Any injury rehabilitation should be performed under the supervision of an appropriate medical professional. The information here is not provided as medical or rehabilitation advice.
Kendall Chase, member of the USRowing National Team, faced a frustrating dilemma: Two years into a four-year Olympic cycle, she was dealing with a serratus (rib) strain and nerve pain, potentially jeopardizing the fate of her rowing career. A member of the senior team since 2017, she needed a way to stay fit so she could stage a comeback. Injury can be frustrating, but that energy can best be focused on recovering.
Chase stayed competitive while recovering. How? She focused her efforts on setting new records on the Concept2 BikeErg. “At first I would just do 2 x 40’ for steady state workouts, but after a while I got kind of bored. I was warming up for practice one morning in the Mercer erg room [National Training Center] and looked up where they have their own Concept2 world record posters, and I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if there are any BikeErg records that I could try to get?’. So I went online and saw that there were plenty of records to be broken!” Chase holds the fastest times in the 2019 ranking season for women, age 19-29, in the 30 minute, 60 minute and 4000m workouts.
Chase came back to the team; her coach mentioned he had never seen someone come back from biking for so long with such a solid amount of rowing fitness. Even her 4k BikeErg time was predictive of rowing fitness. “I believe that times and splits generated from the BikeErg are analogous to what someone could generate on the erg, which makes the BikeErg the perfect tool for cross-training and coming back from injury. I’d say that a 4k equivalent on the BikeErg can be 100% comparable to a 2k on the static erg.”
To maintain and build fitness, Chase would double the distance that teammates were rowing and try to hold her goal rowing split. “I sometimes went rogue and did some ‘blaster’ workouts like 1’ on 1’ off or 20” on 10” off. All of the workouts that I did on the BikeErg were workouts that I had done on the static erg in one shape or another. I was on the bike for basically four months straight, so I had to do what I could to keep it interesting for my sanity.”
The BikeErg continues to be a favored option by rowing athletes who are unable to row; we hope this gives athletes more options for injury recovery. We’re excited Chase is entering 2020 healthy and wish her the best of luck!