The level of fitness required to row for an hour at sub-1:37 is almost incomprehensible. This is a short but incredible video of these guys. To give context to the CrossFitters out there, Eric Murray (in blue) finished the half-marathon test 11 minutes (about 2 miles) faster than Jason Khalipa, who had the fastest time in the Row 2 workout at the CrossFit Games. Note how Hamish Bond (shirtless with heart rate monitor) is using elongated form to maximize stroke length on the Concept2 Model E (different from in the boat). Well done Kiwis – no wonder you are untouchable on the water! I also love the transparency of posting this on the web.
OK readers, let’s hear who you are picking for Olympic rowing gold in a few weeks? There were some surprises in the recent Munich World Cup, and there were some notable absences of crews that chose to train through instead of race. Here’s my unscientific picks. In general I think the British and the Kiwis are poised to clean up, with the US and Germany probably taking home less hardware than usual. New Zealand in particular looks incredibly strong for their size.
M1X: Mahe Drysdale. He will come back from getting hit by a car, the Kiwi program is so strong and deep, and he is at the top of it.
W1X: Ekaterina Karsten. I have to vote for the 40-year old
M2-: NZL – the Murray/Bond pair is unstoppable – 5 second margin in Munich. I wish the best for FRA and GBR but good luck.
M4-: Very tough. I give the edge to AUS based on smoothness and flow, which will count for a lot under pressure. I would also be happy if GBR took it. This one is going to be a photo finish.
M8+: I am pulling for GBR. C’mon mates win it in front of the home crowd!
W8+: USA – we can get Canada, come on ladies!
I have been reading Carlos Dinares’ blog recently and was intrigued by his post on the ideal rowing power curve after coaching some CrossFitters at CrossFit Ignite on how to use the power curve feature on the Concept2. Granted, the C2 static erg is a blunt instrument at best, but it introduces an interesting question about how the best in the world apply power and length in their rowing strokes.
I looked at the videos from the 2011 World Rowing Championships for the men’s single sculls and the men’s pair, won by men (Mahe Dysdale in the single and Eric Murray in the pair) who have legitimate potential claims to be the fittest people on earth by any standard The difference I noticed was that the top rowers in the pair reach traditional “full length” with the shins vertical, while both Drysdale and Synek in the single seem to be rowing at 3/4 slide but still achieving an optimal power curve. I have read analysis that Drysdale’s torso flexibility makes it possible for him to achieve maximum length without using the full slide, but the question remains why the top 2 boats in the single final appear to be achieving maximum speed at 3/4 slide while the top tow boats in the pair, rowing at similar stroke ratings, use the full slide length. What does this say, if anything, about optimal indoor rowing technique, which is traditionally correlated with maximum length on the slide?
If Carlos, Xeno, or Shane are reading this, I’d appreciate your opinions – thanks.
Regardless of the question, these videos are simply amazing to watch, considering that the times achieved in these races would be respectable for most college eights in the US.
Men’s Single Scull final:
Men’s Pair final: