Thursday: Glutes! 3 x 20 / 1′

My coach sent me some feedback on the video that I posted.  She was trying to be nice, but it was clear that I am not successfully implementing her suggestions for me.  Here’s exactly what she said…

It is a big shift in rhythm so I understand where you are coming from. But yes, this is a little better but still not quite there. But almost!
Put the focus on keeping your glutes firm and stabilizing the quads- i.e. hold a “dead slide” now wheel movement until your wrists are over your knees.

I have to confess that I was totally mystified about how to keep my glutes firm and my quads stabilized, so I shot back a quick email asking.  and she explained it really well.

Tense your glutes, keep contact with your feet, firm up your quads. That’s all.
Now straighten your arms and move just enough through the pivot to allow your wrists to reach your knees.
Zero in on that position.

So, I messed around with that position a bit. and noticed that consciously tensing my glutes when I swung my body in the drive ended up helping to propel my torso forward on recovery.  I could actually feel a distinct body swing.  Of course, it felt completely foreign to me.

I started with my PT exercises.  Not the full set.  I did the SI corrective, quad stretch, foam rolling, and twisty glute thing on the swiss ball.  I skipped the core stuff.

Then into the erg session.  I had been thinking about it a lot during  the day on Wednesday, and as I drove to work on Thursday morning.   I have taken roughly 3,010,000 strokes over the past 7 years.  About 2.2 million of them have been on the erg.  Expecting to change the way I take a rowing stroke in an instant or without a lot of concentration is not realistic.

I remember a while ago Tiger Woods basically took a season to reengineer his golf swing.  If it took him a while, I guess I should expect that it will take me a while too.

So today, I decided that the number one priority was to take strokes with “perfect form”.  Well, that isn’t exactly right, since I don’t know what perfect form is.  What I actually did was to focus on tensing my glutes as I came into the finish and keep them that way until my arms were out and my body was over.  It was horrific!  Trying to maintain concentration on every stroke was murder.  My rate and pace were all over the place, but I kept at it.  By the time I got to the third 20′ piece, it was feeling a little less alien, but still required a ton of focus.  If I got interested in the podcast in my headphones, I would notice that my knees might pop up early, or my butt was mushy at the finish.

I finished mentally tired and with a sore pair of glutes.  I don’t think that they have worked that hard in a while!

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Workout Details

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But the most important thing was technique, so I did another minute at the end to see if it looked any different.

Well, it certainly looks…different.  The knees are staying down, but there is a noticeable hiccup in the recover after I get to body over, and before the seat moves.  I think I need to over correct this way to try to unlearn bad habits?

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2 thoughts on “Thursday: Glutes! 3 x 20 / 1′

  1. Mary says:

    Hi Greg. I spent a lot of time working on firing my glutes, so much so that I consider 2016 as The Year My Glutes Fired. It started when someone said ‘accelerate the finish’ and I had no idea how to do that until another person said’ squeeze your butt’. It made no sense to me then but I tried it and, like you, discovered yet another element of the rowing stroke. I would do Pilates classes where others in the room were screaming in glute pain and I was just going on and on – not using the glutes properly, it transpires. One simple exercise that helped me was sitting on a step or a chair and just standing up while pushing through the heels. You need to rock forward a little, of course. The glutes eventually fire and it’s a satisfying feeling, feeling the work rising all the way from the feet up to the butt. Really simple but effective. 30 reps to lock in the pattern.

    Liked by 1 person

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