Updated May 31, 2018
How do you get back on the rowing machine after a time off? Easing into it will allow you to do some rowing recovery. If you’re a regular reader you know that many of our indoor rower workouts involve getting on and off the Concept2 rowing machine or SkiErg. The idea is to give you a high-intensity workout that will build strength and burn as much fat as possible in the most efficient amount of time.
As The New York Times has noted, intensity is a critical component of an effective workout. Not to mention lots of other benefits research has found from high-intensity training: reduced appetite, better stress management, possibly even a longer life span.
And if it takes less time you’re more likely to be able to do it consistently, right?
True, one would hope. But we all have times during the year where we can stray from an otherwise stellar fitness program. Vacation, the Holidays, a busy time at work, summer at home with the kids, can all move fitness to the back burner temporarily. Hey, it happens to the best of us! Just get back on the rowing machine as soon as you can and you’ll be back up to speed in no time.
Read on for a couple of rowing recovery workouts that will help you get there.
How to Get Back On the Rowing Track
Before you even get back on the erg, take your fitness “temperature.” Have you put on a few pounds or feel like you’ve lost strength? How’s your energy? Are you raring to go or would you rather crawl back into bed? You’ll be able to tell in your first 10-15 minutes of an erg warmup if you’re going to be able to hit your rowing workout hard post-break (or any day, for that matter).
Group rowing instructors, this is an important step for you to take every time your students come to class. Ask them how they’re feeling, and be ready to dial it back if need be. Maybe your energy and enthusiasm will be all they need to get through, but you need to also watch for signs that the intense workout you’d planned is too much today. If your students’ mood and energy level isn’t picking up as you go through your warmup, for example, that’s a dead giveaway that today’s not the day for high-intensity intervals.
If you feel like the tortoise, start with a low-and-slow steady-state row. Keep it to 20-30 minutes and go at a conversational pace where you’re sweating but can keep up a conversation. 22-24 strokes per minute, no higher.
Side bonus: Slow rowing is a great time to practice technique. Do rowing drills like the pick drill as part of your practice, or try rowing with your feet out of the straps.
If you find you’re feeling good and want to go a little harder at the end go ahead, but consider this permission to be done. It’s OK if you’re not always in overdrive! Pat yourself on the back for having moved and get yourself revved up for the next workout.
Drills for a More Fluid, Powerful Rowing Stroke from UCanRow2
If you feel more like the hare, try the Holiday Recovery Row below. Longer, with more opportunities for effort, but still in the general mode of going lower and longer than you would in a high-intensity workout.
NOTE: This workout assumes that you were able to row longer distances before your break. If the longest row you’ve ever done is 5000m, coming back from a break isn’t the time to try your first 10k, no matter how slow you go.
ROWING RECOVERY ROW
Row for 20-30 minutes at a stroke rating no higher than 24 strokes per minute. Your goal is to stay at a conversational pace, where you’re sweating but can keep up a conversation the whole time. Throw in some rowing drills if you like. The pick drill, pause drill, and rowing with your feet out of the straps are all good choices for working your technique, but leave the sprint intervals and Power 10s for another day.
HOLIDAY RECOVERY ROW
Row, SkiErg or a combination for a total of 8000-10000m (24 spm on the row and a comfortable but challenging pace on the SkiErg). Add 10 hard strokes at 26 spm every four minutes.
10 pushups (or more)
1 min. plank core hold
Stretch and DONE!
If you need help with any of this, find a certified indoor rowing instructor near you, or get in touch with us. Don’t see an instructor near you? Maybe it’s time for you to get certified, or take our certification course to ramp up your own rowing.
Did you try one of these workouts? How did you do? Share your results – or questions about the workouts – in the comments.