Friday: 14K of Technique

Beautiful morning!  Cooler, around 65F.  Sunny.  Light NNE wind 0-4mph.  This was a headwind going downriver.  It was a non-factor in the first 2 intervals, but was a little head wind in the third and a little tail wind in the fourth.

Today was my first experiment rowing with a bungee.  I have seen this referred to in a number of sources (Marlene Royale’s book, “Rowing Faster”, and other articles, like this one, in of all places the new york times)  A google search turned up a variety of opinions about the efficacy of using a bungee or other device to increase the drag of the boat.  This thread on was particularly vituperative about it.

I fashioned my bungee out of a 12 foot long piece of 1/4″ diameter shock cord wrapped around the boat 4 times right at the foot stretcher and hooked end to end.  This created quite a dramatic amount of turbulence and a rather impressive, splashy wake as I pushed the pace.  Here is a youtube video I found of an 8+ doing some starts with bungees on the hull, you can get the idea of what it look like.

This flowed up the gunwales of the boat, and squirted through the footstretcher mounting holes.  By the time I did about 7K of rowing with the bungee, I had a few inches of water sloshing around in the bottom of the boat.

Note to self:  Next time put the bungee on right at the stern end of the cockpit so the wake will not put water in the cockpit!.

The intent, as I understand it, is to add drag to the boat, which decreases the run and therefore the boat speed at the catch.  This higher drag also increases the drive time, unless a hugely higher amount of handle force is applied.  This has the effect of slowing down the whole stroke sequence.  I found it made it a lot easier to focus on isolating my leg drive and delayed opening my back.  This helped to work on one of the areas that I want to improve in my stroke.  So, I guess for me, it’s a good thing.


(With bungee)

  1.  pick drill: arms only, arms and body, 1/2 slide
  2. full slide warm up at r16
  3. 2 x low rate ladders (1000m at r16, 1000m @ 18, 750m @ 20) / 1′ rest
  4. remove bungee, 2 min rest
  5. 2 x low rate ladders (1000m at r16, 1000m @ 18, 750m @ 20) / 1′ rest
  6. 1K square blade rowing

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 12.47.21 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 12.47.08 PM

01000_|_1000_|_05:20_|_2:39.8_|_086___|_16.1_|_11.6_|_135___|_r16 w/ bungee
02000_|_1000_|_05:12_|_2:36.2_|_094___|_18.1_|_10.6_|_145___|_r18 w/ bungee
03000_|_0750_|_03:46_|_2:30.9_|_076___|_20.1_|_09.9_|_152___|_r20 w/ bungee
04000_|_1000_|_05:20_|_2:39.8_|_089___|_16.7_|_11.2_|_145___|_r16 w/ bungee
05000_|_1000_|_05:16_|_2:37.8_|_096___|_18.3_|_10.4_|_152___|_r18 w/ bungee
06000_|_0750_|_03:50_|_2:33.3_|_077___|_20.1_|_09.7_|_157___|_r20 w/ bungee
12750_|_1090_|_06:35_|_3:01.2_|_129___|_19.6_|_08.4_|_131___|_square blades

11000_|_55:51_|_2:32.3_|_1014___|_18.2_|_10.8_|_148___|_Main set
00750_|_04:12_|_2:47.7_|_066___|_15.7_|_11.4_|_132___|_rest meters
01090_|_06:35_|_3:01.2_|_129___|_19.6_|_08.4_|_131___|_cool down

So, the bungee slowed down splits by about 7 to 9 seconds at similar rates and effort levels.  The boat certainly felt light after I took it off.  I was very happy that I was able to establish a nice rhythm at r16.  I don’t I’ve ever done that before.

I think I will do a bit of bungee rowing on Fridays for the next few weeks as a way to work on stroke mechanics.

Tomorrow:  5.5K hard distance on quinsig at r26

Found a set of very pretty images of the river that I row on…Here

This one is the view from the prospect bridge towards the moody street dam.  On the left is Nova Pharmaceutical.  They are the folks that the lactate meter that I use.  I may have to stop in to see if they’ll give me some strips!


4 thoughts on “Friday: 14K of Technique

  1. sanderroosendaal says:

    I am a bungee advocate. I have a piece of bicycle tube hanging in my rowing club locker just for that. Every time I see it, I feel guilty. I had a habit of doing at least 2k with the bungee last fall, before starting the training.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. stelph82 says:

    I think Bungee rowing is a good thing, I don’t really follow the arguments against it because surely the same arguments (i.e. thats not how a boat runs normally) fly in the face of other drills you might do like rowing in pairs in a 4 or doing other technical drills?!?

    I certainly find it useful to do racing starts with a bungee, like you say it “slows” the drive down so you have more time for each part and I find it helps me make sure I have properly got hold of the water before I am attempting to drive, something that I think reflects well when you take the bungee off as you try and keep that same sense of connection and try and avoid wasting energy with splashy/frothy puddles

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Boris says:

    I’m sorry if this sounds like a stupid question… Do I understand it correctly, that the (main) purpose of the bungee is to slow down the acceleration of the boat (especially at start) to have a longer/larger time window (to practise the sequencing of start)? In other words, some sort “slow motion” for start? Or… is the intention to have generally more drag (something like a heavier boat)?


    • gregsmith01748 says:

      The intent is to increase drag. So, the boat slows down much more rapidly and is going slower at the catch. This allows the rower to concentrate on blade placement at the catch and sequence during the drive.

      That is the main purpose, but it also is a pretty good simulation of rowing into a headwind.

      Liked by 1 person

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