Head Games: Tips and Tricks to Beat the Long or Hard Indoor Rowing Workout

Let’s face it, we all have days where we have to drag ourselves through a workout.  Training for rowers is no different than training for runners or cyclists or any other sport.  Sometimes you just need to find ways to make the meters tick off faster.

Concept2 has a blog post with rowing tips to help you keep the flywheel spinning.  It’s been going around on Twitter too, so if you’re following us there you’ll see the latest.  Some of our favorites:

– Count strokes to get through the tough periods of the workout (from @thepeteplan on Twitter)

– On a long row, do every third 500 meters faster to break things up (from @jasonhewitt2 on Twitter)

– If the thought of rowing 10k in one shot overwhelms you, break it into smaller pieces and add in off-erg work in between.  Our Workouts page has lots of ways to do that.

– Take your mind off the monitor and focus on your indoor rowing technique – back straight, swinging from 11:00-1:00, chest up coming into the catch, one count on the drive, two on the recovery, etc.  Need a refresher on rowing technique tips?  Try this video from Concept2 UK.

– Up the intensity – Working harder makes the meters tick by faster and can stop you from focusing on them so much

– Have a split range you’re going to keep through the workout and do whatever it takes to hold it (increase or decrease your intensity, stroke rating etc.)

– Use the pace boat on the Performance Monitor to help you hold your split. Set it on the pace you don’t want to go under. Beat that little guy!

– Play a numbers game – work towards “fun” meter numbers like 4444, 5678, 12345, etc.

Ok maybe we’re a little crazy, but it works for us!  How do you get yourself through a tough workout?

Ask the Coach: Correcting Others’ Bad Rowing

UCanRow2’s Terry Smythe, an indoor and on-water rowing coach with nearly 20 years of experience, answers your questions about rowing technique, rower workouts, teaching rowing and training for rowing.

Q: I row at my gym, and the “erging” technique some people have is driving me batty! I don’t want to offend anyone and I’m no expert, but how do I tactfully correct their form so they don’t get hurt and I don’t have to watch it anymore?

A:  This is the downside of the growth in indoor rowing’s popularity.  People see rowing on TV or featured online, and want to try it themselves.  The basics of rowing technique are pretty simple, but yes there is a trick to it.  People who jump on the rowing machine at the gym often don’t know enough about proper rowing technique to get the most from the machine.  As a total-body exercise, rowing is a fabulous way to make that slimmer, fitter you a reality.  You’ll get there faster with the right technique.

If you see bad rowing happening, approach the facility’s staff and ask if they have certified indoor rowing instructors who can intervene. If they do not, as a facility member you should encourage them to get their group fitness instructors and personal trainers certified to teach rowing. Certified instructors are much better equipped to provide workouts that are safe, fun and effective, and it’s the best way for the facility to make sure it gets the most from its investment in rowing equipment.

There’s more information on our rowing certification here, and our latest listing of trainings is always available on our rowing certification calendar.

Got another sticky question you’d like our coach to tackle? We’re game! Post it below in the comments and we’ll get back to you.