Crew, training pain (Post #2).

Since it’s nearing the end of the semester, this post largely talks about training in the past tense. Don’t get me wrong though – I’m still in pain every week.

Our training regimen is as follows:

  • Monday-Friday 5-7:30am, Saturday 5:40-9:30am. The times include driving to and from the estuary.
  • Fridays are spent erging, while the other days are spent in the water.
  • Afternoon workouts, largely optional and on-your-own due to the team’s differing schedules. In the beginning, I spent afternoons only lifting weights. Through the course of the semester, however, my afternoon workouts have drastically changed. I now erg 2-3/week and only lift up to 3/week – weight lifting isn’t the most functional method to improve rowing fitness.

Waking up hasn’t been an issue. I feel like an old man saying this, but I simply sleep around 10-11:30pm to adjust for waking up at ~4:30am. I also take a nap after practice because most of my classes are in the afternoon.

No, the hardest part has been training on the erg (rowing machine). I met a former rower who said that erging was the most he’s sweat in his life. He wasn’t kidding.

Story of our lives.

I thought that, with prior experience in high school water polo, training for crew wouldn’t be so difficult. After all, it’s the same motion for 5-30 minutes, am I right? It’s mostly pulling with the upper body, right?


Only when I started erging [correctly] did I realize how much it relied on lower body strength. The upper back and the arms are simple supplements to the end of the form, whereas “driving” with the legs and lower back make up the bulk of the power. We do “pieces” on the erg, which is a workout of a specific length, pulling a specific rate (pulls per minute) at a specific time (average time per 500 meters).

I’m drenched after every erg test or non-steady state workout. I’ve taken off my shirt and squeezed half a cup of water out of it. I feel like my hyperventilating could generate enough electricity for a large ant farm. That my lightheadedness was a result of breathing in the culmination of Berkeley’s weed concentrated in one room. That my heart rate surpasses any victim running away from a serial killer.

And of course, there’s the chronic muscle soreness from (over)training. Lower back, forearms, upper back, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, forearms. And the injuries. My hip flexors have been strained for over a month now.

Story of our lives… part two.

But no complaints here; it’s all worth it. Seeing the team improve over time has been tremendously rewarding. Knowing that everyone else is going through great lengths to better themselves pushes me to do the same. Seeing my erg times drop each week has made the pain 99% (I’m no masochist) worth it.

Yo, I love crew man.

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