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Weight Training and Competitive Rowing

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I'm planning to take up competitive rowing and since I have zero rowing experience, I will be starting a two-week learn-to-row program on Monday. The program runs 5 days a week from 6.00am until 7.30am (1.5 hours). (this will be followed by a 2 month intermediate competitive rowing instruction program, three times a week).

Based on the information given to me, the program will focus on the correct techniques of rowing and also some basic exercises to strengthen the muscles necessary to effective rowing.

I currently do weight training - 6 days a week with cardio everyday and three days upper body and three days lower body exercises. My question is, should I suspend my weight training while I'm doing rowing for fear of overdoing it?

Or should I just continue as normal (i.e. go rowing in the morning and go to the gym to lift weights in the evening)? I've asked the rowing coach but I wasn't satisfied with his answer and would appreciate any input from this forum.

Thanks!
post #2 of 30
I'd say the rowing would be enough with perhaps a little supplemental training thrown in if you don't feel too destroyed from the rowing. Buddy of mine in university was in pretty good shape. Very lean and naturally muscular although he was also quite athletic and into windsurfing and stuff. Anyway, point is that he looked pretty built. He was literally in the same situation and took up rowing for the first time there. He got a lot bigger very quickly with minimal gym time. I'd see him in there every now and then but not often. That's my limited anecdotal experience.
post #3 of 30
A good friend of mine rowed in the mornings competitively (went to nationals) and lifted in afternoons. He's jacked.
post #4 of 30
I rowed in College and I think it depends upon how hard they push you the first week or so. You will certainly get plenty of cardio work with the rowing and you should get excellent leg, ab, back and shoulder work. If they focus on technique but go light on really pushing you hard, then yes, keep up the weights.

No matter what you will be getting a good work out. Rowing is a a tremendous sport for that.
post #5 of 30
Rowing is great all around training... Tried it few times, but with no proper technique ended up wasting a lot of energy in the process. Great sport though...
post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the responses, guys. I think I know what to do know. I will see how the rowing goes and adapt my weight training routine accordingly.
post #7 of 30
I'd definitely take the at least the first week or two off lifting and see how you feel
post #8 of 30
I'm rowing right now, competitively for my Uni. In the middle of my summer intensive training, so I get intense cardio training everyday and we're forming the M8+ crew so we're still learning how to technically row well and together.

What I can say is that the cardio really tires you out and leaves you pretty well exhausted if you're pushing yourself correctly. Our coach sets us targets on the ergs so there's no escaping. Normally I feel like I don't want to do anything else after training.

I try to fit in extra weight training sessions cause I found that rowing, from last year's intensive training left me losing muscle mass; as intensive cardio does that to you. I definitely recommend keeping the weights but probably reduce it to about 3-4 sessions a week as the rowing will kill you. I try to time that my weights are on days where I might not have an ergo session.

Stick with the compound lifts; deadlifts, squats, pull ups, bent over barbell row. Those are great exercises for rowing and will keep you looking muscular as rowing itself doesn't increase muscle mass, but rather causes you to lose it. You will look great, low body fat and you will be the fittest you've ever been but the weights are necessary if you want to maintain strength and muscle mass.

I don't know how intensive your cardio program will be but I can assume the first week or two will be easy since you'll have to learn correct form. I presume you're sweep rowing?
post #9 of 30
Don't forget to eat alot!
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaoldyeck View Post
What I can say is that the cardio really tires you out and leaves you pretty well exhausted if you're pushing yourself correctly. Our coach sets us targets on the ergs so there's no escaping. Normally I feel like I don't want to do anything else after training.

Now that you mention it this makes sense. I was thinking that since the rowing sessions will be in the morning, I might be less tired in the evening, but I guess I'll have to see how it goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaoldyeck View Post
I definitely recommend keeping the weights but probably reduce it to about 3-4 sessions a week as the rowing will kill you. I try to time that my weights are on days where I might not have an ergo session.

My understanding here is that, since rowing is mainly a cardio exercise, your muscles are not so tired such that lifting weight the day after rowing practice would actually strain them? In other words, there is no concern here about not giving your muscles the recommended 48 hour rest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaoldyeck View Post

Stick with the compound lifts; deadlifts, squats, pull ups, bent over barbell row. Those are great exercises for rowing and will keep you looking muscular as rowing itself doesn't increase muscle mass, but rather causes you to lose it. You will look great, low body fat and you will be the fittest you've ever been but the weights are necessary if you want to maintain strength and muscle mass.

This is very useful and specific advice, thanks. I'll keep this in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaoldyeck View Post
I presume you're sweep rowing?

Yes, it's sweep rowing.
post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shuuy View Post
Don't forget to eat alot!

Thanks for the advice. I don't think it will be a problem, though
post #12 of 30
If you're going to be competitively rowing, I'd stick to the shell during season. Hit the gym more during the off-season and incorporate the erg into your workout as well. Take the opportunity to work on form, or else any muscle gain won't mean shit if you can't row efficiently.
post #13 of 30
There is a concept 2 in good condition for sale near me for like $250... Damn. So tempted.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by cldpsu View Post
If you're going to be competitively rowing, I'd stick to the shell during season. Hit the gym more during the off-season and incorporate the erg into your workout as well. Take the opportunity to work on form, or else any muscle gain won't mean shit if you can't row efficiently.

+1. This absolutely. 6:00 min 2k test on an erg does not mean you are fast on the water. If you are just starting out, and you really want to be good and be competitive, then get the form first. When I was first starting out rowing I lost a few seat races to people with worse erg times than mine, their form on the water was more efficient and they got my seat.

My suggestion is to the compound lifts at low intensities to help maintain muscle mass. But you want to avoid overusing your arms because you can burn out your forearms.

I tried for a while to row competitively while rock climbing a lot and couldn't maintain both, fatigued the arms and grip too much. I chose to climb.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
There is a concept 2 in good condition for sale near me for like $250... Damn. So tempted.

Shit, what model? I've been waay tempted to just bite the bullet and grab a new model D.
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