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Cycling and Indoor Rowing

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Cycling and Indoor Rowing

Old 07-06-22, 06:10 PM
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KenCT 
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Cycling and Indoor Rowing

I'm 61 and cycle about 100 miles a weekly year round; about 2/3 outside and 1/3 on the smart trainer.

Has anyone here added indoor rowing as part of their fitness routine and if so, has it improved your cycling?

I'm recovering from surgery for a fractured foot (5th metatarsal avulsion), and won't be back on any bikes for a few more weeks, maybe two months before I ride outside again. Thinking about rowing until the foot is healed and then making it part of my winter indoor training.

I've never done rowing before but I tried by brother-in-laws Concept 2 machine last week and feel it is something I would enjoy in addition to virtual cycling.

Any suggestions? Thanks
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Old 07-06-22, 07:50 PM
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Hi, I'm 65 and ride almost exactly as much as you. During the height of the pandemic in 2020 I was doing 2/3 inside and 1/3 outside. I really discovered interval training on my smart trainer and really improved my ftp and lost some weight. I also bought a Concept 2 rower in 2020 and added rowing since I was a little bored with Zwift. I had never rowed before but I found that I really enjoyed it. Now after 2 years, I ride 3 times a week, maybe once a week indoor intervals. I row twice a week, 25 minutes hard each time. 2 days/week of rest or walking. I used Youtube videos to get started, especially Dark Horse rowing channel.

I find rowing is really a good addition for me. I concentrate on exercising my body from the waist up and arms. I'm not really worried about my legs. For me it has eliminated any sore back from long rides. It has definitely helped my pull on really steep hills. And my endurance cardio is improved. And my arm warmers stay up. You can use the rowing machine without using your legs and then add them in when your foot is better.

I have my Concept next to my Zwift setup and I like mixing up the workouts. And there is really no barrier to rowing, just throw on some shorts and go.

The pandemic kind of forced me into learning how to exercise differently and I am more fit than ever.

Joe
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Old 07-06-22, 09:29 PM
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I row 15-20k/week on a waterrower with the SmartRow attachment. Itís a great complement to riding - particularly in the off season.
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Old 07-07-22, 05:31 AM
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Iíve been a rower longer than a cyclist and can attest to being a good complimentary routine. I found that rowing was a great overall workout,, especially if done with proper form. Good core workout as well. The big difference for me is the length of the workout. Iím 70 and the most I would do on a rower is 45 mins and usually 30. I can ride the bike for a couple of hours and the heart rate differentials are noticeable. Itís nice weather here in New England so Iím almost all cycling and will up the rowing in the fall. Concept 2 is my choice and there are a lot of different workouts on their web site to break up the monotony as well as videos to use proper form.
Good luck.
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Old 07-07-22, 08:53 AM
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Thank you, this is good information. Seriously looking at the Concept 2, just need to make some room next to the bikes.

Last edited by KenCT; 07-07-22 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 07-07-22, 03:32 PM
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I'm 69 and have a concept 2. Most of my rowing is done during cold winter days, supplemented by the trainer. I'll use it in warm weather if its rainy. Concept 2 has some good workouts, but I tend to use YouTube for training. It's a cardio workout for sure, but when done properly works your legs a lot. When I started, I'd row the cadence that the instructor was doing and find out that he'd ridden say 5k at the end, when I'd have 3k to show for it. Good rowers push with their legs really hard, and your quads will feel it. Also, a nice zen type of activity and I'll sometimes just put on some classical music and row easily for an hour. If the day comes when I have to quit cycling, I'll still be rowing.
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Old 07-11-22, 10:56 PM
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I can't honestly say how rowing has helped my cycling, but it has definitely helped my overall fitness, so I have to assume that there's some residual benefit on the bike. I do both year-round.
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Old 07-12-22, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by KenCT View Post
Has anyone here added indoor rowing as part of their fitness routine and if so, has it improved your cycling?
Sure.

It's one of the exceptional ways to boost cardio. Right up there with running and cross-country skiing. And it's one of a handful of activities where you get off your feet and minimally use the feet during a workout. (Yes, you're strapped in, but unless you're really pulling hard it's your legs, lats, back and arms doing the work.)

The Concept2 website has a variety of workout tips. And there are plenty of others, out there, for suggestions on how to really pump up your cardio and involve your leg/lat/back muscles with a rower.

Particularly if you find yourself unable to cycle as strongly as you want, at times during the year (such as due to weather or traffic), a rower can be a great complement to biking.
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Old 07-12-22, 12:59 PM
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TiHabanero
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I rowed in college and recall the importance of technique being critical to prevent injury to the back and shoulders. Learn correct form first before tackling big distances, heavy work loads or timed trials because those can and often do lead to injury for a beginner.
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Old 07-12-22, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
I rowed in college and recall the importance of technique being critical to prevent injury to the back and shoulders. Learn correct form first before tackling big distances, heavy work loads or timed trials because those can and often do lead to injury for a beginner.
couldn't agree more. My son rowed in college and stressed the importance of form. So many people in the gym get on the machine and start with the highest level and within minutes they look like a mess. Most people pull too soon. Your legs should be almost straight before you pull with your hands and should finish with your hands about lower chest high. On the return the hands should be over your knees before you bend them. I see a lot of people ďski jumping ď or putting their knees up and then the hands go up and over the knees. Better to set the resistance around 4 or 5 and go slow focusing on your form before you really hit it hard. I have congenital spinal stenosis and rowing has helped my back for years, maybe because of the core work. That being said if you row with lousy form, especially in our age group, an injury is likely.
YMMV
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Old 07-12-22, 10:19 PM
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We have a couple of Stair Master rowing machines at our rec center. I have used them occasionally but find that my seat feels sore after 20 minutes of rowing.

I generally donít find exercise equipment that involves any form of sitting to be as comfortable for long term work as one of my bikes that is carefully fitted to me. So I tend to use the stair climber and elliptical machines that donít require sitting. Works better for me.

Otto
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Old 07-13-22, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by KenCT View Post
I'm 61 and cycle about 100 miles a weekly year round; about 2/3 outside and 1/3 on the smart trainer.

Has anyone here added indoor rowing as part of their fitness routine and if so, has it improved your cycling?

I'm recovering from surgery for a fractured foot (5th metatarsal avulsion), and won't be back on any bikes for a few more weeks, maybe two months before I ride outside again. Thinking about rowing until the foot is healed and then making it part of my winter indoor training.

I've never done rowing before but I tried by brother-in-laws Concept 2 machine last week and feel it is something I would enjoy in addition to virtual cycling.

Any suggestions? Thanks
i bought one (rower) during peak covid i do like it quiet all magnetic the best part is full range of rowing that my machine offers..not set stagnant positioning of the arms.
called. fitness reality...works well.
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Old 07-13-22, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by KenCT View Post
I'm 61 and cycle about 100 miles a weekly year round; about 2/3 outside and 1/3 on the smart trainer.

Has anyone here added indoor rowing as part of their fitness routine and if so, has it improved your cycling?

I'm recovering from surgery for a fractured foot (5th metatarsal avulsion), and won't be back on any bikes for a few more weeks, maybe two months before I ride outside again. Thinking about rowing until the foot is healed and then making it part of my winter indoor training.

I've never done rowing before but I tried by brother-in-laws Concept 2 machine last week and feel it is something I would enjoy in addition to virtual cycling.

Any suggestions? Thanks
I alternate rowing with cycling (I do most of my rowing in the winter - the erg is in the garage - no A/C). I bought a Concept 2 Model C in 1997, and with well over 30 million meters in, one overhaul and a PM5 power meter upgrade a few years ago, it's still perfect*. When I'm up to rowing speed, I do 10,000 meter sessions, interspersed with 500-meter interval sprints if I'm feeling masochistic. I have a TV/headphones up on the wall for long rows, but if I'm going for time or pace, I just concentrate on the PM numbers. Apart from the aerobic benefit, I feel that the core and upper body workout makes for more stability when climbing out of the saddle.
*CII is the standard for good reason - built like a brick outhouse. The only downsides are (1) they're noisy, and (2) as far as I know CII don't have any Swift- or Peloton-esque interactivity, which some rowers offer. I think this would be a real incentive for many, and would certainly make longer rows a little less boring.
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Old 07-13-22, 05:16 PM
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The rower (Concept2) was delivered Saturday. All I can say is I should have done this earlier, as I can see what the benefits are for my overall fitness.

Due to my foot injury I'm only able to use one leg, I should be using both in a few more days.

I've used Zwift mostly during cold weather for the past couple of years. The rower is going to compliment that as well as when I ride outside.

Thank you for all the good suggestions and advice.
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Old 07-14-22, 11:20 AM
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I think you'll find it's a wonderful tool, Ken. Useful for when you can't use the feet so easily, or when a ride outside isn't happening, or just when you want to shake things up a bit.

Definitely poke around, on the 'net, regarding possible ways to take your cardio out for a spin. (Definitely toy with the combinations of resistance+speed, as it's appalling how different they can be, particularly over a good amount of time or over an intervals course.) Can be a great workout, one that I find to be rivaled only by swimming, (trail) running and cross-country skiing.
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Old 07-16-22, 11:39 AM
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Anything you do to improve your core strength will improve your riding. Core training is one of the biggest additions to focused training that has been embraced by pro teams. Most even do core work in addition to the traditional massage post ride. When I was riding a lot, I always tried to work in yoga/pilates a couple times a week to develop my core. I ride very little these days and most of what I do is on a smart trainer. I try to add some time on my WaterRower to work on my core. I've found that wearing an increasingly heavy backpack while hiking also quickly develops core muscles - or quickly lets you know that this is an area that needs work.
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Old 07-19-22, 02:21 PM
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i take spin class 2 or three times a week and ride a little more than you do. I also row and have done so for about as long as I've taken spin. I think they compliment each other.
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