We have heard from our customers that rowing has improved their performance in a wide range of other sports, including running, biking, canoeing, tennis, lifeboat racing, and others.
What is it about Rowing that makes it such a good cross-training tool for such a variety of sports?
Rowing exercises many muscle groups – providing an alternate way to exercise and strengthen the muscles used in other sports, as well as strengthening the muscles which complement those used in other sports. This is important because it maintains balance – so the specific sport muscles don’t become relatively too much stronger than the opposing muscles, which can sometimes lead to injury.
Rowing exercises both upper and lower body – for sports like running and cycling that stress just the lower body, rowing offers upper body conditioning as well.
Rowing is non-impact exercise – thus imposing less impact-related wear and tear on the body. This is especially important for high impact sports like running, but is a nice feature no matter what your primary sport.
Rowing puts many of your major muscles through a wide range of motion, quite possibly wider than your primary sport. This can improve your flexibility.
Rowing can be done indoors anytime – which is especially nice for sports that may be affected by weather conditions, i.e. skiers in the summer, paddlers & cyclists in the winter.
Rowing is a superb conditioning tool for any level athlete – the cardiovascular workout offered on the Indoor Rower has been a training tool of Olympic rowers since the Rower was invented in 1981, so it should be enough for anyone. At the same time, because the work is self-paced, athletes of all abilities can also find just the work level that they need.
Rowing on the Concept 2 Indoor Rower provides a means for accurately monitoring your level of conditioning, as well as constant feedback during your rowing workouts.
Workout Frequency: 2-4 times per week in your “off-season,” 1-2 times per week in active season.
Duration: 30-60 minutes; shorter for intense, speed workouts; longer for steady state, aerobic workouts.
Work Type and Intensity: Include steady state, anaerobic threshold work, as well as more intense intervals and racing pieces.
40 minute row (or 10,000 meters)
1 minute hard, 1 minute easy for 40 minutes
1-2-3-4-3-2-1 minute pyramid, 30 seconds off between pieces
3 minutes @ 18SPM, 2 minutes @ 24SPM 1 minute @ 28SPM; for 30-60 minutes
General Guidelines for Cross-training
The number and nature of cross-training workouts you add to your training program will depend on a number of factors. These include:
Your training history: If you are just getting back into running after being out of shape for a while, you may find that your legs and feet aren’t ready to run every day. At the same time, you know that your aerobic capacity needs all the help it can get. Cross-training is the perfect solution.
Your tendency toward injury: If you are injured, or have recently been injured, cross-training can be extremely helpful to you. The right activity will allow you to maintain your cardiovascular capacity while easing or removing the load on the injured parts.
Your need for variety: This depends on your personal preference. If your primary sport ever starts feeling old, a little cross-training can bring back the fire.
Your relative strengths/weaknesses: If your weakness is cardiovascular conditioning, cross-training can be a great way to strengthen your system without overdoing it on the specific muscles used in your sport.
The time in your training year relative to racing season. Some athletes find cross-training most valuable when they are furthest from their competitive season; others use it right up to competition.