18 Dec 2013
Performing an appropriate warmup for the workout that is set out each day can make or break a performance. Below is the warmup we use fairly consistently in classes at CrossFit Boston and at the Renegade Rowing Club. It’s a good 10min warmup to focus on control, connection, and recovering to strength. Checkout how slow the Renegade Rowing Club approaches the catch in the beginning. Executing this drill with control will allow you to really focus on putting technique changes into effect and hitting that catch with good timing and connection.
Please share what you do for a warmup when rowing is involved in the workout. What is your focus?
Renegade Rowing Club Warmup:
1min – 1/2 Legs Only
1min – Full Legs Only
1min – Legs and Body Only
1min – Full Stroke
1min – Pause @1/2 Slide Every Stroke
5min – 10 Strokes On/ 10 Strokes Off, 15 On/15 Off, 20 On/20 Off
11 Dec 2013
From time to time it can be beneficial to look at yourself on camera. No we don’t care about the aesthetics or the fashion. We’re looking to gain feedback and a mental picture. We’re looking for just one or two cues that might give us a smoother, more powerful stroke. What’s going right? What’s going wrong? What can we do better?
You should be asking yourself, “What do I look like now? How do I move now? What could use some extra focus and improvement next time?” Don’t dwell on to many things at a time, just find one or two things that might make your life on the erg or in the boat a little better. Go work on them. Then reassess in a couple of weeks.
The Renegade Rowing Club has agreed to help everyone by taking a look at their strokes. If you’d like feedback similar to this, post a 20 second clip of you rowing to YouTube and share it with us in the comments of this post. I’ll do my best to give you a couple of things to work on!
For each of the following videos I’ll be ranking each rower on their posture, control, and connection. I’ll use a five point scale where 1 = poor and 5 = perfect. When dealing with posture we’re looking for the torso to be stacked and strong at all times. When talking about control we are looking at the smoothness of the recovery and how the seat moves toward the catch. Does it rush forward for the next stroke? Is there control in the last few inches of the slide to change direction without pushing the boat backwards? Last and most important, connection, are the seat and handle connected and moving together into and out of the catch as if connected by a belt.
Take a look and share what you might focus on next time you row!
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Nice job getting the body over. Don’t let the seat stop at the catch. Be ready to push with the legs the second you hit the catch and keep the seat and hands connected.
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 4 – video
Feedback: Nice horizontal hands. Don’t let the handle pause at the finish. Focus on quicker hands away as if there were opposing magnets on the handle and your chest trying to push those hands away out of the finish.
Posture: 4, Control: 3, Connection: 3 – video
Feedback: Great posture and nice job getting the body over. Try not to be so rigid and don’t break the elbows as you initiate the drive. Relax a little on the recovery and make everything smooth.
Posture: 3, Control: 2, Connection: 3 – video
Feedback: Nice job getting the arms extended and ready for the catch. Try to not be so robotic and rigid at the finish. Focus on quick and smooth hands away. The handle should always be moving.
Posture: 4, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Good posture and nice horizontal hands. Don’t let the shoulders and torso reach for more at the catch. Focus on staying connected as you approach the catch. See if you can get the body over and find that reach earlier in the recovery, before you get to half slide.
Posture: 3, Control: 4, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Great work getting your body over on the recovery and getting prepared by half slide. Don’t let your posture go as you approach the catch. Focus on bringing the handle with you as you push the knees down. The first inch or two of the drive you are shooting the slide, so keep a big chest and solid abs/back as you push.
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Nice power and push on the drive. Try to keep your hands on one level plain and don’t let them drop coming into the catch. Focus on pointing the toes as you finish and then getting the proper sequence of arms away first, bodies over, and then knees come up during the recovery. Everything blends, but that’s the order of firing in terms of sequence.
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?
20 Nov 2013
Checkout the post below from Alex Black of Wicked Good Nutrition for some good info and ideas on what to eat before a workout.
What Should I Eat Before a Workout??
Deciding what to eat day-to-day can be challenging. Choosing the best thing to eat – a meal that will give you energy to perform without making you feel too full, sick, or hungry – can be even more challenging. Every workout is different, so how you fuel for each one will be different too. You probably wouldn’t eat the same breakfast before a 2K test as you would before a 10 mile run. Read on for some basic pre-workout meal guidelines and some ideas for before a workout.
Then share your favorite pre-workout meal in the comments!
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!
06 Nov 2013
2k Row CRASH-B Style @CFB
December 21st and January 25th
We’ll have 10 ergs hooked up to one another and displayed on the wall via a projector so that competitors and spectators can witness how fast each boat is going.
The 2k Row is a test of how much pain and glory athletes can endure over seven to eight minutes. Grab some friends, come on down, and get after it. This will be the first of two 2k competitions called the Renegade Rowing League, which is a good lead up to the CRASH-B Indoor Rowing World Championships in February. Anyone is welcome to come test themselves to see how they stack up.
If you’re interested in competing and bringing your gym shoot me an email at [email protected] I’ll have a registration link up soon. All those that compete in the Renegade Rowing League have a shot at a prize if they win their race category. The Renegade Rowing League will use the same event categories as CRASH-Bs.
Shout out if you’re training for the Renegade Rowing League and CRASH-B’s!
30 Oct 2013
Happy Halloween! I hope you’re planning on dressing up to WOD today! I’ll be dressing up to coach!
Announcing the 2013 Renegade Rowing Club!
It’s that time of year again. The weather has gotten cold and no one wants to row in the cold. Now is the time to get pumped for training in the gym and crushing your 2k on the erg! The 2013 Renegade Rowing Club will be held at 5:30pm on Monday nights at CrossFit Boston. Practices will start the Monday after Thanksgiving, December 2nd. The cost for the Renegade Rowing Club will be $47 per month or $94 for the whole winter. We will be training for the Renegade Rowing League, which will be held in December and January, leading up to CRASH-B’s. Who’s game? Email me if you plan on joining the Renegade Rowing Club, [email protected] There are only 16 spots available in the club, so let me know sooner rather than later!
Above is a video of the Wayland Weston Men’s Crew Team that I’ve been coaching this Fall. I wanted to give you all a view of the sport of rowing from the water. This was their last practice before the Head of the Fish Regatta, which is where that Fish Head came from that I hung on the gym wall earlier this week. If you’d like to learn to row on the water and get your own fish head someday, it starts in the gym this winter with the Renegade Rowing Club. Who’s game?
23 Oct 2013
The Head of the Charles took place last weekend in Boston. A lot of rowers used the Head to get motivated by setting goals to place in the top 20, top 10, or top 3. If you got a chance to check it out please share your thoughts and pictures. Did witnessing one of the most awesome rowing events in the world get you motivated to commit to your own goals or an upcoming event?
I’m looking forward to getting the Renegade Rowing Club up and running for the winter and training for CRASH-B’s. More details on the Renegade Rowing Club and the Renegade Rowing League will be out next Thursday, so keep a look out!
Below is an excerpt from a great blog on motivation by Alex Black of Wicked Good Nutrition. Check it out and tell us how you’re getting motivated this Winter!
The Land of Motivation
Motivation can be tough. It can be hard to find your way to Motivation-land, and once you get there, it can be even harder to stay. It takes at least a month to turn a behavior into a habit, and that month will typically be rife with challenges. Because, you know, the minute you decide to give up sugar or beer the next three social outings your friends plan are a baking pot luck and outing to your favorite craft beer bar…
On top of that, some research suggests it can take up to 3 years to reset your body’s homeostasis (sense of balance) at a new weight. What this means is, if you lose 20 pounds, it can take 3 years before you body recognizes this as its new and healthy weight.
But all that aside, there are a few tricks you can use to help you get motivated and stay motivated. These include:
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.
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!