Sunday 8.18.13

Why Rowing?

Prior to CrossFit, the only thing I knew about Rowing was it usually involved Ivy League schools and secret societies.  Although I only had that knowledge based on the movies Skulls and Dead Poets Society, which I'm pretty sure were documentaries.

Then I found CrossFit and it seemed like every other workout involved Rowing.  I perused the demo workout videos on  It always seemed weird to me that CrossFit was supposed to be high intensity and get in you shape Fast!  But to the average person, Rowing does not appear intense or even difficult.  Look at the first couple minutes of this CrossFit demo WOD at the UFC fan expo.  I'm pretty sure this is not very enticing to most of the UFC fans in attendance:

Of course, then I got a Rower and discovered just how difficult and intense it was.  Rowing is rough to do, but it has so many benefits it is hard to have a well rounded workout program without Rowing!  And it really is easy on the body, compared to many long distant efforts.  I've seen studies that state that up to 85% of runners are injured.  That is a huge amount!!  I don't know any other sport with figures like that.  But its easy to see that the constant pounding on the pavement for thousands and thousands of strides over the years can do some damage to the body.

At The Compound, we are lucky to have two former collegiate rowers among our ranks, Erica and Amber.  The real Rowing.....where you get in the boat and try not to tip it....and its not just a seat moving back a forth.....and they rowed against a group of  bullies from a rival rich school (again, based on the documentaries I mentioned above).  And in the off season, between secret society meetings, they would use the C2 Indoor Rower (or similar) to stay in shape and improve their power outputs and stroke rates.  Check out what these real rowers do (this is a rowing club up in Sacramento):

Rowing Clinics:

Erica and Amber have put together two clinics to assist everyone in their Rowing technique; Rowing Basics and Rowing for Intensity.

Rowing Basics will teach proper rowing technique, how to correct common errors, and how to use the features of the Concept 2 Rower to reach peak performance faster. Includes several mini-workouts and are scheduled for the following days:

August 24, 9-11 AM
September 14, 9-11 AM
September 25, 5-7 PM
COST: Member $5, Non-Member $10

Rowing for Intensity is designed for intermediate rowers, or those that have completed the basic rowing clinic. It reviews the elements of the stroke, and you can learn how to use the watts, calories, and pace calculators to increase the intensity of your workouts. Includes several interval, and mini-workouts focusing on stroke rate and split times and is currently scheduled for:

September 25, 7-8 PM
COST: Member $5, Non Member $10

What makes indoor rowing any better than other forms of "cardio" training?

Rowing truly is a great cardio workout, just like running, swimming, biking, etc. Rowing, though, has some unique advantages over other forms of aerobic training that are often overlooked:

  • More muscle mass is used doing the activity than while running, walking or biking. Your legs, glutes, abdominals, back, shoulders, and arms are all being worked.  That means more calories burned!
  • In every stroke, rowing requires full compression and full extension of the arms and legs similar to our full body movements we do with weights.
  • Rowing requires learning and skill (or neuromuscular engagement). Learning to make your limbs work together, even if it is just sliding back and forth on the seat while pulling the handle efficiently, is a necessity of functional movement.
  • Rowing is not a steady-state activity. You accelerate, decelerate, and change direction twice each stroke.  Each stroke involves a short burst of power followed by a brief recovery period and mimics interval training.
  • With variable resistence on the Rower, the harder you pull, the more resistance you get. You will never outgrow rowing as you get stronger
These are just some many benefits to Rowing.  You will find many more for you the more you engage in the activity.  We have plenty of weight lifting at the Compound and some of you get your fill of lifting during the WODs.  For those of you who want try something different and exciting, these clinics are for you!

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