A perfect day for a row!

Nov 10, 2010

As a nor’easter pelts snow, sleet and rain upon our windows here in Vermont, the indoor rower looks more and more appealing as an alternative workout today from the usual swim, bike or run. As a triathlete, I do my best to workout outdoors under all conditions. I have an impressive collection of fleece-lined spandex, warm woolly hats and windproof jackets to help make this happen. But some days (like today) the most effective workout is going to be indoors.

Concept2 CTS met with Boston-area triathletes after the Head of the Charles Regatta to teach them how to row. The goal was to get these athletes rowing well at high intensities so that they could have another alternative for indoor training. Twenty-two triathletes (many from Boston Triathlon Team and Wheelworks Multisport) got a crash course on rowing—and everyone did great!

Knowing how rowing and cycling compare can inform your workouts

Triathletes understand comparisons between rowing and swimming. Both sports are full-body, low-impact, require practiced technique for maximum efficiency and rely on strong strokes through the water. New research published in Rowing News also gives good insight into the relationships between rowing and cycling. The findings:

  • Cycling can produce greater power outputs, most likely because of the continuous motion. (Each rowing stroke includes a “recovery” phase where no power is being generated.)
  • Cyclists may have some advantage of gravity.
  • Heart rates were higher in rowing than on cycling tests.
  • Rowers breathe more frequently but less deeply than cyclists.

All these insights can help triathletes tinker with their workouts. We recommend setting the Concept2 Indoor Rower’s Performance Monitor to watts so that you can compare your power outputs with a stationary trainer. Our group of triathlete-rowers was challenged to try to double their body weight in wattage for a short (1 minute) duration. This proved to be difficult but also pushed the triathletes to apply power.

One of the participants, Ben, wrote this great blog post about his experience learning how to row in our “Tri Rowing” event. We’re hoping we’ve inspired some of the “Tri Rowing” folks to give CRASH-Bs a try!
Keep a lookout for more “Tri Rowing” events; we plan to offer a similar class for triathletes in the San Diego area in January 2011.

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