Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

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.
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Sandyw
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Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by Sandyw » February 27th, 2018, 9:04 pm

Hi all, as the title states, I am a total beginner dragon boater. As part of our training, we are required to train on the ERG. Although the motion is entirely different, the ERG is a good measurement of fitness and the closest thing we have in a gym.

Currently, we have a prescribed ERG workout plan as follows:

20 spm @ 90% of full power for 1 min
30 seconds rest
25 spm @ 90% of full power for 1 min
30 seconds rest
30 spm @ 90% of full power for 1 min
30 seconds rest
35 spm @ 90% of full power for 1 min
30 seconds rest
40 spm @ 90% of full power for 1 min
30 seconds rest
45 spm @ 90% of full power for 1 min

I am pretty tall and lanky (5ft11, 65kg) and in my mid 20's, but I am nowhere near where I would consider aerobically fit.
My maximum wattage is usually over 400, and I can barely maintain 50% of that for the 6 intervals, let alone 90%. If I do high 200's for the first 3 intervals, I am usually completely out of gas.
There were no details provided that explained how to go from 50% (where I am now) to the 90% prescribed on the workout. I guess that is why I am here.

It feels like I lack endurance as I am quickly becoming tired on the ERG doing full strokes, and I don't see how half assing my way through a few 6-minute sessions on the ERG per week is going to help me improve. My main goal is to achieve the best 1k time I possibly can before the next fitness test.

I found a few resources online namely the interactive 2k program on indoor sport services website and the pete plan, but I don't know what is better for my goals.

I decided to lightly row a 2k today after failing the last set of intervals and my time was an abysmal 8:56 at an average of 26spm and 150 average watts.

Not sure where to go from here so any tips would be appreciated.

jamesg
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by jamesg » February 28th, 2018, 2:30 am

The erg is designed for endurance work, which is what you need. Keep going for as long as you can (20-30 minutes), but go at low rating, keeping the stroke long and solid and HR up. Dragons usually race 250 or 500m, and around 2 minutes max. This is short but no sprint, so you have to choose your speed and then hold it or even go faster at the end: aka endurance. LIke any race we win by what we don't do: burn up at the start and then fade.

Your 2k test with 150W, rate 26 says you have a stroke ratio of 6 (150/25). In rowing, we usually try to hold the stroke work constant at all spm's, so that Power increases with Rating.

Given your age and size, let's forget the 90% (of what?), and use a Watt/Rating ratio of 6 in the routine (which is a step test), then becoming:

Warm up
1 minute at 20spm @ 120W (20x6=120)
rest
1 minute at 25 @ 150W
rest
1 minute at 30 @ 180W and so on...

Second time round maybe you can adjust the stroke, or even the ratings sequence, 45 is too high for efficient strokes.
78y, 188cm, 87kg, MHR 155. Last 2k (24 May 19) 8.46.6@22

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hjs
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by hjs » February 28th, 2018, 5:25 am

The session is simple bollocks, doing stuff like that on such short rest is impossible. Everybody would be out after a few reps.

And for a beginner who has no clue about his fitness its even more useless.

For 1k training, doing 250m rep is good training. 12x rest 1 min. Try to make full strokes. Rate 30/35. This session is around 1k pace.

Building overall fitness will help a lot, try 20 min sessions first, keep the stroke rate low, intensity 80/90% of your max.

Btw the erg can easily made to paddle with, look on youtube how that is done.
For my training see twitter @Hjsrowing

lindsayh
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by lindsayh » February 28th, 2018, 5:39 am

hjs wrote:The session is simple bollocks, doing stuff like that on such short rest is impossible. Everybody would be out after a few reps.
And for a beginner who has no clue about his fitness its even more useless.
yes a 'challenge' set by people who don't have a real idea about the erg. I have had a bit to do with the Dragon Boat crowd as lizh is very active and they are hopeless when setting up a piece for team selection and fitness evaluation. We had one here where the test was based on a 2k at "damper 10" required for everyone from young teen girls to senior/masters when the races are often <1km. Couldn't be told which will be the problem for the OP as well
There is a simple attachment to convert erg to a Kayak like action that can be applied to the machine as Henry says.
The only thing as that nearly everyone will be in the same "boat" so any training will help - do some good solid 20-30 min pieces and some faster intervals will help.
Lindsay
67yo 91kg
Sydney Australia
Forum Flyer
PBs (65y+) 1 min 349m, 500m 1:29.8, 1k 3:11.7 2k 6:47.4, 5km 18:07.9, 30' 7928m, 10k 37:57.2, 60' 15368m

kerosene
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by kerosene » February 28th, 2018, 6:32 am

Note how HJS tells you to use 90% power. It is not 90% of your max sprint effort (low pull, uours was 400w) but 90% conpared to your max effort ”on that distance”.
You cannot tell someone to run 1 minute at 90% of their 100m dash effort and repeat with 1 minute rest for seceral reps. It is obviously ridiculous. I would think that the couch meant 90% of 1min best effort. It still makes it impossible.
Is that ”perceived 90%”?

Listen to Henry (hjs).
male 40yo, 94kg, 192cm. Regular training started July 2017.
PBs: 500m_1:30.8 | 1K_3:19.2 |2K_6:58.9 |5K_19:22.7 | 10K_39:29.4 | 30min_7,542m

Sandyw
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by Sandyw » February 28th, 2018, 8:46 am

jamesg wrote:The erg is designed for endurance work, which is what you need. Keep going for as long as you can (20-30 minutes), but go at low rating, keeping the stroke long and solid and HR up. Dragons usually race 250 or 500m, and around 2 minutes max. This is short but no sprint, so you have to choose your speed and then hold it or even go faster at the end: aka endurance. LIke any race we win by what we don't do: burn up at the start and then fade.

Your 2k test with 150W, rate 26 says you have a stroke ratio of 6 (150/25). In rowing, we usually try to hold the stroke work constant at all spm's, so that Power increases with Rating.

Given your age and size, let's forget the 90% (of what?), and use a Watt/Rating ratio of 6 in the routine (which is a step test), then becoming:

Warm up
1 minute at 20spm @ 120W (20x6=120)
rest
1 minute at 25 @ 150W
rest
1 minute at 30 @ 180W and so on...

Second time round maybe you can adjust the stroke, or even the ratings sequence, 45 is too high for efficient strokes.
Thanks for the feedback! I should have mentioned, the head coach meant 90% of max wattage. I did ask about the rationale behind this program, and was told he wanted us to keep the same level of power (wattage) at all stroke rates, thus, theoretically, we should have similar power output whether going at 20spm or 30 spm giving us an "edge" over other teams.
hjs wrote:The session is simple bollocks, doing stuff like that on such short rest is impossible. Everybody would be out after a few reps.

And for a beginner who has no clue about his fitness its even more useless.

For 1k training, doing 250m rep is good training. 12x rest 1 min. Try to make full strokes. Rate 30/35. This session is around 1k pace.

Building overall fitness will help a lot, try 20 min sessions first, keep the stroke rate low, intensity 80/90% of your max.

Btw the erg can easily made to paddle with, look on youtube how that is done.
Just to clarify, when you say intensity 80-90% of max, do you mean 80-90% of my max wattage?

From what I understand, I should focus mainly on improving my overall fitness with interval work mixed in?


Thanks for taking the time to reply!
lindsayh wrote: yes a 'challenge' set by people who don't have a real idea about the erg. I have had a bit to do with the Dragon Boat crowd as lizh is very active and they are hopeless when setting up a piece for team selection and fitness evaluation. We had one here where the test was based on a 2k at "damper 10" required for everyone from young teen girls to senior/masters when the races are often <1km. Couldn't be told which will be the problem for the OP as well
There is a simple attachment to convert erg to a Kayak like action that can be applied to the machine as Henry says.
The only thing as that nearly everyone will be in the same "boat" so any training will help - do some good solid 20-30 min pieces and some faster intervals will help.
It seems like some endurance work with intervals mixed in is the way to go then!

Our dragon boat club/team does have a professional head coach, and I do understand what he is trying to do for us, but we don't really see him at all. So his training programs are a little bit out of touch with the current abilities of the recruits on the team and does nothing to explain what you should do if you cannot perform a given workout.

I will definitely look up how to convert the ERG to a more paddling like motion, that sounds like it would be super useful.
kerosene wrote:Note how HJS tells you to use 90% power. It is not 90% of your max sprint effort (low pull, uours was 400w) but 90% conpared to your max effort ”on that distance”.
You cannot tell someone to run 1 minute at 90% of their 100m dash effort and repeat with 1 minute rest for seceral reps. It is obviously ridiculous. I would think that the couch meant 90% of 1min best effort. It still makes it impossible.
Is that ”perceived 90%”?

Listen to Henry (hjs).
Oh, that makes a lot more sense. So it 90% of my maximum perceived effort at a 20min session? (~5k for me)? And the coach definitely made explicit he wanted us to row at 90% of max wattage, I should have clarified that in my original post.

JerekKruger
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by JerekKruger » February 28th, 2018, 9:07 am

Sandyw wrote:Thanks for the feedback! I should have mentioned, the head coach meant 90% of max wattage.
Yeah that's absurd. I don't know exactly what my max wattage is but based on my 100m time it is at least 680W. At a push I might be able to hold 90% of that for a single one minute interval at rate in the high 40s, though I doubt it, but I definitely couldn't get anywhere close to it for multiple one minute intervals at lower rates, even with much more generous rests between them than you've been given. In fact I don't think anyone could.
I did ask about the rationale behind this program, and was told he wanted us to keep the same level of power (wattage) at all stroke rates, thus, theoretically, we should have similar power output whether going at 20spm or 30 spm giving us an "edge" over other teams.
This also makes no sense. Each time you take a stroke you add a certain amount of (kinetic) energy to the boat (or in the case of the erg, the flywheel). The harder and longer the stroke the more energy you add. Power is the amount of energy you add to the boat/flywheel per second. To keep the power the same at higher rates requires you to take weaker and/or shorter strokes. This runs contrary to pretty much all rowing training, which aims to develop a strong and long stroke at low rates then train the body to be able to keep that same stroke at higher rates in order to increase the power and, hence, the speed.

I realise dragon boats are different to rowing boats, but the same principles apply: harder and longer strokes add more energy, and the more of those strokes you take per minute the faster you go.
Tom | 33 | 6'6" | 93kg

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jamesg
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by jamesg » February 28th, 2018, 1:14 pm

I will definitely look up how to convert the ERG to a more paddling like motion, that sounds like it would be super useful.
No need, Dragons use Canoe single blade paddles, not double blade Kayak type. Just keep the seat fixed and pull arms and swing only. The leverage is different but you can get up to 50-60 rating and the step test at 20-25-30-etc ratings might make a little more sense, as also the 90% dictum: taking it to mean pull at 90% max force with a very short stroke as if in a canoe.
78y, 188cm, 87kg, MHR 155. Last 2k (24 May 19) 8.46.6@22

ccooper
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by ccooper » February 28th, 2018, 9:27 pm

lindsayh wrote: yes a 'challenge' set by people who don't have a real idea about the erg. I have had a bit to do with the Dragon Boat crowd as lizh is very active and they are hopeless when setting up a piece for team selection and fitness evaluation.
I have paddled on some world-championship dragon boat teams. The coach was an ex-rower, and some of the paddlers were rowers. But we never used the erg for dragon boat training...it's too different. We did use the dragon boat attachment to do time trials while training. If you can find one of those attachments, give it a try for training, doing short pieces.

Chris
--
Chris Cooper M65-69 Hwt 2km world record 6:39.5 in 2017

lindsayh
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by lindsayh » March 1st, 2018, 6:05 am

Sandyw wrote:Oh, that makes a lot more sense. So it 90% of my maximum perceived effort at a 20min session? (~5k for me)? And the coach definitely made explicit he wanted us to row at 90% of max wattage, I should have clarified that in my original post.
It is actually IMO not possible to go to 1min @90% of maximum even once unless you are heroically strong. My LP is about 650 right now I guess (sad I know) and I can do 10x 20"/1'R reaching a peak of say 600W and average 540W. My recent best 1min = 349m @1:25.8 which is not too shabby I guess but is 550W. The exercise is impossible for even a relatively experienced erger and a waste of time.
Lindsay
67yo 91kg
Sydney Australia
Forum Flyer
PBs (65y+) 1 min 349m, 500m 1:29.8, 1k 3:11.7 2k 6:47.4, 5km 18:07.9, 30' 7928m, 10k 37:57.2, 60' 15368m

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gregsmith01748
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Re: Beginner Dragonboater ERG Questions

Post by gregsmith01748 » March 1st, 2018, 2:10 pm

This company sells an adapter fordragon boat training.

http://www.paddlesporttraining.com/

Here's a video of a dragon boat erg time trial.

https://youtu.be/mT1WGiTirao
Greg
Age: 55 H: 182cm W: 90Kg
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