Indoor Sport Services Training Guide
Our Indoor Rowing Training Guide is the ultimate training resource for the Indoor Rower. Written by top education and coaching specialists, it includes information on technique and training, with programmes on cross-training, 2,000m and marathon race training, weight management and keep fit. There are guest chapters written by top names such as Jurgen Grobler and Chris Shambrook as well as dedicated sections on psychology, nutrition and weight training.
Physiology - Frequently Asked Questions on Physiology<< Physiological ToolsCreating A Bespoke Training Programme >>
answered by Terry O'Neill
I have been following the Concept 2 website advice for weight management. By taking 41 (my age) from 220 for my maximum heart rate I get 179 but recently achieved 185 bpm in my hill sprint training. My resting heart rate is 42 to 44.
Using the figure 179 I take 65% to get a work rate of 116 bpm. In order to achieve this I have to row at rate 28 to 30 instead of the 18 to 20 as recommended in the Training Guide. What am I doing wrong?
Your maximum heart rate will depend on what you are doing. Hill sprints will initiate a much higher maximum heart rate than indoor rowing. If you want to find your maximum heart rate on the Indoor Rower refer to the test in Physiological Tools in Section 3 : Physiology.
The percentage of heart rate that you should work at is with respect to your heart rate range. You determine this by subtracting your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate. Multiply this by the percentage you require and add your resting heart rate on again. This will give you an accurate idea of thecorrect heart rate for that training zone.
You should not be too concerned about the stroke rate you use to achieve your training zones. This is a throwback to water rowing before heart rate monitors were common, when rowers controlled the intensity of training by using stroke rate. It is much more important to achieve the correct heart rate than the suggested stroke rate.
Why do we need to train in different training bands and why can't you just train as hard as you can for as long as you can?
When I first took up coaching the national team back in the late 70s we used three training bands. Then they were called steady state, tempo and interval training. For steady state read UT1, for tempo read anaerobic threshold. Interval training was based around a series of 500m pieces.
Following a programme based on these three bands the crew I coached in 1980 won the World Championships and set a world best time that stood for nine years. The athletes in the crew all had full time jobs and trained four evenings a week and twice on Saturday and Sunday.
It would be a brave coach that suggested turning back the clock to this type of programme to full time athletes that form the current national team. The nearest thing that I got to it was a couple of years ago when I helped a local club. The first thing I did was cut the number of sessions per week by removing all early morning weekday sessions. The reason was that these sessions were not focused because of the pressure to finish in time for work. The quality of the evening session was poor because the athletes were not getting enough sleep and arriving for training tired. When I suggested dropping the morning sessions I could see from the expression on their faces they were thinking "Who is this bloke?" However, they did as I asked and went on to win at Henley, which was their aim.
With full time athletes tiredness is not such an issue as they are able to rest between sessions. This is because they have more time to train so training fills up the time they have available. The rational used is that the training can be more specific and to achieve this the number of training bands are expanded to five or in some cases seven.
Identifying various bands isn't that different from training as hard as you can for as long as you can. Low intensity work is carried out over a longer period and if you went off too hard you would not be able to complete the session. But if you mean why don't you make each session flat out then the answer is you would only be training at one point on a continuum which ranges from low intensity aerobic work to high intensity anaerobic work.
The two extremes of training could also be called the endurance end and the strength end of the continuum. You will find that there will be some strength gains from endurance training and some endurance gains from strength training.
We identify bands by blood lactate levels and this is relevant to training programmes for rowing over 2,000m. Blood lactate levels may not be relevant to someone training for a marathon as marathon runners may not be able to create significant levels of lactate. It is relevant to rowers because there are two reasons why you will be unable to continue to exercise, one is you will run out of fuel and you can do this through aerobic work. This will happen to athletes involved in prolonged aerobic activities such as the ironman triathlon, if they fail to refuel as they go. The other reason is that through high intensity work you have an accumulation of lactate to a point where it changes the pH of blood from a normal alkaline 6.8 to an acidic 7.3. In this case calcium, which is the bonding agent in the actomyosin complex (part of the contractile unit of the muscle), is broken down and muscles can no longer function. This can be clearly seen in an event like the 400m hurdles where as the runners approach the finish line they appear to be running in treacle and stop immediately they cross the line. The total event lasts for less than a minute so there is no way the athlete has run out of fuel.
Lactate accumulation will also be the limiting factor in a 2,000m flat out row. The energy costs are about 400 calories, which in itself is not too high considering that a human has a capacity of around 10,000.
However, this is the maximum consumption over a period of 24 hours and the rate of expenditure for a 2,000m piece is around ten times the sustainable rate which is why it is such a physical challenge.
The main objective of a training programme is to increase the amount of usable energy before the debilitating effects of lactate accumulation. Therefore you need to know at what training intensity this occurs (anaerobic threshold).
Because lactate is constantly present in the bloodstream, we also need to establish what amount is there as a result of the basal metabolism plus normal activity and what level we can expect from exercise that will bring about the desired training effect (aerobic threshold). These two points have been identified as 4 and 2mmols respectively. Then there are the training bands above the anaerobic threshold, the first at 6mmols and then above. We need to train in these bands to develop a tolerance to lactate and improve the metabolic resynthisis.
- McKardle, Katch and Katch, Exercise Physiology: Energy Nutrition and Human Performance
Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2001
Wilmore and Costill, Physiology of Sport and Exercise
Human Kinetics Europe Ltd, 1999