Workout of the Day:
Four sets of:
Bulgarian Split Squat with Dumbbells x 8 reps each leg
Rest 90 seconds
L-Sits (30-45 seconds total, partition in 2-3 attempts if necessary)
Rest 90 seconds;
and then,
Three rounds for time of:
20 Goblet Squats (heavy)
30 Knees to Elbows
100 Meter Farmer’s Carry (heavy)
Rowing coming to CrossFit Invictus San Diego

Why Row, Why Now?
Written by Shane Farmer

“Marathon runners talk about hitting ‘the wall’ at the twenty-third mile of the race. What rowers confront isn’t a wall; it’s a hole – an abyss of pain, which opens up in the second minute of the race. Large needles are being driven into your thigh muscles, while your forearms seem to be splitting. Then the pain becomes confused and disorganized, not like the windedness of the runner or the leg burn of the biker but an all-over, savage unpleasantness. As you pass the five-hundred-meter mark, with three-quarters of the race still to row, you realize with dread that you are not going to make it to the finish, but at the same time the idea of letting your teammates down by not rowing your hardest is unthinkable…Therefore, you are going to die. Welcome to this life.” –Ashleigh Teitel

As Crossfitters, we are all accustomed to experiencing the fierce pain that accompanies an intense workout. The intense burn, the mental fatigue that seems to set in as you hear “3…2…1…,” and most of all the pleasant euphoric sensation that sets in as you complete your final rep of a workout. For some this is a daily occurrence that sets a standard for their life. With it, one feels a step ahead each day. Without, a bit of emptiness sets in leaving us searching for what else can fill that void.

Being proud companions of this physical drive, it’s common to want to explore our limitations and expound on talents. To this,I say “Great!,” let’s get started with one of the often overlooked yet important exercises in the gym, rowing.

Rowing is a full body movement, involving unique technical aspects much like Olympic lifting, aimed at using the full body to pull off one stroke, then repeating this movement anywhere from 50 to 1000 times in a workout. It’s commonly said that this is simple but not easy to accomplish. The movement may seem simple enough in theory; back and forth holding onto the handle. However, to be efficient, effective, and injury free on an erg one must learn how to properly position their body, move the handle and apply power before they can expect serious results.

Often though this attention to detail is overlooked with rowing. Someone will jump on, set the damper setting to 7, row a few hundred meters and call it quits. I liken this to walking into the gym, grabbing a barbell, loading it with 95 lbs and doing something vaguely similar to a clean 50 times never having studied what a clean really is. It leaves others watching inquisitively and can look quite painful. (This is a bit exaggerated, but you get my point.)

So why row? In rowing it is not uncommon to find rowers as young as 90 still getting on an erg every day with the same form and zest as the 18 year old right next to them. This is a wonderful testament to the hard work and low impact rowing can have on your body. Learning how to row can not only make you a better at Crossfit, but it can prolong your active lifestyle and throw some variety into your life.

And why now? Because we all know we’re going to walk in the Invictus door some day soon, read the white board and silently rejoice that we’ve taken the time to study one more intricate part of what Crossfit is. Just like a part of every day is dedicated to learning or refining some form of lifting, it’s time to make rowing a part of your life.

(Editor’s Note – Shane is a heck of an athlete who rowed for University of San Diego.  He’s passionate about rowing and instructing others how to row efficiently.  Shane is going to be leading rowing clinics and erg training sessions at Invictus beginning in April.  More information, including scheduling, is forthcoming, but please let us know if you are interested so that we can notify you and possibly accommodate the schedules of those expressing interest.)

  • Andre Castro

    Great post Shane, I am interested in a clinic.

  • courtland

    Concur with Andre. Sign me up. I love rowing.

  • courtland

    Shane (or any other rowing guru),

    On the subject of rowing, given that tomorrow’s challenge involves max calories in a 2-min row, what damper setting is best to get this number as high as possible? Sorry if that’s a dumb question, but to the extent someone can chime in for the benefit of all who might want to know, I put it out there. Thanks in advance.

  • Calvin

    This is awesome. It will be great to have some expert coaching from Shane. Everyone tells me he’s a master stroker.

  • Cynthia

    Dear Calvin: thank you for making coffee come out of my nose. Appreciate it!

  • pat

    Dang Calvin! I so wanted to make a Beavis & Butthead post yesterday but thought better of it.

    Butthead: He said pull off!

    Beavis: Yeah, yeah, yeah, and then he said repeating this movement 1000 times! heh heh heh heh

  • ShaneF

    Note: Once the flood gate of jokes open, there’s no closing it. Rowing is rife with terms that result in inuendos, lewdness, and downright shenanigans. Perhaps we’ll leave the last 5 minutes of every rowing session to discuss these.

    In response to your question Courtland: In order to get a proper damper setting on an erg you should set the drag factor. The drag factor is a more appropriate measure of what tension the erg is set to since every machine is slightly different from the next. You may have noticed that a 5 damper setting feels different on one erg as opposed to another. Using the drag factor instead will ensure continuity in your pieces no matter where you are or what erg you’re on.

    In order to set this, from the main menu press “More Options”, then “Display Drag Factor.” Then strap your feet in and start taking strokes until you get a reading on the screen. No need to pull hard because it takes measurements on the recovery not the drive. To adjust the drag factor all you do is slide the “damper” setting up and down until the screen gives you the desired readout. This should be anywhere form 115 to 125. I usually use 117 but it’s up to you.

    Hope that helps you in your max cal effort today!


  • Great post Shane and good luck with your instructions, come May I shall have to see more of you in the gym. Keep up the good work!

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