Olympic Lifting and Rowing?
What do you think about using Olympic Lifting in training to be a Rower or using Rowing to be a better Olympic Lifter? Both require speed and power and incorporate similar movement patterns. However, in rowing you sit down and are in contact with three surfaces. In Olympic Lifting you are only in contact with two. In Olympic lifting the goal is to transfer forces vertically and in rowing the goal is to transfer forces horizontally. Where do you see the most benefit in training with both? Are there downfalls?
One skill, concept, and idea that I keep coming back to is Connection. Coaching people in the gym and on the water allows me to see many different movement patterns and levels of ability.
Athletes that grasp this idea of connection from one joint to another and one external object to another are able to learn faster, create more power, and transfer skills to other movements. Learning to connect the hips to the hands as you initiate a movement or connect your feet to your hands at the catch, both in rowing and snatching, is invaluable. Once this skill is perfected the possibilities are endless.
Yesterday morning I introduced the snatch to the BC Men’s Crew Team. While we only worked with PVC pipes to begin with and 45# bars in the workout, the importance of generating speed through the middle of the drive and being turned on at the catch became apparent. Those that had explosive hip extension from rowing and knew how to create speed on the oar through the middle of the drive in the boat had a lot more success transferring that skill to the barbell.
Using the Clean and the Snatch to generate speed on the drive through good connection is a lot of fun. Rowers become athletes and are empowered to push harder by learning new movements and finding power they never knew they had. It’s also a lot of fun seeing olympic lifters and other athletes learn to row because it helps them to find more connection and speed in their lifts.
Post your thoughts to comments! Any experience transferring skills from one sport to another?
14 Nov 2013
I was reading an article online about the quality standards of CrossFit gyms. Luckily, I feel we at CFB fall into most, if not all, categories of what makes a good “box.” Anyway, I read one portion in particular and it was almost as if I had written the article. Not only is it solid advice, but I think I may have said something like this a few times before. Anyway, here it is. Take it to heart. This doesn’t just apply to pull-ups btw…
“Quality of Movement Stressed Over Type of Movement
Do you get annoyed by your coach chattering on about technique? Do you zone them out when they suggest strict pull-ups with a band instead of kipping pull-ups? “By golly I’m not getting a band! I can kip the crap out of 2-3 pull-ups!” Face palm. Suck it up buttercup, no one cares if you need a band. We’ve all been there and the only person you’re holding back is yourself. If you have an annoying coach that chooses kinder words than mine to express the same idea, hug him or her the next time you see them. You are blessed.”
13 Nov 2013
How do you Master Skills?
As Winter starts to set in and you start working toward your goals, be aware of how you recover and master skills. One goal you’ll probably set for the Winter is to master a new skill, like double unders, hand stand push-ups, or muscle ups. I want to draw your attention to how you attack these skills and actually master them.
To master a skill is to know and have full control over every piece of a skill, both physically and mentally, when your fresh and your fatigued. Lately we’ve been pushing the intensity in the gym and many people have found themselves sore and out of it for a few days. One example would be Coach Tito and Carla of CrossFit Boston competing at the Southie Throwdown this past weekend. They literally were crushed from back to back competition days. What would you do on the Monday following a weekend like that?
The days following a hard training day are perfect for mastering a new skill through active recovery. Rather than going back for a second or third hard training day and not performing at full intensity, commit to an active recovery day focused on mastery of the skills you’d like to develop. Carla did just that on Monday.
Rather than join in on the 7am class at CFB, she took 1 hour out of her day to actively recover, instead of sitting around and feeling sore. She set the erg for 2,000m of work and 10min of rest. She rowed an easy 2k and then spent 10 minutes working on her goats, handstand push ups, pull ups, and Toes to Bar. Three sets of this active recovery interval scheme gave her confidence with her skills and prepared her for a hard training day on Tuesday.
The erg is a great tool to use as active recovery. A few hard training days back to back will leave your body depleted and full of metabolic waste. In order to replenish your energy and clear out the metabolic waste it helps to eat well, move, and keep the blood flowing. The erg provides a stable platform and is low impact, perfect for recovery at a sub-maximal effort. Next time you’re feeling sore or a workout absolutely crushes you, go sit down on the erg and row for 10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be hard. Enjoy it! Row at about 40% effort, just hard enough to breath a little bit. You should be able to maintain sentences and tell your training partner what you’ll be doing to master your next skill!
If you have any fun methods to master skills please share in the comments!
03 Nov 2013
I was reading this article here. I find it VERY interesting and I agree with it totally. I can totally understand and relate to the desire to complete the WOD as Rx’d but is it in your best interests? What is the cost of doing so? Tell me your thoughts and experiences?
16 Oct 2013
It’s been said that Rowing Is Passion! Rowing as a sport has been exploding over the last couple of years. You’ve seen it here in our very own gym. Do you know any other CrossFit gym that has 16 ergs at its disposal? I’ve been in touch with many followers of the Renegade Rowing WOD as well as athletes and gym owners who have started their own rowing clubs. They all have found passion in the hard work, power, and grace that it takes to row. Have you thought about joining the Renegade Rowing Club? We will be starting it up again this November and training for CRASH-B’s – The Indoor Rowing World Championships held here in Boston every February.
How do you incorporate rowing into your everyday training and what makes you passionate about this amazing sport?
Renegade Rowing was lucky enough to be interviewed by Alexa Pozniak of Boston.com for a video and article on why rowing can be such a great fitness tool and how local rowers are training for the Head of the Charles. Having the opportunity to spread my knowledge and passion for the sport with the athletes of Wayland-Weston Crew, Boston College Men’s Crew, CrossFit Boston, and followers of Renegade Rowing is what I live for. Seeing all of you improve and find passion in rowing is what it’s all about. Please checkout and share this video and article with your friends and get in touch with me, [email protected], if you’re interested in the Renegade Rowing Club.
Good Morning CrossFit Boston!
Just wanted to give a shout out to the 6am and 7am classes! Well done keeping your brace and not letting those backs round out. A good cue we used this morning that helped people focus on keeping everything locked in was “Push the Floor Away!” Rather than imagining you’re pulling a bar off the floor, think of it as pushing the Earth down through your heels. Today’s WOD is all about pushing!
Last but not least I’d like to call out Elizabeth from the 6am class. She crushed it today. In the beginning rounds she was only able to link together 5 unbroken double unders. In workouts like this you have an opportunity to get lots of quality reps in and commit to learning double unders. Elizabeth flipped the switch. Rather than sticking with single, double, single for the whole workout, she committed to linking doubles together. By the end of the WOD she hit 14 doubles unbroken, a personal record. Today is your day for double unders. Commit to linking them and finding them mid-WOD under fatigue. Get ‘em!
Have a great day CFB!
Rhythm and Balance are two skills needed in the boat and in the gym. One way to improve a skill is by deliberate practice on a regular basis and making every act an act of conditioning. Showing your body and brain how to move properly over and over again in many different situations will force it to adapt and make a movement second nature. The simple task of taking the blade out of the water and putting it in the water in time with the rest of your crew is one example. Above is a video of the BC Men’s Crew Team practicing building 30′s and the chop spin. How do you spin the boat? Have you ever tried the chop spin? Do you use spinning the boat as an opportunity to improve rhythm, balance, timing, and feel?
What do you do every day in the gym that can help improve a skill or a goat? Picking up an empty barbell or plates from the floor? Picking up the med ball to start your first wall ball? Kicking up into a handstand from a standing position vs. the floor? Every act is an act of conditioning. If you’re focusing on a particular skill in the gym this month, look for little opportunities to keep improving and practicing proper movement patterns. If you need help dreaming up creative ways to practice a skill outside of class come find me and we’ll figure it out!
16 Sep 2013
Horizontal Pulling. Hearing this, many of us think of ring rows and correlate this movement as a “bad” thing or a scale for pull-ups. First of all, it is DEFINITELY not a “bad” thing. It is a “tough” thing. It’s an appropriate scale for those of us who cannot hang from a bar for very long or get pull-ups with a band (which many of you know I can’t stand). But even if you are more than capable of hangin’ from a pull-up bar and bangin’ out 20 reps, you should still add in some horizontal pulling to your routine. If ring rows are easy for you to get, try doing strict ring rows with your feet elevated. Show me 20 good reps of that, and I would say you don’t need to add this into your training routine. My favorite way to add in horizontal pulling is by adding in barbell rows or Pendlay rows (both very similar, but still… a little different). If you don’t have pull-ups yet, this movement will definitely get you a more stable shoulder girdle and on your way to getting those elusive pull-ups in no time.
The following is a link to a video explaining some technique for some horizontal pulling movements. Check it out. Add some in to your week. Get stronger! That’s why you came to us!
When training with constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity the focus is to build general physical preparedness. The pyramid model of training has a base made of nutrition that supports metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting, and a peak of sport. So if the ultimate goal of our training is to compete in a sport and do so with super health and elite fitness, how do you work sport specific training into your daily/weekly routine?
This Fall a collegiate crew team, the renegade rowing team, and myself will be building their work capacity and general fitness on a regular basis throughout the week along with sport specific training. In the sport of rowing it definitely helps to have as much water time as possible to become efficient at moving the boat. One downfall of spending every hour in a boat can be a decrease in strength, power, and overall fitness. How do we get enough time in the boat and still maintain our power and fitness?
This week I’ve combined the two – 1. Rowing on the Water with 2. Metabolic Conditioning and Strength Work in the gym. I’m testing my new programming that we’ll be using this fall. For a two-hour practice we’ll row for 15 minutes, run a mile to the gym, do a 45 minute session at CrossFit Boston, run a mile back to the boat, and then row back to the dock for another 15-20 minutes.
Having just experienced this, I’m very excited to bring this Renegade Rowing programming to more rowers. It allows for a sport specific warmup and cool down while mixing in an endurance aspect with the running and overall amount of work done in a two-hour practice. The workout in the gym allows us to focus on building strength and power. The best part is that with the right focus this work can be used for skill transfer to rowing. While it’s not sport specific work, there are aspects that can reinforce the sport specific skills needed when we get back in the boat at the end of practice.
The absolute best part though is the Fun! A two-hour practice of competition and fun, both on the water and in the gym. I Can’t wait to see the results at the Head of the Charles in October.
Please share your thoughts and methods for combining sport specific training with general physical preparedness.
If you’d like to join in and train Renegade Rowing style this fall, please get in touch with me … [email protected]