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The Pete Plan blog

Steady 10k with 2k push

Posted by thepeteplan on February 4, 2010

Reply to comment from last entry:

Jeff wrote, in summary: “[rib injury was caused by] the coaching I was getting to emphasize the leg-drive, explode at the catch, get the force curve vertical, etc., a little too seriously — but I was rowing at around 115 drag factor, 20-22 spm …… I’ve tried dropping the drag factor all the way down and rowing at at least 30spm”

Perhaps Tim will read this, and the full comment to my last blog entry, and be able to provide a more professional rowing perspective. Although it’s good to have a front loaded force curve, both on the erg and (I believe, I don’t row on the water) on the water, you don’t want to be hitting the catch as hard as you possibly can. You also want to make sure that early in the recovery your upper body position is set ready for the catch and arms fully extended so that the force, although obviously transferred through your core, is being generated by your legs for the first part of the drive. You want to be careful not to be trying to take the strain at the catch on your back or core by bending at the hip flexors or in your core on that initial drive phase. I would suspect, with seeing you on the erg, that it is this upper body positioning that is (slightly) off in the recovery, making you “bend in the middle” as you apply the power at the catch. For example, if you body position is either not correct, or you don’t have a strong enough core, when you push with your legs you will get a stage at the beginning of the drive where the seat starts to go back, and your upper body stays still, thereby bending you further forward – this will greatly increase the load on your core and intercostal muscles. If you’re able, take a side on video of your erging stroke and play it back in slow motion – for the initial drive the seat and handle should stay in the same place relative to each other.

Today’s training:

I decided to do a steady 10k today, but with a push over the final 2k. Here’s how it went:

2k splits on the 10k:
7:19.6 / 1:49.9 / 25
7:19.5 / 1:49.9 / 25
7:19.2 / 1:49.8 / 25
7:18.5 / 1:49.6 / 25
6:46.8 / 1:41.7 / 29

10k = 36:03.7 / 1:48.1 / 25

It felt great mentally to cruise through 8k building yourself up mentally to put in a much faster final 2k.

4 Responses to “Steady 10k with 2k push”

  1. Tim said

    In response to Jeff’s rib strain.

    Hammering the catch to make the force curve spike up is actually not the best way to drive the wheel. Whilst maintaining a strong leg drive, it’s necessary to acknowledge tha the legs are going to be stronger as they straighten, so it would be best to see if you can make your power curve into the shape of a hill, utilizing the extra strength of the legs and the arm draw to maintain accelleration of the wheel.

    Another aspect of hitting the front end is that if the handle is not aligned correctly at the catch (the same height as the cog that spins the wheel) the first element of pressure applied will create a jarring effect on the upper body, resulting in tension and generally an overloading of the stroke.

    I acknowledge that you have tried to move away from this by lowering the drag, but if the force exerted at the front end has to be absorbed by the body, this unfortunately will make little difference.

    Many high level rowers endure rib strains. It seems to be the injury en vogue of the last 10 years, replacing lower back strains. This is because of advances in core training which has reduced the risk of injury to the lower back, so the stress has been transferred to the rib area. And as I haven’t seen you row I couldn’t make a comment on whether it is poor body form that has caused this.

    However, with all of these rib issues, there was really only two suitable courses of action. If at a race, they could tape it up and hope for the best, then resting extensively afterwards, or more likely, physio and cross training.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but my recommendation is to see a physio asap and rest your ribs until you have kept complete recovery.

    A cross training alternative for this would be cycling, and to keep closer to the ergo fitness I would recommend (after a good warm up) short intense pieces (eg 10 x 4mins) on a heavy gear, preferably up an incline.

    Good luck Jeff, and thanks Pete for bringing this to my attention.

    • Jeff Brock said

      Hi Tim and Pete:

      I was getting email reminders for posts on the original message but not on the follow-ups.

      First of all Pete, congratulations on your score yesterday!! Great stuff.

      Very happy to report that things seem to have improved dramatically with the lighter drag factor and less over-exaggerated catch. I was feeling pretty good but came out a little light on my piece yesterday, but felt great at 1000m and hit the gas. Thankfully I was able to get through it (6:35.4, not my best, but I’ll take it given the circumstances!) without any complaints from the rib or surrounding area. So I think I’m through the worst, and now I don’t have CRASH-Bs looming — will take it easy for a while until everything’s completely resolved.

      Thanks a lot for your thoughts and help — I’m in Providence RI, so probably not practical for me to get to London (any time soon at least), but if I continue to have trouble later I’ll definitely let you know!

      Cheers! and congrats again!

  2. thepeteplan said

    For Jeff and anyone else reading Tim’s response, just to quote from the “Pete Plan Coaching” page on my blog for a bit of background on Tim:

    “Tim is the British record holder for the lightweight 2k, and so is the faster ever British lwt erger. He has also rowed as a GB lwt for many years, and is one of the very few Concept2 Master Instructors. If you want to do an official Concept2 instructors course, or a Crew Class instructors course, Tim is the man to contact. Tim is also available for technical coaching on the erg or water, and can provide personal training including programme advice and nutritional analysis. Especially if you are a lwt erger or water rower, Tim is probably the best man to go to for personal training and advice. Contact Tim on the above email address for costs and further details of what he can offer.”

    If you’re anywhere near west London at all Jeff then I would really recommend seeing if you can set up a technique session with Tim – if not I don’t know whether Tim offers video technique analysis as a personal training service, and if not perhaps he should consider it. At least then you can find out if it is a technique issue causing the rib injury, and prevent it from re-occuring. Of course you’ll probably want to follow Tim’s advice of getting physio help to recover from the injury first!

    • Tim said

      I do run a video service. In fact, I can hook it up so the rower can get realtime feedback, and see the corrections as they make them on screen.

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