Whatchu Know 'bout the Row?

Tuesday's Coach's Tip brought to you by Coach Sully...

"For as often as we spend time on a rower, how many of us really know what all of those funky #'s and symbols on the screen even mean? Today, we're going to take a little look at a few of them but know that you can always reach out to any C5 Coach if you have more questions.

Let's take a second and focus on the display screen of your standard rower, particularly the number you see on the bottom left : S/M or Strokes per Minute. The higher that #, the quicker you are pulling and recovering to the rower to pull again. It's important to let the WOD dictate where you want that # to be depending on your own personal rowing efficiency. But let's take it a step further and relate that # to rowing for meters and rowing for calories.

First, you need to understand two other pieces of your standard rower: the chain connected to the handle and the flywheel (spinny thing) inside the drum of the rower connected to the damper setting. When you row for meters, the computer gives you credit meter for meter so long as that flywheel is spinning. When you row for calories, the computer gives you credit so long as the chain is extending and being pulled away from the machine. When the extension stops, you stop getting credit for work.  

It stands to reason then that if I am rowing for meters, I just need to keep that flywheel spinning. Maybe my pulls aren't quite as long, causing me to recover to the rower faster and my Strokes per Minute is slightly higher than it would be if I was rowing for calories. If I'm rowing for calories, I want to get every last inch out of my pull so that the computer gives me as much credit per pull as possible, but naturally that is going to take more energy from me so I need to recover longer back to the rower and thus my Strokes per Minute may be a little less.

Anytime you're on the rower, there are several different ways to pace yourself and optimize your rowing experience. Today, you'll have six different 30-second windows experiment with all of the various efficiencies. Use that time to learn more about yourself and your rowing skills!"