Todd Schumlick is the owner/director of PerformX and has 25+ years of experience as a trainer (physical fitness, nutrition, rehab and mental development), including kinesiology, strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, sports nutrition, and more. He’s been a Red Bull contracted trainer for motocross and downhill mountain bike athletes since 2008. His action sports athletes have included multi-time snocross/motocross champion Blair Morgan, World Cup downhill MTB champions Aaron Gwin (multi-time champion), Steve Smith, Finn Iles and Miranda Miller, professional freeskier Mark Abma, multi-time Enduro World Series MTB champion Richie Rude, professional kayaker Benny Marr, multi-time national motocross champion Colton Facciotti, multi-MTB champion Casey Brown, and many more.
We talked with Todd recently about his experiences using Concept2 products in his training plans with action sports athletes.
When did you first hear the name Concept2 or try one of our products?
I am unsure when I first heard the name Concept2 but I’m assuming it was around the same time I first used their rowing machines. I believe that might have been around 2008 at the Meadow Park Sports Centre in Whistler, British Columbia. Back then, I remember jumping on a rowing machine as a warm-up for strength workouts.
Do you remember your first workout on a Concept2 machine?
As previously mentioned, I would often use the rowing machine as a warm-up, but I don’t remember completing any 'workouts,’ say, pre 2012–2014. Then, around 2013–2015, I remember someone mentioning they’d seen research that sculling/rowing was one of the toughest forms of cardiovascular exercises a person could perform. This raised my curiosity and lead to a 30-minute workout on a Concept2 rowing machine. Well, at least that was the intention. I believe around the 15 minute mark I convinced myself that I didn’t want to “over train” and stopped. Ha! It was freakin’ hard! I believe my biceps were cooked for a couple days!
Which Concept2 products do you use?
I have a RowErg, BikeErg, and SkiErg in my garage gym, so, I use all three equally. All for training and fitness testing my PerformX athletes.
What types of athletes do you primarily work with?
For 2022 and 2023, approximately one-third are downhill mountain bike athletes, one-third are enduro mountain bike athletes, and one-third are a mix of moto and action sports athletes.
How have you incorporated the RowErg and SkiErg into training for athletes who use a bike for their sport?
I incorporate both pieces of equipment in 1) warm-ups, specifically targeting upper body, 2) training mainly between distance challenges (250m > 4000m) and interval training (varying from 20 seconds to 5 minutes and 6 to 20+ minutes in duration), and 3) fitness testing, which includes the BikeErg, as well.
Can you talk to us about the benefit of getting cyclists/riders to train more off the bike?
First, I believe (and have witnessed) if the athlete only trains ‘on-bike’, they 1) limit their fitness development/adaptation, 2) develop imbalances within body biomechanics (including alignment and posture) which again, limits development/adaptation and increases risk of both acute and chronic injuries, and 3) limit mental development, as the athlete isn’t facing a variety of challenges. In short, I believe riding on its own is not dynamic enough to reach full athletic potential. (This is backed by scientific studies, hence, why cross-training is best).
Why a rowing machine for cyclists?
Because rowing is 1) focused on posterior muscle output and biomechanics (in many ways opposite of cycling, so this improves/balances muscle output and biomechanics), 2) great development of grip/forearms (a major issue with enduro and downhill mountain bike athletes), rhomboid/trapezius, and lumbar/core, 3) improves rider posture (mainly due to what I’ve outlined above, 4) pushes the energy system with something different than cycling (maybe the most important point), and 5) it’s TOUGH! This helps the athlete (MTB and moto, in my case) improve at being ‘comfortable at being uncomfortable.’
What’s your favorite/go-to workout?
4000 meter row!
We’d love to hear a quick story that involves Concept2 equipment, something motivational, funny, or a learning moment.
Oh, so many moments! It’s a pretty cool experience to witness an athlete completing their follow-up fitness test with improved performance results. Definitely helps with their confidence going into competition season, as it proves their training has been a good investment of their time and energy. Oh, I did have another funny story to add. Once an athlete asked me how much a boat would cost when I told him I was going to prescribe rowing in his training! Ha!
How have you expanded or changed your use of our equipment over the years?
Since the introduction of the SkiErg I’ve incorporated more use of it with my athletes, especially in strength and conditioning programs (if access to SkiErg is available).
What one piece of advice would you give to someone hopping on Concept2 equipment for the first time?
If you’re getting on a RowErg or SkiErg for the first time, try challenging yourself to a distance, maybe a 2000m row or 1500m ski.
What trainers or athletes do you look up to?
Trainers: Tudor Bompa and Charles Poliquin. Athletes: anyone who has dedicated themselves to a lofty goal.
What or who inspires you to keep going?
The athletes. Specifically, knowing I have the experience and know-how to assist athletes in achieving a high level of sports performance and injury prevention makes my “job” so exciting and rewarding.
What’s your favorite workout music?
Punk or metal. Actually, just about anything but Nickelback, top 40/pop, country, or Nickelback (yes, I mentioned twice).