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Top 3 Tips for Improving your 2k time.

The 2km erg test is the gold standard for rowing. Possibly the most painful physical challenge in sport. Controversial? Try it and find out for yourself!

More importantly, once you've done it, you want to get better at it. We are going to take some things for granted here:

1. You have a general training background. By this, I mean that you are not completely untrained. You've been in the gym a bit, and you've been on an erg before (obviously, as you've just done a 2K)!

2. You'll do what it takes to get better.

So, what are the top 3 tips?

1. Get someone to check your basic technique.

2. Control your variables.

3. Know whether you need to develop your aerobic capacity or your power.

Let's break those down now:

1. Get someone to check your basic technique.

If your technique is wrong, that means that it is inefficient. This means that for every stroke you do (and you are doing a couple of hundred in a 2k) you have 'energy leaks', where the power you produce is being wasted, dissipating as it goes off in different directions, rather than contributing every bit of effort into the most efficient stroke possible, contributing to a better 2k time for you.

Basic technique is covered in another article, but the main thing that beginners get wrong is the recovery. As soon as you have completed the pull, push your arms away from you and tilt your torso forward. THEN, and only then, do you begin to bend your legs again. If you do this in the wrong order you will have to lift your hands over your knees, which is where a lot of energy is wasted as you slow the movement down and lose the momentum that you have built up with each powerful stroke.

2. Control your variables.

For your training, you want to see if you are actually getting better. To do this, you want to control as many variables as possible, so that you can see if your training is affecting one. Otherwise it is just a guessing game. So how does this look?

(i) Set your drag factor to the same level every session. In general, 130 for males, 110 for females, and take off 10 from each if you are a lightweight.

(ii) Wear the same footwear. If you wear trainers one session, lifting shoes the next, and then go barefoot, these sessions will be very different. They all allow you to push form different angles, as you get your heels down to the plate earlier/later, allowing you to produce more/less power. So keep your footwear consistent!

(iii) Keep a constant stroke rate. This will vary depending upon the session, but you want to keep it consistent for that session type. For example, long duration sessions (eg. 5k, or 30mins of UT2 work) set it at 18 strokes per minute (s/m). Shorter ones, it will be higher, but try to keep is consistent when you do that session again. Why is this important? Keeping it the same for each session allows you to see if the power that you produce every stroke is actually improving. If the splits are down but your stroke rate has increased, then it is hard to tell whether you have actually improved your performance.

3. Know whether you need to develop your aerobic capacity or your power.

Easiest way to do this is to do a 250m test. Again, set your drag factor to your level, choose your correct footwear, warm up thoroughly, AND GO FLAT OUT!!! If you produce a good score, with splits much better than your 2k time, then your power is good. If your splits are not very different from your 2k splits then this is a sign that your power is an area for development. After you know this you can gear your training towards addressing your major work-on, either devoting more sessions to aerobic development or power development.

So those are the top 3 tips for improving your 2k time. Not the training details themselves, which can do found at our shop,

but what you need to do TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THOSE SESSIONS.

Enjoy your training,


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