Mountain Project Logo

Anyone use a rowing machine?


Jim Bernard · · Westport, MA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 25

OMG That little twist there at the end was FABULOUS!

Steve Marshall · · Concord NH · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 42

As an update, I have been incorporating use of the rowing ergometer during the weekdays as a convenient way to get cardio. As part of an alpinism/big-wall trad-focused training plan. Primary use of the machine is as a tool for low-rate, Z1-Z2 style workouts 1-2hrs in length just to accumulate aerobic volume.

Augmented with long trail running, mountain running, or loaded mountain hikes once or twice a week to keep specificity. And as another poster mentioned, I am managing to work in a unilateral-lift kettlebell style workout which is amazing for developing body tension and power transfer across the hips and core from legs to hands. Which has also seemed to pay big benefits in improving hip and overhead shoulder stability. Something I agree that rowing does not provide.

There is an argument to be made for the rowing pull pattern interfering with climbing pulling patterns. And perhaps creating too much leg mass for optimizing for hard sport/bouldering performance. It's a question of goals though, and for my goals I think it is well-suited.

But I am throwing my chips in with the idea that by rowing, I am also gaining localized aerobic metabolic adaptations in the core, lats, shoulders, and forearms. That is, additional stress to induce capillarization, mitochondrial density, and improved fat metabolism. And that the benefit of this to my type of climbing goals is more advantageous than any pattern interference or other strength-reducing effects. I am encouraged by Eric Horst's recent analysis on his energy system podcasts that hard climbing is a series of short, maximal-effort bursts of strength/power punctuated with easier rest sections where the aerobic engine is driving recovery. And I am not trying to climb 5.15 sport but instead long/all day trad on-sighting which makes that even more true. I get these benefits from dedicated ARC workouts but the thing with aerobic training is the name of the game is just accumulating volume, and I think augmenting with the rowing machine just puts that extra bit of climbing-muscle-specific aerobic stress that adds up over time.

By the same token, it will induce more slow-twitch fiber development which is directly at odds with the fast-twitch development required for really hard climbing. But I honestly don't think that will really factor that I need to make a hard choice between until I want to break into V10. Currently working some V6-8s and while I could probably get them faster if I stopped rowing, I think it would be quite possible to eventually work up to maintaining V8-level/5.12+ fitness and a large aerobic base. Which is what I'm eventually after.

jd4567 · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 25

Any thoughts on c2 skierg vs. rower?

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526

For rock-climbing, anything aerobic is probably fine---get warmed up and a bit out of breath.  For mouintaineering, nothing can hold a candle to hilly trail running.  Actual stairs or the type of machine that looks like a mini-esacalator and omg-how-boring-box-steps are probably next in line.   Rowing is ok if you have injuries that make trail-running impossible and you can't do any kind of stepping-up routine, and anything is better than nothing, but the closer you can come in a workout to going uphill (and downhill!) one leg at a time the better.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,510

The erg is the ultimate suffering machine. Learn good form otherwise you fuck up your back.

John Duffield · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 10

I'm tailoring my workouts to my next upcoming adventure.   For either long cycling trips or backpacking, I've begun adding in 2 - 3 thousand meters to my daily workout and have liked the results.  Gives me some upper body to go with the treadmill running and free weights.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Training Forum
Post a Reply to "Anyone use a rowing machine?"

Log In to Reply