Fight Melanoma Cancer – Work Out: Meters for Melanoma 2017 is Here!

Help us beat melanoma, one of the deadliest cancers! Join us on May 5 for Meters for Melanoma, supporting the Midwest Melanoma Partnership. Join us!

Fight melanoma cancer and get your row on at the same time!  METERS FOR MELANOMA, our annual fundraiser to support research and education by the Midwest Melanoma Partnership is back for a second year, bigger and better than ever.  We’ve added prizes – ERGS! – for top fundraisers and, thanks to a $20,000 challenge grant, your donations are worth even more this year.

 

row a little – row a lot

REGISTER NOW to either row as an individual, or get your small team (25 or fewer) or large team (26+) together and plan to raise funds and row meters together.  We’ve made the meter distances accessible for pretty much anyone.  You can row as few as 500 meters, or 5000 meters, or beyond.  Not into rowing?  Just want to support the cause?  No problem.  You can even donate to register as a Virtual Rower and your entry will count towards the prizes.

 

WIN A ROWING MACHINE OR SKIERG!

This year we’re sweetening the pot and giving one individual and two teams their choice of a Concept2 rowing machine or SkiErg.  There are minimum fundraising levels to qualify for the erg giveaway – check the registration page for details.  All registrations received before April 1, 2017 will get a swag bag and a cool t-shirt you can wear when you row your Meters for Melanoma.  Swag for any registrations received after April 1 will go out after the event.

Register now

raise money to fund melanoma cancer research

Melanoma cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease.  One person dies from it EVERY HOUR.  Think about that: In the time it takes you to finish your workout at the gym, one person has died from melanoma cancer.  On-water rowers and outdoor athletes in general are at great risk for cutaneous melanoma due to their exposure to the sun.

Prevention is critical.  And much easier than treating this deadly disease, as we at UCanRow2 know all too well.  That makes Meters for Melanoma a labor of love for us.  A very personal one as you’ll see below if you watch the video from our own Terry Smythe, who was diagnosed with rare mucosal melanoma late in 2013.  [Did you know that melanoma actually has three forms – cutaneous, mucosal and ocular?]

Meters for Melanoma 2017 from UCanRow2 on Vimeo.

Sign up now

The Basics

WHEN: May 5th-7th, 2017

WHERE: Anywhere you can find a rowing machine or SkiErg!

WHY: To raise funds for melanoma research and awareness. Our goal is to raise at least $20,000 for these activities, which will then be matched by an anonymous donor.

HOW: Grab your team, or sign up as an individual at this link.

NOTE: While it is Terry’s hope that everyone will be active in some way during this weekend, you DO NOT need to row to participate.  Virtual rowers are welcome, too!

Register now

Questions? Post them in the comments.  Come row with us and help us fight melanoma!

Rowing Technique: Perfecting the Stroke

What rowing technique question do we get most often?  Right up there at least, it’s gotta be: “Can you just show me what a good rowing stroke looks like?”  You asked for it, we’re happy to provide.  Regardless of your effort level, your stroke should always look smooth.  Legs first, then body, then arms on the drive; Arms, body, legs on the recovery.  That’s your rowing mantra, stroke after stroke after stroke.

Watch Master Instructor Terry Smythe, one of the best in the business, as she rows below.  She’s had her butt on an erg or in a boat since the 1970s, so she’s pretty much got this down.  Spend 30 seconds watching the rowers at your local gym and you’re likely to see anything but this.  Just because people are doing it doesn’t make it right!

 

via GIPHY

 

keys to perfecting your rowing technique

Some things to notice in Terry’s rowing stroke:

  • The torso swings from an 11-o’clock angle at the finish to 1 o’clock at the catch – no more, no less
  • Knees stay down on the recovery until the handle has passed them
  • The hands never stop moving, BUT (see below)
  • There is a slight pause of her torso at the finish while her hands start moving away from her body, back towards the flywheel
  • The handle moves pretty much straight back and forth, in just a slight ellipsis (think of your fingertips running across the top of the table on the drive, and your knuckles scraping the bottom of the table on the recovery)
  • The shins come to vertical at the catch – no more, no less
  • There is a 1 X 2 ratio between the drive and recovery (Say “Woof!” on the drive, “Meow!” on the recovery)
  • Toes maintain contact with the foot stretcher throughout the stroke
  • The damper is set at 3 (Not 10!)

HOW TO get better at indoor rowing

If your rowing technique doesn’t look like this don’t worry!  Rowing is a lot like golf, the relentless pursuit of the perfect stroke.  Everybody’s always working to improve some element of it or another.  And we do mean EVERYBODY.  It’s just part of the deal.  Walk into the dining hall at Craftsbury Sculling Center (our favorite place to learn sculling).  You’ll hear everyone from newbie rowers on up to Olympic medalists chatting about the finer points of their strokes and how they’d like to improve them (“I’m not getting my hands away fast enough,” “I’m not pivoting enough at the hips.”)

So, if you’re stroke’s not where you want it, you’re in good company.  Start where you are, and keep working at it.  Get some help from a certified rowing instructor if you have one in your area.  If not, contact us, we can help you over email or Skype.

Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your stroke to Terry’s or anybody else’s.  We don’t start off knowing how to row, nor do we usually learn how to row at a young age the way we learn to ride a bike.  Good rowing technique comes in time though, and the results are well worth the effort!

Got a question about this?  Or just want to rant about the crazy technique you’re seeing at the gym (Handle pulled up over the head anybody?)?  We hear ya!  Rant away below in the comments.

Indoor Rowing Workout 11-9-2016

Indoor rowing interval workout

The indoor rowing workout with a little bit of everything:

it’s wicked

Row/Ski 4 mins
10 goblet squats
15 medball sit-ups
Row/Ski 3 mins
10 DB press
10 DB row
Row/Ski 2 mins
10 pull-ups
10 walking lunges
Row/Ski 1 min – ALL OUT
Done!

Workout 5-4-2016

 

Try this row/ski/mix alternating workout

This workout is designed to be done alternating between the rowing machine and the SkiErg.  If you don’t have access to a SkiErg you can row the whole workout. Or, if you want a bigger challenge, make it an all Ski Erg workout.  If you do that aim for the lower number of rounds.

 

 

Row for a Cause at Meters for Melanoma

Help us beat melanoma, one of the deadliest cancers! Join us every May 5 for Meters for Melanoma, supporting the Midwest Melanoma Partnership. Join us!

 

Melanoma is one of the deadliest cancers there is.  Someone dies every hour from the disease. Sun-baked on-water rowers are especially at risk for the cutaneous form of melanoma.  METERS FOR MELANOMA was created to support the Midwest Melanoma Partnership‘s work to support research to find a cure.

Often melanoma gets mistaken as being solely “skin cancer” that can largely be prevented by minimizing your exposure to the sun’s UV rays.  While melanoma certainly CAN and often does occur on the skin, it turns out that there are two other forms of the disease, mucosal and ocular.  You don’t have to have any sun exposure at all to come face to face with one of the disease’s most aggressive forms: mucosal melanoma.

We’ve learned that in spades at UCanRow2 as our own Terry Smythe has been very publicly riding the cancer rollercoaster since late 2014.  Never, EVER one to take things easily or lying down, Terry is taking cancer on with guns blazing, and using her fight as a platform to educate others about the disease.

Rowing to Find a Cure for Melanoma

Enter METERS FOR MELANOMA, our annual fundraiser to support melanoma research and the tremendous efforts of the Midwest Melanoma Partnership.  Join us each year on May 5 — Terry’s birthday — and row or SkiErg 500 or 5000 meters, you pick.  If you don’t have access to an erg or would prefer to do another fitness activity, feel free!  Do you need a place to row or ski?  Check the links below to find a rower or SkiErg near you.

FIND AN INDOOR ROWER

FIND A SKIERG

SIGN UP for meters for melanoma

Please join us for some fun on May 5 and make a difference for Terry and everyone else fighting melanoma.  You’ll get a cool t-shirt, and our eternal thanks for helping with a really important cause.  Email us your 500 or 5000 meter time and you might win a cool prize!  Register now and we’ll get you set up.

Register now for Meters for Melanoma!

METERS FOR MELANOMA MEDIA COVERAGE

We’ve been so fortunate to count on the support of our local news media in this effort.  Click below to see the story that TV6 Upper Michigan’s Source did on our effort in its first year.

Do you have a melanoma or cancer story to tell? Has rowing made a difference in your recovery? Please tell us about it in the comments below, you deserve a shout-out!!

SkiErg Strategy for a 2K Sprint

PR your next 2000 meter race on the SkiErg with this SkiErg strategy. http://ucanrow2.com

 

A 2000 meter race.  Just the thought strikes fear in the hearts of indoor rowers.  As sprinting on the SkiErg grows in popularity it’s likely to do the same for indoor skiers.  Fear not, intrepid athletes! With a good SkiErg strategy, hopefully paired with a strong training plan, the 2k ski is an entirely doable distance for most people.

As always, before attempting a sprint of this distance you will want to be sure you’re warmed up.  Give yourself 1000-2000 meters to warm up, either on the rowing machine or the SkiErg.  Once you’ve got a sweat starting to roll, switch to the SkiErg if you’re on the rowing machine and do 1-3 practice SkiErg racing starts.  Follow the 1/2, 1/2, 3/4, full stroke formula followed by 10 strokes at race pace, then ski easy for a minute.  Do this no more than three times.

Stretch and hydrate, and don’t forget to visit the restroom if you need to.

For the actual sprint, try this strategy.  Optimally you would practice it and see how it feels before you do your “official” race. But even if you’re doing this without the benefit of rehearsal, this is a solid plan that should get you through in fine fashion.

2k Skierg strategy

Here’s a SkiErg strategy to try: Set the monitor for a 2000 meter piece (Select Workout>Standard List>2000m).  Do a racing start followed by 10-20 hard strokes and then hold your pace.  Take a hard 10 strokes to stay focused every 500 meters. With 250 meters to go, give it all you’ve got!

Ski easy for at least 3 minutes when you’re done to give your heart rate a chance to come down.  Once you’ve caught your breath, get off and stretch.

Record your time in your Concept2 logbook and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

If you need help on technique, Concept2 has what you need in their SkiErg technique video.

Questions on racing starts? Watch the video below, then post any questions in the comments.  Most important of all, HAVE FUN, and let us know how you did!

 

4 SkiErg Sprint Tips and a Race Strategy

Get tips and tricks to help you nail your next SkiErg sprint. http://ucanrow2.com

 

Have you tried the Concept2 SkiErg yet? Short-distance pieces and sprints on the Ski Erg are one of the best ways to get comfortable on the machine.  It’s a great way to get your blood pumping, and a nice change of pace from a lot of the other equipment in the gym.

Given that gravity is in play and it’s total-body (with an emphasis on the torso and arms), the SkiErg definitely gets your heart rate rolling quickly.  Don’t let that scare you!

We sometimes see people break out in a cold sweat when they think they have to do a 5k their first time out on the machine.  That’s not necessary!  You should ease into skiing the same way you work your way into rowing, a few minutes at a time.

Give the flywheel a chance to work its magic, and use that time to get your technique right, too. Concept2 has a great SkiErg technique video that will get you started.

Once you’ve got some skiing experience, short sprints are an excellent way to test yourself on the machine.  Concept2 also offers SkiErg challenges several times throughout the year.  They’re a great chance to set a goal to work toward, and compete against other skiers around the world.

If a sprint piece (like 100, 250, 500 or 1000 meters) is on your workout agenda, we’ve got some tips to help you nail it.  Read on.

4 keys to a spectacular skierg sprint

  1. Warm up properly! As we say in our trainer tips, the shorter the workout, the longer the warmup needs to be.  To ski a 500-meter piece, for example, you should plan on at least a 10 to 15-minute warmup on the rowing machine, jogging, or on another piece of cardio equipment. Don’t be afraid to break a sweat before you start your sprint.
  2. Have a target split: Once you’re warmed up, jump on the SkiErg for 5 minutes or so to get comfortable before you do your actual sprint.  Easy rowing here, but throw in a couple of rounds of 10 hard strokes.  Watch your split on the hard strokes, that will give you a sense for what target you might try to hit during the actual sprint. Write your target split on a piece of paper taped where you can see it during the sprint, or set the pace skier on your monitor.
  3. Use a sprint start: Whenever you’ve got a dead flywheel to deal with, the best thing is to take a few short strokes to get it moving. It saves your back AND gets you to your target split faster.  Perfect.
  4. Have a race plan: Even on a short sprint, it’s helpful to plan how you’re going to cover the distance to your best advantage.  Decide what you’re going to do for each segment of the piece, or have a split you’re determined to either reach or beat.  Whatever it takes for you to stay on target, especially once the going gets rough.  Once you have it in mind, write it out if it helps and tape it to your SkiErg.

suggested 500m skierg sprint race plan

Here’s one way to attack a 500-meter piece.  You can modify it for longer distances, too.  Begin with your sprint start of a few short strokes, gradually building to the full stroke.  Follow that with 10-20 hard strokes, then settle in to your race pace.  Don’t “fly and die,” keep your adrenaline under control and stay steady through the middle of the piece.  Then, with 100-200 meters to go, fire the afterburners and empty the tank!

NOTE: Never stop completely after a hard effort like a sprint! Keep moving slowly for a few minutes and let your heart rate come down.  Grab a big drink of water, stretch out, and log your meters and time in your Concept2 logbook.  Well done!!

watch how we do a Ski erg sprint start

 

Try this strategy and let us know in the comments how you did! Got questions?  We’ll answer those, too. SKI ON!

Last update: Oct. 24, 2016

Rowing Playlists: Row 2K’s Winter 2015-2016 Hits

We all need good rowing playlists! Get your erg on with this indoor rowing playlist that Row2k crowdsourced from on-water rowers.

We can always count on our friends at Row2k to come up with good indoor rowing playlists.  When winter ice arrives, on-water rowers move inside whether they like it or not.  So each year, Row2k is only too happy to oblige with crowdsourced music to make the indoor meters go by a little easier.  Bonus for those of us who like to row indoors all the time.  We’ve tested this year’s Winter Erg Playlist 2015-16 in our own rowing workouts, and we like it!

The whole playlist runs 50 minutes, just about right to get through your 10-12k piece or teach an indoor rowing class. The list starts with Dillon Francis’s Get Low, which is a great warmup tune  – a good bass beat with nice intensity.  Other favorites from the list include Fall Out Boy’s Centuries, Demi Lovato’s Confident and Imagine Dragons’s I Bet My Life.

WHAT’S ON THE LIST, WHAT’S NOT

We all need good rowing playlists! Get your row on with this best-of-2015 indoor rowing playlist. Row on! ucanrow2.com

 

One notable absence: Where is Walk the Moon’s Shut Up and Dance, 2015’s song of the year? Or Tiesto’s Let’s Go (Technically 2014 but still very popular last year), one of our favorites for starting off a HIIT interval workout?  PS: Yes, Row2k’s list leans pop (although certainly not exclusively) so if that’s not your thing we understand.  All good, no judgement.

Actually not everything on this playlist is our cup of tea, either.  We’d skip right past Gas Pedal, for example, and we’re getting tired of Fight Song, sadly.  We’re optimistic we’ll love that one again if we give it a little rest and we stop hearing it in TV commercials for cars.  In general though, we think this is a good addition to the rowing playlists category, and certainly easy to call up and play on Spotify when you want grab-and-go rowing playlists.

The post on Row2k includes great comments on why people submitted their fave songs, and you can play the whole list straight off Spotify here.  One note: Any time you’re working with rowing playlists you didn’t make you should preview them first.  The lyrics that are appropriate for one group may be beyond uncool for another.  You don’t want to find out you’ve made that mistake when you’re strapped in on your erg trying to guide your group through a minute on-minute off workout.

Here’s the song list:

Andy Grammer – Honey I’m Good

Demi Lovato – Confident

Dillon Francis – Get Low

Dorothy – Wicked Ones

Elle King – Ex’s and Ohs

Fall Out Boy – Centuries

Flo Rida – GDFR

Galantis – Peanut Butter Jelly

Imagine Dragons – I Bet My Life

Pegboard Nerds – Emergency

Rachel Platten – Fight Song

Sage the Gemini – Gas Pedal

Shinedown – Cut the Cord

The Struts – Could Have Been Me

Timmy Trumpet – Freaks

listen to it here

What other songs would you like to have seen here? Post them to the comments, if we get enough submissions we’ll do our own best-of indoor rowing playlist and share!

10 Indoor Rowing Workouts to Kill 10K

Last updated Nov. 25, 2016

10 indoor rowing workouts that will make short work of a 10,000-meter piece. 3, 2, 1 go! http://ucanrow2.com

 

When your indoor rowing workouts call for a larger number of meters, or you’re trying to hit a big number in the Concept2 online challenges, how do you keep it interesting?  By breaking the workout up into smaller chunks and changing it up.  Longer indoor rowing workouts don’t have to be boring.  You just need to have a plan that brings variety into the mix.

Below we’ve given you 10 ways to kill 10k in your indoor rowing workouts, plus one bonus workout.  You’ve got options that will take you from an easy row all the way through, to a calorie-torching blast.  It’s up to you, pick the plan that works for you based on how you feel that day.  Do one round or put several of them together for a monster meter rowing workout.

As always, if you’re new to indoor rowing get your doctor’s OK before taking on a rowing workout like these.  Listen to your body and decide if it’s a good day for higher volume.  If you’d rather do something shorter, check our indoor rowing workouts pages for more choices.

10 Ways to Kill 10k (+1)

  1. Set the monitor and go: Find your happy place — that point where you’re sweating but you know you could keep up this pace for a long time, and row. Put on some good tunes and lean in to the Zen of the flywheel. Use this workout to find your steady-state target pace. You should be able to talk but prefer not to, and feel that you could stay at that pace for a long time. To easily set up the workout, from the main menu hit New Workout>Standard List>10000 meters.
  2. SteadyState With Power Bursts: Row 10,000 meters at the pace you found in the workout above. Drop in 10 or 20 hard strokes every 500 or 1000 meters. Aim to drop 10 seconds or more off your split every time you do the power strokes, but always return to your base, steady-state pace.
  3. Rolling 1000s: Warm up through the first 2-3000m, then row 100 meters hard, 100 meters easy for 1000m. Paddle for 1-2 minutes and repeat for 3-5k. This is also a great way to get used to harder effort on the rowing machine.
  4. Power Intervals: Like the rolling 1000s but longer intervals. For example 250 hard meters every 750 or 1000 meters.
  5. Negative Splits: Start out at a fairly easy pace and aim to drop your split per 500 meters every time over the course of the piece. Using the split window on your monitor, aim to drop it progressively over the course of the rowing workout. For example take 5 seconds off your warmup split every 2000 meters. Use the last 500-1000m as your cooldown.Rowing a long piece doesn't have to be boring! Here are 10 ways that you can make the most of a 10,000-meter row, and keep it interesting. Let us know how you like them! www.ucanrow2.com
  6. Stroke Play: Vary your strokes per minute (SPM): 2 minutes at 22-24-26-28 SPM, with the same amount of paddle rest, 2 minutes. Do this until you have completed the 10k. Bonus points if you can do rounds 18 and 20 spm (Hint: sloooow your recovery).
  7. Rolling Intervals: Row repeating cycles of 3 minutes at 22 strokes per minute, 2 mins at 25, 1 min at 28. Paddle in between if you need a break, or challenge yourself and keep on row-ling.
  8. Watch the Watch: Row rounds of 1:00 on with effort/1:00 off, 2:00 on/2:00 off and so on up to 5:00 on/5:00 off, then work your way back down. Increase your intensity as you come down the pyramid. Continue until you have completed the 10k.
  9. Vary the Intensity: Use this one to practice adding more intensity to your workouts. Row intervals of 4:00 on, 2:00 off, keeping your stroke rating the same (we suggest 24-26 spm) but varying your intensity through the 4-minute intervals, from sustainable to highly intense.
  10. Salad Bowl: Mix it up and choose up to 5 of the options above. Do something different every 2000 meters.
    Example:  First 1k: Warm up
    1k-2k: Steady-state, half pressure
    3k-5k: Rolling 100s
    5k-6k: Steady state
    6k-7k: Hard 1000m
    7k-8k: Recover
    8k-9k: :30 on / :30 off. 26 spm on the work, 22 spm on the rest
    9-10k: Cool down
  11. BONUS Row-Ski for those with access to a SkiErg.  Use the undefined rest feature on your monitor to keep both machines going without having to reset.  If you’re a complete badass (and in our book you are if you do this), switch the row and ski numbers so you ski more than you row.

Row                          Ski

1000m                     1000m

1200m                      800m

1400m                      600m

1600m                      400m

1800m                      200m

 

Which one did you try?  Let us know what you thought in the comments, or if you have a question about endurance rowing in general let us know!