CrossFit Endurance rowing short intervals baseline

Recently I had to do the CrossFit Endurance short intervals workouts on the Concept2 indoors due to the continued flooding in New Jersey.

I have two baseline WODs to report.  Some key points:

1.  These were done at drag factor 110, simulating a fast eight, not a single.  I am doing them at a lower drag factor than usual because I am rehearsing for a possible Head of the Charles eights race.  Drag factor 110 means higher stroke ratings, and the requirement that the impulse with the legs be much quicker on each stroke.  “Quick” vs. “strong” is the feeling.WP_000455

2.  On intervals of 20 – 30 seconds, I believe the “foul” criteria specified by CFE are too lenient, in that 2-3 seconds variation per interval is a lot (up to 10%) of variation.  I find that in order to really find max intensity, I have to strive for no more than 3% variation.  This means <5 meters on distance intervals, or less than a half second on timed intervals.

3.  I find that when trying to find truly “max” intensity on the C2, I usually don’t reach my “baseline” until interval #3 at the earliest and sometimes not until interval #6.  It is especially important not to baseline interval #1, as starting from a stopped or slow flywheel makes a big difference on short intervals, and your first interval will usually be your slowest by quite a bit.  I don’t know why it takes several intervals to truly find “max.”  I am not a physiologist but I believe it has to do with neuromuscular recruitment, and it seems to take me a couple of “real” intervals (not warmup pieces) to get there.  Even though the first couple of pieces “feel” like max, they clearly are not based on the numbers.

8 x (30 seconds on, 1 min rest):


For a decent male rower, I believe the baseline should be between 165 and 170 meters per interval.  As you can see, once you get humming, it’s possible to narrow that range and try to hit 165-168 reliably on piece after piece.

8 x (125 meters on, 1 min rest):



I believe the baseline should be from 21.7 to 22.3 seconds per interval.  Again after the first few intervals, it’s possible to narrow this band down to reliably hit within 3/10ths per interval.

Hope this helps those stuck indoors!

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