“…But I’m good at that.”
No matter If you’re a coach or an athlete, you’ve heard this sentence many times. Usually, it happens right after you ask your athlete to practice something you want them to improve upon so they become more than good, but better or best.
Rowing in CrossFit isn’t different. People either love it because they think they are good at it or hate it because they think they’re not. But let’s dig into what the steps are to become a better overall athlete with the help of rowing…
If you’re reading this article you have already taken the first step to being effective in rowing. You are collecting the right information at the right place. You may have tried a few things credible coaches told you and saw some benefits. Now you need to go and apply the tools you’ve learned to your workouts. In case you decide not to use that valuable information about rowing, you can easily revert to consciously practicing bad movement.
The most common mistake we can face in rowing is settling for a sufficient result. Even with incorrect technique, inconsistent stroke rate, and pace, or wasted energy, you can achieve good results. But in reality, it is just good enough. You can spend a lot of unnecessary energy due to the lack of knowledge and not get anything in return on your time spent on the erg. To become good, first of all, you need to know how to improve the skill of rowing than apply it to get to the next level.
“Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.”
-Larry Gelwix (rugby coach)
The next step is to improve your technique and mobility. Like everything else you start with the basics. Improving the foundation of a sport can help you along this journey and make you proficient. It may get frustrating that changes are happening slowly, but it is challenging to improve any endurance sport. It’s possible that you will see some drop in your speed, but it’s all worth it for the sake of becoming an investor in rowing. And investors do two things right. They always look at long term benefits and they track their progress. You should treat your test records and splits like you treat your benchmarks in your training or your lifting PR’s.
To make the most improvement you should choose a program tailored for you. Only a couple sessions a week with a built-in warm-up and set goals through the workouts can be really beneficial. During your training you should focus on technique first, consistency second and intensity last. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to go all out, but it will receive a new meaning.
As you feel more and more comfortable with rowing it’s time to increase power, intensity and become efficient. Play around with the settings of the machine to learn how to engage more muscles or find power where you didn’t know you could. It is a constant building process and it never stops. You should never neglect warm-up or mobility drills either.
“We’re both pretty dogged, we continually strive to get better on a daily basis. That’s our biggest attribute. We have a belief we can be the best, we know we can’t be the outright best in certain parameters, but as a combination of all the small things, power to weight, technique, we can be one of the best. We’ve really strived to step on every regatta, every season. It’s rhetoric, people say this, but I think we really try and do that rather than just say it.”
-Hamish Bond, NZ rower
Once rowing becomes an investment rather than a waste of energy, it becomes a simple task with produces energy for everything else. The carry over to other segments of sport or life in general, is significant. If you realize increased work capacity and overall wellness, it is priceless.