Slow Down to Speed Up! Training at low rates - (RE)COMMIT #3

Slow Down to Speed Up! Training at low rates - (RE)COMMIT #3

4 minute read

Listen to article
Audio is generated by DropInBlog's AI and may have slight pronunciation nuances. Learn more

It’s often thought that the only way to get fast is to train fast, that only anaerobic training builds speed.  Eric Murray debunks this in his latest in our video series with the Olympic and World Champion rower and he talks through the importance of training at low rates to improve your rowing - slow down to speed up.

Why Training At Low Stroke Rates Is Important in Rowing

Eric explains how rating is linear, but [the effort required to increase] speed is 'exponential'. As you reach higher stroke rates you will find that your increase in speed tends to trail off - you can't increase your pace indefinitely by moving faster, you will hit a limit.  if you viewed your increase in speed as you increase stroke rate on a graph, it goes up quickly at first but starts to level off.  That’s why it’s important to train at lower rates first as it builds strength and good technique which gives you an efficient foundation to allow you to carry more speed through higher stroke rates.

In the video below Eric discusses the importance of getting good rhythm and flow in your technique before increasing the stroke rate.

Olympic Champion Eric Murray discusses the importance of low rate training in rowing to dial in good technique

Muscle Memory

Rowing relies on muscle memory - slowing down the stroke can help teach your muscles better technique that can then be sustained at higher stroke rates.  Getting good technique at a low rate is much more important than flying up and down the slide unproductively.  You want to make every stroke count. By rowing some workouts at low stroke rates, you can practice good technique and your muscles will be more likely to reproduce these movements at higher rates as movements become ingrained.  Improving our form at those low rates allows us to put more pressure through the legs at higher rates and gain more meaningful and sustainable speed at higher rates.

Every workout, from pick drills to breaking down the movement’s into hands, body and legs plays an important role in eventually building up that race pace speed.  They reinforce good habits and technique. Eric experiments with rate in a lot of his (RE)COMMIT and RE(LIVE) workouts, giving the opportunity to practice taking that technique and drill practice with you into slightly higher rates.

Low Rate Training

Low-rate training also provides a great resistance strength workout, the lower rate you are at, the more control you need at the recovery.  You need to engage the core and glutes to allow you to not lose posture and form on while coming forward, and then have an explosive movement on the drive.  Aerobic training, aka longer distances at lower rates, improves your stamina and fitness.  When it comes to testing, racing or just doing some HIIT workouts, this training will help your body use the right type of energy and not ‘fly and die’ as your body is aware of its limits and strength.

As Eric says – we want to take all our technique and efficiency into our higher rates.

Happy Rowing!

Articles in the (RE)COMMIT Series

#1 Connected Coaching with asensei

#2 Good Form Is Free Speed

#3 Slow Down To Speed Up (this article)

#4 Baselines & Benchmarks

#5 Finding Flow


asensei is free to download and you can trial the first 3 workouts in the (RE)COMMIT program and let Eric calculate a 2k time that he can coach you to achieve in only 6 weeks.

All you need is an iPhone and access to an asensei Compatible rowing machine from Concept 2, WaterRower or FluidRower with a bluetooth capable monitor.

download asensei from the appstore

« Back to Blog