I’d encourage everyone in the NY/NJ/CT area to consider participating in the Ironmen Erg Classic indoor rowing competition on January 31 at Don Bosco prep in Ramsey, NJ. This is a 2K race, with categories for all ages and skill levels, and is a good mid-winter checkpoint for anyone planning on going to CRASH-Bs at the end of February. I don’t usually do erg competitions, but this one is run by Don Bosco, whose facility I row out of, and they are encouraging CrossFit boxes to send teams, so CrossFit Ignite will be there!.
Join me in the Row’d Royalty challenge starting January 7. This is a CrossFit Open – style online rowing competition run by Diablo CrossFit, with prizes for the top finishers. Register at http://rowdroyalty.com
Workout will be 10-20 minutes of technical coaching, during which we will do about 2500 meters of rowing, including drills for the finish and arms away motion, and a few 20-stroke pieces to warm us up.
WOD will be 6-8 x (1′ on, 1′ off) – see the CFI Rowing Club page for additional details.
I recently received a question on whether there is a translation formula to convert Calories, commonly prescribed in CrossFit WODs that involve rowing, into 500m split times or watts, more commonly used by rowers to gauge pace. CrossFit workouts use Calories on the Concept2 performance monitor to approximate “reps” when combining rowing with barbell movements or other rep-centric movements.
There is a complex formula behind the Calories measurement, and it does not translate directly into meters or watts because it is a measure of energy burned for a theoretical 175-lb. individual instead of mechanical work (i.e. distance the chain travels).
As a rower, however, I have a sense of the “pace” I need to maintain in Calories for certain WODs to generate desired results. For example, in Fight Gone Bad I know that I should target a 1500-Calorie pace for the 1-minute rowing intervals in order to finish at 25+ Calories for the interval.
I decided to experiment a little to see if I could generate approximate Calories-to-pace conversions for 500m pace times from 2:00 down to 1:25 in 5-second intervals. I did this by setting up 100-meter fixed distance intervals with 1 minute rest at drag factor 125, putting the display on average 500m pace, and trying to end each interval at exactly the target pace I desired. For example, for the 1:45 pace target interval, I rowed for 100m, varying my pressure to try to end at exactly 1:45.0 average pace. Then I could switch the display to Calories to see what that translated to. It is of course impossible to hit the target average splits exactly, but here’s what I came up with:
As you can see, Calories increases faster with pace than watts – it is not a linear relationship.
I hope this helps as a guideline for those integrating rowing with CrossFit!
This is a first in 15+ years on the Concept2 logbook. Paul Buchanan pointed out that my profile got selected as the “Profile of the Day.” I have been exclusively on-water this summer so I haven’t been checking the logbook, and I forgot I even had a CrossFit-specific profile, which I use for logging meters when CrossFit Ignite participates in C2 competitions.
The picture is from the 2000 Head of the Charles championship single, rowing for North Bay Rowing Club.
My box, CrossFit Ignite, did the Jackie benchmark WOD yesterday:
50 thrusters @ 45lbs
20 pull ups
Honestly, I was coming off of a race on Sunday and hadn’t been doing much CrossFit for the past month, focusing on on-water rowing due to the late start after the long winter. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I haven’t done a thruster or pull up in a long time, and I haven’t sat on a static C2 in a while either.
The first thing I noticed was that I felt really strong, smooth, and connected on the C2. Single sculling does wonders for indoor rowing, if not the other way around. I felt I could easily nail the 1000m row, so here’s my strategy:
- 1000m row: go at 90%, hold the rating at about a 28, try to finish in the 3:20s but well within control. No sprint, don’t build up lactate. Don’t think strong. Think long, smooth, connected, consistent. I rowed this mostly eyes-closed, counting 100 strokes, visualizing the feel of boat run on smooth water.
- Thrusters: low, consistent cadence, pause briefly at the rack position after each rep to regroup, don’t put the bar down, ever.
- Pull ups: Get 5 unbroken and then see what happens.
This worked to land me an 8:07. The row came in at 3:26 at about 28 spm, but my HR was far from max and I was controlled enough that I was able to go right into the thrusters and maintain a mostly unbroken pace. The pullups were 6 unbroken and then sets of 2-3 with a couple seconds in between to finish it out. I fell like this strategy could yield a sub-7:30 time if I were more in practice on thrusters and pullups. The only limiting factor really was lactate buildup in my shoulders from the thrusters, which caused me to pause in the hang position several times. I did notice that other CrossFitters did not pace themselves on the row, and that resulted in a lot of pauses during the thrusters. Read the Pace Makes Race article in the CrossFit Journal (I am not a fan of Emily Beers after her ridiculous Winter Olympics article, but the rowing advice from Harvard is sound)! Jackie is not a 1000m row, it is an 8+ minute race!
CrossFitters, this weekend rowing clubs across the US will be hosting National Learn to Row Day on Saturday, June 7. This is your change to try on-water rowing in a safe group environment. It may open up a whole new sport for you, or at least give you a feel for the real motion that the Concept2 machine is intended to simulate.
There is a list of participating locations by state here.
Come out and get on the water!