May 2018 Training Suggestions for High School and College Programs

The month of May is peak racing season for most clubs. Championships are being raced at the end of May and beginning of June. Most clubs have raced multiple times, know where they stand, and are looking for more speed heading into championship season.

For fast boats, the advice would be to continue what you are doing. Stay in touch with an aerobic base. Two weeks before championship racing, rest the crew (2-3 days of very easy U2) and then make the final push of higher intensity for one week, leaving an additional week for the taper and travel.

If the boat is slow because it cannot match the cadence of the opposition, it is “good news.” It means you have some room for improvement in raising the cadence. My advice would be to increase the cadence of all transportation pieces (TR1) and (TR2). Make (TR2) one-minute pieces proceeding TR1, long interval pieces. Row them at the race pace cadence and above. The secret of racing at high cadence is to teach the crew to move in the boat quickly — horizontally, without diving before the catch and without too much layback, taking the boat on the run without a “chopping wood catch.” Teach them how to flow fast. “Builders” are best to teach that. How are they done correctly?  See below.

If the boat is not fast enough racing at the same cadence as the opposition, many factors could be contributing to this — not enough power, lack of good technique or just poor racing. In this case, I would advise trying an out-of-the-box approach, something crazy that has proved to work in the past.

The standard non-racing week will look as follows:

If you are still racing on Saturday, switch the Thursday and Friday workouts. Do some starts instead of 30” accelerations on Friday and take only two sets on Thursday.

For a “crazy” approach, use the same standard program but change Tuesday and Thursday to the power workouts. It can be racing 4x 2k at 20, 22, 24, 20 or 4x 2k at 16, alternate with bungies for additional resistance.

For improving the ability to row a high cadence, I suggest sessions of builders as follows:

Start by six (stern/bow) at 1/2 pressure and very relaxed. Do not add power as you go up!

  1. Start with back/arms, five strokes slow then build for 15 at max, repeat 1x each six.
  2. Switch to ¼ slide, 15 strokes paddle then build up for 15 gradually up to 48. Repeat 1x each six.
  3. Switch to all eight together, 15 strokes paddle, then build for 15 gradually up to 48. Repeat 2x.
  4. Switch to 1/2 slide, and repeat the same process as on 1/4 slide, go up to 44. Repeat 2x.
  5. Switch to 3/4 slide the same execution up to 42-44, switch to full slide and repeat 2x.
  6. Switch to full slide, the same process up to max.

All of this above takes approximately 5km — a good, solid warm-up, every second day.

Type of Workouts: TR1 – Transportation, long interval; TR2 – Transportation, short interval; AT – Anaerobic Threshold; U1 – Utilization, medium intensity; U2 – Utilization, low intensity.

If you have any questions about this program or a specific workout, feel free to reach out to me at

– Kris Korzeniowski

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