Master the Machine: Rowing WOD at Form Leeds
You've probably heard of Rowing WOD by now. Developed by Olympic rower and doctor, Cameron Nichol, it's the rowing program taking the community by storm. Cam's coaching appeals to CrossFit Games athletes and regular gym-goers alike. Find out why in Stuart Trees' review of Cam's recent seminar at Form Leeds.
Last weekend saw Cam Nichol bring his ‘Rowing WOD’ seminar to the North East for the very first time. The venue was Form Leeds, arguably the coolest box in the country (may be a slightly biased view!).
Some of you will, no doubt, follow ‘Rowing WOD’ on social media, and will have seen training camps around the world with the UK & Europe's top CrossFit athletes. Some of you may even subscribe to the free ‘Rowing WOD’ program available online.
You'd be forgiven for thinking Cam targets his seminars at top athletes who want to find any advantage possible in their quest to make Regionals and beyond. As it turns out, you couldn't be further from the truth.
The seminar held at Form had a great mix of participants, from competitive athletes aiming for big events like Regionals and The Athlete Games, to regular gym goers who just wanted to be better. Each and every one of them fully participated in all aspects, expanded their knowledge and found huge improvements in their technique.
I'm not going to start breaking down the seminar and listing each topic covered - or the process by which Cam delivered the session - as I could never do it justice.
What I would like to highlight is his awesome coaching style. He is very articulate, and able to break down the technical elements and the theory behind each transition, which he delivers effortlessly to his audience. He even received a sporadic round of applause for his introduction from an overly eager member of the group!!
One of the main points the Form coaches took away from the session was the rowing machine’s potential as a tool for building work capacity in a movement pattern that is so useful for our sport.
People wouldn't think twice about running, swimming, cycling for an hour - but how many of us have jumped on a rower for an hour and just got lost in the rhythm? Hardly anyone I'm guessing. For me personally, this would have sounded like hell on earth prior to the seminar!
On a number of occasions during the session we rowed five minute intervals, working at different stroke rates. I'm sure a number of you reading this will be thinking ‘sod that’! But rowing all together as a crew (we had 16 rowers set up on the day), trying to stay ‘in-sync’, made it enjoyable. You were no longer clock-watching, wishing away every second and fighting to hold pace but instead you were relaxed, focusing on the sound of the machine accelerating with each leg drive - and on holding an even stroke rate.
With events like ‘Just Row’ held at Train Manchester, the British Indoor Rowing Championships and rowing appearing in more competitions on the calendar, there are opportunities for people to find something to focus their training goals on.
The seminar finished up with a team row, working on transitions on and off the rower, how to overcome issues like strapping the feet in place, and deciding team tactics; who rowed when and optimum distance per athlete. You couldn't help but find yourself having fun even though your legs were on fire and you were unable to catch your breath.
Overall, the seminar was hugely enjoyable and we will certainly be adding team rows into the programming at Form Leeds. We're in talks to bring Cam back to Yorkshire to hold further seminars in October - so watch this space!