....POWER! patience.......patience.....POWER! patience.......patience.....POWER!

It's difficult to maintain and although most of my sessions start this way, most end up being a gorilla thrash (or a timid marmoset thrash in my case)

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Re: Go with the row

#635100

Postby Lootman » December 19th, 2023, 5:52 pm

Tedx wrote:Swimming. See above. it's a PITA to actually get to a pool and find an area where some wee shite isn't going to bomb you.....Plus swimming in pish = yuk. And I can swim if I had to, but a 50m length is a long way to go without ingesting much of the pool's contents.....

Indoor rowing. Ok, so It took me a while to figure it out that this was the way forward. It was actually a mate who had bought a machine a couple of years earlier that inspired me to buy one (and the wife mocking my commitment before I had started to strengthen my resolve). My approach in the early days (6 years ago) was to get home from work, immediately strip down to the drawers, jump straight on the machine and get it done. Then you have the rest of the night to relax with a large glass of smugness.

Ted,

I want to thank you for helping me decide to spring £700 on a home rowing machine. I just installed it in my basement, so too early to say how it will go. But particularly in winter, it helps to have an at-home machine as my main form of exercise is swimming (private pool, so no kids or pee) and I do not always feel like the 20 minute walk there and back in the cold and wet.

I probably will not use all the high-tech stuff that comes along with it, although I guess you never know. But anyway, I appreciate the idea. Cheers.

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Re: Go with the row

#635103

Postby Tedx » December 19th, 2023, 6:06 pm

Thanks Lootman

Once you get your technique/breathing right it's just the best form of home exercise there is. No need to brace yourself for the torrid winter weather, just throw your kit off, turn the radio on and go for a row. Half an hour later you'll be buzzing. Or Half an hour later you might rest for 60 seconds then do a few 500 meter maximum efforts just because you can.

Thats been me for over 6 years now and I also regularly thank the person who got me into it (a mate who has a Concept 2 in his garage...although I think he's found space in his house now :D )

Let us know how you get on with it

Enjoy!
Last edited by Tedx on December 19th, 2023, 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Go with the row

#635104

Postby bluedonkey » December 19th, 2023, 6:07 pm

Interesting thread. Whilst enjoying using a rowing machine, my weak knee always ends up causing me to stop much sooner than I would like. I've given up trying again. A spinning bike is ok though for the knee oddly.

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Re: Go with the row

#635105

Postby Tedx » December 19th, 2023, 6:11 pm

bluedonkey wrote:Interesting thread. Whilst enjoying using a rowing machine, my weak knee always ends up causing me to stop much sooner than I would like. I've given up trying again. A spinning bike is ok though for the knee oddly.


Id say persevere with it. I used to have occasional knee pain (esp going down stairs) and the recommendation was always to build up the muscle around the knee to help reduce the impact. Rowing seems to have helped a lot with it (no pain)

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Re: Go with the row

#635114

Postby Hallucigenia » December 19th, 2023, 7:06 pm

Tedx wrote:It's difficult to maintain and although most of my sessions start this way, most end up being a gorilla thrash (or a timid marmoset thrash in my case)


If you can nail down a heart rate and a stroke rate then you don't have much choice but to keep it up - as I say, my main cardio sessions are 75% heart range and sub 20spm, and I'm keeping to within 2bpm and a range of maybe 16-20spm for the full 40 minutes with only the odd excursion.

Another thing that you may find helpful is targeting some of the extra data fields on the Ergdata app - the first thing that goes when you get tired is you shorten up, so watching the stroke length can provide a good kick up the bum.

But if you're struggling to keep the rate down after say 25 minutes, try setting out to do a piece of 20 minutes successfully, and then treat yourself to some intervals in place of the additional cardio work. That should help focus your mind! <g>

And since it's not been mentioned here yet, that rare thing of a rowing film is coming to cinemas in the UK on 12 January. Boys in the Boat is based on the true story of how the underdogs of the University of Washington first beat the established East Coast universities and then went to the 1936 Olympics. You'll notice that even when they are racing at 35-40spm, it still feels under control :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzpwDrZeyqI

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Re: Go with the row

#635129

Postby BigB » December 19th, 2023, 8:41 pm

Tedx wrote:
bluedonkey wrote:Interesting thread. Whilst enjoying using a rowing machine, my weak knee always ends up causing me to stop much sooner than I would like. I've given up trying again. A spinning bike is ok though for the knee oddly.


Id say persevere with it. I used to have occasional knee pain (esp going down stairs) and the recommendation was always to build up the muscle around the knee to help reduce the impact. Rowing seems to have helped a lot with it (no pain)


I did something serious to my knee as a teenager in the 80s playing football, ligaments allegedly. Before sports doctors and physios were common. First GP advised running to strengthen. Disastrous. 2nd GP advised cycling (no impact, non weight bearing) to strengthen the quads/hammies - back playing sports withing 3 months. Cycling always a fallback now for when the knee doesn't feel strong enough.

Tore my achilles 4 years ago, cycling a big part of the rehab directed by ortho team + physio, inc. a Wattbike in the gym as it has lots of data/measurement to help with load/technique etc.

Wife ruptured ACL/MCL/LCL this year - guess what's a big part of the rehab?

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Re: Go with the row

#635136

Postby bluedonkey » December 19th, 2023, 9:27 pm

Yes it was jogging 40 years ago that screwed the knee, though my stubbornness at the time was probably what made it a permanent problem - running through the pain.

Anyway I'll give the rowing machine a go next time I am in the gym.

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Re: Go with the row

#635828

Postby bluedonkey » December 22nd, 2023, 6:43 pm

bluedonkey wrote:Yes it was jogging 40 years ago that screwed the knee, though my stubbornness at the time was probably what made it a permanent problem - running through the pain.

Anyway I'll give the rowing machine a go next time I am in the gym.

Well, got to the gym today and tried the rowing machine, a Concept 2. Did 5000m. I wasn't wise to the "damper" thing, so I think I had it too low, I only started to feel I'd been working out after 3500m. I'll adjust the damper next time and experiment with that. Knee was ok.

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Re: Go with the row

#637331

Postby Tedx » December 31st, 2023, 1:28 pm

Right, a short 4km thrash this morning rounded off the total for the year.

So we have.....

January = 241km
February = 182.9km
March = 186km
April = 165.4km
May = 132.63km
June = 162.2km
July = 180.69km
August = 161.3km
September = 174.2km
October = 167.5km
November = 162.3km
December = 170.3km

Total = 2086.42km / 1296.44 miles

The original target was 100 miles a month and although I tripped up in May, I made up for it in all the other months. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with myself


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