Confirmed by performance: CrossFit works for competitive rowing

Well I had an awesome race yesterday in the double sculls in very tough headwind conditions – we led start to finish and won a USRowing Masters National Championship with open water over the next closest boat.

Observations:  1)  Ability to maintain CONSISTENT horsepower instead of “fly-and-die”, 2)  Ability to handle a race that was 30 seconds longer than usual due to conditions with NO LOSS of power or speed, and 3) Ability to RECOVER quickly after the race, feeling like I could do it again.

This type of race is basically equivalent to doing 140-150 kettlebell swings or bodyweight deadlifts in 3 minutes 52 seconds.

I commented to my doubles partner that until the week of the race, I had not done a practice session lasting more than 40 minutes all summer, following the WODs at Crossfit Ignite for strength/power and the Crossfit Endurance model of high-intensity intervals with little rest on the water.  Clearly this method works for masters rowing where the events average 3:30-4:00 in length and all of us have work/family commitments that put pressure on available training time. 

The last time I won this event was 10 years ago when I was in my early 30s…and I feel as fit or fitter now than I did then.

It will be interesting to see the carryover into the fall races where the course is 5K, or 20-25 minutes.

6-month goal on the whiteboard at Crossfit Ignite:  “Win Masters National Championship”.  CHECK !


3 thoughts on “Confirmed by performance: CrossFit works for competitive rowing

  1. This is awesome news! Sorry I missed you while I was there–my 2x partner and I spent a good amount of time in Philadelphia, and because the St. Louis Club only sent a total of three people, we were all helping each other out. I’m glad this worked out for you and it’s good to see CrossFit paying off for a competitive oarsman. Looks like John Tunnicliffe was pretty tough to beat in the Open 1x…were you pleased with your performance in that event, though?

    1. Brad, I hung out with a couple of older folks from St. Louis at the Passaic River R.A. trailer but I missed their names. Yes I was happy with the 1X…I raced it as best I could and had a half length lead on Sean Wolf for about 400m as he was in the lane next to me. But I couldn’t hold the pace and was spent so ended up finishing 4th in the heat. I drew the killer heat by far – but that happens. Last year I drew the easy heat and Tunnicliffe beat me by 11 seconds in the final, so I’m getting closer, and I’ll take that to the bank. I think I stressed a lot less with the 2X and that helped. I hear it’s in Oklahoma City next year so hopefully that’s less of a trip for you! – Marc

    2. BTW having lived in Cali for many years Death Valley and Joshua Tree are two of my favorite places in the world – I checked out your work on your site – cool!

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