Folks I wanted to pass along a recommendation for those CrossFitters (or rowers!) who are looking to maximize their results on the C2 as we move into the indoor season. My impression is that there are a lot of very strong and fit athletes out there who are not nearly reaching their potential in the rowing sections of their WODs. Even reviewing the videos of the top CrossFit Games athletes reveals many basic technical issues that can be easily coached.
There are a lot of YouTube videos out there, but it’s tough to emulate an unfamiliar movement without some direct feedback. Similarly, I can probably teach myself how to hack a double-under, but I will never get even passably good at it unless a coach spends a little time with me.
As you know, I think the greatest opportunity for a “low hanging fruit” improvement for most CrossFitters is in their rowing, because it is probably the most alien movement to most people, and there are very few qualified rowing coaches compared to the exploding number of CrossFit athletes out there. CrossFit Rowing itself is fairly new and there are probably not enough certs yet to satisfy the demand.
My friend Xeno Muller won the gold medal in the single sculls at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, rowing for his native Switzerland, and has since settled in SoCal. I have had the opportunity to race against him twice, or shall I say to row far behind in his wake He has a coaching business that offers online remote stroke analysis and several types of coaching packages. I don’t normally promote products or services on this blog, but I think there is a market that Xeno can serve for those CrossFitters who are at the point in their performance that they want to invest some time, focus, and money in improving their rowing scores. As far as I know, his is the only opportunity to engage someone with his credentials on a 1:1 coaching basis in an online format, which makes it much more valuable than traveling to a seminar. Xeno is familiar with the CrossFit community and has done work with first responder groups in Orange County.
There is a review of his coaching services at: http://www.rowperfect.co.uk/ben-rodford-reviews-xeno-mullers-sculling-video-analysis/xeno-ben/#.UIarT2l25uo
Check out Xeno’s site at http://xenocoach.com/category/rowing-coaching-options/
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 single final, 2011 World Rowing Championships
Men’s Pair final:
Men’s pair final, 2011 World Rowing Championships
Technorati Tags: rowing
,rowing world championships
,rowing power curve
Well for only the 2nd time in 26 years, I flipped my single. Shows it can happen to anyone. I was doing the Crossfit Endurance workout of 8 x 2:00 on, 2:00 off, when on the 2nd piece something underwater hooked my left blade and held it just long enough. At steady state I would have been OK but at full speed the boat corkscrewed around the stuck blade, got sideways to the current, and I decided to ditch rather than risking a bent rigger or broken oarlock.
Some history…the last time I flipped was in the San Diego Fall Classic back in like 1993 or 1994. If I recall correctly, Xeno Muller was in the race, I was ahead of him in the start order, and he was charging up behind me. I decided to see how long I could hold him off for the fun of it, so I put the pedal to the metal but was trying not to wake him out, so I wasn’t looking ahead and I clipped one of the permanent buoys in Mission Bay with my oar. The funny thing was that the top gate of my oarlock broke off cleanly, the oar popped out but stayed in my hand, and I stayed perfectly set as I was going fast. It was like a slow-motion instant replay. I was able to quickly put the oar back in and row for a little while until a speedboat wake got me from the side. With no top gate on my port oarlock, there was no way to get back in the boat. No safety boats seemed to notice, so I had to swim it back to San Diego Rowing Club, which meant about 20 minutes in 55-degree water.
This time, the water was not quite that cold, and was surprisingly clean despite the horror stories. I did not feel my skin starting to dissolve quite yet.
I undid the thumbscrew on the backstay, got up and over (just like on a SUP, albeit an 16-inch SUP ), but then realized that I was maybe 300 meters from the dock with the tide in my favor. Rather than trashing the deck of my boat getting back in the cockpit, I just slid back in the water and swam it back to the dock.
Those are the breaks – hopefully it will be years until the next one!
Readers, I’ve had several questions about how to improve Concept2 rowing scores in Fight Gone Bad. As most of you are already strong and fit, the biggest opportunity for improvement is likely related to technique and biomechanics, which need to be coached. If you are seriously interested in improving, there is an online coaching resource you can take advantage of who is an Olympic gold and silver medalist in the single scull and, being based in SoCal, has some familiarity with the CrossFit community and first responders who use the C2 for conditioning. His name is Xeno Muller (website is linked) and I believe he offers remote video coaching and technical analysis. I have not personally used his service, but obviously his results speak for themselves! Plus I respect him for figuring out how to balance sport and family while building his own business.
Recently Xeno Muller, a multiple Olympic medalist single sculler and rowing coach, posted a great piece on using minimalist shoes for both running and indoor rowing. I respect and agree with his opinions on both! A lot of heavyweight male rowers are tall, heavy guys who don’t fit the typical “runner” profile, and they should read Xeno’s post.