Rowing requires aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

First few 8 weeks of training…work on the aerobic capacity on land: running, cycling, light rowing.

Background or basic resistance training:

  • 10 Km run @ 65% of max HR
    • 60 min cycling alternating
      • 10mins @ 65% max HR
      • 5mins @ 70% max HR
  • 30 min rowing ergometer   

On weekends train rowing on the boat concentrating on specific rowing techniques for 20 weeks.  Work on coaching and gaining tips from the most experienced and technical rowers. The aim is to develop team and boat balance.

Strength has become over the years an important component of the rowers' preparation:

  • conditioning phase (first phase)
  • muscular hypertrophy phase (second phase)
  • maximum strength phase (third phase)
  • conversion phase (muscle explosive power + resistance)

The first phase is a general conditioning phase to prepare the rower's body to more intense training. In this phase one should be using some light weights intercalated with the basic aerobic resistance training of the initial 8 weeks.  Then a training change must be introduced in the second phase to augment muscle mass, body weight and strength with weights between 75%-85% of the maximum in 7 or 10 repetitions. 

This is combined with work on land to increase aerobic capacity to increase the maximum oxygen consumption (V02max). This is achieved by fast running series of 1 Km or 1 mile, uphill running with 3, 4, or 5 min series or mountain climb cycling. This phase should last around 8 weeks.

The objective of the third phase is to develop the maximum strength of the athlete using weights between 90%-95% of the maximum with 2 to 4 repetitions. This helps intramuscular coordination and improves the explosive strength of athletes. We'll do 3 sessions per week with 48 hrs muscle resting periods. This phase might last about 5 weeks and should considerably increase strength levels translating in greater performance. 

In the fourth and last phase, the conversion phase, the objective is to convert the maximum strength achieved into explosive muscle power and at the same time into muscle resistance. We maintain the same routine of exercises (same muscle groups, same exercises, same times per week [x3]) but we do two days of muscle resistance training and one day of explosive power training (resistance-power-resistance). 

The explosive power sessions' objective is to combine strength and speed using weights of 80%-85% with 6 to 8 repetitions moving the weights in a fast and explosive manner (although in reality it may move slowly for being heavy). The muscle resistance is achieved by training doing circuits with 40%-50% of maximum with 20-25 repetitions. Three sessions with weights per week for 5 weeks are enough to see notable benefits for the rower.  After this aerobic and anaerobic strength training, one could maintain the fitness for the season by outdoor rowing doing race training, HIT sessions, pyramid and power sessions. 

Stretching exercises should be performed routinely once warm and whilst cooling down at the end of any training session (aerobic and anaerobic) to improve flexibility which assists with a better rowing technique, avoiding injuries and providing a physical environment to better develop muscle strength and resistance.