Got a question? ask the expert...
Mark (known as the Rhythm King to everyone at rowing2music) is the original Master Rower at Concept 2 UK and is the expert behind the training routines.
Q. How do I use rowing2music to help me row better?
A. Good technique is essential if you want to get the most out of a rowing2music album. The training routines have been specifically written to encourage sound rowing technique by giving the listener recognisable beats at various points of the rowing stroke. As the tempo changes, so you will be encouraged to change your level of workout intensity. The rhythms have been put together to vary over the course of the workout to warm you up, vary the intensity during the main body of the exercise and cool you down without even having to think about it! All you have to do is pick a rowing2music title that gives you the intensity and type of workout you want.
Q. What is the best way to get into the rhythm of the music and how do I know which part of the beat corresponds to which part of the stroke?
A. You don’t have to ‘hit’ a particular beat to keep in time – there are actually a number which you can pick up on. The rhythms have been specifically designed to present a number of ‘audible cues’. The best way to get into the rhythm is to start counting in your head “one and two and three and one and two and three”..and so on… Start the stroke at the ‘finish’ i.e. sitting at the back of the slide, legs flat, forearms parallel to the floor with elbows tucked in and the handle against your abdomen. Lean slightly back at about the eleven o’clock position. While still counting the beat in your head, extend your arms forward on the count of one, rock forward from the hips to the one o’clock position on the count of two, now bend your legs so you come up the slide to the ‘beginning’ or ‘catch’ of the stoke so the handle is extended forward at the count of three. Drive with the legs, rock back and put your arms back into the finish position at the count of four. That’s it – one full stoke. Your Recovery:Drive ratio is 2:1 which is ideal. Soon you will get into the rhythm without having to count, but a check now and again is worthwhile to ensure you’re in the right ratio. As you get use to the music you can change the tempo by changing the point on the recovery of the count or simply pulling harder and faster.
In addition to the audible single beat percussion cues, some artists use longer chords to correspond to the drive or recovery phase of the stroke and some use water sounds representing the sound of the oar pulling through the water as an additional cue. This gives further flexibility in finding a way to use the music to guide the rower into hitting the right tempo and timing. Experiment with different timings and see what works for you. You may find the beats of particular percussion instruments works for you over the water sounds. As stroke technique, physiology, biomechanics and fitness levels vary from rower to rower there may sometimes be a need to experiment a little at first to find what floats your boat!
Q. Is rowing2music only for group exercise to music sessions in the Gym?
Not at all. Although the music will enhance any group rowing session by giving the Instructor a unique ‘themed’ workout experience for the class, you can listen to the music on your own to get the same benefits.
Q. I’ve noticed that you advertise workouts depending on workout intensity, High, Moderate and Low. As we are not all the same, how can the workouts be labelled ‘moderate intensity’ for example be for everyone? Surely it depend on fitness level!?
A. Good question – you are absolutely right. We use recommended ‘stroke rates’ to determine the workout patterns. A ‘Stair’ pattern will, for example, have a gradual increase in recommended strokes per minute (spm) which correspond to musical beats per minute. The rowing machine will indicate what your spm should be. The fitter rower has the option to ‘pull’ harder however which will increase the work rate and what will show on the rowers monitor as ‘pace’ while still keeping time with the music.