Why do we use stroke rate as an intensity indicator, watts instead of pace? Most topics take a bit more to describe the WHY than just a quick FAQ. Here we try to dig a bit deeper and go more in-depth in our views

Rojabo Integration ErgZone

Rojabo Integration with ErgZone

Now, this is something we have been waiting for, a solution many of our users have asked us for.

Now you can easily connect your Rojabo rowing training programs to your PM5 monitor and have all your rowing data saved in one place.

No need for punching in programs manually into the ergs display, and no need for transferring rowing data from the erg to your database. All this is now possible via the ErgZone+ app.

We are very excited about all the possibilities this partnership can bring for both of our companies.

ErgZone is an app that programs the PM5 for you and displays real-time metrics. With this integration, all Rojabo weekly training sessions will automatically be loaded for you in the app, including warm-ups, primary workouts, and cooldowns, configured with target rate and pace/watts. Focus on your training, not on programming the PM5 and trying to remember your targets.

What you need to get started.

  • You need an active Rojabo membership.
  • and an active ErgZone+ account. (Users subscribe to it with an in-app purchase through Google Play Store and Apple Store, it costs $5/month or $50/yearly or equivalent on the current currency).
  • We recommend C2 Logbook account to store your workout data, though is not necessary.
  1. Open the ErgZone app, and navigate to the settings (gears tab, top left corner of your screen.
  2. On the “Integrations” section, click to enable “Rojabo”
    Note: if you are an ErgZone+ member, click the “Unlock” button to subscribe, then, enable Rojabo.
  3. Click the button to “Allow” ErgZone to read your workouts information from Rojabo. A message box indicates the Rojabo integration has been enabled.
  4. Click on the “View Track” link or click to close the Settings screen.
  5. Find the Rojabo Track on the “Workouts” screen.

No we are very excited. This is a feature our users have asked from us but when ErgZone has such a unique service, we see no need to “invent the wheel again”.

ErgZone has a clear guide for troubleshooting and getting started.

Hope you like this service, as always, we love to hear from our users on both pros and cons on how to improve our service.

Rojabo Integration with Rowsandall

Rojabo Integration with Rowsandall

We have some good news regarding partnerships with other service providers.

We are proud to announce the first one, Rojabo and Rowsandall now offer integration to each other’s services. If you are using a Rojabo Training plan AND you analyze your rowing data by using Rowsandall data analytics, this one is definitely for you. Rowsandall offers rowers and coaches a tool for analyzing a wide range of rowing data on one platform.

Integration Rojabo and Rowsandall

When you are logged on to your Rowsandal account, you can import your planned workout session from your Rojabo training program. The first time you do an Import, you will be redirected to your Rojabo account and you need to give access to Rowsandall to extract and import your data. After that, it will be up and running.

From the Rojabo side, the integration is set up in the following way. On your member site, under integrations, you need to authorize Rowsandall to access and import your Rojabo.com training data.

You get directed over to your Rowsandall account where you need to log on to your account.

Integrate Rojabo with Rowsandall

And from here you are set to import and export your rowing data from your preferred services and apps. Check the full list of compatible services from Rowsandall.

Integrate your Rojabo Rowing plan with Rowsandall analytics platform

A Rojabo user can use the Rowsandall tool to analyze the planned vs. actually completed rowing data. Are you completing your workouts at the intended intensities? How is your boat speed developing over time with the current setup?

We are very excited about this partnership and can see a lot of development possibilities in the future. If you are a user of both services, input and ideas are most welcome.

Hope you find this useful and we welcome all ideas and tips on what other integrations you might be interested in.

Advanced Race strategy for 2K

Advanced Race strategy – How to row a 2K race

In this article, we will describe a more advanced race strategy, how to row a race or trial when the aim is not only to improve the PR but win or get ahead.

When racing against others you need to be ready to respond if needed. It is good to have a plan of your own, what you intend to do if all goes well, and on top of that, a strategy on how to respond if needed.

Rowers attempting a more advanced race strategy should have some experience of their capacity on the distance. Becoming good at racing and tactics requires a good load of mental strength and believing that the picked strategy will work.

Your strategy can also be to choose to be so confident, just stick to the plan that works and trust it gets you the placing you want. Be mentally prepared.

The diagram below shows a suggestion for a more advanced race strategy when aiming for a time 7:00.

Advanced 2K race strategy

The Get ahead strategy

The start

– Just like for the start for the Simple race strategy – take 7 start strokes where you build up the length of the stroke followed by 10-13 full-length power strokes. For this phase, one is using the anaerobic energy system and the body starts to build up lactate fast. The key is to make the transition to using the aerobic energy system for your race pace phase without having acquired too much lactate. So take max 20 start strokes where you give it all you have and then settle down to race pace.

The race pace

– Let’s use the example for 7:00 minute goal to demonstrate.

Start by dividing the 2K into four segments where you set the target pace as follows. For the 1st 500m, aim for a split 1:42, The 20 start strokes give some extra so you can dare to take this piece a bit harder and add up to the average 500m split on the 1st 500m. The 2nd 500m in 1:46, the 3rd 500m in 1:47, and the 4th 500m in 1:45. When adding up the times for each 500m interval, they need to add up to the time you are aiming for. The green line indicates roughly what the SPM (strokes per minute) should look like during a race.

One of our preferred race strategies is to get ahead and hold the others behind you. It is something Bo used when he rowed the LM8+ and it worked for them. It was a mentally easier place to race from. If needed, they would make a bold push already at 400m after the start where the team could secure the leading position. It was a bold decision to take but they felt it was easier to push boundaries from a leading position than from when you are trying to catch up. The team could see how the other crews reacted and control the race, ‘just’ focusing on keeping a good rhythm and holding the others behind us. This meant that there was not necessarily energy left for a wild sprint at the end, but in most cases, it was not necessary. To practice this strategy, you might just pick a close competitor, someone who you have wanted to beat for a long time, not a whole race.

Making pushes along the way is energy off the final sprint and the risk of building dangerous lactate too early. From the lead position, you can feel, that it is mentally easier to push your boundaries, than when having someone trying to catch up with you.

Advanced 2K race strategy with pushes

In the second graph, the green line indicates the stroke rate. The first spike after 400m is a push to get ahead. Strategic pushes can also be used to overtake someone who might be getting tired or get some distance from someone threatening to get too close. Again it is about getting the mental energy from being in the lead. The second push on the graph is shown after 1000m.

The risk with pushes is that there is less fuel and power for the final sprint. A sprint might not be needed if the competition gave up the chase.

And finally, don’t be afraid of trying different strategies and making a wrong move. On the way, you might learn new skills about yourself. Study your competition, and how they react, and use this information in your race planning.

Keep challenging yourself.

Simple race strategy for 2K

Simple Race strategy – How to row a 2K race

Is a 2K test on your to-do list? Wondering how to execute it without completely dying out after the first 1000 meters?

Will you compete against yourself and the clock or take part in a race or trial against others where anything can happen and need to change strategy on the way to try to get ahead?

In this article, we will explain a Simple race strategy for competing against yourself and the clock. You can use it both on the water and on the erg. However knowing that following split times on water can be challenged wind and weather and by other forms of nature.

If new to racing, this is how we advise rowers when they set out to complete a 2000 meter test/race for one of the first times. Rowing a 2K is also a discipline where you get better, the more you do them. What is important is to learn what works for you.

First, start by setting a realistic goal. What time to aim for (on the erg, you can be more specific regarding the time than on the water)? Use the Actual Max from Rojabo Meters as shown below if no previous experience.

Rojabo Meters give you an indication of your current fitness level and what you can achieve

Next, calculate the split time for 500m to know what to aim for. If the Rojabo Actual Max is 7.00 minutes then the race pace at around 1:45. Rojabo also suggests a Stroke Rate to aim for.

Simple 2K rowing race strategy

A Simple race strategy:

have a good start to get the machine/your boat going, settle down to a race pace phase where in control and feeling efficient, a sprint at the end to empty energy tanks so that when done, one feels that there was nothing left to give.

The start

– the first max 20 strokes, for about 20 seconds can be used to fire off a good load of watts to get the machine/your boat going. It is a good idea to practice starts. The first 7 strokes are shorter building up the stroke length on each stroke until reaching full stroke length on the 7th stroke. To get the machine/boat going, add 10 – 13 power strokes. After the start, which is about 20 strokes, it is vital to settle down to the race pace. In this example, if aiming for 7:00 it is 1:45 -1:47. If one continues beyond the 20 strokes, using the anaerobic energy system without making the transition to using the aerobic energy system, one risks simply having gathered too much lactate to get through to the 2nd half.

Race pace phase

– Have a mental plan on what to focus on from start to finish. How to complete the race pace phase after the start. If aiming for 7:00 then we suggest not row faster than 1:45, which is the target. Rather keep it a bit slower at 1:47 to feel strong until the sprint. A rower who enjoys long pieces in a steady rhythm, should find that flow and keep it going. A rower who prefers short intervals should prepare with some mental checkmarks to help get through the race pace phase. Mentally prepare for the 1st 500m, 2nd 500m, 3rd 500m, and 4th 500m. It can be a certain split to aim for, a technique tip that helps keep a good flow. Some rowers count strokes, per 100 meters to get through. Take 10 power stokes to spike up the pressure if feeling challenged, but it can be risky and drain energy reserves too early.

The final sprint

– from the last 300 – 250 meters, the last +/- 40 strokes. Now when hopefully reached this far with good control, it is time to empty the energy tanks. One strategy is to raise the stroke rate every 10 strokes and use this to help take 1 sec off split every 10 strokes. Shortening the stroke length can help get the rate up.

On the ergometer, if allowed to have someone sitting behind you, discuss the plan with them to agree on what to do. Many times this person can help get over a mental hurdle when hitting that point.

After the race

– Well done. You did it!

Each completed race/test piece is an opportunity to learn. Have an honest face-to-face talk with yourself and the person who sat behind you. How did it go? How was the start? How about the race pace and final sprint phase? Did the power 10’s work? What went well and what not so well? And most important, what to do next time so it goes better. Note down your thoughts and learn from them for next time. Do this as soon as possible after the race, often the immediate reactions give the true picture of what just happened instead of a feedback session hours after. Ideally, the goal is not only to improve the 2K time but get better at completing a 2K test/race.

You are always welcome to email us with your thoughts.

Fitness progress

Rojabo Fitness Progress Index – Motivation for training

What is the effect of including an extra training session in the weekly training? Or how much do you need to train to keep the current level of fitness if you don’t have the time?

The Fitness Progress Graph gives a good indication, if the number of weekly training sessions is enough to keep the current fitness level stable, how much more do you need to train to improve the current fitness level or will you see a gradual reduction in the fitness level with the plan you have today if reducing sessions.

Fitness progress for rowing

By changing the Training Days under Inputs, you can see what happens to the Fitness Progress when adding or removing a session from the list. It can be worth squeezing in an extra session if it means you will get the improvement you want. Or remove a session, if you are busy with other necessary projects and don’t have the time. Accept a level that maintains your current level of fitness.

Rojabo Fitness progress charts

Find the balance that fits your current lifestyle, but stay motivated to do what you enjoy and makes you feel just great.

Weekly intensities

Weekly Intensities of training workouts

The Weekly Intensities chart illustrates the distribution of the number of points related to the different workouts in the different categories that you will be exposed to over the shown period of time.

Weekly intensities showing 2 set goals

The example shows training up to two events. The orange vertical line illustrates today as January 6th.

The first green vertical line is January 26th, the Danish Indoor Rowing nationals, 2000 meters. The second green vertical line is March 26th, the Head of the River in London 4 ¼ miles (about 6000 meters)

The large blue area illustrates category D workouts, strength, and endurance training. The graph shows that around 60% of training is targeted with workouts in category D. The category C workouts are illustrated in green, category B in yellow, and the anaerobic workouts in category A in red.

The y- axis represents the total amount of points per week. The number of points increases over time, so you will be exposed to more training since you should be getting in better shape.

The dips in the curve, just before the events marked with vertical green lines show tapering before the events. The tapering is where you rest the body and get ready for the next week’s load.

Let’s imagine that due to the Pandemic, the first event, the Danish indoor rowing at the end of January got canceled. If the first event from my events is deleted, the Weekly intensities will change the training plan quite radically. Less high-intensity training targeting training to the 6K event at end of March.

Weekly intensities training up to a 6K race

Now let’s say due to work on the river Thames the distance for the event at the end of March got shortened from 6K to 2K, it will also radically change the content of workouts in the program. More C, B, and A category workouts and less D category, steady-state training.

Weekly intensities training up to a 2K race

Use the weekly intensity chart to help prepare for the training weeks ahead. One might be a bit more tired than usual needing more rest and more to eat.

Sleep, Eat, Row and Sleep

Rojabo meters how they motivate

The Rojabo Meters, points and categories

Are you just a tiny bit curious about knowing what your potential in a 2K race could be?

Have you been in doubt about, which stroke rate to use during a 2K if you did it today?

Well, lots of rowers are, so you are not alone.

The Rojabo Training Program helps find the potential maximum and optimal stroke rate during a 2K race if you were to race today.

Let us explain what the numbers behind Rojabo Meters really mean and how you can use them to motivate yourself.

Rojabo Meters give you an indication of your current fitness level and what you can achieve

First, the Rojabo Index

When selecting workouts for your training plan, we need to consider your current level of fitness. How long can you effectively train for? Most people with some extra willpower can hang along to a workout over their limits, but it’s not going to help them in the long run. We select workouts from a threshold of workouts, that push your limits, not too much, not too many but the amount that you need to improve your fitness. You get workouts that fit precisely into the physiologically correct training models so that you can perform your best on the day that you want to peak.

Each rower who signs up for a Rojabo Training program gets a Rojabo Index calculated for them. The Rojabo Index indicates your current level of fitness. Use it to compare and understand the intensity of different workouts, which all have points associated with them.

Below, illustrated how we use the Rojabo Index to find the workouts within the threshold.

Rojabo Index workout thresholds

A) is the current fitness level,

B) is the threshold for finding the workouts, and

C) is the axis for Rojabo Index.

For comparison, an elite rower at the Danish National Team has a Rojabo Index between 850 and 950.

The second indicator is the Actual Max

The Actual Max indicates the estimated current max for a 2K if you raced or took the test today. You should be able to keep the pace by using the Optimal Stroke Rate and the corresponding power we have calculated. It is shown next to the Actual Max.

The third indicator is the Potential Max

It is good to have something that keeps you motivated to keep on training. A goal can be a race or event or just the knowledge that you could actually row 20-sec faster if you trained for it for the next 3 months if you stick to a plan.

We estimate the Potential Max – what you could achieve if you trained and followed a plan long enough to increase your Rojabo Index to around 600-800 depending on your stroke power.

Personalised rowing training workout


The lower “p” points indicate a combined intensity of hardness and length for the workout in total. Over time you will get a sense of how hard a workout will feel before performing it. If the Rojabo index is 600 and the workout you are about to complete is 700, it indicates that the workout is harder than the current level of fitness and you will feel it as a tough workout.

The idea behind measuring a combined intensity of hardness and length had its basis in a workout: 60 minutes in spm 20. This workout is pretty hard, even though the rate is only 20. We gave the feeling we had after rowing the workout an indicator of 1000 points. From here, we started to register the feeling of hardness after each outing.

Using the points as a feeling indicator, we could now prepare rowers for their daily training, help them prepare for their workout, and compare the hardness of different workouts they completed.

rowing strokes per minute for workout categories


Rojabo uses five categories, A, B, C, D, and E. The category indicates the type of training you will be performing.

Category A: spm +34 Anaerobic Capacity – Training above this pace is for muscle capacity/anaerobic training.

Category B: spm +28 Aerobic Power Training, less than the intensity of 2 km test/competition (ergometer)

Category C: spm 24+ Aerobic Capacity Training at the intensity just below that of the 60-minute test pace.

Category D: spm +22 Endurance Training. Steady-state and strength.

Category E: spm +18 Active Recovery Pace – recovering from races or tests, restitution, and technique. Row with 10-15% less pressure than your power guide instructs you to.

To help you achieve your goal, we find the right mix of workouts to complete at the right time so that you are prepared on the day of your race.

How to adapt your workouts

How to adapt your rowing workouts

In the following article, we will explain how to adapt the Rojabo workouts. How changing the different options affects and updates the different features you are given.

At sign up, you start by giving some background information. Using this we can estimate all the following parameters, the Power Guide, the Rojabo Meters, the training plan, weekly intensities, and fitness progress.

To adapt the training program to fit your actual current level of fitness, we need to know what you can actually pull today, not just guessing. Hence the two physical tests. Before the two tests are completed, your parameters will be based on the estimates.

The first step is to take the Power Efficiency Test, which gives you your first Power Guide. A guide on what watts/split times you need to follow for the Endurance test and the rest of your training.

1st Test – The Power Efficiency Test

This test is to find what we call “the standard stroke power.” It means what you are comfortable with pulling, with good technique and flow at different stroke rates. It is vital that this test is not completed as a Power test where you pull more than you really naturally can. If you pull too hard, you risk getting a training program that will be too hard for you, not match your fitness level.

Input and save the results to get the Power Guide.

Add new Power Efficiency test results

Find the Power Guide under the Training plan tab.

The Rojabo Power Guide tells you what you need to push at different stroke rates

Following the Power Guide during workouts, will help you perform the workouts at the intended intensity, know what you need to pull at the different stroke rates.

Perform the Endurance test the next day.

2nd Test – The Endurance Test

The Endurance Test is the “all-out” test. A Step test with x times 4-minute intervals with 30-sec rest between steps. Rowing starts at spm 20 with an increase of 2 spm every step. The test is where you pull your limits both physically and mentally, where you find your current fitness. The test is over when you reach a stage where you no longer can keep your target watts.

Steps when completing the Endurance test

We ask you to complete the tests regularly so we can get feedback on your improvement. Just like a personal coach would do, by following you closely. The test will replace a day’s workout with a demand of registering the results.

The result is used to calculate your Rojabo Meters, training plan, weekly intensities, and fitness progress based on actual results.

Perform your first Power Efficiency Test one day and Endurance test the day after.

Other than the two tests, the two parameters that have an effect on your indicators when you change them are the events and the training days.

Changing the events, the time, and the distance will change the training plan with workouts to match the required intensities, to get you best prepared for the event. It will also change the weekly intensities. There will be an email shortly to describe this in detail.

Changing the training days and the number of sessions will have a more radical effect on the parameters. The Rojabo Meters will stay the same but as you train more frequently or less often the fitness progress will change, you will get in better shape faster the more you train, the weekly intensities will be different and the training plan will be adapted to the new number of sessions.

Once a month you will be asked to retake the Endurance Test. This will have an effect on the Robajo meters. Are you now in better form? Your Rojabo Index will be higher and your Actual Max better. Hopefully, you will be able to tolerate and get through longer workout sessions.

Every 3-months you will be asked to retake the Power Efficiency Test. There can be changes to the Power guide. If you have become stronger or improved your rowing technique during the last three months, you can expect some changes. You need to retake the Endurance Test before the Rojabo Meters are adapted to match the new fitness level.

Our notification panel will guide you along the way giving instructions on what needs to be done next for updating the training plan.

Notifications on member site tell you when you need to take action

The Rojabo Training program adapts your workouts to your schedule, goals, and current level of fitness, which means that you will always have a unique training program that will help you train towards the event you have coming up.

rowing strokes per minute

Rowing strokes per minute as intensity indicator

Rowing strokes per minute or SPMs play a central role in how our Rojabo rowing training programs are set up, tied together with intensities and efficiency. On the rowing machine, as well as on water, the strokes per minute are the central tool for setting the intensity to any workout.

But why at all an intensity indicator?

If the goal is to keep up general fitness and ‘just’ exercise then it’s not so important. But when there is interest to improve and be faster, then it’s good to find a plan that works. Knowing what resources you have to work with to start with, what to improve, a plan for what to do, and a proven idea on how to get where you want to be, can save you from disappointment.

The risks are:

  • Training too hard can result in overtraining,
  • Not training enough, that you don’t get into the required shape,
  • Waste time training wrong qualities.

So what is the right way? The truth is that many ways bring great results. We say, let the results (all the medals achieved) speak for themselves.

For rowing, we believe using strokes per minute as an indicator for intensity is the right way. In this article, we will go through what we have found to work for us and why we stand by our ideas.

In rowing, strokes per minute are the most important Intensity Indicator

Our training programs are divided into five categories, A, B, C, D, and E, and they are described below.

rowing strokes per minute for workout categories

The category indicates the type of rowing training you will be performing and the strokes per minute set the stage for the intensities.

However, the strokes per minute alone will not define the intensity of the workout. The key tool for Rojabo Rowing training programs is the Power Guide, the rower’s individual guide to how much they need to push at different strokes per minute for the given duration or distance.

The Rojabo Power Guide tells you what you need to push at different stroke rates

That said, we get many questions regarding what heart rate you should keep for different workout categories. For our workout categories, we do not define thresholds for % of max heart rate. Read along and we will tell you why.

Instead, we use the Power Guide

The Power Guide tells each rower what they need to push at different stroke rates.

This way the rower keeps the intended ‘natural’ pressure for the given interval, not letting the heart rate restrict the pressure, the rate they push.

Let’s dig into the comparison of using heart rate vs. strokes per minute as intensity indicators.

Example 1, when using heart rate as an intensity indicator

The chart below shows what happens to rowers’ watts when they regulate their pressure to keep to a certain heart rate threshold.

To start with, there are many factors that daily can affect a person’s heart rate such as sleep, nutrition, mood, stress, an argument with a friend or person at work, the position of the moon, and other factors etc. Some of them which we don’t have any control over and can have an effect on what happens with a rowers heart rate.

As an example, we use the workout is 8 x 2′ @SPM 28 /1’ rest, a category B workout but as there are many starts, also a bit of category A from the Anaerobic starts for each interval.

After a warm-up, the rower starts the workout. Depending on the rower’s fitness level, it in can take anywhere from X to Y strokes to reach the intended heart rate intensity and settle at a steady flow. In the next piece, the acceleration does not need to be that aggressive as the heart rate is already up as the rest is only 1 minute.

As the rower progresses through the workout, they get more and more tired, meaning they reach the top of the heart rate threshold quicker. In order to keep the heart rate at the intended level, the rower needs to reduce the pressure, push fewer watts in the last pieces to be able to successfully complete the workout. The blue pillars show how average watts decrease throughout the workout.

Heart rate as intensity indicator

In our mind, each workout needs to be efficient and prepare rowers eventually for a race-like situation, where you keep a steady speed and maybe sprint a bit at the end. You do not reduce pressure at the end of a race, and therefore we don’t practice that kind of behavior, even during our training. A team training together in a boat, following their heart rates, would need to reduce the pressure, making the boat go slower towards the end of the workout. Practicing that kind of behavior doesn’t make sense in our minds.

Example 2, when using strokes per minute as intensity indicator

In the Rojabo approach, we set the work per stroke (rowing watts and pace) as fixed for the strokes per minute given in the workout for each interval or distance. The rower can reach the target pressure and wattage in just a few strokes, start working to keep the speed constant. Let the heart rate slowly rise as it naturally would being lower at the start of the piece and raising when becoming tired, just like in a race. See graph in example 2.

Rowing strokes per minute as intensity indicator

In our findings, rowers with a competitive drive feel that this is a more natural way to complete a workout, work to maintain the pressure. Often on the erg, teams row side by side and it is just natural to help each other keep the assigned pace.

If the Power Efficiency Test for the Power Guide is completed correctly, then this takes care of keeping the intensity level of the workout as intended for each athlete.

It is more natural to practice keeping a constant pace than reducing it

Regarding heart rate monitors, we think it is a fantastic tool to learn how your body reacts to different stimulations. How your body reacts, recovers, and for paying attention to sufficient restitution to avoid overtraining. We try to teach our rowers to be critical, feel what they are doing, and learn to analyze what works for them. The path to success is not a linear equation, unfortunately.

Both for indoor rowing on a machine and on-water rowing

Using the strokes per minute to define intensity applies for both rowing on the indoor rowing machine as on water, you should not practice slipping the pressure towards the end of the race but instead practice maintaining the pressure constant with is assigned with the strokes per minute given in the Power Guide. We realize that it is not possible to measure accurate pressure rowing in a team boat, here our advice is to keep the pressure so it feels natural and firm while there is flow and power in the boat.

Beginner to rowing

The fantastic thing about being new to rowing is the rapid improvement you get to experience. Learning how to keep a steady control over your pressure when raising the strokes per minute you row in. All the small things you learn make a big difference in your rowing speed. Do enjoy this time.

For beginners getting used to rowing, having a Power Guide to follow makes it a lot easier to focus on what matters, rowing efficiently. You have two simple fixed parameters that you can fairly easily control. The strokes per minute and your watts. Trying to learn how to control the rowing power to fit a heart rate threshold can end up a tricky roller coaster workout, where you first push way too much and then need to reduce the pressure making the rowing speed fluctuate.

Row with constant speed and good flow

No matter if you are new to rowing or with years of experience, aiming for racing or just maintaining general fitness, learning to keep a steady pressure throughout the workout is the most efficient way to row and the most optimal way to train.

Rowing watts

Rowing watts – the more accurate power of rowing

Rowing machine and watts, there can be mixed feelings about using watts as units to measure your peak power, rowing capacity, or power on the ergometer. In rowing, the average pace per 500 meters is the most commonly used unit to measure how fast you row. It makes sense, especially for rowers who race the regular distances and can relate to the units. How long will it take for them to row 500 meters?

On rowing machines today, there are three ways to measure capacity, power, or what you “burn” on the ergometer. The average pace for 500 meters, calories burnt, and last what we use are for our rowing training programs are watts. We will not discuss the calories option because it is not relevant for measuring speed or power in our case. At Rojabo we choose to measure rowing power in watts as it gives a more precise measurement of what you can pull on an ergometer and it is a more accurate basis for our calculations. Many elite athletes choose to row measuring capacity this way as it gives greater variance of the actual output for a given workout.

When a +/- 1-second fluctuation gives a difference of 11,2 seconds – is that precise enough?

What do we mean as more precise? We use an example to help clarify what we mean. When rowing on the ergometer with settings showing the average pace per 500 meters, the monitor shows the rower the actual speed only down to seconds, not tenths of seconds. So if the rower is aiming to keep a pace of 1.51 allowing a fluctuation of +/-1 sec, this means keeping the speed anywhere between 1.50 and 1.52. If the monitor could show the tenths of seconds, the actual speed can be anywhere from 1.50,1 to 1.52,9. In rowing watts that translates to 262.2 – 243.2. Now a fluctuation of 2 seconds does not sound like much but in watts, it translates to 19 watts on a rowing machine.

To demonstrate what 19 rowing watts can mean in a 2K race, here are some numbers. Rowing 2K at a pace of 1.52,9 gives a time of 7.31,6. Rowing it at a pace of 1.50.1 gives a time of 7.20,4.

This gives a difference of 11,2 seconds, a good three boat length on water.

Learn to feel what you are doing

One aim for our rowing training programs is to teach rowers, not only elite athletes, but rowers at all levels to be better at optimizing their pressure at different stroke rates, by following what is given in the Power Guide. When you are able to keep steady and constant pressure, you row more economically.

Many generic workout providers leave out requirements for the power, and how much you need to push. It makes sense as it is very personal for every person. But knowing what you need to push is actually one of the most important factors if you want to complete the workout as it is intended. Let’s say that our Power Guide advises a rower a steady-state rowing workout in SPM 22 at a pace of 1.59 or watts 203, it can be just a bit tempting to put just a bit more pressure into each stroke, but this can change the nature of the workout from being a steady-state endurance workout to be a workout training aerobic capacity. Now if this is consequently done for all workouts, then the rower will lack the endurance workouts needed to build a base for a stronger physical capacity. The intention of all workouts is not to achieve peak power.

This is irrelevant for most who train to get their heart pumping and get some exercise, but this is important for a rower training with the purpose to get selected on a team or winning a race, this can be the key to making it or breaking it in on the final meters of the race. So using watts on a rowing machine gives a more accurate picture of actual pressure fluctuation. In the start, it can be annoying to look at the watts fluctuating on the monitor, but in the long run, it will help learn to be more stable with the pressure and be better at getting a feeling of what you are doing.

Rowing on the water with good technique, when varying your pressure, you should feel it in the flow of the boat. In a team boat, especially a double, if the pressure of one rower varies a lot, the partner will be able to feel this and it can disturb the flow of the boat.

If we use the light bulb example, you must have seen what happens when a light bulb is not getting enough constant electricity to power it up, it starts flickering. Well, the same happens with the speed of your boat if you can’t keep it constant. And every small, slight change in speed requires more energy to get the pace up and less energy if you can maintain it steady.

Good watts for rowing

So using watts is good. Using watts for rowing can help rowers become very accurate in controlling their pressure, how much they push on each stroke for a given workout. One of our key findings, when we were developing the method behind our Rojabo rowing training programs, was to crack the code in how to get athletes to feel what they are doing. This is not really something you can tell them, they need to understand the purpose of the workout, feel the difference between what the different types of workouts have on them, and how the different types of workouts when completed is intended to make them feel. The easy part is to do the work, 20min in SPM 24, but when we introduced the Power Guide with the intended pressures in rowing watts, we had a totally different precision tool to discuss the intended intensity of the workout with our athletes. 20min in SPM 24 with a pressure of 225 watts and no getting tempted by the stronger guy sitting next to you.

What Watts should you aim for?

Rojabo generates a detailed Power guide for each rower expressed in rowing watts (target watts) as well as average pace (target split). The Power Guide is your guide for how to complete the workouts, at what pressure to row at different SPM.

The Rojabo Power Guide tells you what you need to push at different stroke rates

We make every stroke count, do them properly.

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.