It’s time to give you guys a new workout! We thought it would be fun this time to dive into how the workout is put together so you get some insight into how we approach rowing workout programming. A good row workout balances the effort on the machine with any off-erg moves, taking into consideration the fact that the machine works the whole body.
We’ve said before that we love birthday rowing machine workouts. There’s just something about a special occasion that makes people willing to step it up. It’s a chance to try something a little different, have fun with a theme, and showcase your athletes and clients. When we found out it was Master Instructor Chad Fleschner’s turn to blow out the candles, we couldn’t resist putting together a special sweatfest just for him. Read on, and then we’ll explain how we put it together.
CHAD #2 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. AWESOME)
Warm up well, then do 4 rounds of the following:
Row or ski 43 calories (Hit “Change Units” on your monitor until calories come up as your unit)
10 push press
10 front squats
13 hollow rocks
10 wall balls
The method behind the madness
Here’s how this one came together:
Chad was turning 43, so of course that became the centerpiece of the workout. Sometimes we get that done after the main part of the workout with finishers, like 43 sit-ups, air squats or push-ups. This time though, we wanted to include it in the main event. So four rounds of work for four decades of life, with exercises that total 43 reps, distributed among 4 things (picking up on the four decades again). The extra three reps went into the easiest movement: Hollow rocks for the win!
The exercises were ordered this way: An upper body move (push presses), a lower body move (front squats), a move that works in a break for those muscles you just worked (hollow rocks), a move that ties it all together (wall balls). The idea was to provide enough load that the various muscle groups would get a good workout, without taxing them so much that the athletes wouldn’t be able to perform the moves properly (Safety first, always!).
So a balanced, total-body effort that’s designed to leave people able to function. We’re big proponents of “good sore,” where the next day you know you’ve done something, but you can still get out of bed and wash your own hair. As an instructor it’s better that your students ask you to work them harder, than it is for them to say you worked them too hard or that they got hurt doing your workout.
We digress. Back to the workout…
calorie workouts and why we avoid them
We hope Chad’s feeling really special right about now because we almost NEVER do a rowing workout using calories. We know, some of you are appalled: “Workouts for calories are AWESOME! What better way to track your calorie burn than to do it on the monitor?”
Hate to burst your bubble, but even on a rowing machine it’s still not really accurate. Yes, the rowing machine is an ergometer, and therefore it responds to how hard you’re push/pulling, but it still doesn’t really know how much effort you’re putting into that 2:00 split. On one day 2:00 might be your warmup, on another it could be your hard effort. The monitor doesn’t know the difference, and therefore doesn’t adjust your calorie burn accordingly.
There’s another reason we don’t especially like the calories option for rowing workouts: You can’t program a workout using them as your target (the monitor only allows you to program workouts for time or distance). So, on this one we didn’t get to do it our favorite way, by setting the monitor up for four rounds with undefined rest and letting it rip. It worked ok though to restart the monitor with every round and row up to the desired number of calories.
make this workout your own
Obviously there’s no exercise magic behind the number 43 so if you wanted to make this workout more generic just drop it to 40 calories and 10 reps of each move.
You could also boost the calories if you like, for example to 50 or 60. If you do that, just check in with the off-erg work and see if it needs to be adjusted down to compensate for the increased rowing or skiing effort. In addition, if you decide to try increasing the number of exercises you should look at making them simpler to allow for the added work volume. Add another bodyweight exercise like a push-up, for example, and drop out the compound move of the wall ball.
BOTTOM LINE: Never give your students a workout you haven’t first tested yourself. What looks good on paper may be an ugly mess in class. Try it, then make any adjustments to fit your athletes’ needs.
So there you have it, a new workout, a workout template, and a bonus of the thinking behind it. Boom! Try it and see what you think, then let us know.
Oh yeah, if this workout is Chad #2 there must be a Chad #1, right? Yes, in fact there is, and we use it often in our instructor trainings to teach about damper setting. You can try it yourself if you like find it on our UCR2 basic rowing workouts page.
Got questions? Ask and we’ll answer them in the comments.