How to get the most effort from my legs?

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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davidevans1
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How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by davidevans1 » August 16th, 2020, 3:54 pm

This is my first post on the forum and I've had a Model D for maybe 18 months and after a year of doing maybe 1 x 2000 metres a week a bit half heartedly, I've settled down since March to two or three x 5000 metres a week.
The damper setting is on 7 and drag factor around 110.
My time for 5000 metres is around 22 minutes with around 23-25 stroke rate and I don't think I'm going to improve much until I work out how to get more effort from my legs. How to achieve this has me completely puzzled though!
I've read plenty and watched videos and can see people getting way better times at 18 strokes per minute.
The angle of the footbed seems to make it so that the push has to be off the ball of the foot, rather than the heel, is that correct? If so what do you suggest is the best way for me to start getting more effort from my legs please?
Thanks for any advice.

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sharp_rower
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by sharp_rower » August 16th, 2020, 5:52 pm

You just gotta be able to feel what's going on, feel the power from your legs, think of the stroke as the act of pushing off with your legs. "Lead with the legs" is a phrase I often tell myself at the catch, rather than leaning in with the upper body. If your core is weak, the connection between your legs and the flywheel will be weak as well, so it's important to develop solidity in the core and arms to get what you need from your legs. Personally I've achieved better times reaching in with my upper body but this has been at the expense of injuring my lower back. I row really slow times now but at least I'm preserving my lower back.
Mid-30s, 6'0", 230lbs (working on that.......), 6:54.8 2k PB (1:43.7, March 2015). Occasional OTW rower.
Don't believe everything you read on the internet!
Other PBs: 1k @ 1:39.9 (March 2015).

mitchel674
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by mitchel674 » August 16th, 2020, 10:07 pm

Two things come to mind here.

The first is that you seem to be doing the same type of work repeatedly. If you want more power, perhaps you should focus on your stroke with some lower rate pieces. The classic is 30 minutes, r20. Watch the force curve while you take each of those 600 strokes and try to make them quick and powerful with a good rest on the recovery. This will make you concentrate on your legs at the drive.

The second is that you don't put in very much volume. How is your rowing endurance? After 18 months, most would be doing longer, steady state pieces. If the 5000m is your target benchmark, you should be doing 10-12km rows a few times a week.

Don't waste your time analyzing the angle of the foot stretcher. What is that going to get you? Perhaps a fraction of improved efficiency at best. You simply need to row more at slower rate coupled with more frequent long rows.
55yo male, 6ft, 154lbs

jamesg
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by jamesg » August 17th, 2020, 1:10 am

Your 22' 5k at say 24 indicates a stroke Work of about 6 (150W at 24) which could be high or low, as to age and size.

The Work in a stroke = Length x Force. To adjust this amount of Work, the key factor is Length, which is controlled by our technique. You can see standard rowing technique here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0dzPz0tD5I

The essentials are sequences, posture and complete relaxation of muscle if not in use.

On the erg you don't need to bring your hands so high at the finish, we can't wash out and the extra work done by cocking the wrists is very small; C2 recommends flat wrists at the finish to avoid tendon problems.

Also, lower feet can make it easier to get to a strong catch posture.
08-1940, 183cm, 87kg. Last seen MHR 162, in 2k (2020-05-16) 8.47.5@24

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hjs
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by hjs » August 17th, 2020, 3:35 am

davidevans1 wrote:
August 16th, 2020, 3:54 pm
This is my first post on the forum and I've had a Model D for maybe 18 months and after a year of doing maybe 1 x 2000 metres a week a bit half heartedly, I've settled down since March to two or three x 5000 metres a week.
The damper setting is on 7 and drag factor around 110.
My time for 5000 metres is around 22 minutes with around 23-25 stroke rate and I don't think I'm going to improve much until I work out how to get more effort from my legs. How to achieve this has me completely puzzled though!
I've read plenty and watched videos and can see people getting way better times at 18 strokes per minute.
The angle of the footbed seems to make it so that the push has to be off the ball of the foot, rather than the heel, is that correct? If so what do you suggest is the best way for me to start getting more effort from my legs please?
Thanks for any advice.
Re drag/damper. Your machine is dusted up, you need to clean the fancage out, its dusted up. On 7 you drag should be a good bit higher.

Re legs, set the om at 1 min on, 1 off, start rowing at 20 strokes per minute, first rep 2.10, try to go 2 seconds faster every rep, you soon will feel your legs. Keep your back strong! Push with the legs, don’t pull with your arms first.


Ps, rowing is not about power only, its a power endurance sport, to go fast, you need a good stroke but at the same time the endurance to do a lot if them. And when you we race also at pretty high spm.

Dangerscouse
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by Dangerscouse » August 17th, 2020, 4:52 am

davidevans1 wrote:
August 16th, 2020, 3:54 pm
This is my first post on the forum and I've had a Model D for maybe 18 months and after a year of doing maybe 1 x 2000 metres a week a bit half heartedly, I've settled down since March to two or three x 5000 metres a week.
The damper setting is on 7 and drag factor around 110.
My time for 5000 metres is around 22 minutes with around 23-25 stroke rate and I don't think I'm going to improve much until I work out how to get more effort from my legs. How to achieve this has me completely puzzled though!
I've read plenty and watched videos and can see people getting way better times at 18 strokes per minute.
The angle of the footbed seems to make it so that the push has to be off the ball of the foot, rather than the heel, is that correct? If so what do you suggest is the best way for me to start getting more effort from my legs please?
Thanks for any advice.
The vast majority of people will start on the balls of their feet, unless you've got flexible ankles, so you just need to get your heels down as fast as possible.

Sit up straight, with loose shoulders ie don't hunch up and channel tension through them, this will subtly encourage you to push with your legs as you're not as subconsciously prepared for the pull.

I think I used to use my upper body too much so I found a great exercise to build mind muscle connection was to push a bit more with one leg for one stroke, then the opposite leg with a bit more power and then both together with equal power.

Keep doing this over and over and focusing on really feeling a push rather than a pull and you will get used to the technique.

If you want to improve at a specific distance, don't think that will easily happen if you keep doing it over and over again. What you need to do is to working around that distance and occasionally do faster, shorter distances (eg 5 x750m with three mins rest or 6 x 1k on four mins rest) and longer, slower distances (eg 8k, 10k).

To get faster there is no avoiding the pain and discomfort and you need to build your mental strength too.
46 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:24; 6k= 21:09; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,428m 60mins= 16,331m HM= 1:18:25; FM= 2:45:49; 50k= 3:21:14; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

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davidevans1
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by davidevans1 » August 17th, 2020, 5:01 am

OK thanks for the feedback. I took up mitchel674's suggestion of doing a 30 minute row at 20 s/m this morning and it felt a lot more sustainable, even though I really felt I'd had a workout at the end! I was pushing with my legs and had watched the video jamesg posted the link too. I'm very deaf and couldn't hear what was being said (there are also no captions) but got the visual of the style.
I've tried posting screen shots of Ergdata but it keeps saying 'files too large' even though they are at smallest setting from iPhone, but the data says:
  • 6577 meters
    Splits for 6 minutes 1340m, 1322m, 1317m and 1304m and s/m 20,20,20,20,21.Per 500mm: 2.14.3, 2.16 1, 2.16.6 ,2.18.0, 2.16.8
    Stroke count 607
    Drive length 1.30m
    Average force 37kg
    Drag factor 125
    Drive speed 1.6m/sec
    Peak force 57kg
Please could someone explain what I should try to improve out of this?
Mitchel674 said watch the graph, is this the Watt reading on PM5? If so that was jagged but at roughly the same level throughout. There isn't a scale but I'd say at just over half way up the vertical axis.
Looking at hjs's suggestion Set the om at 1 min on, 1 off, start rowing at 20 strokes per minute, first rep 2.10, try to go 2 seconds faster every rep I don't follow this, sorry. I follow that it's 1 minute hard and 1 minute coasting, what does first rep 2.10 and try and go 2 seconds faster every rep mean please? Do I keep it at 20 strokes per minute and how long is the session please?
Thanks again for all help.

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hjs
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by hjs » August 17th, 2020, 6:48 am

Re 1 min reps. 20 strokes per min.

Its 1 min rowing, 1 min rest, or very easy paddle. The session does last untill you can’t reach your 2 seconds faster goal anymore. Around 10 reps would be fine. Start the session with a warm up. And a cool down.

Example

Rep 1 2.10 pace 20 strokes.
2 2.08 pace 20 strokes
3 ..
4..
5..
6..
Last rep, you can’t go 2 seconds faster on the average, session is over.

mitchel674
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by mitchel674 » August 17th, 2020, 8:19 am

davidevans1 wrote:
August 17th, 2020, 5:01 am
OK thanks for the feedback. I took up mitchel674's suggestion of doing a 30 minute row at 20 s/m this morning and it felt a lot more sustainable, even though I really felt I'd had a workout at the end! I was pushing with my legs and had watched the video jamesg posted the link too. I'm very deaf and couldn't hear what was being said (there are also no captions) but got the visual of the style.
I've tried posting screen shots of Ergdata but it keeps saying 'files too large' even though they are at smallest setting from iPhone, but the data says:
  • 6577 meters
    Splits for 6 minutes 1340m, 1322m, 1317m and 1304m and s/m 20,20,20,20,21.Per 500mm: 2.14.3, 2.16 1, 2.16.6 ,2.18.0, 2.16.8
    Stroke count 607
    Drive length 1.30m
    Average force 37kg
    Drag factor 125
    Drive speed 1.6m/sec
    Peak force 57kg
Please could someone explain what I should try to improve out of this?
Mitchel674 said watch the graph, is this the Watt reading on PM5? If so that was jagged but at roughly the same level throughout. There isn't a scale but I'd say at just over half way up the vertical axis.
Looking at hjs's suggestion Set the om at 1 min on, 1 off, start rowing at 20 strokes per minute, first rep 2.10, try to go 2 seconds faster every rep I don't follow this, sorry. I follow that it's 1 minute hard and 1 minute coasting, what does first rep 2.10 and try and go 2 seconds faster every rep mean please? Do I keep it at 20 strokes per minute and how long is the session please?
Thanks again for all help.
Great job doing your first 30, r20. I does feel like a workout! Not too shabby as you generated 137 W average.

I was talking about the force curve screen on the PM. See if you can read up about it.

Image

Generating a strong first part of the force curve ensures that your legs are engaged early in the drive. Watching this is also a good distraction from the pain.
55yo male, 6ft, 154lbs

jamesg
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by jamesg » August 20th, 2020, 1:15 am

Your stroke data says you are doing enough to keep fit (almost 140W at rate 20 for ½h).

Stroke 130 is a good length, but the average force 37kg and speed 1.6m/s both look a little low, which might confirm your own diagnosis that your technique does not engage your legs as much as possible. However these numbers also depend on height, weight and age.
08-1940, 183cm, 87kg. Last seen MHR 162, in 2k (2020-05-16) 8.47.5@24

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sharp_rower
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by sharp_rower » August 23rd, 2020, 6:49 pm

Something else: A good thing to look at is where you feel most of the load on that very first stroke on a motionless flywheel. That is when the flywheel is at its heaviest and it should be most obvious which parts of your body are carrying most of the load. Hopefully it's in the legs and your core and arms are sturdy but still, they are not reaching in.
Mid-30s, 6'0", 230lbs (working on that.......), 6:54.8 2k PB (1:43.7, March 2015). Occasional OTW rower.
Don't believe everything you read on the internet!
Other PBs: 1k @ 1:39.9 (March 2015).

mict450
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Re: How to get the most effort from my legs?

Post by mict450 » August 24th, 2020, 5:12 am

Stu's tip to emphasize alternate legs is a good one. Another is the legs only drill using a higher drag factor.
Eric, YOB:1954
Shasta County, CA, small town USA

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