I am interested in adding ergo exercises to my training portfolio. Any direction would be greatly appreciated.
If you want to add rowing ergometer training to an already existing routine, we need to first establish what are you doing now. Is rowing going to be “extra” work that may lead you into an over training pathway? Is it that you “need to burn” more calories? Or a substitute warm up program? It is hard to prescribe a training program when there are a few un-answered questions.
If we look at the “extra” training pathway, then over training can happen somewhat quickly. You may want to examine your ability to recover from what training you are presently doing. If there is no problem with recovery, and you are happy with your current training intensity or volume, then adding the rower may be no problem. I would suggest two to three times a week at low intensity (RPE 5 on a 1-10 scale) AND low duration of six to 12 minutes. If you do not wish to change your program, then try this level of training for about three to four weeks. If you wish to shorten some portion of your present program, then two weeks before change. When it is time for change, increase duration up to 20 minutes and stay with three times a week using the low intensity. Maintain this duration for another two to three weeks. After that, alternate between 20 minutes (days 1 and 3) and 30 minutes (day 2) for two to three weeks. Now, you will have a small “base” built for short duration intervals. One time a week, add interval training (IT) to your program. After a good five to 10 minute warm up, use 20 seconds of 90 percent effort and 60 seconds of active recovery motion. Volume for this training time varies. Start with four to six reps and build up to 10 reps. Use a three to five minute cool down. Once 10 reps is reached without too much stress, increase the duration of work by 10 seconds and recovery by 10 to 15 seconds. You can keep increasing until one minute of work is completed with 10 reps, with good recovery ability. Then drop back down to the four to six reps at 100 percent with 20 seconds work/60 seconds active recovery and start all over.
If you wish to increase calorie expenditure, then the rowing erg is good. A “total” body exercise means more active muscle tissue, which equals more kcals burned per minute of activity. The intensity should be kept between 50 and 65 percent VO2max for maximal fat oxidation. This VO2 intensity has been found to use the greatest percentage of lipids for fuel. Duration for fat oxidation seems to follow the standard energy production graphs: anything over six minutes starts to generate the greatest value. This can also be used simultaneously as a warm up workout. If this is the case, then 12 to 15 minutes is good.
If you choose to train on the rowing erg and have followed the above plan, let us know how it goes and we will assist you in further training programs. If you use it as a warm up program, then it should create a sufficient increase in joint and body temperature prior to lifting.