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Any rowers out there?(12 posts)

Any rowers out there?tarwheel
Sep 30, 2002 7:56 AM
I've been using the Concept2 rowing machine at the YMCA every now and then for cross-training. I had been thinking this was a good exercise for my recovery days from cycling. Last week, I rowed on two days for 60 minutes each, rowing about 10,000 meters each session, according to the machine. Anyway, I thought my legs would be good and rested up for a metric century I rode on Saturday on a fairly hilly route. Not! My climbing legs were toast and I died on the hills all day long. The only reason that I could account for my poor climbing performance was that the rowing had really tired my quads. Is this a likely? I thought I had found the perfect recovery exercise because the rowing works my upper body and core muscles as well as the legs, but if it ruins my climbing, I'll have to reconsider.
If you are doing it right....Eager Beagle
Sep 30, 2002 8:04 AM
it should really work your legs (quads) on the drive - I also find that it works other strange non-cycling muscles on the catch too. The distances your are doing, even though you are doing it at a earyish pace, are plenty longenough to work your legs plenty.
Yes, rowing is a full body exercise.MB1
Sep 30, 2002 8:05 AM
I've never used a rowing machine but on the water you use a lot of leg.

The progress of your stroke should be legs, back, arms, recover.

I can't stand to exercise indoors although I guess you are unlikely to fall off a cycling or rowing machine-unlike the real world.
re: Any rowers out there?DINOSAUR
Sep 30, 2002 8:20 AM
I used to cross train with a Concept2, but last winter I slacked off and moved the rowing maching into my garage and covered it up. If El Nino hits the say they predict I might just dust it off and row when the weather prohibits me from riding. I found the Concept2 works the upper body and the quads. Good for maintaining a position and developes the quads for climbing. Only downside is I hate exercising indoors and the longest I can row on one of those things is about an hour. If you have just started on the Concept2, an hour is a long time. I do better around 45 minutes doing set routines to break up the monotony...if you work out in a gym you might be better off cross training with free weights and the Concept2...rowing indoors gets very boring after shouldn't hurt your climbing, you are using different muscles from a different angle...
You are doing too muchFred the Cross Poser
Sep 30, 2002 9:17 AM
The Concept II ergometer has been my own personal torture machine for almost 20 years. I remember their first incarnation which were bicycle wheels with wind flaps on the spokes!

I really wouldn't characterize the "erg" as a good recovery exercise while cycling actively. Most of the effort you will put into rowing is from your legs. Additionaly, your arms and back will tire quickly so you will think that you are focusing on nworking your upperbody. But you will really be using (and tiring) many of the same muscle groups that you need for cycling.

All this is compounded by "hammering on the erg" or rowing long distances when just starting off. In your case, 10,000 meters is quite long for someone who hasn't been aerobically training their upper body (I am guessing here). The erg, IMHO, has a special quality of being able to drain your energy quickly, particularly since you never think you are going hard enough on it. This makes the relaxed effort involved in a recovery ride even more difficult.

Also, if you do continue to use it, check the dampers on the fan - make sure they are near closed or closed (the easiest setting).

I use the "erg" only in the offseason to maintain an aerobic base while taking a break from the bike (some silly worry on my part about repetive motion injuries...). A typical "row" for us on the crew team (way back when) was 6,000 meters. A typical race was 2,000 meters.
re: Any rowers out there?Jambo
Sep 30, 2002 10:21 AM
As a former competitive rower, I look at the Erg as a horrible machine of torture. I don't think it would work well as a recovery from cycling. I always used cycling as a recovery from rowing. It is a great way to get in shape though, and I still get on every once in a while. You are doing too much though. We used to do an hour piece once at the beginning of every week, but we were rowing 6-7 days a week all year round. You are really going to wear yourself out until you get used to rowing. It works your entire body. Plus, distances like that are more for an aerobic workout, more for endurance and less to work on leg strength. If you want to work on strength, try some shorter pieces. 15-20 minutes at a higher intensity. If one isn't enough, try two. Then if you want to try some sprints someday, try doing 4-6 500 meter sprints. Take a few minutes in between each one, and try to maintain an even pace for all of them. Don't burn yourself out on the first one. When 6 feels good, try adding 2 more. Keep the vent on the fan around 3, maybe lower on the longer pieces. If you are a big guy, you could go higher, but I wouldn't go higher than 4.
For erg workouts, it's important to get a good mix. A lot of rowers make the mistake of doing only high intensity workouts. We would usually start the week with the longer aerobic workouts, and each day it would move more towards strength, and ending the week with a day of 500's or a 20 minute test.
Sep 30, 2002 11:00 AM
Thanks for the advice, guys. The rowing machine feels deceptively easy to me, and I have been starting out with the setting at 5 or 6 and then cranking it up to 8 or 9. I've also been rowing for at least 45-60 minutes. The funny thing is that it doesn't feel like it's working me that hard while I'm doing it. I generally lift weights, upper body only, on the days when I use the rowing machine. I figured rowing would be good cross training for cycling because it works a lot of the muscles that don't get much exercise while cycling.
Sep 30, 2002 12:30 PM
I started out cycling as crosstraining for rowing.

Rowing uses your legs like crazy, but it feels more like your upper quads that get the burn rather then closer to the knee like it does in cycling. Either way, doing a metric century a day after an hour on the erg would not be a good move. You could still use rowing as a recovery excersize if you went for shorter time periods. Rowing also helps strengthen your back and core, which is important in cycling as well.

I'm suprised a non-rower has stayed on the erg for over 30 minutes! Usually you can tell a non rower because they fly up the recovery, pull with their legs and arms at the same time, and go balls out with a rate upwards of 40 while pulling 2:30 splits for around 3 minutes then stop.
not to brag but ...tarwheel
Sep 30, 2002 12:36 PM
I think I could keep rowing for hours if it didn't start hurting my butt and wasn't so boring. It's just doesn't feel as exerting to me as cycling, although I have to admit that it starts getting interesting when you really start pushing it. But it's not as hard as hammering up a long hill.
A word on your flap settingEager Beagle
Oct 1, 2002 12:25 AM
don't make the mistake of thinking that it's better to row higher up the flap scale - just because there is more resistance, doesn't mean it's easier.

Get to a nice /500 pace up at your 8/9 setting, then go down to the bottom of the zone - say 4-5, and try to keep the same pace over the water. You'll find it "interesting", a rather a different work-out. That's probably a better place to have your resistance setting for cycling fitness, without the leg overload.
re: Any rowers out there?Rich_Racer
Sep 30, 2002 2:14 PM
Yep - I'm a rower. I use cycling as recovery from rowing too. You say you could go forever, but you should pull harder. The average rower can do about 15000m in an hour. Incidently, the fan setting (1-10) doesn't really make it harder, it's just like changing gear on a bike - you get out what you put in - ~4-6 is the generally accepted norm. Smaller numbers favour lighter guys, and vice-versa.

Incidently, I don't think erging is good recovery from cycling but I think it's good training. Any exercise is good recovery if you don't push yourself too hard though.


re: Any rowers out there?waynebo
Oct 1, 2002 8:46 AM
Took up the C2 about 15 months ago and I think it has helped my cycling and made me better all-around aerobically. Rowing is a leg-driven activity but works all the major muscle groups. I do it year-round but increase more in October. My goal is to break 7 minutes for 2000 meters. I'll tell you--a 2000 m piece at max effort is brutal. Absolutely brutal. Never have quite experienced that except maybe the last 10 yards of a 100 yard butterfly race. Lactic acid just pollutes your entire system. At least with cycling your sparing your upper body of muscle fatigue agony. Frankly, rowers probably have the best lung capacity of any athlete due to the fact that it is the one of only two aerobic activities in which size matters (swimming is the other). The best rowers and swimmers tend to be 6'3" and 200 # or better. Swimming however needs to be taken up at a young age due to the long period needed for proper stroke mechanics--did you ever see a non-swimmer try to swim--25 yards of thrashing about makes you think of a shark feeding frenzy only to see the hapless "swimmer" sucking serious wind and not really maintaining much headway. 25 yards later and the lad is toast. But, I digress--rowing is a great cross-training tool but you do pay a price for the upper body mass that comes w/it.