Only doing one type of erg

General discussion on Training. How to get better on your erg, how to use your erg to get better at another sport, or anything else about improving your abilities.

Only doing one type of erg

Postby haydenj547 » May 20th, 2018, 4:11 pm

Hey guys,

It has been recommended to me that over the off season (that I’m currently in), the only erg I should be doing is 30 minutes @ 20 rate. I am trying to do this 3-4 times a week as I really want to improve.

As I am only doing this one erg I was wondering if I will see improvement in all my ergs, especially my 2k?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as all I’m trying to do is get as good as possible in the off season.
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Re: Only doing one type of erg

Postby mitchel674 » May 20th, 2018, 4:54 pm

Did your coach make this recommendation?

If your goal is to improve your 2k time, you would likely benefit from some longer rows and then throw in some high intensity intervals at higher stroke rates periodically.
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Re: Only doing one type of erg

Postby JerekKruger » May 20th, 2018, 5:22 pm

Seems an odd recommendation. If the person recommending it to you meant a true 30r20* then doing it several times a week seems perverse. If they simply meant rowing 30 minutes of normal pressure at rate 20 then that's fine, but why stop at 30 minutes? Why not do some longer rows?

It makes sense to focus on longer rows during the off season to build up your aerobic base, but I don't see any reason to restrict it to 30 minutes (which is on the short side of longer anyway).

Some extra information might help. How old are you? How long have you been rowing?

*Rowing as hard as you can for 30 minutes whilst keeping your rate capped at 20. This is a truly miserable row.
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Re: Only doing one type of erg

Postby lindsayh » May 20th, 2018, 9:50 pm

I agree that sounds strange and also very boring and probably demotivating
There are two sorts of 30'/sr20 pieces (as Paul Buchanan once pointed out here) - one is HR capped to keep you nominally in the cardio range and the other is as hard as you can go.
Both are good training in a sense as part of a program (see the QPower site for a full discussion) but if your goal is to improve your 2k then need to do other stuff as well partly because you wont do your best 2k at 20Sr and need to learn how to go fast at 30sr and need to go anerobic as well - hard intervals at under 2k pace I reckon will help. Also get out to 10k+ on the slower steady stuff
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Re: Only doing one type of erg

Postby jamesg » May 21st, 2018, 1:13 am

The erg is a very good tool for learning about ourselves and what we can do and how, as well as for learning to row.

The 30/20 is very useful for both, since while holding two objective aspects constant, time and rating, it lets us vary the many remaining subjective linked factors, such as style, rhythm, length, drag and handle force, so observing very clearly their effects.

No one will want to do exactly the same thing every day; but changing everything can only lead to confusion, so a little basic discipline can be a great help. Also of course, if 20/30 doesn't give you endurance and keep your pump and pipes clear and working, what will?

In any case you are allowed some latitude; the C2 thought police could not care less if you vary the rating L4 style, say 18-20-22-20-18 (2' each) or similar.

Might even try it myself.
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Re: Only doing one type of erg

Postby haydenj547 » May 21st, 2018, 1:37 am

I’m currently 15, 6'1", 65kg and my last 2k was 7:19 after rowing for 2 years.

The 30@20 is a hard out piece and trying to get our best time, we can go for longer if we wanted but this was the distance we are tested at during the off season so i decided to stick to this.

Would shorter intervals be good to throw in there like 1' on 2'off x 16, or 30 seconds on 1' off x 20?

And should I be doing these in a 1:1 ratio or focusing more on one type of distance?
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Re: Only doing one type of erg

Postby jamesg » May 21st, 2018, 2:16 am

If it's the off season, none of that work is relevant.

The 30@20 is a hard out piece

Not necessarily.

If your coach suggests you do only 20/30, you're missing his point if you think it's a max test. He's saying do 30 minutes, keep fit, learn to row, keep your hands hard, discipline, erg as if sculling an hour. Which is what you would do if you could, make the boat sing and listen; forget everything else.
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Re: Only doing one type of erg

Postby Dangerscouse » May 21st, 2018, 3:18 am

haydenj547 wrote:I’m currently 15, 6'1", 65kg and my last 2k was 7:19 after rowing for 2 years.

The 30@20 is a hard out piece and trying to get our best time, we can go for longer if we wanted but this was the distance we are tested at during the off season so i decided to stick to this.

Would shorter intervals be good to throw in there like 1' on 2'off x 16, or 30 seconds on 1' off x 20?

And should I be doing these in a 1:1 ratio or focusing more on one type of distance?


Yeah, it's always good to vary intensity, how you split it is up to you. Maybe do 30 mins x 2 with 2 mins rest if you have got the time.
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Re: Only doing one type of erg

Postby hjs » May 21st, 2018, 4:33 am

haydenj547 wrote:Hey guys,

It has been recommended to me that over the off season (that I’m currently in), the only erg I should be doing is 30 minutes @ 20 rate. I am trying to do this 3-4 times a week as I really want to improve.

As I am only doing this one erg I was wondering if I will see improvement in all my ergs, especially my 2k?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as all I’m trying to do is get as good as possible in the off season.


Nothing magic about rate 20.
Mix it up a but, keep the rating at 18/22, keep your pace around 2k plys 18/22
Keep your breathing calm, if you start heaving, you are going to fast.
If possible build beyond 30 min. The more meters the better.
Also eat well, sleep enough etc..

This kind of work will build your base, not direct your 2k top end, for that you need to do work at 2k pace and rating.
Speed reacts relative fast, you can build a peak in 6/8 weeks, building your base takes years...
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Re: Only doing one type of er

Postby jackarabit » May 21st, 2018, 12:15 pm

JamesG writes:

In any case you are allowed some latitude; the C2 thought police could not care less if you vary the rating L4 style, say 18-20-22-20-18 (2' each) or similar.


James, I am curious about the origins of the rate changes. The C2 WODs frequently use the alternating or pyramidal rate change schemes. Seems to me that these were a staple of OTW crew training prior to the introduction of the Wolverine L4 straitjacket. I recognize that the Bros. D and Prof. C have in common backgrounds in Collegiate crew so merely a question of precedence.
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