As a supplement to the rigorous training done on the water and on the ergs the Sparks New Zealand Development Group has also been spending time in the gym with strength and conditioning specialist Mike Jacobs. Mike works with the New Zealand High Performance Center in Dunedin where he helps train athletes across a range of sports. His own athletic background includes four years of rowing at the University of Otago, so he is familiar with the demands rowing places on the body and how to prepare for them. In our visits with Mike so far he’s enlightened the group with a session on strength and conditioning theory where he discussed the pros and cons of strength training. Many of the rowers were surprised to hear that there were potential drawbacks and they were also surprised at the many tertiary benefits it can provide past moving more weight.
Mike Jacobs working with the Sparks group.
After the session on theory, the rowers have been training in the high performance gym with Mike, learning how to properly warm up and working on lifts that will have a direct positive influence on their rowing performances. The group will have one more session after our road trip with Mike and they will leave with a great deal more knowledge about how their body works and how to improve their performance.