Training Update (New Challenge and Learning Experience)

As my friends and training partners know, I’m a creature of habit and my own training tends to be pretty consistent and predictable. If you’ve trained with me at all in the past 6-7 years then you pretty much know how I train because it doesn’t change too much. I’ve found a style of training that works well for me and that I enjoy, and I’ve found exercises that work best for my body that allow me to train hard and get stronger without pissing off my injuries.

Whereas some people like to do a bunch of different exercises in a given workout, I usually do 2-3 exercises in a given workout and find that works better for me. I also tend to stick to moderate rep ranges (8-12 on upper body and 10-15 on lower body) whereas a lot of people like to go heavier in the 3-5 rep range. Different strokes for different folks, but training in moderate rep ranges allows me to get stronger without beating up my joints. I also don’t do much dedicated cardio, or conditioning, or whatever you want to call it except for a few high intensity intervals here and there to test myself, but never anything structured.

Starting two weeks ago though, I decided to try a new challenge which I must admit is way outside my comfort zone and my usual style of training.

I’ve become friends with a trainer named Peter Park who trains a lot of high level endurance athletes and is also a high level endurance athlete himself. He’s very smart on that front, and for the next 10 weeks he is going to help me improve my 2,000 meter row on the Concept 2 ergometer. For endurance type people I’m sure a 2,000 row doesn’t seem like an endurance event, but for me, it most certainly is. I’m still going to be doing my usual lifting, but I’m going to be doing three conditioning workouts a week geared towards helping my improve my performance. I’m wearing a heart rate monitor for all my workouts, and he’s teaching me about the different workout protcols. In exchange, I’m doing to help him try to increase his deadlift. We check in regularly and help each other alter the training as needed.

Truth be told, I’m not doing this to improve my conditioning or lose weight or anything like that. I’m doing it as a learning experience. I’m not afraid to admit my weaknesses and I feel that as a trainer it’s very important to always be learning and pursing more knowledge. I’ve learned a lot already, and while the training itself is well outside my comfort zone, it will make me a better, more well-rounded trainer.

The first step was establishing a baseline for the 2,000 row, which I must admit was one of the most horrible things I’ve done in the gym. I did it once with absolutely no idea of how to pace it and got 7:06, then after that I got a little better idea of how to pace myself and did it in 6:57, which was brutal. My time doesn’t hold a candle to competitive rowers, but you gotta start somewhere.

One of my best friends in college was on the crew team, so I sent him a video clip of my form and asked him for advice, and I have some work to do on that front as well.

From here I’ll be doing three workouts a week as directed. I’ve done three already, and as much as I thought I’d hate it, I’m actually enjoying it. Part of me enjoys the actual rowing, but more of me enjoys the idea of learning something new, so I’m just approaching with an open mind and I’m excited to learn some new stuff.

Here’s a video of me doing a tabata on the rower (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for eight rounds), which was definitely tough.

I look forward to the process of trying to improve my 2,000m time and learning a lot of good info along the way. Any time you have a chance to learn something new from someone who really knows that area well, you only stand to get better and I think you should jump at it. So, I’m jumping at it.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.