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Old 10-16-2009, 08:57 AM   #1
Tom Fetter
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 9
Default Pls. help me design an off-season rowing plan

I nearly added this to the existing threads on lifting and endurance ... but thought the better of it - this is probably too specific.

I'm struggling to sort out how to integrate this information into an off-season rowing training plan for my 16 year old son. He's got measurable, but conflicting goals. He's got a moderate training history both in his sport and in more general activity, but is still junior enough that he can probably go for quite some time in a linear progression if he eats enough, and recovers enough.

At 5'5" and only #110, Chris has still probably got 5" of height increase coming over the next few years, judging by family genetics. Rowing training and his ongoing growth spurt brought his bodyfat way down ... the kid needs to eat. SS-based lifting done in a couple of stretches over the years has brought his squat up to #180 for sets of 5, and his DL to #250 for 5 reps, but we've never had an uninterrupted period of more than about 6 weeks to chase the linear progression. There's lots more in the tank.

While I'm confident that I can help him gain the #30 he wants over the Winter by eating and lifting, I don't know how to do it concurrent with also markedly improving his rowing performance.

Chris' 2k time, he thinks, is hovering around the 8 minute mark. Hasn't tested it since August, but will soon. By the time the club gets back on the water in late April, Chris wants that improved to at least 7:30, meaning that his 2k split will have to drop from 2:00 to 1:52 or better.

I think he will get there most efficiently by:
  • doing a good mass gain program 'till Christmas and eating like hell, while doing 1 short-intervals workout and 1 active recovery day on the erg

    switching at Christmas to a rowing-centric regime (2 days short-intervals, 1-day medium intervals, 1 day long row at active recovery pace) with the lifting program dropped to 2 days/week

    did I mention eating like hell?

I think that will get him to this Winter's goals - but what I'm unsure about is the long term. Chris is serious about his rowing, and I'm conscious that it's a slow-twitch-dominant, massive aerobic demand sport. The research I've read is thoroughly mixed on when you reach diminishing returns in weight training for the sport ... and when to orient your training away even from the aerobic, towards eking out neuromuscular efficiency from long, LONG sessions.

Chris is far from needing such elite programming now, but I do wonder about the wisdom of developing fast-twitch fibers, when empirically the muscles of elite rowers are overwhelmingly slow-twitch.

All thoughts gratefully received.

T.
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