T Nation

Rower Strength Program

Hi Coach!

I am a University Rower who has aspirations of making the Canadian National Development Team next summer. I am back home from school now, to train and work during the summer months. I do still row with my team, but erg by myself, and was given a program by our school’s S&C coaches for the summer months. I’m not happy with how this program has been working for me, and am wondering if you would have any input. Unfortunately our strength program was already written and does not coincide with the 2-week micro cycles our coach sends us for our on water and erg training, thus making it difficult to program the two together.

My typical week looks as follows:
Monday: 6AM 60’ erg cat 6 (75% MxHR), 7:30AM-4PM work labour job, 4:30PM Lift
Tuesday: 6AM 60’ erg cat 6, work, 5PM-6:30PM row (workout dependent on coaches micro cycle)
Wednesday: 5:20AM team time trials, work, 5PM-6:30PM row
Thursday: 6AM lift, work, afternoon off (sauna)
Friday: 6AM 60’ erg cat 6, work, 5PM-6:30PM row.
Saturday: 7AM row, 10AM row
Sunday: off

Our lifts are as follows:
A1: BB Hip Thruster (with back on ground) reps: 5,5,3,3,3 (increasing load each set from 80-88% of max overall)
A2: Bear crawl 20 yds
B1: trap bar deadlift 5,5,3,3,3 (increasing load from 70-88%)
B2: DB bench press 5,5,3,3,3
C1: Alt Fr Split squats 6,6,6,6
C2: DB row
C3: Supine rolling 4x5ea

A1: Hang power clean 5,5,3,3,3 (increasing load each set from 80-88% of max overall)
A2: ankle mobility
B1: Chain pause front squat 3,3,3,3,3,3 (70%)
B2: Box Jumps 3,3,3,3,3,3
C1: DB single leg single arm RDL
C2: Weighted pull ups 9,9,9,9
C3: cable palof press 4x8ea

The program follows the 3-1 approach (increase volume during first three weeks, last week is deload). The rep scheme is almost the exact same for the entire summer as well as the lifts that are performed, only changing the volume week by week. I am hoping to peak for National Rowing Championships September 22nd.

I am wondering what your take on our strength program is, and if there are other lifts or rep schemes you suggest implementing instead. Is there a program you suggest instead also? I was thinking of switching out the bb hip thruster for a deficit snatch grip deadlift, trap bar deadlift for a front squat. And then for the second day switching out the pause front squat for a pause back squat. I look forward to hearing back!



So basically have 6 hard days and are wondering why you are not progressing strength-wise?

I’ve never been a fan of BB hip thrusts. I’m not saying it wont work but there are other way better exercises that have a greater overall benefit to rowers like deadlifts, or even better, sumo deadlifts.

I see the bear crawl as totally unnecessary. In your situation you are limited in the number of exercises you can do on your strength days, why waste energy on bear crawls??? Sure you can justify its use in some regard but you have to consider if it is a good investment for your training money? Not to mention that if you use it for core and conditioning, you are already getting plenty of that in your rowing sessions… focus your limited gym time on something that is not being worked already.

I like the trap bar, no problem here. I do not like reps that low on dumbbell presses.

That’s fine

[quote=“Bellzy, post:1, topic:218914”]
DAY 2A1: Hang power clean 5,5,3,3,3 (increasing load each set from 80-88% of max overall)
A2: ankle mobility[/quote]

That seems fine to me. Although I always cringe when I see people including mobility work in a superset.

That’s fine, although I don’t really love chains with front squats as it tends to make people round their upper back and denature the lift. And honestly, unless you guys all front squat 400 I don’t think you should be focusing on chains yet. What happened to just get strong?

That’s fine

Honestly I don’t think it’s a bad program. You are in a difficult situation in that you do a lot of rowing work, which is demanding on the muscles. So you can’t really pile on the lifting exercises. You are also likely not recovering properly, which is preventing you from being able to perform at your true level in the gym

Thank you very much for your response! Yes, unfortunately our sport requires a huge time investment, and not a ton of rest, which explains my very slow strength progressions. Many National teams won’t even take rest days, and will have a schedule that looks like this: Day 1 three training sessions, Day 2 two training sessions, Day 3 one training session, and then repeat with no off day…Crazy. I will implement what you suggested, thanks for your help!!