Rowing is rewarding and a great form of exercise. Even if you can’t get on the water, just getting on the indoor rower will help you stay fit, feel better and maybe even look better (except for those calloused hands!).
It would, of course, be great if you were rewarded for all that hard work, and if your goal is to set a PR or even use the training to look at competing, then getting faster is the entire goal.
So if you are pulling your hair out because no matter what you seem to do, you just can’t get any faster, then look no further because we have the answer. It might not be all of these, but I guarantee it’s probably at least one.
Starting at… the start.
Let’s look at how the problem presents itself.
You start rowing, and you really enjoy it and see some improvements early on (virtual high five, you are awesome!). Life is good.
But then things start to plateau. No matter how hard you try, you cannot row any faster.
You might be rowing at 2:00 minutes per 500m, 2:30 per 500m or whatever it is; you seem locked into that pace and no matter what, you try. You get your heart rate up, and you increase the effort, but amazingly you don’t get any faster.
This is incredibly common, and you are defiantly not alone, but you can row faster by doing these three things.
Rowing is an incredibly technical sport; if you simply just get on the water or on the indoor rower and row, yes, you might see some improvements initially as you build up your fitness. However, eventually, you will stop improving as your technique or lack of technique starts to limit you.
It’s important to remember your efforts at this point are not wasted, you may be able to go for longer, or your efforts may be at a lower heart rate. However, your inability to apply force to your stroke will mean you are effectively fighting yourself with every stroke.
Fortunately, we have a whole series of videos aimed at exactly this!
Remember, it’s also worth seeking out an expert who can help spot things you may not be able to see yourself and give you tips and tricks for areas to work on.
Many people, if they only have 30 minutes available, will put on a row-along video and just follow what the screen tells them to do.
If you can row at 2:00 minutes per 500m for that 30 minutes, and that’s all you do for every workout, then all you are doing is engraining in that 2:00 minute pace per 500m, making it incredibly hard to vary from that or actually row faster.
You cannot, of course, just row faster for those 30 minutes, or you will, of course, be ruined.
That is why we need to split things up with structured training. Even the best in the world have a plan for what they are doing each and every day regardless of the time demands they also face.
There are a plethora of different workouts out there, but remember those longer slower paced workouts will also help. If you need a great workout for this, then I would strongly suggest this one
Vary your pace, both faster and slower, and you will get out of that pace rut.
This one actually compliments those first two points, even if it means you’re not actually rowing.
By increasing your flexibility and your strength, you will improve your technique and also your ability to vary your pace during different-length workouts.
The beauty of this point is if rowing for performance isn’t your goal, then the additional work you put into these types of workouts is going to improve your overall fitness and help you lose weight or get a bit more muscle.
If you want to know what we recommend, then this video has you covered.
I do love a good sandbag workout, I’m not going to lie.
Fundamentally just remember if your goal is to get a better range of movement to help your rowing technique or decrease the amount of effort with each stroke, then these two additions are truly a game-changer.
I hope today’s tips have helped get you out of that pacing rut, and remember, it’s always good to have options, so don’t feel like you have to do the same thing over and over.
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