Strength training(on and off the erg)

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paulgould
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Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by paulgould »

We were having an interesting discussion about this over on the PP thread and I thought I would start a separate thread before Obersturmbannfuhrer Plumb waded in with his little siren blaring :lol: :lol:

I use the erg almost exclusively as a strength training tool, Kevin comes from a powerlifting and strength background and uses heavy weight training as a tool, and Iain has adapted a strength routine partly from his knowledge and experience of structured interval training.

I think we all agree that strength is a vital component for general well-being, especially as we get older, and I find it very interesting and informative to hear of the different approaches being adopted.

Because I am precluded from training at the intensity of the PP I have devised my own plan - the RFKAI plan(rower formerly known as Ironarse) :D :D

It offers all the variety of the PP - you can do 8,10,12 or 15km at any DF > 200 and any SPM < 22 :D :D

Paul G
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

Excellent idea Paul 😎😎

I'm also very interested in your approach Paul. Because you have found a way to erg with a heart disease.
Lorraine (SWMBO) has Microvascular angina and a rare lung disease ABPA. I have been helping her to train on the erg to help her maintain as much of her lung capacity as is humanly possible.
I'm also sure that weights will be possible for her. If we ignore all lifts with arms above her heart.

I promise not to show a force velocity curve πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ on this thread.

Some history of me....
I have since 1989 tried to include slowish steady rowing into my schedule (using a model B) at my strongest my Tuesday & Thursday rowing session were 10k @ R18-20 pace 2:00 or below. Although I stopped heavy lifting. I enjoyed my time on the erg. So purchased one in "99" The love, hate, bored or not enough time relationships started.
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by paulgould »

Thanks for sharing some of your history there - I'm pretty sure that erging can only help Lorraine manage the ABPA( I assume she is on medication for the condition too).
Like with me, it is a case of maximising the effective use of the erg within the confines of a slightly restrictive medical condition(sorry, I am starting to sound like a management training video :lol: :lol: ).

Some background as to how I came around to this method of training :

In 2008 I committed to doing a 24 hr row with Plummy and Spikeola(Michael Gough).
In my late teens and early twenties I used to do ultra-distance running and always found myself being overtaken in the second half of the races by much older and slower athletes - this indicated to me that what I was lacking was strength, not speed(probably due to my youth I had not had the time to build up a solid strength and endurance base).
With this in mind I decided to get "strong" for the 24 hr row - I did all my rowing on max DF and did 15 consecutive 100km+ weeks.
When the day of the row came, i set the rower on DF 125, set off and had an incident-free row, no injuries, very few aches and pains.
Carried on rowing on max DF but gradually let thing slip until in 2011 I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation after having a DVT in my arm - at that point my weight had ballooned to 115kg(from 93-94kg at the time of the 24 hr).
I was put on medication including Beta Blockers which sort of took anaerobic training out of the equation but I once again adopted the mantra that "you can never be too strong", and removed the mesh grille from the erg to allow me to train at the higher DF - over the next 9 months- 1 year I did about 3 million metres rowing on DF 250 - 360, knocked off 25kg, improved my EF(% of blood pumped out to the body from the left ventricle) by over 50%, and set PB's at every distance I attempted(all except 100m,500m and 2k).
From that time onwards I was totally sold on my training methods(even if no-one else was :D ).

If you are still awake, back to the present - I would have really liked to try my hand at a bit of heavy lifting having never done it before, and also the Ski-erg which I believe I would be far better at than the erg, but having an ICD implant pretty much precludes me from overhead lifting as I have been advised not to do movements that pull the clavicle down.
So I have got back into the routine that worked for me before - I had a really good month in January doing 400km - my highest monthly total for quite a while, and have lost over 20kg since mid September, so felt strong enough to remove the grille again and start rowing at DF 250 - started yesterday doing an 8k @ 19.2 spm and took a bit of getting used to again.
Today was much better 10k @ 19.4SPM.
These rows are done at a rather pedestrian pace(a snail's pace for you - 2:15 ish), but my HR is staying extremely low ( 100-110) and I liken the sessions to a high-rep, low weight workout.

Forgive the rather rambling post - I would be very interested to hear about your erg goals(short and long-term) and more about your field event and powerlifting exploits.

Cheers
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

Lorraine is on ranexa for her heart. The cardiologist has upped her dosage to help her use the erg πŸ˜‚ I call them her PEDs πŸ˜‚
As for the ABPA she is on a host of toxic stuff for that 😳

I find it fascinating the way you have adapted your erg for your needs. I'm sure some sport science minds would be interested. I bet a paper might have even been published on its value ??

I've no doubt you could squat & deadlift with a whole host of ancillary exercises too. But only under good supervision & starting off light. It's never too late to start πŸ‘

Like you I'm not blessed vertically. 179cm I'm 98-100 kg but my PB is 147kg 😳 this was while looking after my mother for 5 years with vascular dementia. She sadly died in December 2016 after a brief time in a care home when I moved to Somerset.

To be continued 😳
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by paulgould »

Thanks for the further details Kevin.
Sorry to hear about what your mother went through - it must have been a very tough time.

I do have a few weights that I try and incorporate into some sort of routine but very limited at the moment - I have a pair of 8kg KB's and a dumbell with 15kg on it currently and do bicep curls with these most days and I do some sort of tricep pull-up that my wife showed me.
I also have a barbell outside which I have started using to do deadlifts - there isn't much weight on there (30kg) but I am just trying to learn the movement correctly.
I try and do a set of 12 after a row.
I had a much stronger row this morning - starting to feel really comfortable back on the higher DF -

Tale of the tape :

Distance : 10 km
Time : 44:36.2
DF : 253
SPM : 18.6
strapless

Paul G
Last edited by paulgould on Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Iain »

Interesting points Paul. personally I would use the term "muscular endurance" rather than strength for what I think you are training, otherwise I agree wholeheartedly.

One point from the earlier discussion: I think that there is a crucial difference between the effect of lowering the rating and raising the DF. Both raise the initial force required to accelerate the flywheel to pace, but the latter also increases the force required to maintain the stroke (at lower rating the duration of the stroke won't be significantly reduced and so the amount of resistance from the flywheel during the stroke will be similar, while at high DF the stroke takes longer (slower flywheel) and so during the same range of movement the resistance that needs to be overcome will be higher (as it is broadly the same resistance / unit time). As a result, there is more resistance for the upper body. Put another way, in both the wheel needs to be accelerated by the legs at the beginning of the stroke more to get to pace, but at low rating the end of the stroke will be largely unchanged while the high drag will also require more effort then as well. As a result, higher drag will make it a more "whole body workout".

As for Absolute power, I agree that this is only directly significant when sprinting. However, I believe that to increase the VO2 max required for a 2k, one component is the muscle fibres available. Even wholly anaerobic fibres are used in a 2k. The equalibrium of VO2 max requires that the lactate can be transported to aerobic fibres and the acid removed so that there is no build up, not that these are not produced at all. That said, my concern (as someone very unlikely to compete again) is to maintain what little muscle mass I have and hopefully rebuild a portion of the large amount lost in the last 10 years. I think exercise physiologists generally believe that this is best done with largely anaerobic exercises (hence weights used by the professionals). This is a whole different system to that trained by muscular endurance where I would expect that you would be mainly working on the aerobic fibres, but I am no expert and would welcome correcting if I have this wrong.

- Iain
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by paulgould »

Hi Iain

Once again I think we agree broadly on the various training principles, even if we differ slightly on the terminology and definition of the various components.
A very good point you raised about the differing effect of low rate, and high drag - I think you described it perfectly and would go some way to explaining why a more upper-body centric person like myself prefers the high drag, plus the fact that high drag is more in alignment with the result I'm seeking i.e. total body workout.
To be honest, I had never thought about the ratio of different muscle fibres having an effect on VO2 max - I had always understood it to be your lung capacity(mostly genetically pre-determined) divided by your body weight(the area where the most change can be effected , certainly at our level of performance) - with changing body weight not being a factor in elite athletes what you are saying may well be true and explain how the elite athlete can improve his/her VO2 max - Nordic skiers have the highest VO2 max's ever measured which must have something to do with their training regime.
I would also agree with you that my type of training will be sufficient to maintain muscle mass but it certainly won't develop your fast-twitch fibres - for that you have to do heavy lifting,and the amount of muscle you build will largely be determined
by your body type. I am fortunate in that I build muscle fairly quickly, unfortunate in that I am prone to get fat very quickly too!!
I think with your body-type you will be what I think they term as a "hard-gainer" when doing heavy weight training, but it is still worth doing.
Having said that, I will once again defer to Kevin on the subject of weight-training - he knows a lot more about it than I do.

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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Iain »

Agreed Paul. While VO2max is more usually quoted per kg (on the basis that it is sustainable power to weight ratio that matters), for rowers it is often quoted as an absolute. On that measure (volume of O2 the body can process per minute) the highest recorded numbers are rowers (they are bigger than cross country skiers). In addition, VO2max is sometimes used to describe the relative intensity of a workout (broadly transition) when the body is using close to using VO2max of Oxygen per minute. Clearly there are efficiency factors and how anaerobic you can go at play, but broadly a maximal 2k is at around VO2max. Therefore in terms of fitness gains, I consider improvements in 2k potential as improvements in VO2max. Convoluted I know, but most of my discussions are with a triathlon coach, so split times don't mean much! VO2max isn't just limited by lung capacity, or even max flow of oxygen into the lungs (those with damaged lungs may actually have greater volume due to tissues degrading and leaving empty space behind, but the reduced surface over which gasses can be exchanged with the blood has reduced and this will limit the VO2max potential of those effected). But that flow forms an absolute limit to VO2max rather than the VO2max of an individual. I have read suggestions that in an all out 2k the fittest are limited by the flow of oxygen to their alveola capilliaries. But for me getting that oxygen to the working muscles and other essential organs will be limiting. Clearly having lower muscle mass means that the individual muscle fibres need to fire more frequently to utilise the same amount of oxygen while the circulation has to deliver its oxygen load to a smaller "target", potentially creating a bottle neck.

One of the key reasons for reduced physical performance as we age is the drop in VO2max. Anaerobic threshold (the best correlated measure to endurance performance) falls as a consequence. It has been measured to increase as a proportion of VO2max in some highly trained veterans, but this acts merely to reduce losses if starting from a high fitness base (although some of us may still have capacity to improve that may allow the threshold to increase for a time towards its genetically determined maximum faster than that maximum is declining), but at some point this catch up will decline to below the loss in potential and losses will occur.

Unfortunately I am not aware of any systematic study that has investigated the linkage of VO2max decline to muscle losses with aging. Clearly there are other factors as muscle loss accelerates later than the loss in VO2max. Sorry for the long answer (to any masochistically inclined people who have got this far). But basically maintaining muscle mass is thought to be essential in slowing the impact of aging on endurance and not just outright power.
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by paulgould »

Thanks for the detailed explanation on VO2 max.
On reading it for the second time I found it made perfect sense(my first read made my head hurtπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ).
I agree that the first thing to deteriorate with aging is your VO2 max, then your strength(muscular endurance), and finally your power.
It is a widely held maxim in boxing that the last thing to go is your punch which would explain why heavyweight boxers(who rely heavily on punching power) can stay at the top well into their forties.
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

I'm glad your head hurt too Paul 😁😁

Iain I think I understand what your trying to say ?? I think the forum has touched on the subject before. Rowing is an event that has various aspects to it. An athlete that has the world leading time in 500 metres probably doesn't have the leading time in the marathon. But he is still likely to feature in the top 20. Especially in masters ?? Quite unique & fascinating IMO.
So somewhere on that curve of speed endurance the optimum 2k numbers sit. I really like the age factors that you have mentioned in your comments.

As far a age is concerned. Bone density & muscle strength with full range of movement can only assist you in your old age. I haven't even mentioned the dreaded VO2 or lactate levels yet. I would love to see a properly reviewed paper on master rowers with those markers.

TBC πŸ‘
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by paulgould »

I've started monitoring my HR during exercise and have so far come up with some interesting, if somewhat surprising results, and would be really interested in Iain's take on this.
For the past few days I have been checking my HR on my daily midday 4 mile walk - I am not a race-walker so walking at a moderate pace(about 5.7km/h) and my HR hovers between 100 and 120 bpm - slightly higher than I was expecting given that I don't consider it a strenuous activity, and with the beta-blockers and my regaining a modicum of aerobic fitness I have a resting HR of 51.
This morning I decided to monitor myself on the rower - I did just over 45 mins on DF 250 with an spm of 19-20, something I consider to be far more strenuous.
To my surprise I saw that it took me 20 minutes to get my HR up to 105 and the highest that it got was 120.
Once I was finished I got to thinking about the results I got, and was wondering if firstly there is less demand on the heart while in a seated position, and secondly whether this could also be indicating that I am not engaging the legs enough and still trying to out-muscle the erg - the oxygenated blood has way less distance to travel to feed the upper body muscles than it has to the large leg muscles.
Any thoughts/theories on this, Iain?

And before I forget, best of luck tomorrow? Kevin - I'm sure you will smash it.

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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

Paul that's fascinating you mention that. We are doing the same with Lorraine on our village walk (3miles) she was amazed to see how elevated her HR went 120+ her resting is 48. Trying to keep it down while on the erg is a different matter Image she gets bored !!
Her gentle cycle rides around our block (6miles) increase markedly with only a slight incline. But it's impossible to work out which disease is affecting her the most ??


Yep the 6th Image 0945 EST (1345 UK I hope??)

Last session done yesterday was a 750 at 1:39 R34 but ended as this.

Start list of competitors looks strong.

The butterflies are with me already & I only have to start thinking about my strategies and my heartrate goes up 20 beats ImageImageImageImage

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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Iain »

Paul, my HR regularly hits 125 on "normal" paced walks. I believe that any upright activity has higher HR than prone. So much that it is recommended that you do a separate test to determine HRmax for each sport. Never thought through why. I believe the muscles themselves provide significant "pumping"of the blood back to the heart. The amount of blood flow is affected by having to work against gravity for blood from the legs when vertical. As a result, all things being equal, the blood flow back will be slower when vertical. The volume of blood pumped by the heart to the lungs is equal to that returned to it. As a result, with slower blood flow back, the stroke volume of the heart is less. Hence while HR may be relatively high when walking, as stroke volume is lower, the work done by the heart is lower than an equivalent Hr when seated. That said, I am surprised your HR is so low when rowing, there could be something in a greater use of the upper body (increase of the effect as the blood is does not have to be raised to get from the arms to the heart, the net force is not reduced by gravity. In addition, the shorter distance will mean there is less resistance to the blood flow back to the heart, further increasing the stroke volume.

Kevin, I hope that it goes well. Remember that we can all keep going longer than we expect at the end, so there is much to be gained by accelerating some way from the end. Your legs may give out, but you can maintain nearly as fast a pace with back and arms, just don't allow your rate to slow so that you can compete the slide. If you start the sprint at the right point, despite your best efforts your maximum pace as you cross the line should drop to the pace you were going prior to the sprint (as otherwise lengthening the "sprint" would have added quicker metres at the end than the metres before the sprint would have been). In addition, psychologically I always aim for the beginning of the sprint pattern (that takes care of its self) so you are having to push yourself for less time! I've always undercooked it for anything over 2 mins and normally manage 380m or so in a 1k!

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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by paulgould »

Thanks Iain - you've pretty much confirmed my thinking on this HR business.
Just returned from my walk, where I was faster than the previous days, and my HR was significantly lower(mostly in the 95-105 range).
Having said that, the fact that I only have a small sample set so far(5 measured walks) and there being so many variables that can affect HR(general fatigue, sleep quality to name but a few), it is probably too soon to see a pattern emerging.
On the subject of establishing HR max for different activities, I ain't doing it!! - While I found out a while ago that my ICD works as it is designed to do, I have no wish to receive another shock from the device.
I have also been reading that it is very difficult to establish where your HR zones are when beta-blocked and the general advice seems to be using RPE rather than HR bands to establish what intensity to conduct your training sessions at.

Thanks for confirming your race details tomorrow Kevin - you will be just fine on the day - you will no doubt have your strategy all planned out and then you've also got Iain's easy to understand sprint advice to fall back on:fsbgrin: :fsbgrin:

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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Wolfmiester »

Surely HRMax is just that, the same number for any activity!
I could be persuaded that the eventual maximum number could be reached in different ways for different activities though πŸ€”
Paul, the walking numbers are very interesting. Maybe there is general knowledge that a higher number is normal and why there is such a strong recommendation that a brisk walk is one of the favourite fat burning exercises.
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by JonT »

Kevinhorne44 wrote:
The butterflies are with me already & I only have to start thinking about my strategies and my heartrate goes up 20 beats
I’m on tenterhooks here Kevin. How did it go?


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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

JonT wrote: ↑Sat Feb 06, 2021 7:56 pm
Kevinhorne44 wrote:
The butterflies are with me already & I only have to start thinking about my strategies and my heartrate goes up 20 beats
I’m on tenterhooks here Kevin. How did it go?


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Sorry Jon. I had to stop rowing with only 500 to go. πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ

My left hamstring started to niggle before 250. It then grew into cramp. I tried shorten my stroke to elevate it going upto 37 spm.
But it got me in the end πŸ‘ŽπŸ‘Ž even with all that going on I still went through 1500 faster than I went at the BRIC !!
I know I'm in good shape. But I'm glad I stopped before any damage was done.
Never had cramp on the erg other than HM or FM before.

The only downfall is that I'll have to do a 2k for the IRL & 3 of the buggers for the CTC πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Had a really long chat to my rowing coach/mate on the phone. So onwards & upwards.


I'm not going to do the CrAsH-Bs though. πŸ™ˆ I'm not. I'm really not πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


Back on topic.

At the beginning of March I'm going to start a proper conditioning phase. The KP (kevin plan).......may contain nuts πŸ˜œπŸ˜‚
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by JonT »

I’m really sorry to here that Kevin. It’s a real shame after all the preparation and the confidence you were feeling. I wonder what was behind the cramp, given it is t something that you normally experience?

As you say, onwards and upwards.


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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

Dont be sorry Jon πŸ™‚
I'm learning how to race. Loving the process & talking about it here with like minded people.
It's a completely different discipline to anything I have done competitively before. All the training I have done is not lost & I've gained another experience.
Performance wise my splits at 1000 & 1500 were faster than at the BRIC 😎

Been in the hot tub with the massage jets. Massage gun as well πŸ™‚ its sore this morning but gentle stretching & rest today. I'm sure I'll be paddling tomorrow πŸ™‚πŸ‘
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Iain »

Kevin, great to see you are taking it so well. I have had cramps always when pushing hard. The good news is that they were spaced out (so if it is the same for you won't recur for some time). The bad news is that the pain remained for up to 5 days afterwards! No idea what causes it.

Steve, HRmax is the highest you can get it and to be comparable has to be under the same conditions. Some people can record higher values when running than cycling or rowing. Yes you might say that their "rowing HRmax" isn't "their" HRmax, but if done on a fully committed step test, it is a better value to use for rowing sessions than one only obtainable standing up! f the heart is pumping a higher volume per stroke, it may not be able to reach the standing level.

Lost my post somehow. Did a 12 x 100 @ 10MPS yesterday after H/D on CTC (I thought due to too high a rating). Forgot to up DF, so dropped from 160 last time to 120 this. Also didn't adjust the footrests and struggled to stay on the seat (about 10% on back of seat, never came quite off). Last time 1:44.9, managed 1:45.3, but lost most of that on first rep, so reasonably happy given the other rowing I had done. Ended with a couple of lower rating intervals that were a little longer. 500m @ R24 and 5 min at R22. Went well and ended with 4850m at 1:58 average R25.6.

- Iain
52 year old Lwt (in ability and weight) trying to develop a technique that doesn't cause hysterics and start rowing regularly now I am working again.
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paulgould
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by paulgould »

Sorry to hear about your race troubles Kevin, but as you say, you can only learn from it and maybe next time you will be better positioned to take advantage of the excellent training base you have built.
I can't wait to see the conditioning programme you design for yourself - there is a strong likelihood I will be borrowing/stealing some of your ideas in the future :fsbgrin: :fsbgrin:

I've had a really good weekend training with a 19km walk and 11.5 km row yesterday, with a 12km walk and 7.5km row today.

Yesterday's 11.5km was at r19 on DF 253 and today's 7.5km was on DF 255 at r17.3, which I was very pleased with - I found the newly increased DF very easy to deal with today which has given me a lot of encouragement.
I know that most people would regard walking as part of a weight loss program rather than a strength program, but I have just noticed a marked increase in the musculature in my quads, and credit that partly to the walking.

Paul G
55, 1.74m , Sep '20 - 114 kg , currently - 90 kg
Image
200m - 30.8
300m - 47.7
30r20 - 7754m
12 hr - 139300m
100 mile - 14:10.12
200km - 18:28.30
Kevinhorne44
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

Work in progress Paul Image I've tried out a few sessions already.
Left hamstring is still sore but beginning to ease with gentle stretching & easy-ish sessions.ImageImage

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Wolfmiester
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Wolfmiester »

So each day (apart from Tue) its 3 sessions (or 1 session split in to 3)?
That's a lot!
How much time do you allow?
I've no excuse, I'm not working. Curious as to how it fits in :-)
Wolfie

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Age 56 Height 6'4" Weight 92k
Kevinhorne44
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

Wolfmiester wrote: ↑Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:47 am So each day (apart from Tue) its 3 sessions (or 1 session split in to 3)?
That's a lot!
How much time do you allow?
I've no excuse, I'm not working. Curious as to how it fits in :-)
I'm trying to make weight sessions 40/45 minute max. Which is full on especially with 20+ sets.
Zone 1 bike or rows are 45 - 90. Early morning news with tea/coffee on hand are my favourites πŸ™‚
All my core sessions are 40/45 (I do a zoom session for mates)
Only bugger I hate is the 3x6k with 90 sec recovery. R18 at 2:03 minimum.
Circuit will get quicker the fitter you become πŸ˜‚

I'm testing the sessions now πŸ‘
paulgould
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Re: Strength training(on and off the erg)

Post by paulgould »

Kevin - thats quite a programme you have put together
- I will have to look up half of those exercises you have in your weights routine to see which I can safely incorporate - I think bent over rowing is the one that my wife showed me that I now do.

I have had a good rowing week so far :

Mon: 10000m @ 17.2spm DF 255
Tue: 10600m @ 16.1spm DF 255
Wed: 8000m @ 18.2spm DF 301
Thu: 6695m (30 min) @ 18.6spm DF 250
Fri: AM - 12000m @ 18.0spm DF 253 , PM - 5k w/u and CTC 3x2k @ 21spm on DF 203
Sat: 21097m @ 18.2spm DF 251

All of the above are 2:13 - 2:19 pace, so nice and slow and steady.

Paul G
55, 1.74m , Sep '20 - 114 kg , currently - 90 kg
Image
200m - 30.8
300m - 47.7
30r20 - 7754m
12 hr - 139300m
100 mile - 14:10.12
200km - 18:28.30
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