Pendulum training for endurance sport

I’ve recently taken up the sport of indoor rowing (i.e. competing for time on a rowing ergometer). The most important race distance is 2000m, which takes between 6 and 7 minutes to complete.

I’m trying to apply some of CT’s pendulum concepts to the strength training component of my training. With the large volumes of endurance training I’m currently doing (5-6 sessions/week), I feel my best option is to limit strength training to 3 short sessions per week.

I can see the benefit to hypertrophy work in my program, in order to develop capillary density, number and size of mitochondria, etc. I can also see the benefit of max strength work, as it will provide a strength base upon which to build my specific strength-endurance on the rowing machine.

My issue is with power training. The speed of a stroke on the erg is not nearly as fast as, for instance, a sprinter’s stride, so I wonder if high-velocity work will benefit me.

I only have so much time in the gym, and so much recovery capacity, so I want to ensure I’m taking the most efficient approach possible. If power work isn’t going to help me a great deal, then I’d rather spend my time doing something that will.

Any suggestions are welcome.


Strength training twice a week would probably be optimal. You could alternate strength and hypertrophy blocks but it would be even better if you can also alternate the frequency and intensity of your rowing sessions so that you can better benefit from your lifting. If it were me I wouldn’t worry about doing any specific power training in the gym until your offseason at least.

When dealing with athletes such as rowers, I feel you shouldn’t try to combine the two at the same time. Your endurance training will get in the way of the strength and the strength will do the same to the endurance. You should set aside a general period for solely building up strength and do little in the way of endurance. Build up a good strength base and then progress into endurance work. As the endurance takes precedence, maintain your levels of strength by training with high intensity loads, but with very low volume. The strength building phase should be in the offseason, nowhere near the time of competition.

Kelly Baggett - would you use 2 full-body sessions or one upper and one lower? Could I alternate hypertrophy and strength each week (like pendulum training) or would it be better to alternate 3-4 week phases?

Bump For Kelly B.