With so many elements to learn and cues to try and follow, those new to rowing have plenty to think about and prepare for before we start to see those all to familiar screenshots of row sessions completed.
Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help overcome specific rowing training (head to our Youtube Channel if you want to see hundreds of examples of what we’re talking about).
However, during a recent conversation at Dark Horse HQ we realised we’ve never actually answered the questions that every beginner has regarding the worries learning a new machine can offer.
So here it is!! The Dark Horse coaches insight to overcoming beginner’s worries.
CHALLENGE #1: ACCESSING A ERG.
Honestly the biggest challenge for beginners training for rowing is access to said training. The biggest gripe I get from al lot of comments, is not the prescribed workouts per se, but access to gyms with all of their limitations. The result is limited rows for athletes, and fewer overall sessions.
Especially if you are new to rowing or just learning the mechanics, some gyms are just terrible and offer minimal access to ergs. Many, if not most, of these venues are challenged by cleaning and maintenance time, other users, broken equipment and poor instruction from the staff working in these facilities.
The best advice honestly is look around the secondhand market online and see if you can invest in your own indoor erg. Yes we know this is expensive but indoor rowers hold their value surprisingly well, so even if you are done with it after 3 months you can resell and recoup your initial expenditure.
If this really isn’t possible then make the most of the facilities you have access to and don’t be shy don’t overthink things, just smile and get on with things. No one will judge you for working through the movements as you are learning.
CHALLENGE #2: LACK OF (QUALIFIED) FEEDBACK
The second biggest challenge facing a beginner learning rowing is often their lack meaningful feedback from a qualified coach.
Let us be clear with this, having won a few competitions and a social media following DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE QUALIFIED TO GIVE FEEDBACK TO BEGINNERS.
In our opinion, beginners need simple, well thought out information and depth of knowledge from a trusted source.
In the words of Eddie Hall (Worlds Strongest Man 2017), ‘back up your bulls**t. Back in 2017 Dark Horse released our Dark Horse Academy where coaches from all backgrounds could come and learn to teach others how to work the mechanics of rowing. Part of this process was to complete our coaches certification and accreditation as a coach on the Concept 2 Website.
It only takes 60secs to find the name and location of a qualified coach in your zipcode and will save you the beginner the worry and hassle of ensuring the person you are gaining information from is qualified to give it to you. Click here to search the database.
If there are no coaches around where you are, then we have a library of drills and follow along sessions available on our Youtube channel everyone has access to free of charge.
CHALLENGE #3: LEARNING ALL THE LINGO.
One of the rowing worlds biggest challenges that actually applies to most if not all sports, is learning the lingo/abbreviations that float around.
SPM, RPE, splits, HR, Cals the list goes on and on. We have so many things to learn and educate ourselves with — pacing, the catch position, leg engagement, hydration, safety, etc. — that we just get to the point of information overload when someone starts saying 2km plus 20 at 18spm for this session!?!
Learning the terminology can be important, but in all honesty we at Dark Horse want people of all ages and backgrounds to just enjoy what it is they have chosen to invest their time in.
Do the lingo and abbreviations matter?? Maybe. It depends on how deep into the world of rowing you want to get. As you begin the journey, ENJOY IT!! Be thankful you can move and learn new ways of challenging your body. The other things will fall into line when they are needed.
CHALLENGE #4: NOT KEEPING YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME
If you’ve done the prep, the number one thing to remember is to keep your head in the game.
Pay no mind to what others are saying, their experience level, how many races they’ve done, etc. It’s time to find your calm, and know that you belong there and that everything will come into place.
Push don’t Pull!
Yes we know this is a little bit of a clique as we have this written one of our main mantras here at Dark Horse. But as a beginner if the only thing you remember each and every session are those three words, you’ll be amazed at how far you can go in a very short period of time.
Yours in fitness, education and learning not to worry.