I have been thinking all week about the topic of my next blog. As I am in the process of writing / using my own indoor rowing training programme I thought I would talk to you about the benefits of following a progressive training plan. I wholly believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives on this topic. It will bring greater structure to your fitness sessions and makes it much easier to make further progressions or changes so that you are guaranteed to achieve your targets/goals.
A structured indoor rowing plan will make sure you are rowing the necessary sessions to get to your goal whether it is improving your 2k time,training for a 1/2 marathon or just using it for general overall fitness. All of these targets have specific programs that you need to follow. The 2km is a sprint so there should be a speed session, endurance session and a distance session. Whether you want to row 3 or 6 times a week these 3 sessions are important ones that need to be performed during the week. It is probably advisable to add in 2 distance sessions of 8km or more at a lowrate as this will build up your aerobic base and muscle endurance and also let your body get over the stresses of the speed and endurance intervals that shouldn't be completed one after another due to the fact it may increase your risk of burnout. The half marathon training needs distance sessions and endurance sessions mostly low-rate we call these meter-munching sessions. Using the rower for general fitness you can use a variety of sessions from speed to low-rate and while it is hard work with increasing distances it is also enjoyable to put your headphones on and row your heart out, I personally find this a great stressbuster and find it really helps relieve the stresses of a busy family life!
I have always advocated the most important part of any program, albeit indoor rowing, weight-training or even running is the consistency part. You need to be performing these sessions at least 3 times a week to see any improvement in fitness and to further your progressions. With my training I aim to indoor row 5 times a week, I use the skierg 3 times a week and I have just written a strength program for my indoor rowing team which I am aiming to perform twice a week. I know you may have noticed that I have just said twice a week for strength but as an individual I have made the decision based on how my body feels when I strength train 3 times a week and I personally feel it effects my rowing performance negatively. So there is also the factor that your training plan has to be guaged by you, to do this you need to record details of your sessions - how you felt, what you achieved - and then review it at the end of a 3-4 week period its then that you can make the changes that will benefit the next part of your training.
When you have a training program written for you by a personal trainer its really important to give them feedback at the end of the session and for them to give you their thoughts too. This will help increase motivation and also your enjoyment of further sessions which will in turn create greater progressions as you will work harder to achieve your goals. An indoor rowing training program changed the way I looked at the indoor rower, it helped me increase all my times across the board, changed my body-shape and gave me confidence in my abilities. If you add in a weigh-training program this will most definitely compliment your rowing. Take for instance an exercise such as the Romanian deadlift this uses similar actions to the hip swing of the rowing stroke, there are many other strength movements that rowers use to strengthen their performance on the rower.
So if your a beginner and interested in indoor rowing try a training plan, it will help give you structure, motivation and also the support which is needed for you to gain confidence using probably the best and most important cardio machine on the gymfloor!