Month 1 Training Rationale:
After observing several CrossFitters on the erg, I’ve concluded that
the best thing you can do is simply to get more miles; most
CrossFitters are not comfortable on the machine, and getting lots of
miles behind you will help with this.
You will benefit
more from fairly relaxed, longer workouts than you can from short,
intense workout. Also, I’m prescribing a low stroke rate. There are a few reasons for this: first, it allows you to relax
between strokes and maintain a long stroke; length is what you need to
be able to survive a competitive race. Second, with a low stroke rate, the wheel has a chance to
really slow down between strokes; this makes it
easier for you to feel your weight against it. Third, a higher stroke rate is unsustainable at this
pressure, and I want you to learn how to really honk on it. Fourth and last, this workout will give you a strong
foundation of muscular endurance and overall endurance.
Rowers have the biggest hearts of all athletes. Literally. I think the
reason for this is that the training is so diverse: they lift weights,
they do long distance training, and they also do tons of sprint work.
(CrossFit reminds me a bit of rowing training, actually.) I think that
introducing some rowing training will help you not only to get better
on the erg, but also to get better at the benchmark WODs.
When to Do the Erg Workout:
2-3 times per week, particularly after a heavy lift – not after a met-con workout, unless you take a healthy break and really feel up to it.
A lot of the lifts we do are ideally suited to rowing, and they are of more benefit to your rowing if you apply your lift directly to a rowing workout. Also, I don’t want you to jump right into a rowing workout without having warmed up.
Skip the rowing workout on metcon WOD days, and just do the WU (warm-up) or CD (cool-down) on the erg, if possible. (See the notes about the WU and CD, below.) We improve our form best when we are relaxed and going easy, so the WU and CD are great opportunities to focus on technique.
The following are variations on a theme. Depending on your schedule, your energy level, your familiarity with the erg, and your overall inclination, you can scale your workout along these lines. Do any of these 6 workouts at a 12-16 stroke rate. (If you haven’t just done a WOD, be sure to warm up [see notes on warming up, below]. Also, be sure to cool down once you’re done.)
A x B’/C’ means “A times B minutes with C minutes’ rest in between
WOD 1: 10′ (i.e., ten minutes) – total time, including WU and CD: 30′
WOD 2: 15′ – total time, including WU and CD: 35′
WOD 3: 2 x 10’/3′ (i.e., two times ten minutes, with three minutes rest) – total time, including WU and CD: 43′
WOD 4: 20′ – total time, including WU and CD: 40′
WOD 5: 2 x 15’/3′-5′ – total time, including WU and CD: 53′-55′
WOD 6: 2 x 20’/5′ – total time, including WU and CD: 65′
Feel your body weight each stroke. This workout should be fairly difficult – you’ll have to maintain close to full pressure. Try to maintain a consistent pace throughout your piece; if you’re doing two pieces, try to get roughly the same scores on both pieces.
If you get way too tired, and need to slow your pace, drop your stroke rate a bit – not the pressure.
This workout should feel pretty hard. You should just be able to hold a conversation, but it shouldn’t be comfortable to do so.
We’ll discuss technique at the Lyceum, to be scheduled, but go ahead and get started on this regimen.
Warming Up and Cooling Down:
WU: women start at 3:20 or 3:30 splits, and every 300m knock 10″ (i.e., ten seconds) off the splits – i.e., gradually increase the pressure by 10″ increments, until you reach 2:20 or 2:30. Men start at 3:00 or 3:10, and end up at 2:00 or 2:10. Keep your stroke rate at 12-16 – the lower the better.
The warm-up should not be difficult, but the last 600m should get you breathing. Use the warm-up as an opportunity to relax and focus on your technique. If you want to do any drills (e.g., pause with your legs straight, hands and body over, during your recovery), this and the cool-down are the times to do it.
As a variation, if you feel the WU is too hard, you can hang out at the lighter pressures for longer than 300m, and simply not go all the way to the pace that I prescribed. Alternatively, if you feel it’s too easy, you can skip the slower paces and spend more time at the harder pressures. But remember: this is supposed to be pretty easy – just focus on technique and think of this as a nice, easy period before a very hard workout.
For the CD (the cool-down), simply do the WU in reverse.
Of course, if you’re sick of the erg or just prefer a different way of warming up, do that. Just please be sure to cool down on the erg – it’s a great way to acquire technical skill. This is true of the WU as well, but I just think from experience that the CD is more important in this regard.
For Further Information:
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me at the Lyceum or shoot me an email at Nick(at)CrossFitSouthBrooklyn.com