Tom Williams has had an incredible 13 year career with the Harlequins Rugby team as a player and now as a coach. But no career is without being tested and having the confidence smashed out of you – especially rugby. In 2009 Tom was banned from rugby after being caught up in scandal, knows as ‘The Bloodgate Scandal” in a desperate attempt to win a Heineken Cup match against Leicester. Tom shares with us how stressful it was, how his confidence was knocked and what it took for him to come fighting back and being voted “Players Player of the year in 2012”. His role as a coach is inspirational and educational to any manager or those in a leadership role as he shares how he handles different situations & individuals. It is clear this coaching role is a natural one for Tom as he shares stories of his coaching methods.
Endlessly we hear “I don’t have time to work out” – then you need to jump on a rowing machine. If you’re not sweating within 10 minutes then you must be stronger than Olympian Matthew Pinsent! Rowing uses similar muscles to skiing. It is essentially squat movement but you’re sitting down. A misconception is that rowing is all arms. It’s NOT. Rowing is 75% legs, the rest is upper body. If you want to get your legs in shape for a Uthrive ski trip then rowing is an excellent way to achieve this.
To give you an idea you should aim to row 2km in 8 minutes (women) or 7 minutes (men). It doesn’t matter what you start at, I just want this to be your goal to aim for. But first, let’s learn to use the rowing machine properly. I am yet to see anyone at my gym use the rowing machine correctly. Not only do I fear for injuries but you are wasting energy and effort if your technique isn’t correct. By improving your technique you’ll knock seconds and maybe even minutes off your time. So over to the former President of my rowing club Eton Excelsior, Steve Morle to learn how to row.
To get the most out of your rowing workout:
- Focus on your split time (at 1:58 in video). This is the big number on the screen which tells you how fast you row 500m. This number should be consistent through out your work out. If you see this number raising, recenter yourself and dig deep to find the extra energy. As your fitness improves this number will get lower. To give you an idea when I started rowing my split time was 2:25. With in a couple months I had it down to 2:18 then I finally got it down to 2:00!!!!
- Don’t think you need to row fast and get high rpms (2:35 in video). Even if you are only rowing 20rpm your split time should still be consistent if you were rowing faster.
- Focus on your technique!!! (3:34 in video) I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to injure yourself and your losing seconds off your time – which really count. Especially if you have a competition running with your friends like I do.
- Straight Back (5:25 in video)
- Sweat! (the whole video)
- Set yourself targets. It’s a mental game as much as a physical one. If you want to row 2km in 8 minutes then keep track of your improvements and keep you determined. You can also break this up in to 4 sets of 500m and have a 30-60 second rest in between each set. Before you know it you’ll be able to piece them all together to make 2km.
Learn to row: Rowing exercises.
1. Only have 10-20 minutes to exercise? Row 2km in 8 minutes (women). Under 7 minutes (men)
2. Looking at your SMPs we are going to do what is called a pyramid. Row at: 20 SPM for 4 minutes, 22 SPM for 4 minutes 24 SPM for 2 minutes 26 SPM for 1 minute. Then we are going to do the same in reverse. 24 SPM for 2 minutes, 22 SPM for 4 minutes, 20 SPM for 4 minutes. Remember to keep your split time (what you row 500m in) consistent through out.
3. Fancy yourself more of a sprinter than an endurance individual? Row 6 sets of 500m resting for 60 seconds in between sets. You can set this up on the display so it counts down your rests for you, ask a gym employee to show you how. Again, try to keep your split time consistent through each set. You can set yourself a chosen SPM. You could chose to row slow and controled at 24 SPM or maybe a bit quicker but still controlled at 28 SPM.
Breathe! Sweat! Have fun! And to give you an idea of how hard you should work – I’ve never been able to stand up right away after a rowing session. Then you’ll be ready for your Uthrive ski trip and keep up with the Pros xo
Hugo is the cox for the Cambridge University Boat Crew that rowed their way to victory in the The Boat Race 2018. The cox has to keep the crew motivated and working together as a team not just for the race but also the previous 7 months training. After 3 years of loses Hugo never lost his determination. He “had unfinished business” at the end of every race and knew they were making marginal gains which would result in a big win. Hugo reminds us about the power of working together as a team and taking every “loss” as an opportunity for learning lessons.
Daphne is a strong leader. Not only as President of the Cambridge University Womens Boat Club but making history as a member of the first female crew to row The Boat Race in 2015 and being the first person of colour to ever compete in this prestigious event. We discuss how rowing increases Daphnes’ productivity in her studies, the importance of psychological preparation and team communication ensuring an understanding and respect for how each individual will manage stress.