Dan Moore |

Designing an elite rowing training programme (1): Overview

Successful rowing programmes blend the underlying principles of rowing training with the specific circumstances of an individual club or athlete. These might include academic pressures, availability to train, gym usage or even the stretch of water you have. But what does this mean in practice?

This is the first article in a series outlining the key elements to incorporate when designing an elite rowing training programme. Written by Dan Moore, Olympic High Performance Coach, the series draws on published research and GB Rowing Team practices, to provide club coaches with the tools they need to create optimal plans for their athletes’ situations

In this article Dan uncovers some of the physiological factors before moving on to other topics in later articles, such as use of training camps and training intensity distribution.

Training volume

Rowing is predominantly an endurance sport. It therefore has training characteristics similar to middle- and long-distance running, endurance cycling and cross-country skiing. That said, rowing generally has a much shorter race duration (e.g. a 5:20-7:00 minute 2km race or even a 20 minute head race vs running a marathon or competing in cycling road race).

Total annual training volume is a worthwhile starting point.

Elite rowers typically train around 700-900 hours a year, while the 2008 Olympic champion single scullers Olaf Tufte1 and Rumyana Neykova2 reporting an annual training volume of over 1,000 hours. This equates to approximately 15-20 hours a week or two and a half to three hours a day for a typical six-day training week.

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