G-dub wrote:I love these discussions about rate - especially with Mike:
On the erg, like in OTW rowing, productive length is an asset. But being long by overreaching beyond what would make for an efficient application of power for your body type isn't, I don't think. On the erg the only real requirement is to generate as many watts as possible and to hold that for the duration of the TT. "Full strokes" (which I take Mike to mean long pretty strokes like real rowers make) aren't a requirement at all as long as you are achieving the highest watts and sustaining those.
So I'm like a human Guinea pig then?
I think I've made every mistake you can make rowing yet, somehow, I still love it!
James said something once that hit home with me. He's a very succinct wise rower on here. He said something to the extent of "work a lot on your stroke, use that stroke when you do slow rate work and also use that stroke when you do high rate work...". I think in my last race, I honestly used a pretty consistent stroke throughout with the exception of maybe the last 10 pulls when I shortened it up just to put in a final sprint.
Free rate work, even if it's lighter and faster can help you improve/speed up stroke rate. After that one race (where I averaged 24), I didn't do a SS where I let myself go below 22. Also, I'd play around on longer rows, practicing (like on a L4 Wolverine workout) varying stroke rates for given times -- 30 seconds or 1 minute or three minutes holding a certain stroke rate. Also, at the end of longer rows, I'd see if I could hold a certain stroke rate (like 30) when tired, for like a minute. I honestly think the worst thing someone can do is drastically go to bad form when upping SR. Not worth it to me. Like Glenn mentioned, though, you also don't want to artificially slow or delay a stroke too long at the catch or at the finish. For me, I've noticed that as soon as my feet aren't flat on the return (just when I start to get up on the balls of my feet), I'm in danger of hanging around too long at the catch and I need to engage my legs and drive through to the bottom of my feet. I know I've been doing this, too, when my knees hurt or my calves are overly sore. When I consciously think about this, I feel I'm not wasting efforts at the catch. Similarly, I think I have slow hands. Many on here mentioned to me to work on making my hands more "light" or feathering the end of the drive with the hands into the chest. I had a really bad habit for my first couple of years of rowing thumping my chest with the handle, like that made me faster. Just the opposite actually. I find I'm most efficient with good form when I'm able to drive through the legs first, sitting up, still leaning slightly forward when I start to engage the torso and then upper body. Should be fluid. Took me way too long to understand that power (for me) was through drive speed, fluidity and limiting wasted effort. I also think core strength has a lot to do with quick returns. Mine was lacking when I started -- still needs work but it's much better now.
I'm still a work in progress, but I think mostly I'm limited by time on the rower now and strength. Getting to SR of 30 for me would mean a 6:55 or so 2K. I'm quite a long bit off of that for now.
I'm going to need at least another week before I join in. I'm getting back in the swing of things now.