Through all my research I have not found an article that has done a better job than "Training the Energy Systems" by the late Dr. Fritz Hagerman. Dr. Hagerman was the exercise physiologist for the U.S. National team for about 30 years. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for his contributions to the sport of rowing. I've attached the document below since it has been rather difficult to find online. If you would like a copy sent to you in an email feel free to contact me.
I profiled a few key points that stood out to me, and that help to define my program, but please take the time to read the article for yourself. There is a treasure trove of information in these 8 pages. It took me about a year of research to learn all of this on my own. You will be saving yourself a lot of time by diving into this piece of work.
1) Use the 10% rule
"Overload the physiological systems, but don't concentrate this overload; follow the 10% rule when starting a training program, meaning an increase of no more than 10% per week in training frequency, duration, and intensity. As training progresses, then the weekly increase can be reduced to as low as 5%"(Hagerman 1).
2) Don't forget about recovery
"Rest and recovery are vital ingredients in the best training recipe; a failure to plan for these can produce disastrous results, including peaking at the wrong time, overtraining, or chronic fatigue. Remember, undertraining is usually never a problem for the motivated rower. If you are unusually tired, injured, or sick, then taking a day or two off should not be considered a serious training set-back"(Hagerman 1).
3) Plan ahead
"It is well known that the timing of increasing or decreasing intensity determines whether an athlete "peaks" at the desired time or not. In addition, if intensity is increased at too high a rate it can lead to overtraining, injury, and fatigue" (Hagerman 2).
4) Emphasize quality over quantity
"Do not interpret the value of aerobic training in only quantitative terms. Every workout, even of a low intensity, must always stress quality" (Hagerman 6).
5) Avoid 30+ minute pieces
"We have convincing data, including muscle biopsy histochemical and biochemical indicators, which support that rowing continuously at a low steady state intensity for 60 minutes or longer for any caliber of rower, is not more effective in maintaining aerobic capacity than 30 minutes of rowing at the same work intensity. Furthermore, performing 2 intermittent 30 minute exercise bouts of relatively high aerobic work intensity...is a much stronger aerobic training stimulus than lower intensity continuous rowing. Intermittent high intensity work not only proved significantly more effective than either 30 or 60 minutes of rowing in the improvement of aerobic capacity, but it was also more neuromuscularly task specific" (Hagerman 7).
No matter how much time you spend training, exercising, or being active, there are always more hours left in the day. Although the amount of time that we dedicate to exercise is very important, we may want to look deeper into how we are spending our remaining hours. Lets take a closer look at an average person that exercises 3 times a week.
Total hours of exercise in a week: 3
Total hours in a week: 168
Total hours not spent exercising in a week: 165
In this example we are spending less than 2% of our time exercising. Yes, I know, a lot of these hours are spent sleeping but I would argue that most of us don't spend enough time there either (as I write this at 1:00am in the morning).
To keep it simple, we are spending 165 hours a week in either a good position, or a bad position. Overtime, the way we hold ourselves throughout the day has a greater impact on our minds and bodies than the 3 hours spent on exercise. Poor posture results in altered body mechanics, decreased blood flow, increased stress levels, increased feelings of depression, and decreased energy levels. Poor posture affects how others feel about us, and more importantly, it affects how we feel about ourselves. All of this results from just walking or sitting in a slouched position!
In a study where scientists studied participants in "high-power" postures vs. "low-power" postures the "high-power" participants experienced a 20% increase in testosterone (power hormone) and a 25% decrease in cortisol (stress hormone). The "low-power" participants on the other hand experienced a 10% loss in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol. Oh, and by the way, these chemical changes took effect after only 2 minutes. What does all this mean? Holding ourselves in a good position makes us happier, more confident, less stressed, and less likely to experience negative health effects including stress related health issues and injuries.
The bottom line: be aware of your posture and body position in day-to-day life and you will notice dramatic changes in how you feel, move, and ultimately perform. The body is powerful...use it to your advantage!
If you are interested you can learn more from the links below: