Row x 1000m
Thrusters x 50
Pullups x 30
The workout starts with rowing so that’s where we’ll start the discussion.
Understand that you can’t win Jackie on the row, BUT, you can lose it on the row if you don’t know how to execute properly.
Unless you’ve paid attention to rowing in the past I’m going to tell you something you may not like hearing. You need to have a 1000m time trial under your belt. Do you want to really crush this workout? Then get a 1000m time trial done so you know what a 100% 1000m rowing piece looks like for you.
Next, learn a solid sprint start. I teach my athletes a 15 stroke sprint start with a 5 stroke shortened sequence at the beginning of 1/2, 1/2, 3/4, Full, Full followed by 10 more full strokes. All of these are “cut layback” strokes which only means you remove the hip swing from the stroke you’re used to taking. This makes the stroke a leg drive followed by a snap of the arms.
The 1/2, and 3/4 means you shorten the amount of compression you get each stroke. So the legs will still extend fully each time, and the handle will still draw all the way to your body, but you’ll only compress your legs 1/2 or 3/4 of the amount you normally would.
Combine the 1/2 or 3/4 stroke with “Cut layback” and you have a very short but explosive and powerful stroke.
Next, you’ll want to row the entire piece at about 90%. This is where knowing your 1000m time trial comes in. If you’ve never done it, how can you know what 90% looks or feels like? So row the piece at 90% effort.
Since you can’t win the workout on the row, why kill yourself right when you’re about the move on to the challenging part of the workout?
With 100m to go, you’re going to start easing off the throttle. You’ll start backing off the pace by letting your effort drop relative to the meters left. 75 meters left? Your effort should be 75%. 50m left? Your effort should be 50%.
You’re doing this because to push completely through the line will waste your legs and your lungs and what’s the 1 thing you need to accomplish 50 unbroken thrusters other than your arms? Legs and lungs.
To ease off the throttle with 100m left will not be enough for anyone to put any meaningful distance between you and them and if they try pushing through the line, guess who will feel better once they get off the machine? YOU.
Use this final 100m to let your legs move without much pressure, take some deep breaths with a focus on complete exhalation, and try to bring your heart rate down.
Here’s where you test your mettle. Because you’ve taken the smart route and recovered your final 100m of the row, you’ll make your move on everyone else in the transition.
As soon as you step off the Concept2 walk directly to your bar with intention. No dilly dallying. Place your toes against the bar and take one deep breath with a big exhale. That’s it. Now pick up the bar.
Your first rep should be a cluster. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to second guess your actions. Remember, you’re moving with intention. A cluster will make you start moving immediately through reps. Spend your first 15 reps with a smooth, almost slower than anticipated rhythm. Give yourself a brief hold at the top to get a solid breath before heading into the next rep.
After the 15th rep, it’s time to start pushing the pace. Start shortening the hold at the top until there is no longer a pause. Do yourself a favor and start counting down sets of 10. Don’t count from 50, or count up from 0. Instead count down the first 15, then start back at 10 and countdown to 1 before going back to 10. 3 sets of that will put you at 45 total reps. Only 5 reps to go and you’re finished.
At no point should the bar stop and rest in your front rack. As soon as the bar descends from the top and touches your shoulders, that will trigger your knees to bend and ride it into the next rep. This is a sure way to keep the pace moving.
It’s worth noting that you can do 50 thrusters unbroken. Sure it’s uncomfortable, but 50 reps unbroken is mental. There needs to be plenty of positive self-talk happening to remind yourself that you’re capable of getting there without stopping.
Here’s a brief respite from the storm. Set the bar down and walk to the pull-up bar while taking big deep breaths with a focus on exhale.
Stand under the pull-up bar and take ONE big inhale and complete exhale and then jump to the bar.
Depending on ability, skill, gymnastics, and experience the pull-ups may vary for you. I’ll lay out a couple scenarios.
If you have consistent butterfly pull-ups, jump to the bar and set a hook grip. You’re going to be there for 30 pull-ups unbroken. Remember to use the opening of your hips to move your body. I find that with all the pressing I’ve done during the thrusters, the pull-ups almost feel refreshing to change to pulling. Hit 30 unbroken and you’re done. Hopefully, PR’d.
If you have kipping pull-ups or semi-consistent butterfly pull-ups. You need to know your breaking point and stay one rep shy of it. Your breaking point is the point at which you drop to doing singles or doubles. STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLACE. It will mean hitting manageable sets and then dropping before failure.
Once you drop, keep a consistent breath count before going back up to the bar. Maybe it’s 3 breaths, maybe it’s 5, but by no means do you just stand there and breath like your life depends on it. Stay in control with your breathing and be rigid with yourself about getting back on the bar. Too many people watch the clock tick by while they gasp for breath and stand there for eternity. You need to commit to getting back on the bar in regular intervals.
This strategy will be similar to the previous strategy. Stay as far away from failure as possible especially early on. If you get to singles or doubles with 5 reps left, so be it. You can do singles to finish the workout. Early on though, know your limits and play to them. Be smart and measured as you approach this set of 30.
You’re going to be breathing heavy. Your legs will be feeling fairly swollen with blood. Continue standing tall until your breathing calms. Stay off the floor until you’ve let your heart rate come down. Once you feel you’re collected I would suggest getting back on the Concept2 to flush your legs for a cool down before putting the machine away.
Spend 5 minutes working on good technique with no pressure and a very low stroke rate. Let the legs move so the next day doesn’t leave you using handrails just to reach the toilet.
Prep this strategy in your mind before using it in reality. Know what you’re going to do and execute accordingly.