Concept2 employees have favorite workouts they do over and over again, but there are some that we sometimes avoid. Here are a few of our "worst" workouts…and a few reasons why you may want to try them.
1. Race Day Prep
1500m x 5 with 1 minute rest
Why it's hard: It is hard to sustain high intensity. This workout pushes you right to the moment where most athletes "blow up." And you get to do it over and over again.
Why it's good for you: After a mental and physical dive into the "pain cave," race day will seem easy (or easier).
2. Power Five Hundreds
10x500m with 1 minute rest at 2k pace
(Alternative: 5x500m with 20 seconds rest at 2k pace. Relay Option: Substitute 1 minute rest with switching on and off with a partner or teammates.)
Why it's hard: One minute has never felt so short before.
Why it's good for you: This workout dials in your 2k pacing.
3. Death by Calories
Program the Performance Monitor for 1 minute intervals, no rest. Minute 1, row 1 Calorie. Minute 2, row 2 Calories. Continue until you cannot continue to match minutes with Calories.
Why it's hard: Your window of rest time will close each interval until you have no rest time left.
Why it's good for you: The workout starts out easy but quickly challenges your grit and perserverance. You'll learn how small changes in intensity and stroke rating can influence your ability to stay in the game.
4. Immutable Meters: 1’ on/1’ off
Set a minimum distance requirement (such as 300m). Continue each interval until you can’t meet the minimum distance.
Why it's hard: As you tire out each interval, this workout becomes increasingly difficult.
Why it's good for you: Push yourself to maintain strong technique as you tire. This workout can also help you get more comfortable with an uncomfortable pace; mentally, envision what it takes for you to reach your goal meters.
5. The Zehnder
1 minute all out (no rate cap) followed by 5 minutes at 24 spm, 4 minutes at 26 spm, 2 minutes at 28 spm, 1 minute at 30 spm, 1 minute at 32 spm, 1 minute at 34 spm.
(Named after Concept2 employee Silvan Zehnder, former Swiss National Team athlete.)
Why it’s hard: Transitioning from a high (no rate cap) stroke rating to a low one requires control of your recovery. As this workout continues, stroke rate increases as exhaustion sets in.
Why it’s good for you: Learning to vary your rate along with intensity helps you to keep long, strong strokes throughout racing. After your first minute, you should be able to fully recover at a 24 spm. The last three 1' rows show you that you can still keep your pace down by bringing up the stroke rate. The last minute also mimics a race sprint to the finish line.
6. The Curveball
Row with your friends or team. Announce another intervals after an all-out effort.
Why it’s hard: Mentally, you’ve already completed your workout and executed your race plan, and a moment of panic and doubt usually sets in. “But I don’t have time to prepare! And I don’t know if I can finish another workout?”
Why it’s good for you: Race day can be full of surprises, like false starts or re-rows. Plus, this workout usually helps prove that you’re capable of more than you thought.
7. Quad Buster
Four rounds of 500 meter row, followed by a max time wall sit.
Why it’s hard: Since rowing is a “leg sport”, any exercise that continues to place demands on the quadriceps, glutes (and core!) is exhausting.
Why it’s good for you: This workout helps you learn how to work through muscle (and mental) fatigue.
And Then Some...
For more ideas, also see row2k.com’s Excruciating Erg Workouts.