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Weights Training - Basic Strength

  • Published in Coaching

Basic Strength

Resistance Training

The aim of this page and information is to provide general and specific information for ASRL members and surf boat rowers in general on resistance training. The information on here is gathered from varied sources and has been compiled by Conrad Pearson (The Rad). If you have any information that you feel would be a useful addition to this area on the site, please feel free to email Conrad This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The goals of resistance training are varied. With surf boat rowing training should be ultimately geared to being able to produce maximum power for a full race period or approx 4 min. To do this properly a fully periodised training program needs to be adopted. Like a pyramid, if the base is not solid and broad, the top wont be supported. As a result you need to work in a fashion that allows the body to build on the gains made in the training cycle to obtain improvements.

Strength Development

In the practical application of strength to the programming of training two categories are used: General and Specific.

Basic Strength Training refers to the strength of the whole body and is the foundation of development for the entire strength program, regardless of the sport. It must be highly developed during the first few years of training for beginners and also must be a part of training for all levels of athletes during the preparatory period. General strength incorporates a variety of methods including:

1. Hypertrophy Training - characterized by a large number of sets of repetitions with submaximal loads of 60-80%. The execution of the movement is rapid to slow and ends with complete muscular failure.

2. Strength Training - maximum strength development with minimal muscle enlargement and great improvement in the tonus of the muscle. Exercises should be done using loads of 90-100% with short maximum efforts with slow execution of motion.

3. Power Training - combines both strength and speed of movement. Exerciese change here from emphasis on weight being lifted to a weight that is 70-90% of maximum being lifted as explosively as possible.

4. Endurance Training - combines improvement of strength, speed and endurance. Used for general development and by all sports in which resistance to muscle fatigue is an integral part of a successful performance.


Specific Strength is strength of the muscles particular to a specific movement which includes all characteristics like speed, acceleration, resistance and etc.. It must be developed to the maximum possible level toward the end of the preparatory phase and maintained throughout the season for all elite class athletes. It is not essential for young, developing or recreational athletes to spend a substantial amount of time developing specific strength since it is sport specific and requires that an athlete has become highly specialized in a particular sport. However, because of the ease of the exercises, many athletes, knowingly or not, use specific strength methods.

Development of specific strength includes doing sports imitated movements which are as close as possible to the particular aspect being developed. Some examples include:

* Running with a parachute
* Cycling in very hard gears
* Rowing on a rowing ergometer/in the boat with increased loads

The method of specific strength development depends on dynamic characteristics of the chosen sport. Taking under consideration motor requirements and the form of movements, we can generally divide sports into four groups:

* Strength-Speed Sports (e.g.jumps, throws, sprints, etc.) characterized by maximum intensity of work
* Endurance Sports (e.g.running, cycling, cross country skiing, etc).
* High Coordination & Precision Sports (e.g.gymnastics, figure skating, diving, etc.)
* Complex Sports (judo, boxing, wrestling, soccer, basketball,) characterized by regimented mixture of highly developed motor skills

With rowing there is an amazing mix of STRENGTH, POWER and ENDURANCE.

Periodisation of Strength

Periodisation is done not only at different levels of long term development, but also repeated throughout every yearly cycle.

  • General (build up, flexibility and connective tissue development)

  • Hypertrophy - muscle size development

  • Max strength development

  • Transformation to sport specificity (e.g. power, explosiveness, development of muscular endurance etc.)

Maintenance of Strength

Within the annual cycle, goals for strength training vary depending on the time of the year. In the first part of the preparatory period you should reach the level of strength from the previous year. During the second part of the preparatory period you should strive to improve chosen parameters of strength. During the competition season you should maintain the level of strength from the preparatory period. And finally, during the transition you should be sure to prevent major losses of strength.

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