This article is meant to lay out the details of the assessment segment of training camp.
When should I do the Assessment?
Weeks 1 & 6 of all three training camp levels include this assessment piece as their 4th and final workout.
However, you can retake the assessment by rowing this workout any time and as many times as you like.
What happens when I do the Assessment?
Any time you complete this workout video you will receive a personalized email afterwards with your results.
This email will be sent to whatever email is listed on the "Profile" tab on Hydrow. (If you need to change that email see instructions for that here)
In the email will be:
- Your average split time. (Your speed expressed as minutes & seconds it takes you to row 500 meters.)
- A breakdown of different paces relative to your average performance in this assessment.
What does the breakdown table in the email mean?
This table gives you several benchmarks relative to the sprint pace that you did in the assessment. An example table is provided below:
For instance, if your average sprint pace in the assessment was a Split of 2:59, then we can extrapolate that a Jog pace for you might be ~20 seconds more, or a Split of 3:19 and an easy walk pace might be ~30 seconds more or a Split of 3:29, etc.
The purpose of this chart is just to give you some average split numbers to aim for during other workouts where a full-on sprint pace isn't called for. These should help you calibrate when Athletes call for these paces by name, or for percentages of effort (50%, 80%, etc.)
What do the various paces mean?
This is your assessment pace. It should feel very intense, and definitely not sustainable beyond 5 minutes. In sports science, this might be called your “VO2max” or “Race” pace. It represents a training pace where your body is using all of the oxygen it possibly can to produce speed and burn calories. We base all of the other training paces off this effort.
10 seconds slower than your Sprint pace. This pace can be described as your “Intensive Endurance” pace. You can likely hold this level of effort for 20 to 40 minutes. It is a great training zone for both fitness and strength.
20 seconds slower than your Sprint pace. This pace can be described as your “Easy Endurance” pace. You can likely hold this level of effort for 40 to 60 minutes. This is a great pace burning calories when you maintain a continuous effort for over 20 minutes.
30 seconds slower than your Sprint pace. We do not recommend that you exercise for extended periods of time at this effort level, but it is essential for helping the body prepare for more intensive levels of effort. It is very easy to stop working completely between hard intervals, but we encourage you to keep your muscles active to promote recovery during these rest intervals and get ready to work hard again!
“Max” is just as it implies—your very best effort for a short duration at any rhythm number. Low rhythm max efforts are geared toward power and strength. High rhythm max efforts are geared toward aerobic power and speed.
Max efforts are ideal for HIIT workouts, the tops of climbs, and big power efforts. These are often balanced with rest intervals at the Walk pace to yield the best possible fitness results. Two particular components can limit your Max pace:
1) Technical competence. Rowing uses all of the major muscle groups in the body (86% versus cycling's 44%). With all of the joints and muscles involved, rowing requires practice to master the coordination needed to increase your Max pace. Think about how long it took you to learn how to walk and run when you were a toddler! Through dedicated practice, you will see your Max pace splits going down, down, down.
2) The mass of the person rowing. A large person who is not very fit is still powerful, so their Max pace will be much faster than their Sprint pace. A smaller but fit person might be able to sustain a quick split for a very long time, but struggle to produce a lot of power for 20-40 seconds.
How do I improve my results over time?
The short answer is: get better at rowing and lower your split across all the workouts that you do, but we understand that this isn't a helpful answer on its own. Some quick concrete tips to help get you going can be found below:
- Focus on good rowing form and improving your fundamentals.
- Try to get more power through your legs and core as you explode away from the screen on each stroke. Pulling with the arms should be only 10% of your total effort at the very end of the stroke.
- Sit up straight, keep your shoulders loose and tighten your lats
- Check out this video:
- Follow other tips and tricks that the Athletes will share throughout the workouts they lead!
- Persevere! Improving your split is a long-term and often life-long goal for all rowers who practice the sport. It won't change overnight, but it will with hard work!
Note: We would usually advise against turning up the drag factor way up on your workouts as a method for lowering your split. While doing this might bring your split down slightly, it also has the potential to impede your form and interfere with the efficiency of your stroke motion. This has minimal gains, and could potentially get in the way of your learning and improvement.