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Thread: Trying to join the crew team

  1. #1
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    Trying to join the crew team

    My region's crew team is well known for being one of the best in Massachusetts. My friend says its really hard and requires a lot of strength and endurance. What kind of exercises should I do to get fit for this sport?

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    Growing a few inches would be a good start!

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    Nah, I jest I jest, anyway I've no idea how old you are so maybe you will grow.

    I rowed for years at school and then at university. I took it all very seriously for a time. Rowing is one of those few sports that requires both great strength AND endurance. You've got to be big and strong to move the boat and apply a really powerful stroke but then also have the stamina to just keep on going. I would rank top rowers among the best athletes in the world because of this.

    Technique plays a really big part, some people just can't balance the boat or get in rhythm. So the sooner you train on the water the better.

    If you want to get fit before going down to the boathouse, then in the meantime I'd say split work between endurance pieces and interval training. On a rowing machine ideally but again there's a lot of technique to it, so anything, running/cycling/swimming would be a good start. Do a couple of 20-40 minute pieces a week. Do a few bouts of interval training, for instance, 30sec hard/light, 1min hard/light, 1min30 hard/light, 1min hard/light, 30sec hard/light and then repeat always works well.

    Strength is definitely important but will take a while to develop and won't directly carry over to rowing ability at first. You'll need to learn how to apply force correctly. We used to do (surprise, surprise) pretty simple compound routines based around squat, deadlift, power clean, bench press and rowing from a high bench. 5x5 always works well but I don't know how experienced you are so maybe you know about lifting already.

    I would say that (at first) bodyweight circuits or simple weight circuits done hard will probably give you better results than heavy strength training. You need that conditioning. Crossfit would be very good if you want to try that.

    Oh, and stretch your hamstrings and back religiously! You're going to need a strong lower back and flexible legs or you'll be ****ed. Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    Banned KingJustin's Avatar
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    Yeah, I agree with everything Drummer said.

    We have a pretty serious crew team at Emory, but they don't really do much outside of row a lot. As a result, I don't row much at all, and I can destroy any of them in a 500m sprint on the erg. They told me that after a couple weeks practice the carry over from the erg to water is extremely high.

    Anthony, who occasionally posts on this board is a good reference for this stuff, too. He was the fastest lightweight in the world on the indoor rower in 2008.


    You kind of have to decide when you want to peak, in a way. If you want to train to be the best rower you can be in 3 months, then get on the rower a lot. If you have 8 months, then lots of crossfit metcon-type stuff is great, paired with rowing.

    If you want to really go far in the sport, you need to build a big base with weightlifting and get your deadlift, row and squat numbers up, and then really work on doing these lifts explosively. (I know Anthony had a 565lb deadlift, so that's the kind of weight you want to be pulling). Pair that up with metcon workouts, then phase in more and more actual rowing, and you can go a lot farther in the sport.

    This is the basic rule for everything. The sooner you want to peak, the more sport-specific work you need to do, and the less general stuff. But, if you want to be really good, you've got to build that base.
    Last edited by KingJustin; 02-20-2009 at 10:27 AM.

  5. #5
    WannabePLer fpr's Avatar
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    Ok -- so I joined the crew team because I read on their site that they implemented weight lifting (honestly that, and the idea of developing some endurance was the only reason I joined)

    First time we went into the gym, wow, what a bunch of pansies these guys were... using the smith machine left and right, it was pathetic.

    I eventually stopped going simply because I couldn't dedicate the time to it, they practiced about 10 hours a week, and it just wasn't for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingJustin View Post
    Yeah, I agree with everything Drummer said.

    We have a pretty serious crew team at Emory, but they don't really do much outside of row a lot. As a result, I don't row much at all, and I can destroy any of them in a 500m sprint on the erg. They told that after a couple weeks practice the carry over is extremely high.

    Anthony, who occasionally posts on this board is a good reference for this stuff, too. He was the fastest lightweight in the world on the indoor rower in 2008.


    You kind of have to decide when you want to peak, in a way. If you want to train to be the best rower you can be in 3 months, then get on the rower a lot. If you have 8 months, then lots of crossfit metcon-type stuff is great, paired with rowing.

    If you want to really go far in the sport, you need to build a big base with weightlifting and get your deadlift, row and squat numbers up, and then really work on doing these lifts explosively. (I know Anthony had a 565lb deadlift, so that's the kind of weight you want to be pulling). Pair that up with metcon workouts, then phase in more and more actual rowing, and you can go a lot farther in the sport.

    This is the basic rule for everything. The sooner you want to peak, the more sport-specific work you need to do, and the less general stuff. But, if you want to be really good, you've got to build that base.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fpr View Post
    Ok -- so I joined the crew team because I read on their site that they implemented weight lifting (honestly that, and the idea of developing some endurance was the only reason I joined)

    First time we went into the gym, wow, what a bunch of pansies these guys were... using the smith machine left and right, it was pathetic.

    I eventually stopped going simply because I couldn't dedicate the time to it, they practiced about 10 hours a week, and it just wasn't for me.
    They must be terrible...

    Any serious crews will be the hardest training mofos you'll encounter.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJustin View Post
    We have a pretty serious crew team at Emory, but they don't really do much outside of row a lot. As a result, I don't row much at all, and I can destroy any of them in a 500m sprint on the erg. They told that after a couple weeks practice the carry over is extremely high.

    Anthony, who occasionally posts on this board is a good reference for this stuff, too. He was the fastest lightweight in the world on the indoor rower in 2008.
    I'm slightly surprised by that. Its true that crews will spend 90% of their time on the water, with most of the land training being weights, but their ergs should still be very good, as ergos are often used for crew selection. We'd train 6-7 days a week and usually spend one day doing long ergo pieces. Sometime 2x6k, sometimes up to 60min steady state, and then moving into the summer we'd do more interval style stuff.

    What's your 500m time?

    And Anthony, that's awesome! Do you know what his time was? 2k or 5k? My erg was never that amazing but a couple of guys at my school were in the top 5 for under 18s. They joined the national squad a little later.

    I quit a few years ago, as I felt like a change of pace at uni. I still miss it though. There's nothing quite like gliding along the river, feeling this huge amount of power all working in sync.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Most non-crew people I see on an erg are performing it incorrectly. My wife rowed for UC Irvine. She was super jacked while doing it.


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  9. #9
    Banned KingJustin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    What's your 500m time?
    1:23.9 (I weigh 210lbs though). I think I'll be able to drop this by a good bit once my cardio picks back up and/or if I spend 2 months doing SST type stuff for the erg (unlikely). I can hit 1:19ish for 200m just because I can pull the thing really hard. That said, I can't find any events to compete in aside from stupid team relays.

    And Anthony, that's awesome! Do you know what his time was?
    Sorry, I should have been more clear. At 165 lbs, Anthony was the fastest lightweight in the world in the 500m. His time was 1:25.4.
    http://www.crossfitfredericton.com/about-jodi-anthony/

    Edit: ****, apparently the coach of the Emory men's team dropped 3 seconds off his 500m time this past year. Apparently I'm not as fast as this dude.
    http://www.atlergsprints.gtcrew.com/results
    Last edited by KingJustin; 02-20-2009 at 10:39 AM.

  10. #10
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    I agree with Drummer and King Justin. I would especially emphasize dead lift and power clean. Especially power clean. Being good at the power clean will not automatically make you a good rower, as there is an enormous amount of sensitivity involved in rowing, canoeing and kayaking technique. For obvious reasons power is of great importance to athletes, but on another note the NSCA has published some really cool articles on the correlations between power and endurance. I'll spare you the details, essentially if you increase your power production you become more efficient at using energy, thus improving performance in an endurance event.

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