A warning: This program is not for everyone. This is exactly what we did over a 6 week period to get one of our guys prepared for the 2018 Gym Jones Advanced seminar. More specifically, to prepare him for the 2,000m row in sub 6:50 (which is the instructor standard here at Gym Jones). At the start of the program, his 2K row PR was 6:57, which works out to a 1:44.2/500m pace. We used this pace, as well as his 500m PR (1:29) to calculate the paces necessary to improve in each workout. To achieve the sub 6:50 2K row standard, we had to get him down to a 1:42.5/500m pace for a 6:49.
We tested his 2k row again at the end of week 4 and he achieved a 6:49.5 at the end of a very, very difficult week of training. The goal was hyper specific, the training was extremely hard, and the results speak for themselves. I’ll update this program with his result at the seminar in August. We’re shooting for a 6:45.
When you open the program, you will see that the day 1 supplemental is 4x500m repeats at a 1:43/500m pace with 2:00 rest between intervals. This is only a few tenths of a second faster than his PR pace of 1:44. We started there for a couple of reasons, the first being psychological. There is quite a bit of ‘over reaching’ later in this program (specifically weeks 4 and 6) meaning that we’re pushing him beyond his current capabilities and chasing paces that are just outside of his ability. It is this over reach, followed by rest, that allows the body to super compensate and adapt to the training stress that we apply, thereby allowing for new capabilities to emerge. This is training. I wanted Brad to have a bit of success early in the program to prepare him for the psychological grind to come. Second, why push the pace so fast that you can barely survive in week 1? A few tenths of a second was enough to improve, so start there. Remember, programs are progressive - it will get harder. Pick the low hanging fruit first. There are many, many times in this 6 weeks of training where you will fail. That’s part of training. If done correctly, this will be the hardest 6 weeks of your life. Throw every ounce of energy that you have into this and you will succeed. The intervals will be hard. You will be scared of each training day. If you aren’t, you’re not working hard enough. Attempt to hit every single interval at the specified pace. Adhere to the rest periods. If you absolutely cannot finish the workouts as prescribed, then you have overestimated your fitness. Either pick a new program, or feel free to ask me a question on the forum or send me an email directly and I’ll steer you in the right direction.
We had Brad take a deload week before the start of the program. I basically didn’t allow him in the gym. Even though the first week looked ‘easy’ to him on paper, I knew that the intensities prescribed would be punishing. I was right. I’d advise you to do the same.
At the end of the program you should test your 2k row. Day 42 is a full rest day. Day 43 or 44 would be an ideal time to test. I like my athletes to go into a test near a full boil. There's not much of a deload. You should be primed and ready to perform.
You should have 2-5 years of weight training and a good cardiovascular base before attempting this program, and more specifically be capable of each of the following:
1.75x body weight back squat
10x body weight bench press
2x body weight deadlift
1.5x body weight front squat
0.75x body weight strict overhead press
10x strict chest to bar pull ups
Sub 7:00 2000m row
For the weightlifting, we based all of the numbers off of 60% 1RM. You can see how the volume and intensity change from week to week. Simply plug in your own numbers and do a little math. For the ‘3 RIR, 2 RIR’ etc., that means = 3 reps in reserve or 2 reps in reserve. I like this a bit better than the RPE scale of 1-10 as its easier to judge (with a deep training history and practice) truly how many reps you have left ‘in the tank’. When in doubt, leave some in the tank. This 6 weeks will be hard enough. If you have questions about this - ask. That’s what the forums are designed for. We went with a hypertrophy based strength program to try and limit CNS fatigue and allow for maximal intensity for the rowing intervals. Heavy lifting plus this volume and intensity of rowing would probably be too much to recover from.
Starting with Day 36 we moved the weightlifting percentages to 70% of 1RM. Adjust weight accordingly.
If you haven’t lifted enough to know either a 10RM or to accurately judge 1, 2 or 3 RIR, this program isn’t really for you.
Notes: feel free, if you have the time, to do the rowing supplemental workouts as a separate session, but on the same day as the weight lifting. You might benefit from the two a day workout structure so you can throw equal amounts of intensity towards weightlifting and rowing. Not everyone will have the time, so the program is written to be done in one session.
There are days when I’ve specified a 2K row warmup in under 7 minutes. This is non negotiable. Part of this training is psychological. I want the 2K row ‘test’ to be as psychologically ‘easy’ as possible. Race day should be fun. It should be a celebration of all of the work leading up to it. If the race or the time trial is ‘scary’, that’s because you left work on the table or you know you didn’t prepare like you should have. You’re scared because you’ve prepared to fail. To be nervous is natural - everyone should want to be their best on race day. But you should also relish the opportunity to flex the mental and psychological muscles you’ve trained so hard leading up to it.
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