Why use ergo training?
‘Ergos’ are egometers (literally ‘work measurer’) or rowing machines. They are the best off the water training tool for rowers – and help build on the water technique, power and stamina.
Because ergos are balanced, using both sides of the body, they are ideal for safely building muscle, and pushing yourself beyond limits you rarely reach in the boat.
Because they have screens showing your stroke rate, time and power they help you track your progress, and hone finer points such as controlling stroke rate.
Therefore we advise any rower wishing to work through the winter, build power or simply provide variation to their routine to use ergos.
What to do on an ergo
Once you have had an induction, to ensure you are using the machine safely, you can take control of your own training plan.
The typical test is a 2km test (i.e. to see how fast you can complete 2000m), which is useful to chart your progress but not so helpful for improving your performance.
Long (e.g. 30 min – 1 hour), low rate (e.g. rate 20-22), but high power sessions help build muscle, stamina and aerobic capacity (i.e. how much exercise you can do while using the body’s best means of metabolism) – it’s a good idea to have some good music or do this in a group as it is boring.
Interval sessions, e.g. 1 minute on, 1 minute off, sessions, help deal with anaerobic exercise i.e. the exercise on a start or finish that leaves your legs burning.
Mixed rate sessions help improve your control over stroke rate and your ability to deal with ‘transitions’ on the water e.g. from a racing start to race pace.
Combined, these help make you become stronger (both core and big muscles), row for longer, and with better technique.
A full training plan for each week from Nov 2014 until the Scillies’ World Champs 2015 is attached (see link below left): if you want any help interpreting it go along to the coached ergo sessions or contact the erg team, who can also help you if you are just starting on the rowing machines.