Why do we use watts? All the machines that we programmed for rely on force generation (power) to move, i.e. the fan and drag on the rower/ski/AB and even the Wattbike with its additional magnet. Power is measured in watts and initially is the first calculation it will do, subsequently and very very quickly it will change from watts to pace (per 500m or per km) or into calories depleted.
All the pieces of equipment we cater for use distances that are short periods of time (in comparison to others) but long enough to require strength, these are known as ‘power enduranceʼ disciplines. The strongest wonʼt win, the fastest (speed of movement) wonʼt win, but the athlete who can control and produce both, now thereʼs your winner every time. Power endurance is the application of strength x speed (power) and the development of production despite the onset of fatigue (endurance).
I have rowed for many years both on the water (OTW) and on the erg. For many years I used pace (/ 500ʼs) and stroke rate as my training tool. I got frustrated and started losing the love at the end of 2016. I wasnʼt progressing as I should of and it felt like every session was a grind, maintain this pace and at that stroke rate, etc. I love rowing and didnʼt want to stop (plus Iʼm not that good a runner!)
So, I started reading as many different sources as I could. I actually found limited information about training with watts, but what I did find was starting to make sense to me. The cyclists have this nailed, the Wattbike did a great job for this. After a random chat with Danny, we started talking all things power and started to make sense of the little literature we found. As an interest piece you should see the number of WhatsApp messages we share, we are constantly engaged discussing whatever new information we find, our background in effective communication makes this effortless.
OTW rowers use power meters on the boats, top Olympic coaches test their rowers on maximum power output over 6-10 seconds (we would too if the monitor would allow us). Cyclists use the 6 second power curve to gauge the same results. Yet as a training society, we then develop athletes in either a time or calorie led program. Calorie led programs are a worry for me, as to do well, the more power you put down, the better/quicker you are. Overtraining springs to mind in this type of training, if it isnʼt tailored for effectively.
It is suggested that for the 2k row you use 55% of your peak power to complete it. Whilst not 100% accurate (what is when we look at the huge variables that correlate to each individual human) it did provide us with an idea that if I wanted to improve my potential to improve, I need to raise my performance roof. If I raise my roof and improve my training zones then ultimately, I am getting better. As long as I balance my development through progressive overload and programmed rest my body will adapt and become stronger, faster, fitter, leaner and ultimately become more functional as an athlete.
This is where the training zones come in, each zone compliments each other and is needed before improving at our very peak. The best example of this is the performance pyramid. For any pyramid to stand the test of time it is to be tall, strong and have stability. In short, it needs to have a large base so it may stand tall in all seasons, structurally sound. The same applies to us as athletes, the larger our performance base, the taller, more stable our performance pyramid can become, but we donʼt stop building! These processes and cycles need to be followed again and again to raise our performance roof.
The program is progressive, utilising our training zones to ensure we donʼt overtrain and we reduce the chance of injury at all costs, but get better as time goes on.
Danny and I will record your scores from this week and canʼt wait to show you how much you will have developed over the 8 weeks, which for training cycles isnʼt a huge timeframe.
I hope this adds a little bit more ‘meat onto the bonesʼ of our program. Danny & Poll Train efficient, perform better.