Training for Fitness to Row: Start With a Goal in Mind.
As for many things in life, it’s important to have an objective. Your goal might be for an event one year away, for the season, or might be longer; it should also have milestones to aim for in the short term, to guide your development and progress. Clear objectives and milestones help in setting an appropriate training programme, they help maintain enthusiasm through the cold winter months and help to unify a team or squad by creating a common sense of purpose.
Your objective can be something short and simple such as being able to scull a 500 metre race in a regatta for the first time by the end of the season; or be able to compete with a crew in a specific provincial event for the first time. A longer term goal for the more competitive might be to qualify at Henley Royal or Henley Womens Regatta in three years from now. Deciding what level you want to aim for sets the tone for all your training activity.
Clearly, our goals cannot be set in isolation, the first steps are very dependent on where we start from and the end goal is dependent on the level of commitment we can make. Once these are clear we can set a realistic personal target. Rowing has something to offer for everyone; any limitations people have are usually between the ears :O) and with the appropriate mindset anything is possible.
It’s then a matter of choice to decide whether you are a social rower who gets a lot of enjoyment from a paddle on the Wey, someone who enjoys racing to take part or a highly competitive person who wants to race to win. Training has a role to play in all three categories.
The action of rowing is described as a simple one, it requires a highly repetitive physical sequence but without the complexity of speed and agility required on the sports field. To really enjoy rowing, even at a social level, implies remaining free of injury and being able to take to the water and keep repeating the rowing sequence for a duration of your choosing. For example, at the base level, developing the strength of your trunk and increasing the flexibility in your hamstrings and glutes are essential for any level of the sport.
Training programs are designed to stretch your capabilities and then provide periods of rest for your body to recover. They are generally tuned towards an end goal, a specific event in the calendar, with periods of time focused on different aspects of the development needed for Rowing. Read the section on periodization to find out more about the top level of a training plan.
Once you have clarified your objectives. Review the training sections on this site to gain an understanding of the training programs that will support your goal. Talk with a coach for guidance on what you personally should aim to achieve and when. Please remember that it’s your personal responsibility to ensure you’re fit to train. If in doubt, check with your GP.