Regardless of the amount of time you put into training it is possible that, from time to time, your progress slows and results begin to stagnate.  In the past, I have written about the importance of recording your workouts in order to track progress and making changes to your training and nutrition based on your performance.  When you begin to notice a regression with respect to your results, it may be time to add some variety to your training program.

Recently, because of injury, I had to rework my training program.  In the process of doing so I became reacquainted with an old training partner, the indoor rower or “erg”.  Rowing engages all of the major muscle groups and requires movement through a wide range of motion.   Although it may appear as though the upper body is pulling the body through the exercise, the initial drive demands maximal power from the legs and engagement of the lower back and core. The ability to train multiple muscle groups while undergoing cardiovascular and mobility training makes this tool highly efficient. 

Whether you are recovering from an injury and searching for a temporary stand in exercise, cross-training for another sport or simply need some variety within your training program consider trying a rowing workout.  If you are unfamiliar with the erg seek out an experienced rower to assist you with your technique.  Resist the urge to just hop on the seat and pull away with your arms.  Explore the Concept 2 website and their technique videos for help with your form.  

Once you are ready to use the erg it is possible to complete steady state, anaerobic threshold work, as well as more intense intervals and sprint work.  For example, to maintain my cardiovascular endurance while I was unable to run, I elected to repeat 5K and 10K steady state rows.  During these workouts, I sought to match my heart rate to the levels I sustain during an long endurance run while practicing nose-only breathing to improve my lung capacity and mental focus.

If you are looking for a more intense workout with strength training components, combine the erg with exercises like kettlebell swings, box jumps, burpees, push-ups and pull-ups.  Try 4 rounds of 250m row, 10x pull-ups, 20x kettlebell swing and 10x push-up.  

Still want more?  

For a workout that will fatigue your entire energy system leaving your lungs breathless and muscles burning try this… (Warning: It is rough)

For Time

 250m row – 50x overhead kettlebell swing

 500m row – 40x overhead kettlebell swing 

750m row – 30x overhead kettlebell swing 

1000m row – 20x overhead kettlebell swing 

1,250m row – 10x overhead kettlebell swing 

1000m row – 20x overhead kettlebell swing 

750m row – 30x overhead kettlebell swing 

500m row – 40x overhead kettlebell swing 

250m row – 50x overhead kettlebell swing 

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