When I recently saw the Concept 2 Heptathlon challenge, I started thinking more about the pros and cons of training twice a day for rowers. Needless to say, this is my opinion on the subject, and with everything I would always seek advice from a trained professional before embarking on a fitness routine regardless of your training experience.
So is Rowing twice a day too much?
In most cases, rowing twice a day is not too much. Many athletes train twice a day and there is no reason for rowers to be any different. The important factors are the overall volume and intensity combined with fitness at any given time. In many cases, training twice a day can be very beneficial.
Training twice a day can be a very practical way of fitting training around a busy lifestyle or adding extra volume and focus without compromising your other life commitments. In many cases, two sessions can be better than one.
How can rowing training twice a day be of benefit?
The important factors in getting fitter are the amount of training you do and how hard you do it. To a large extent, the greater the volume the greater the gains and training twice each day can be a great way of building the volume and also managing the intensity.
For many, it is easier to fit two shorter sessions into a daily routine than one big one. Getting up a little earlier to get on the indoor rower or getting a lunch time session means that you have that extra session under your belt. At the end of the day when all you may want to do is sit down, chill and eat, it can be easier to motivate yourself for a shorter session, knowing you already have something in the bank, than it would be for a longer session.
Splitting the day in two can also facilitate more focused sessions, combining a light session in the morning to build aerobic efficiency with a more intense, focused session in the evening to work on anaerobic capacity. Thus avoiding the compromise of trying to build some volume and aerobic work around an anaerobic workout and negatively impacting the adaptation. Mentally, being able to focus on a shorter session can result in a better workout that more accurately meets your needs.
If you are used to two sessions on most days, rowing just once on some days can be a great way of taking a mental and physical break but without compromising your training load. By this, I mean where many people find themselves in a constant state of mild fatigue and unable to do the really hard sessions that stress the systems and promote fitness.
Adding other types of training
Having a twice a day routine also makes it easier to add different types of training such as strength and conditioning, stretching or core stability exercises. These types of training sessions can be of great benefit but if you are limited to 4 or 5 sessions per week, it can be difficult to justify replacing time on the erg with other activities.
A big thing to remember is that everyone is different so work out what is good for you and develop it. Don’t think that because something works for one person, something is wrong if it isn’t working for you. Experiment and learn how to optimise your own training or if you work with a coach then ask questions, do your own research and keep improving your programme along with your fitness.
Can training twice a day be too much?
Training twice a day can be too much if you get the balance wrong and don’t allow sufficient recovery. This can happen if you make the sessions too hard or too long or you don’t allow recovery days within your programme.
Fatigue isn’t always a result of too much training, there are many factors involved and if additional stresses come into play, a training programme that worked well a few weeks previously may be way too much. Fatigue is also cumulative so it is important to allow periods of rest and easier training within the plan that will promote recovery and adaptation to the training loads.
Remember that getting fitter and faster is more about consistency than anything so backing off and recovering at the right time can make the difference between a couple of days off and maintaining consistent training and a couple of weeks off followed by a struggle to get back into training and several steps back in fitness.
Yours in fitness, education and training multiple times a day.