Rhythm First, Speed Later

We are officially 7 weeks into this progression. I’m biased, but I’m a huge fan of these workouts. What I like about them: they’ve reminded me how crucial rhythm is both in establishing a pace and enjoying this whole act of rowing business. I was coaching this week and we came up with a brilliant, little nugget:

It’s easier to establish a rhythm and then row hard than it is to row hard and then establish a rhythm.

Why is this a #truefact? I should first clarify that establishing a rhythm does involve committing a base of power from the onset of a piece, it doesn’t mean frolicking into a piece with a loosey goosey rhythm. Building into a piece is like a first kiss: if you don’t commit, you won’t ever get laid. No noncommittal first kiss ever ends well. Serious ground must be made up from that fumble forward. Translate that into rowing. If you saunter in all talk, no action (you don’t commit to your leg drive like a champion) you will spend the first ten strokes of a piece trying to go faster, versus settling into a rhythm.

But here’s the thing. If you go into a piece pulling really hard every single stroke without making an effort to connect those strokes and create momentum (aka: rhythm), you have just made that piece much harder than it needs to be. If you need a mental picture this would be a super aggressive (some may say, yanky) pull from the catch, an added pull into the body, and then a pause either at the finish or above the knees. I like to call this approach, “repping out your row,” as in you are doing single reps every stroke. Rapping your row = zero fun. It is zero fun because it is work THE WHOLE TIME. You have to work to create momentum each and every stroke, versus create momentum in your perfectly committed first kiss of a build and then just maintain it. Maintenance requires smoothness. Maintenance requires rhythm.

Rhythm before speed.

Keep that in mind as you row 12 of these suckers this week. Have I created a rhythm…?


Find this week’s workout HERE!

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