Rowing: The more you know.
Rowing is a complex sport – it requires not only a tremendous amount of physical effort but also a constant cognitive involvement. This continuous attention to detail can sometimes take us away from the physical excursion and get our minds in a jumbled mess.
With the abundance of information available in the sport, it can seem like definitions, drills and data are being thrown at you from all different directions. This can sometimes leave us more confused than informed. At Dark Horse, we are aiming to simplify all this information and deliver it to you in ways we can all understand and apply.
Here are some basic terms you should include in your daily rowing routine:
Stroke Per Min (SPM): This term is probably the most common in the rowing world. Not only on the water but also on the indoor rower. Strokes Per Min is the combined amount of strokes taken over that minute time period. For example, if you were rowing 1 stroke every 3 secs then your SPM would be 20 as you are rowing a total of 20 strokes per min.
This term is often confused with “tempo” as they are synonymous. This number can be found on the right-most section of your PM console on a Concept 2 machine.
Pace: In rowing, your pace is expressed as time per 500 meters. This number is the biggest number directly in front of your on your console. It can be changed to display either Watts or Cals depending on the user’s preference.
Drill: A term that should be used every day! Drilling is a perfect way to slow down what you’re doing and hone in on one or two specific aspects of your stroke. As coaches we use drills to help athletes focus on the weakest parts of their stroke, to help develop a more well-rounded, balanced rower. Our Crew program has a Drill Library specifically designed to allow you to focus on your technique.
Build: This term is used by coaches of all disciplines across all sports including swimming, running and cycling. Build essentially asks you to increase your effort over a designated distance.
An example of a build set might be:
4x800m starting at @ 2:00split, build to full speed. This set is asking you to go four 800’s, getting faster as you go through each individual 800. If done correctly, build distances have the same rowing time.
So, say you start out at 75% effort for the first 200m, the next 200m would be at 80% effort, then 85% effort for the next 200m and for the final 200m you’d be at 90+% effort.
Negative: Often confused with “build” because of their similar nature. Negative differs from build in that you are asked to increase your effort over a longer period and across several repetitions.
An example descend set would be:
4×1000m @ 1:30 Descend 1-4. This set asks you to go faster on each 1000m, meaning #2 is faster than the first 1000m, #3 is fast than #2 and the final 1000m is as fast as possible.
ROLF: This term is an abbreviated term for “Rowing Golf” and, like the sport of golf, the lower your ROLF score, the better. The mathematics of it are rather simple, with just a simple addition of your stroke count and your lap time.
Each of the “holes” on the golf course is a short (500 meters or less) workout. Each hole is assigned a par of 3 to 5 depending on the distance (5 for longer workouts, 3 for shorter).
In advance of the tournament, each “player” rows a test 500 meter workout at a solid but comfortable work level. Their time for this workout establishes their personal “par” pace or par time for 500 meters. This par pace is then used to calculate the proportionate time they must do to achieve par for each different length hole, using the following formula:
Par for hole = Par pace in seconds x (hole length in meters/500 meters)
Here’s an example:
Calculate par for each hole and fill it in on the scorecard. The interactive Score Card can help, just fill in your time for your 500-meter test workout and it will calculate!
If the test 500 meter workout is done in 2:05, this gives a personal par of 125 seconds.
For a 400 meter hole, par would be 125 seconds x (400 meters/500 meters) = 100 seconds or 1:40.
For a 320 meter hole, par would be 125 seconds x (320 meters/500 meters) = 80 seconds or 1:20.
Stay tuned for more in-depth blogs on each of these (and more!) rowing terms. The more you know the easier it is to understand this rowing world!!
Yours in fitness, education and using the lingo!