Row 10,000 meters
Endurance work is an important part of fitness. No, it’s not what we build our “fitness house” on, but it’s certainly a wing in that house. Today will be a great day to continue to develop your endurance outside of your comfort zone.
THE ERG DAMPER EXPLAINED /MAY 21, 2016
The green zone (4-6): this is prime time for rowing because it’s what the natural resistance of water feels like. You can’t make water “resist” more in rowing; in fact, you have to learn to row on the water without “tearing,” or cavitating the water. Stay in this zone to best transition the power you apply to an oar while balancing technique with heavy power. Our training for the ocean as American Oarsmen places us squarely in the green zone so we can learn to budget our strength and cardio with what we’re going to feel out on the ocean.
The yellow zone (7 and 8): certainly this will feel heavier than the green zone. As a result, this promotes lower stroke rating (s/m on the PM4 and PM5 monitors) as the load feels bigger when you pull resulting in a more exhausting drive. Training in this zone is meaningful for building a more powerful stroke by making it easier to feel connected when you drive.
The red zone (9 and 10): normally this is reserved for people who treat the erg like a bicep curl machine or can only withstand 30 seconds of effort rowing due to poor technique. Without good form (arms-body-legs / legs-body-arms), the high resistance here almost invariably causes beginning and intermediate rowers to overuse their back leading to strains. As coaches, we reserve these resistances for teaching people how to “suspend their weight, or hang on the drive” rather than for workouts.
The blue zone (1-3): most often neglected, the blue zone is really for advanced rowers. Down at this low resistance, it’s very challenging to feel connected on the drive; things feel slack and power is hard to generate. However, proficient rowers can still hammer it at these resistances thanks to their exemplary form. If you can achieve similar splits and sustain them then you have excellent connection and can use this zone to build your aerobic capacity by spiking up the stroke rating to levels that are not easily attained in the other zones.
So what zone should you choose? Ultimately it depends on your style and form. It’s possible to produce the same splits in any zone, but our preferences (do you like heavier and few strokes per minute or lighter and many strokes per minute: the proverbial Arnold vs. Bruce Lee split as we like to put it) dictate where we are most comfortable.