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Old 09-08-2012, 12:24 PM   #1
Larry Bruce
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Interval method of rowing

Have been experimenting with this lately and it seems to have
some benefits.

Basically in a 2K row I will alternate spurts of maximum effort with easy, minimal resistance strokes. For example, 3 strokes full bore, 3 strokes easy. Do that for a few mins. Then maybe 3 full bore, 2 easy. Then towards the end of a row 3 hard 1 easy and finally for the last couple of hundred meters all out hard.

My guess it limits the glycotic system involvement, reducing lactic acid accumulation as the hard effort is under 10 seconds. Then the easy strokes allow some ATP regeneration. For example, my average watts over 2k were around 1100 whereas normally it is around 1000.

I don't know if it's often used in real rowing circles but it seemed to improve performance over the longer sprint distance row anyway. Also works on your legs as you're doing more maximum effort pushing, and makes the thing more interesting too.

I think I mentioned a similar approach running before and you guys had heard of it being used in the army for long runs.

Like?

Last edited by Larry Bruce; 09-08-2012 at 12:39 PM..
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:10 PM   #2
John C Corona
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Re: Interval method of rowing

Very much liking this.

I have not applied it to rowing 'yet', but this is exactly how I did 1000 air squats in just under 26 minutes, key point, without stopping. Once you get going, and legs are already burning, you can take it in 5 rep sections. 2 reps fast, 3 reps, with a nice breath/pause at the top. If this gets too easy, move to 3 reps fast, use 2 reps slight pause, 3 fast, then 2 slow again. Get to 4-1, etc... Maybe someone elses window is 7 fast, and 3 slow, who knows? I have no idea behind the science, but your thinking sounds good. That lactic acid does burn when you are cycling thru them air squats, so those very few slow reps are just enough to allow the burn to fade. Too bad it doesnt work for wall balls.

...and running, would you just go till your huffing too much, then catch breath, repeat? Sounds like a cool way to attack my next 5k time trial, rather than have that last 800m feel like death.
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Last edited by John C Corona; 09-08-2012 at 01:12 PM..
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:55 PM   #3
Larry Bruce
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Re: Interval method of rowing

Thanks

Didn't try alactic intervals running. It was harder than average
for about 5 mins and then then easier than average for 1 perhaps. Both
are still in the aerobic zone - like around 80%/50% effort instead of 70%
straight through perhaps.

I didn't try going all out for 10 seconds and then walking it off for the same amount of time. That would be an interesting experiment but I have the feeling I'd get tired faster doing this than rowing. Assuming doing it for 20-30 mins wouldn't kill me.

I mean it's similar to Tabata and other intervals like 30 on/30 off, so it isn't something completely new. Those get a bit more lactic perhaps and don't adjust the high intensity and recovery window like we did. Short intervals like this accumulate an aerobic benefit but are also useful for developing power and stimulating recovery. They might maximize the use of one's energy across all energy systems in fact.
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:25 PM   #4
Frank E Morel
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Re: Interval method of rowing

Hmmmmm.
http://www.concept2cts.com/commercia...CFIT_May07.pdf wfs
Chart didn't copy.

Interval

Rowing activity, 5 minutes
Tabata activity, 4 minutes


Warm-up with technique focus, 50 to 70% intensity

Squats

Steady-state aerobic rowing at 75to 85%
Pull-ups

30 sec. light rowing, 4 min. Tabata, 30 sec. light rowing
Sit-ups


2 x (1 min at 75-85%, 20 sec. max, 40 sec. light, 30 sec. max)

Push-ups
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:25 PM   #5
Tristan Hoyle
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Re: Interval method of rowing

Sounds like a good idea to me. Going to have to do some more experimenting. I'm sure the possibilities for this pattern are endless. Push Ups, sit-ups, almost any exercise where you are doing a lot of reps this would be very useful. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
Larry Bruce
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Re: Interval method of rowing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank E Morel View Post
Thanks.

I don't like what she did with the tabata, though which is supposed to be all out (170% Vo2Max in the orig study). That's where the benefit comes from, and also from most other shorter interval protocols, and what makes them challenging. Lengthing the recovery period makes more sense to me - so you get the benefit of going all out, but can recover from it to go longer, IMO. And this can be done by feel for the most part.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:33 AM   #7
Jason Peacock
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Re: Interval method of rowing

I agree there's something to using an interval strategy - it's common in beginner marathon running, called the "Galloway run-walk-run" method.

But for rowing, where there's momentum to be conserved, I don't believe you're going to be able to achieve maximum performance. For those strokes where you're recovering, the flywheel is slowing down. Then when you pull hard again you have to re-build the speed of the flywheel in order to go fast, which you then lose again during your next recovery.

Maintaining the flywheel at the same speed will require lower overall effort, thus you really want to pick a split that produces your goal time, and hit that split on every single stroke. When you first start it'll feel too easy, and by the time you get to the end of the piece it'll be all you can do to maintain it, but for a fit athlete it's the most efficient approach.

(when you watch elite rowers, this is what they do, there's not much gaming of the machine - it's just very even splits).
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:41 PM   #8
Larry Bruce
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Re: Interval method of rowing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Peacock View Post
I agree there's something to using an interval strategy - it's common in beginner marathon running, called the "Galloway run-walk-run" method.

But for rowing, where there's momentum to be conserved, I don't believe you're going to be able to achieve maximum performance. For those strokes where you're recovering, the flywheel is slowing down. Then when you pull hard again you have to re-build the speed of the flywheel in order to go fast, which you then lose again during your next recovery.

Maintaining the flywheel at the same speed will require lower overall effort, thus you really want to pick a split that produces your goal time, and hit that split on every single stroke. When you first start it'll feel too easy, and by the time you get to the end of the piece it'll be all you can do to maintain it, but for a fit athlete it's the most efficient approach.

(when you watch elite rowers, this is what they do, there's not much gaming of the machine - it's just very even splits).
I thought about your comment and I think this is where it gets interesting.

What is also a key factor is that the flywheel also stores energy (momentum) and reduces the inertial factor when increasing speed.
This is what makes flywheels efficient mechanisms in cars for example,which never took off unfortunately. The exact math is beyond me however efficiency will be increased because of the flywheel, not decreased.

Also "coasting" during easy rowing reduces the human effort allowing recovery while the machine does the work. The is possible when there is relatively low "rolling" or coasting resistance as in a bike but also in a rower. In a car also, the method that gets the most MPG is driving in spurts, a little gas and then a coast. (Running won't work this way as there is virtual no way to benefit from a coast except downhill). Galloway does recommend the walk break during long runs every 5 mins to give our non-elite bodies a recovery break primarily.

As far as elites go, well they are elites and have extremely developed aerobic engines. The amount of rowing they do far exceeds the typical
crossfitter or recreational enthusiast, which allows them to build up their
capacity and higher lactic threshold. We likely do not have the ability to operate in an aerobic zone while pulling at high intensity, so we burn out after 500m going all out, whereas they may not.

I probably agree that at the elite level, better times result going steady state. At best, there is probably little difference. However at the intermediate level, I suspect that it's possible to produce better times
and have a higher net power output using intervals. Typically intervals can increase performance (aerobic and anaerobic markers) quickly but for a relatively short time.
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:43 PM   #9
Jason Peacock
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Re: Interval method of rowing

Quote:
What is also a key factor is that the flywheel also stores energy (momentum) and reduces the inertial factor when increasing speed.
This is what makes flywheels efficient mechanisms in cars for example,which never took off unfortunately. The exact math is beyond me however efficiency will be increased because of the flywheel, not decreased.
This is only true if the flywheel is extremely low-friction and does not slow down, so that you have an efficient transfer of energy for storage. This is not true for a rowing machine - it had big fan blades which create drag, intended to duplicate the experience of a boat in the water, which also has drag.

It will slow down between strokes, and your subsequent strokes have to speed it back up again.

Quote:
Also "coasting" during easy rowing reduces the human effort allowing recovery while the machine does the work.
The machine is not continuing to do any (much) work. The flywheel is slowing down due to drag. (technically you do get a little coast - about 10m from a strong pull, but that's it, and you'd go further if you pulled another stroke instead of coasting).

Quote:
In a car also, the method that gets the most MPG is driving in spurts, a little gas and then a coast.
Also wrong When you drive in spurts, you're causing the engine RPM to spike. Higher RPM == higher fuel consumption. The most efficient driving is keeping the RPM low. Accelerate slowly, maintain steady speed, then ease off and coast to a stop (don't waste energy by braking). If spurts of power were more efficient, then that's what your cruise control would be doing....

Quote:
We likely do not have the ability to operate in an aerobic zone while pulling at high intensity, so we burn out after 500m going all out, whereas they may not.
And that's why we train, to build that capacity to operate at a high intensity for a sustained period Even at sub-elite levels you'll get a better result from training for the intended goal of continuous effort than trying to game the machine and your body.

For an experiment, row 500m (or 1k or 2k) with your interval strategy. When you're finished, lookup your average pace on the monitor. Then row that distance again when you're fresh (the next day/week?) and use a steady pace with your previous average pace as your goal split. I bet you'll find one of two things: either it's easy to exceed that pace and have a better score, or you'll get about halfway through and crash and burn (your split skyrockets). If you crash & burn, then you need to work on your basic aerobic capacity
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:53 PM   #10
Larry Bruce
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Re: Interval method of rowing

The point I think is that there is benefit, whether or not it produces better times itself for everyone. Like all intervals it improves several aerobic and anaerobic markers more rapidly than steady state. I really don't want to improve my aerobic capacity on the rower through LISS. However this approach I find does make the longer distances more tolerable. Not trying to compete - but have fun and improve mainly.

The power required for that heavy pull to speed up the flywheel is sometihng that I want to produce in fact. It's energy above and beyond required if the wheel hadn't slowed - true - but so what. I don't want the grind and burn. Becuase it's not only the aerobic conditioning, but the lactic threshold that causes the gassing on a muscular level.

Sure training other ways can raise it.
To be a world class rower, one should train like a world class rower.
ALthough I suspect that they too use intervals at some point, just like
marathon runners do. Note that I am not against LISS and do run
5-10K 2x week when healthy.

In regards to driving, nothing is more efficent than idle, and that's
what you are doing when coasting. The rolling resistance of a car is
low and I believe I am correct that the longest amount driven
on a tank was driven this way, but I would have to research it.
You might be right.
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