TrainingWorkoutsWednesday Workout: Rowing with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project

Avatar Lander KarathJuly 1, 2015
CGRP skier Heather Mooney gets out on the water with her sister, Brooke, as part of her cross training program.
CGRP skier Heather Mooney gets out on the water with her sister, Brooke, as part of her cross training program. (Photo: Heather Mooney)

This week’s Wednesday Workout comes from the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, centered at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont. With professional rowers also based at the center, the GRP ski team takes advantage of the center’s facilities to partake in full-body cross training. Don’t have access to rowing equipment? You can partake in one of the exercises below on an erg, which are located at most gyms. 

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CGRP skier Caitlin Patterson heads out on the water for a rowing workout out. (Photo: Heather Mooney)
CGRP skier Caitlin Patterson heads out on the water for a rowing workout out. (Photo: Heather Mooney)

The Craftsbury Green Racing Project has a couple afternoons each week for cross training built into our general training plan. Our cross training activities of choice include mountain biking, road biking, and rowing, and in a big volume week we have plenty of time for just about all of them. Although it is easy to spend as most of our training hours doing exercise that will relate directly to speed on skis, we like to mix up or routine with other activities to get our other muscles working, minimize the monotony of one activity, and to learn something new.

Several of us enjoy rowing and the prime facilities, equipment, and coaching available to us at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center make it it very easy. A few times a week, the GRP rowers host “community rowing” where residents from around the area come to work on their rowing. For us on the nordic side of things, it’s a good chance to learn from our fellow GRP rowing teammates.

Rowing is good cross training for skiing as it is another full body sport — and aerobic once you’re good at it. It also requires good balance to keep your boat upright, which involves the use of all the limbs and a strong core to connect them. With some basic skills, it is a great option to know the technique on a rainy day at the gym on a rowing erg.

There are a lot of options from hard intervals to just easy steady state workout, with benefits ranging from speed to strength to endurance — just like in skiing — and can be done either on the water or on an erg. Many of us go out for an easy row, “Level 1”, like we’d go for an easy run or bike or ski, but here are some more advanced options that our fellow GRP rowers use:

The “workout”, courtesy of Steve Whelpley, one of the GRP rowers: 

5 x 5: Five minutes at 24 strokes per minute (spm) done five times with two minute rest. Ii is a simple Simple workout that builds aerobic capacity and power.

10 minutes pieces: Four minutes at 22 spm, three minutes at 24 spm, two minutes at 26 spm, one minute at 28 spm.  Typically do it three to four times.  it builds in intensity and forces power at the lower ratings.

40/20 seconds: 40 seconds on 20 seconds off, two sets of 10 intervals with a longer break in between them.  These shorter intervals build anaerobic capacity, and with short enough rest, they force a lot of oxygen exchange and heavy breathing.

Rowing is great cross training as it is a full body workout. Like skiing, it necessitates a lot of oxygen consumption, builds VO2 max, and encourages more anaerobic development since it can be more power based than skiing, as well as being slightly antagonistic exercise to stay healthy and well rounded. Moreover, although there are no uphills in rowing, there also are no downhills, so it is a good chance to work on endurance with no breaks.

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Lander Karath

Lander Karath is FasterSkier's Associate Editor from Bozeman, Montana and a Bridger Ski Foundation alumnus. Between his studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, he is an outdoor enthusiast and a political junkie.

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