Building Muscle Strength and Bulk

Rowing for weight loss or weight control? Start here.
Post Reply
johnbb
Paddler
Posts: 2
Joined: October 6th, 2019, 4:55 am
Location: Manly, Australia

Building Muscle Strength and Bulk

Post by johnbb » October 6th, 2019, 5:18 am

I'm looking for advice or others' experiences on how to use the C2 rower (mine is the dynamic) to build strength and muscle mass. I've got my own rower at home and have a single scull which I row in, about 10 mins from home, if the water conditions are right. Being in my early 60's I notice its harder to keep muscle mass without doing strength training, but I just don't have the time to go to gyms and do weights and prefer very specific training anyway. I like to train in the single scull and on an ocean racing surf ski and like doing long aerobic sessions on those or do a few road runs, but these don't build muscle mass. At this age and beyond, keeping muscle mass and strength has lots of health benefits.

I'm thinking in terms of doing 3 erg sessions a week keeping the workouts high intensity with long rest (just like doing heavy slow weights) . If anyone has some suggestions on the best types of workouts, I'd be very interested. Hard to find examples of muscle building workouts for rowing. I'd imagine slow rating (16-22 SPM) with very hard explosive strokes on the drive and very slow recovery is needed.Maybe up to 10 reps per set? Balancing the drag factor with rating to give enough resistance at the leg drive I guess would work. I suppose the recovery time needs to be enough to allow the next effort to be done at the same pace as the earlier ones. Any suggestions will be most appreciated.

User avatar
Gammmmo
10k Poster
Posts: 1950
Joined: March 26th, 2016, 1:12 pm

Re: Buidling Muscle Strength and Bulk

Post by Gammmmo » October 6th, 2019, 8:27 am

johnbb wrote:
October 6th, 2019, 5:18 am
but I just don't have the time to go to gyms and do weights and prefer very specific training anyway.
Buy a barbell, some plates, some dumbbells, a bench and cheap adjustable rack. Workout out home. The C2 won't build much muscle. Infact you'll have to eat right, have good programming and optimise lifestyle to keep building muscle with weights let alone with an item of cardio equipment.
johnbb wrote:
October 6th, 2019, 5:18 am
like doing long aerobic sessions on those or do a few road runs, but these don't build muscle mass.
Even worse, they're sending a signal to get rid of mass because it's slowing you down.
johnbb wrote:
October 6th, 2019, 5:18 am
I'm thinking in terms of doing 3 erg sessions a week keeping the workouts high intensity with long rest (just like doing heavy slow weights) . If anyone has some suggestions on the best types of workouts, I'd be very interested. Hard to find examples of muscle building workouts for rowing. I'd imagine slow rating (16-22 SPM) with very hard explosive strokes on the drive and very slow recovery is needed.Maybe up to 10 reps per set? Balancing the drag factor with rating to give enough resistance at the leg drive I guess would work. I suppose the recovery time needs to be enough to allow the next effort to be done at the same pace as the earlier ones. Any suggestions will be most appreciated.
Yes, cut the volume, replace with higher intensity sessions. I am trying to build mass and keep my cardio abilities from degrading too much. I have found regular 5K hard efforts and slightly slower 30mins efforts more sparingly haven't eaten into muscle but have also served me well on the C2. Pay close attention to how you can optimise testosterone and keep protein/calorie levels up.
Paul, 47M, 5'11" 77kg (all PBs done as a LWT tho'), ex bike time trialler.
1min=350m Image
Targets: 1:27(500m), 3:11(1K), 180kg deadlift

Erg on!

User avatar
hjs
Marathon Poster
Posts: 8640
Joined: March 16th, 2006, 3:18 pm
Location: Amstelveen the netherlands
Contact:

Re: Buidling Muscle Strength and Bulk

Post by hjs » October 6th, 2019, 10:13 am

Sessions should be short, fast and low rate. Think 100m reps, rate 20.

You could alternate them with pushups. Do a good warm up, ease into them and keep the volume low. Go for a good “feel” and not do much pace. Feel the muscle working. Go for say 90/95% effort. And watch your back!
For my training see twitter @Hjsrowing

TenaciousMV
Paddler
Posts: 2
Joined: October 15th, 2019, 5:25 pm

Re: Building Muscle Strength and Bulk

Post by TenaciousMV » October 15th, 2019, 5:35 pm

I was going to start a new thread but maybe my angle of question could help the OP here.

I'm in a different spot but the same desire. I'm 37, former crossfitter (it's been over a year since I was serious), and miss having a bit more muscle. I just bought a C2 and am excited about the prospect of both lowering my bodyfat percentage and improving my overall health...

... but with that said: I honestly do NOT necessarily care about my pace or my speed in certain benchmark events such as the 2K. Yes I'll test them now and then but really I'm fine with taking a more unorthodox approach to rowing in order to lean more in favor of building lean muscle rather than endurance.

I have been searching Google and this forum quite a bit and haven't seen this specific question asked. If one was purely interested in building muscle, outside of lifting weights (some of which I will do), what approach should one take on the rower? I am thinking of a drag factor closer to 130-140 rather than 110-125 and focusing a bit more on very high intensity sprints with moderate breaks in between. For example last week I went for 25kcals + 1:15rest x 8 sets. I also know that it's not the most efficient way to row but I do try to over-emphasize pulling the handle to my chest at the end of the stroke to over-work the biceps and lats.

I would be interested to hear some thoughts on this. I will be doing pushups and some moderate barbell work as well, but would like a balance of 4-5 rowing sessions per week versus 2-3 pushup/barbell sessions.

Thanks,
Mike

MartinSH4321
6k Poster
Posts: 693
Joined: October 10th, 2018, 6:43 am

Re: Building Muscle Strength and Bulk

Post by MartinSH4321 » October 16th, 2019, 3:49 am

TenaciousMV wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 5:35 pm
...
If one was purely interested in building muscle, outside of lifting weights (some of which I will do), what approach should one take on the rower?
...

Thanks,
Mike
Hi Mike!

To be honest, I think the rower is pretty unsuitable for building muscle.

One thing I recently started to train is short sprints at low rating, similar to what Henry (hjs) mentinoned in the post before. My plan is to do 4 sets of 30sec sprints at about 20SPM (10-11 reps) as powerful as possible. This should have a simular impact on the body as deadlifts. I use a high drag (160) to slow the flywheel down enough. As all this reps are max effort, the lower back gets a lot of stress, so I'm careful.

I guess you can also train the legs (squats) and biceps (curls) this way, but I doubt this is effective. There are a lot of bodyweight exercises for the whole body, for chest, shoulders and triceps you'll need them (or weights) anyway.
Martin, 1983, Austria, 186cm / 100Kg (6ft1/220lb)
LP: 1:09,7, 100m: 14,7, 1': 384m, 500m: 1:21,4
1k: 3:05 2k: 6:46, 5k: 18:10, 30': 8.059m, 10k: 37:41,
60': 15.661m, HM: 1:25:40
rowing since 2018-06, 3mm in Nov19

johnbb
Paddler
Posts: 2
Joined: October 6th, 2019, 4:55 am
Location: Manly, Australia

Re: Building Muscle Strength and Bulk

Post by johnbb » October 18th, 2019, 5:58 am

Thanks for all the posts on this topic. If anyone is interested in my experience since first posting on this topic, I've been doing the following workout as a strength building exercise:

2k warmup 110 drag factor, 25SPM about 2:30/500 pace

Then I set drag to 180 and do 5 sets of the following:

6 slow hard strokes (first one builds up) @ 15 spm rating, 95% effort (takes about 25 secs) then repeat every 90 seconds (about 60 secs rest at very light effort) x 5 reps per set. repeat for 5 sets on the 8 minute mark

so a total of 6 x 5 x5 strokes =150 very hard slow strokes per session, which takes 50 mins including a bit of rest after the 2k warmup

I feel pretty much the same after that as doing similar reps using free weights. (like I've worked really hard) Definitely feeling stronger for this.

Must have 1 day rest before doing again.

Cheers,
john

mightymayesy
Paddler
Posts: 32
Joined: October 15th, 2019, 8:15 am

Re: Building Muscle Strength and Bulk

Post by mightymayesy » October 24th, 2019, 9:59 am

Interesting thread. I don't think you can build any significant mass on a rower. Just tone up and lean out.

But, as a joke, here's some weighted wearables! Can anybody imagine wearing this on a rower? How about in a public gym :lol:

Sam

Wrist weights

Ihttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Xn8-Sports-Wrist-Weigh ... th=1&psc=1

Weighted vest

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RDX-Adjustable ... ljaz10cnVl
35. 6'7". Starting weight: 125kg. Current weight: 121.7kg. | 3.3kg down via rowing since 15/10/2019.
2,000m PB: 9m35.6s | 5,000m PB: 21m30.9s

TenaciousMV
Paddler
Posts: 2
Joined: October 15th, 2019, 5:25 pm

Re: Building Muscle Strength and Bulk

Post by TenaciousMV » November 6th, 2019, 3:57 pm

mightymayesy wrote:
October 24th, 2019, 9:59 am
Interesting thread. I don't think you can build any significant mass on a rower. Just tone up and lean out.

But, as a joke, here's some weighted wearables! Can anybody imagine wearing this on a rower? How about in a public gym :lol:

Sam

Wrist weights

Ihttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Xn8-Sports-Wrist-Weigh ... th=1&psc=1

Weighted vest

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RDX-Adjustable ... ljaz10cnVl
I actually do own a weighted vest! But would never consider using it on the rower lol...

User avatar
Carl Watts
Half Marathon Poster
Posts: 3175
Joined: January 8th, 2010, 4:35 pm
Location: NEW ZEALAND

Re: Building Muscle Strength and Bulk

Post by Carl Watts » November 7th, 2019, 12:55 pm

I think everyone's opinions on mass is going to vary. The rower may not build huge mass but it will maintain what you have with the right sessions. For me its about maintenance and keeping the body fat level down to a level your happy with. Everything i do is low rating on the erg at 20spm. Have been cheating a bit of late going up to 21spm to get back to my old times after an injury. I would be more interested in keeping the cardio performance up than mass its far more limiting if your out of breath doing anything physical.
Carl Watts.
Age:52 Weight: 104kg Height:183cm
Concept 2 Monitor Service Technician & indoor rower.
http://log.concept2.com/profile/863525/log

Post Reply