Training Introduction

About Training (Page 1 of 3)

Training for rowing is predominantly endurance (aerobic) based. This includes rowing for long durations (30 up to 120min) at a steady state (60-70% intensity). Strength, power, skill and flexibility are other key elements to rowing training; these are achieved by including cross training exercises such as weights, stretching, other forms of exercise as well practicing rowing technique.

A structured training program is crucial towards achieving your goals. The program should allow for a progression in training loads, include a variety of workouts (changing intensity and volume) as well as a cycle in training (mixing periods of rest with high intensity and volume workouts). Warming up, cooling down, stretching, heart rate training and monitoring progress are other fundamental aspects of a structured training program.


Training for rowing can be separated into the following topics:


1) Know the Goal

2) Warm Up & Cool Down

3) Stretching

4) The Workout

5) Heart Rate Training

6) Monitoring Progress (Lesson 3)




Know the Goal


The first step in any exercise program is to determine the specific exercise objectives. The user's objectives will determine how hard (intensity), how long (duration), how often (frequency) and what type of exercise they do.

It is important that a few different types of objectives set. The final objective (long term goal) could include improving strength, general fitness, reducing or maintaining weight, sporting competitiveness or stress management. To achieve these final objectives stepping stones need to be formulated, these can be divided into short term goals and immediate goals:

Short Term Goals - monthly
For example: Row a total of 80 kilometers or a total time 4 hours in the month.

Immediate Goals - weekly
For example: Row 4x a week - 2x steady state sessions of 20-30 minutes, plus 1x 15 minutes pyramid session and 1x interval session (or a total distance of 20 - 25 kilometers a week).

Goals need to be:

specific - i.e. set certain goals that you would like to achieve by certain dates.
realistic - i.e. do not set a standard too high so that you lose motivation.
flexible - i.e. be prepared for set backs - injuries and illness.



Muscle Development


To improve either muscle strength or size, the muscle cells are purposely damaged through a process of overloading. The body reacts instinctively to repair the damaged cells so they can cope with any future overload, increasing their size and strength in the process.


This type of training is best achieved by working isolated areas with some form of resistance such as weights. Resistance training can be incorporated into an overall training program and should be designed by a qualified professional.


Resistance training can be an important part of fitness for osteoporosis patients as it helps with bone density and joint strength.











General Fitness


Regular exercise can improve lung function, heart function and general blood circulation, leading to improved well-being and endurance.


Increasing general fitness is best achieved through cardiovascular or aerobic training. This is exercising at moderate levels of intensity (about 65 to 80% of maximum heart rate) over medium to long durations.


The term aerobic training relates to the process by which the body generates energy to perform work. The principal fuels used to produce energy are the body’s stores of fat and carbohydrate. The aerobic process consumes these fuels in the presence of oxygen which is supplied by the flow of blood. This produces by-products of carbon dioxide and water, which are expelled by respiration and perspiration. A greater knowledge of the aerobic/anaerobic process is essential to achieve more specific exercise objectives.


After a period of regular exercise, say 5 to 6 weeks, it is important to vary workouts for further improvement in aerobic fitness. This can include cross training (other sports), strength training and interval training.





Weight Reduction


At lower exercise intensities the body uses a mixture of fat and carbohydrate as its source of fuel. A low intensity is typically a relaxed and light pace at which you can hold a light conversation. It is by no means strenuous and is about that of a brisk walk, or rowing at a gentle pace (60 to 65% of maximum heart rate - as discussed in the section on heart rate training).


If it has been a while since the user has exercised then it is important to advise them about their body possibly taking some time to adjust to the new routine. In some cases the user may increase in weight, this can be due to several factors, one of which is an increase in muscle size and shape. As a result the body will hold more water for use in producing energy.


The most effective method of monitoring the effectiveness of a weight reduction program is by monitoring body fat. Body fat tests can be done using several techniques, the most common being bio-electrical impedance (electronic scales) and skin fold measurements (performed manually).


It is important to monitor diet and calorie intake as part of a weight loss/fat burning program. Advise the user to supplement their exercise regime by seeking the advice of a nutritionist.




Improved Performance


In addition to aerobic training (that is, training at under 80% of maximum heart rate), training anaerobically (between 80 and 100%) can improve performance by increasing both speed and tolerance to the build up of lactic acid (lactate).


When competing in any sport, training needs to be specific, the body adapts specifically to that form of exercise. For example if you are training for running a marathon, long endurance sessions need to make up the bulk of your program. Short high intensity pieces can be included but they can interfere with endurance development if too many pieces are incorporated.


Anaerobic exercise is only sustainable for short periods. To gain benefit from this intensive form of exercise, bursts of work of a high training load should be alternated with low intensity periods of recovery. This type of training is called interval training.




Stress Management


It is now widely recognized that regular exercise is beneficial for both physical and psychological long term health.

On the physical side, exercise increases the heart and breathing rate. This encourages greater oxygen consumption and better circulation, resulting in the clearing out of toxins and waste products. This gives us more energy. Exercise also releases muscular tension allowing a person to relax.


Psychologically, exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression and improve self-esteem. During exercise, hormones such as nor-adrenaline and endorphins are released which result in a natural state of euphoria commonly known as "runner's high".


When starting out with an exercise program the intensity should be easy to moderate. Plan to build up to the desired intensity gradually Commencing exercise too vigorously can trigger stress instead of reducing it. When people push themselves too hard, exercise starts to become a punishment rather than something relaxing.


Remember to enforce that results are not immediate - it may take up to 6 months of regular exercise to see improvements. Success is more likely if exercise is something enjoyed rather than a chore.








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