The Comprehensive Rowing Warm Up and Cool Down

The Comprehensive Rowing Warm Up and Cool Down (CWRWCTD) is a comprehensive program designed to prepare rowers for competition. It includes:

Rowing warm up on the water – 5 minutes on each stroke; 3 sets of 10 strokes per set; 2 minutes rest between sets.

  The CWRWCTD provides a solid base from which to build strength and endurance over time. It is not intended to replace regular training or racing, but rather to supplement it.

The CWRWCTD does not include any specific exercises for specific muscles. Rather, it emphasizes a general strengthening of all the major muscle groups involved in rowing. For example, the calves are strengthened during the warm up with leg lifts and lunges.

These movements will be used throughout the workout as well as at race start times when required.

The CWRWCTD is based upon the principle of “as much work as possible in as little time” and uses a progressive approach. Each exercise is progressively added until complete recovery has been achieved. During the first few weeks, rowers may only perform one set of each exercise.

However, once they have built up their stamina and become comfortable with the routine, they can gradually increase the number of sets performed per session.

CWRWCTD is intended to be done at the beginning of the rowing training session. The goal is to prepare the rowers for the technical, physical and mental demands of each training session. It will also help prevent injury during the more strenuous part of the training.

The Comprehensive Rowing Warm Up and Cool Down - gym fit workout

The CWRWCTD can be used throughout the year. During in-season, it should be used as a warm-up before workouts or races. At this time it should only include those exercises for which the rowers are currently ready.

For example, during in-season after a racing season, it is common for rowers to have some shoulder tightness. In this case, they may not be able to fully extend their arms over their head for some of the upper body stretches. In this case, they can either leave those out or do them with less range of motion until the tightness eases up.

During the off-season, the CWRWCTD can be used to maintain strength and aerobic capacity during a period of reduced training. During this time, it is not necessary to alternate sets for each exercise. Rather, all exercises can be completed in each set with the rowers choosing their own rest periods between sets.

For example, a rower may complete one set of each exercise and then rest for two to three minutes before going on to the next set.

Rowers can also use the CWRWCTD to develop specific strength and endurance in those areas that are lacking. For example, it is common for rowers to need to build up their upper body strength and flexibility. In this case, they can focus on increasing the number of sets and repetitions for upper body stretches.

Over time these can be added to until they are on par with the lower body stretches. They can also increase the number of push-ups and pull-ups performed during each workout.

Finally, the CWRWCTD can be used for the psychological benefits. The exercises that make up the CWRWCTD are simple, basic and familiar to most people. By focusing on these exercises, you may find that your mental game improves along with your physical condition.

You are also less likely to get injured if you include a warm-up that is designed specifically for rowing rather than one designed for the general public.

The CWRWCTD can be used in its entirety or just portions of it. For example, after a racing season, some rowers may benefit from just the cool down portion of the routine while others may need to do the entire warm-up. As with any training, listen to your body and determine which exercises and sets are right for you!

The CWRWCTD can be used for all types of rowing training such as indoor rowing, ergometer rowing and on water rowing. You may find that on certain days you are more suited to one type of training over another. Listen to your body and train smart!

Cool Down Stretches:

Neck: Looking straight ahead, slowly nod your head yes 10 times. Then repeat, but this time nod your head no 10 times. Next, tilt your head straight back and gently stretch the back of your neck by tilting your head from side to side as far as you can go, but do not force it.

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Finally, tilt your head forward and try to touch your nose with your chin.

Shoulders: Inhale and raise your arms straight out to the side as high as you can. Then exhale and shrug your shoulders up towards your ears. Inhale and drop your shoulders down.

Exhale and shrug your shoulders up. Continue alternating between raising your shoulders and dropping them.

Upper Back: While holding onto a chair, table or anything else you can grab for support, keep your legs straight and stretch your arms back as far as you can going towards the floor. Hold for a few seconds and then relax.

Elbows: Extend both your arms straight out in front of you. Lock your elbows and move your upper arms up and down. Then, rotate your forearms from palm side to thumb side and back again.

Wrists: Make a fist with your left hand and then your right hand. Gently flick your wrists as if throwing a punch with an imaginary glove. Rotate your hands so that your palms are face up and then face down.

Hands: Make a loose fist with your left hand and then your right hand. Gently flop your wrists around as if trying to flap the wings of a chicken. Rotate your hands so that the back of your hands are facing up and then face down.

Whatever you do, do not overdo it. These stretches are just a guide. If you feel pain while doing them, then you are doing something wrong.

Consult a professional to ensure you are not causing further damage to your body.

In addition to the rowing stretches, complete one warm-up set of the CWRWCTD and then perform as many additional sets as needed to reach your daily rep goal.

Catch Warm-Up: Start with the catch exercise detailed in the CWRWCTD and row 250m. If this is adequately warms you up, proceed to the next step. If you find that you are too fatigued to perform the next part of this warm-up, row 500m and proceed to the glide section.

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If this is still not enough, continue rowing until you can easily perform the glide portion of this exercise.

Glide: Once you reach here, your legs should no longer feel like noodles and you will be able to row without hesitation or thinking about anything other than your rowing form. Using the same weight you ended with during your catch-warm up, row at a moderate pace for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

If you increase the weight you are using or decrease the rest time, try to stick with this new variation for the entire workout.

Workout: Find your 2k pace, either from a previous workout or using the calculator. Use this as your target time for each interval. If you need to adjust the weight used or the rest interval, do it now.

1st Set: 2k @ 2% over 2k pace = 8:00 (Ex: 800m @ 8:12) Rest after each interval for the same amount of time it took to complete the interval. In this instance, you would rest 8:12.

2nd Set: 2k @ 2% over 2k pace = 8:00 Rest after each interval for the same amount of time it took to complete the interval. In this instance, you would rest 8:00.

3rd Set: 2k @ 2% over 2k pace = 8:00 Rest after each interval for the same amount of time it took to complete the interval.

Sources & references used in this article:

The effects of high-intensity interval training in well-trained rowers by MW Driller, JW Fell, JR Gregory… – … journal of sports …, 2009 –

Maturation to elite status: a six-year physiological case study of a world champion rowing crew by P Mikulic – European journal of applied physiology, 2011 – Springer

Exercise parameters in the management of breast cancer: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials by K Pastakia, S Kumar – Physiotherapy Research International, 2011 – Wiley Online Library

Exercise following myocardial infarction by AS Leon – Sports Medicine, 2000 – Springer

Effect of rowing ergometry and oral volume loading on cardiovascular structure and function during bed rest by JL Hastings, F Krainski, PG Snell… – Journal of Applied …, 2012 –

Rowing injuries in elite athletes: a review of incidence with risk factors and the role of biomechanics in its management by S Arumugam, P Ayyadurai, S Perumal, G Janani… – Indian journal of …, 2020 – Springer