“What are you training for?” ask our Concept2 colleagues. While we don’t have an exact answer yet, Maddie and I have been excited to be linking up on the Dynamic Indoor Rower for the last few months. Each time our “Dynamic Duo” reports to the workout room for practice, it seems to arouse suspicion that we have motives beyond just a casual row.
Maddie Smerin joined the Concept2 team this past year to schedule production in the oar shop. She has a competitive background, having rowed for both the Florida Institute of Technology and the University of Virginia.
We had been regularly attending CrossFit workouts all winter, but were hoping to row indoors a bit more. While we could work out together on indoor rowers towards this end, these workouts were still pretty individual at different paces and splits (I can be honest here and say Maddie is much stronger than I am!). The Dynamic beckoned us, and what started out as just a fun way to row together turned into a helpful way for us to train as pair partners. The Dynamic demands more of you because it requires technical focus. For Maddie and me, long workouts started to fly by as we concentrated on our stroke. Similar to a boat, we found that rowing on linked Dynamics was more synchronized when the rower in bow watched the back and motion of the stroke seat rather than the Performance Monitor. This alone provided a mental boost to indoor training: suddenly indoor workouts were less about hammering away alone on the erg and more about sustaining rhythm and feel together.
Video of us rowing on the Dynamic helped us see some critical challenges in our stroke. While we are of similar height, we have differences in torso and leg lengths. Our drive and recovery speeds do not always match, and we were coached with different technique philosophies. Video analysis is easy and worthwhile on the Dynamic. We could compare technique and also look at Performance Monitor outputs to quantify changes. We have yet to use free apps (such as Coach’s Eye), but the Dynamic gives us wonderful convenient opportunities to do so. We also hope to experiment with wireless racing, which would allow us to share some information between performance monitors.
We have been less interested in quantifying our workouts and have, instead, focused on enjoying rowing together. Compared to Slides, the Dynamic allows for a tremendous amount of boat feel. There was no doubt that during our workouts there were bad strokes. We knew, because we felt it. Through communication, drill work, or just quiet focus, we were able to recover and feel big improvements. Just like practicing on the water, we often muttered at the end of a piece something like “we finally pulled it together for that last minute and it felt strong.” There was definitely shared satisfaction from improving as a pair, and we enjoyed the same camaraderie as rowing together in a boat.
So should you plan on seeing a Concept2 racing double (or pair) this season? That has yet to be determined. But as spring finally arrives here in Vermont and rowers return to the water, we are excited to try rowing together in a boat and to gauge the benefits of our months of Dynamic training.