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The Pete Plan blog

  • February 2023
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Sprint / HIIT

Sprint training, or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be very effective on the rowing machine. Don’t think of it just as a method of improving your sprint ability on the erg either, it can be great in the final sharpening phase before a 2k race as well.

I really discovered HIIT on the erg towards the end of 2003 when the MAD Team were training for our attempt at the 100k sprint relay World Record. Two sessions formed the core of my sprint interval training in the run up to the record attempt in January 2004, and it is no coincidence that I set my 2000m personal best time just 1 week after we set the 100k World Record (which still stands today, over 4 years later – an average split of 1:15.4!).

I will add more information to this page soon, but for now I will just suggest those two sprint interval sessions:

Session 1: 15 x 100m / 80sec rest

I actually favour slightly shorter reps than this, and in preparation for the 100k WR we were doing this session with 10sec reps, but unfortunately you can’t set timed reps at under 20seconds on PM3 or PM4 monitors. These reps should be absolutely maximum power, high rate reps, done at high drag (I would recommend about 30 to 35 higher than your normal training drag). I put 15 x here as that is a good starting point, but try to increase the rep numbers each time you do it so you get to a point where you can’t maintain pace any more.

Session 2: 6 x 25sec / 95sec rest

This is truely a killer session if done fast. Slightly below maximal power, and lower the resistance a little from the session above. Again the rep numbers can be increased each time. You will probably be looking to do this session about 5 seconds slower pace than session 1 initially, though with good fitness you might get it down closer to 3.5sec or so away.

When I say high rate, I mean up in the high 50’s for the first session, and at least 40 for the second session (preferably 50spm). Both sessions are very high intensity if done properly.

Here is a short video on YouTube of the MAD Team 100k world record:


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