HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR ROWING: WHAT WILL MAKE THE BOAT GO FASTER?
We are now on the tail-wind of the Boat Race: one of the most prestigious rowing events of the year, meaning regatta season is just around the corner! From local regattas to big events such as Henley, crews across the country are asking one question: ‘what will make the boat go faster?’ Here, we give you our top 5 tips for improving your training on and off the water. This will give you a higher chance of success during the regatta season:
- WARM UP
People often make the mistake of assuming that in order to improve your rowing, it’s all about the workout. In fact, success starts before you have even sat on the erg.
In order to maximise the efficiency of your muscles, you should try to warm up for at least 15 minutes. If you have access to a rowing machine, start with arms only and build up the slide on 1-minute intervals. When you are at full strength, continue a UT2 paddle until you reach 15 minutes.
In order to give your warm-up that extra kick and to improve your rowing that little bit more, we recommend that you use an activating muscle rub on your legs to give them that extra power for when you complete your workout.
- MIX UP YOUR WORKOUTS
In order to improve your rowing, you should be training your body as a whole. This involves mixing up your workouts day-to-day to ensure every muscle is trained throughout the week. If you are training regularly, we recommend the following break down:
- 1 x work (UT1) erg a week (if you do not have access to a rowing machine, replace this with a HIIT workout on a bike or treadmill). During these workouts, your heart rate should be around 90% of its maximum. These workouts improve your rowing by focusing on increasing muscle.
- 1x fitness (UT2) erg a week (if you do not have access to a rowing machine, a consistent, low rate workout on a bike or treadmill is fine!). During these workouts, your heart rate should be around 70% of its maximum. Essentially, you should be able to hold a conversation throughout the exercise and will improve your rowing by improving general fitness.
- 2x weight sessions a week (one focused on upper body, one focused on lower body). Weights aim to improve rowing by increasing your strength; allowing you to pull harder strokes and making your boat go faster!
- Water sessions: we don’t expect you to make the boat go faster unless you’re practising as a crew! The number of times you go out on the water will depend on the availability of your club.
- GIVE YOUR MUSCLES A PROPER COOL DOWN
Just like with the warm-up, cooling down after every session is essential to improve your rowing. If your muscles are not given the right time to recover, you are more likely to get injured: how are you going to improve your rowing if you cannot row in the first place?
In order to ensure your muscles recover correctly and quickly, we recommend that you spend 30 minutes stretching after every session. To give your muscles that extra TLC, you should also use a muscle rub and cooling shower wash . Your body will thank you in the morning!
- MAINTAIN THE CORRECT DIET
Like every athlete knows, your diet can make or break your performance. When trying to improve your rowing, you should focus on eating slow-releasing carbs (like pasta) but also LOTS of protein (chicken, spinach, tuna etc…)
Not only should you be conscious of what you eat, but you should also look at what you’re drinking. During and after workouts you should ensure that you are well hydrated to replace fluids lost through sweat. This can be done by simply drinking water, but we prefer to use natural sports drinks (https://activeroot.co.uk/) so that our body is topped up with essential nutrients to make the boat go even faster.
- BOND AS A CREW
Rowing is essentially a team sport and as many rowers will tell you, there is nothing better than when the boat feels like a crew, instead of 4, or 8 people rowing separately.
The crew trying to make the boat go faster together can achieve this ‘togetherness’. Ensuring the crew bond off of the water can also do this.
During race season, our favourite way to do this is through ‘pasta bonding’: going out for a meal that agrees with the diet that we mentioned earlier.
Rowing as a crew not only feels nicer but will also improve your rowing!
So here are our top 5 tips to help you improve your rowing as we ‘head’ into regatta season! To give you that extra kick, we recommend that you use Bullet and Bone products: using only natural ingredients, these products are designed to help amateur athletes achieve their best results.