CrossFit and Rowing: Blaxberg, Featured Photographer

CrossFit is a fitness program developed by Greg Glassman. Its core principle is to improve your physical condition through regular exercise and weight training. The program emphasizes high intensity intervals (HIIT) with short rest periods between sets. HIIT workouts are performed at intensities up to 70% of one’s maximum heart rate (HRmax). For example, if someone is able to complete 10 reps of bench press with their 1RM, they would perform 8 reps of 20 seconds each set followed by 4 minutes of rest. If the person was unable to complete 10 reps or even 5 reps, then they would increase the intensity until they were able to do so. A typical workout might look like this:

Workout A – 10 reps x 20 seconds each set, 4 minutes rest

Workout B – 8 reps x 15 seconds each set, 3 minutes rest

Workout C – 6 reps x 12 seconds each set, 2 minutes rest

 The goal of these workouts is to exhaust the body and mind in order to build strength and endurance. The greater the intensity, the greater the exhaustion and growth.

The rest periods are kept short in order to keep the heart rate elevated throughout the workout. This is why it is important for the athlete to understand their own limitations. The last thing you want to do is get hurt by pushing too hard.

The purpose of CrossFit is to prepare participants for any physical contingency as effectively and efficiently as possible. A strong body and mind combined with proper nutrition supports this purpose.

The main site states the following: “We have sought to keep things simple and avoid protocol restrictions that limit the ability of a trainee to perform the WOD.” This implies that there are a lot more exercises than those listed on the site, and that they can be done anywhere with just about any medium.

By keeping things simple, participants are encouraged to focus on intensity rather than strict rules. The site lists the following tools that should be utilized in some capacity.

“The above are the only apparatus you need for training. You can do all the WODS with just these in a garage, backyard, or basement.

There are many other toys and gadgets, but these are mostly limitations and/or unnecessary for progress.”

The program even encourages people to “throw skills tests at intervals” in order to continue to challenge the body. It doesn’t specify what these tests should be, but it seems as though anything that promotes overall fitness would be a good addition.

CrossFit and Rowing: Blaxberg, Featured Photographer - gym fit workout

Greg Glassman was a gymnast growing up and credits his ability to still perform relatively difficult gymnastic moves to being strong and flexible. CrossFit has special emphasis on flexibility.

“The combination of strength and flexibility is essential for maximum performance.”

Does CrossFit help Rowing Performance?

Cross-training is an excellent way to compliment your rowing training. However, it’s important that the activity you engage in compliment your rowing without causing you to lose form and be less effective on the water. Before you begin any new activity it is important that you understand proper form and technique. One of the most popular forms of cross-training for rowers is running. Before adding running to your rowing training, it is important to remember that Rowing and Running are two very different sports with different goals, strategies and physical demands.

Rowing and Cross-training:

Cross-training may be beneficial for a couple of reasons. First, it is mentally refreshing.

It can also help rowers avoid or recover from overuse injuries. It is important to remember that cross-training is not supposed to replace rowing. Most top programs will have rowers cross-train in some capacity, but they are always careful not to lose the specificity of their rowing training.

If a rower is accustomed to doing CrossFit, it can be very beneficial if properly incorporated into their training schedule. It is important to remember that rowers do not need to be strong for rowing, but rather muscular endurance is more important.