bg-3 Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology – Conshohocken, PA – Day 2

Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology – Conshohocken, PA – Day 2

Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology – Conshohocken, PA – Day 2

Day 2

Day 2 began with a hearty breakfast at the hotel on a sunny and cool Pennsylvania summer day. After traveling to Studio B, we reviewed what we learned from Day 1, and talked about one thing that stood out with each individual. Following this review, athletes were introduced to “primal movements” which is actually based on a few training modalities – today it was the Ground Force Method. Ground Force Method allows athletes and individuals to warm-up more “naturally.”


Ground Force Method

“Move Well…”

...Move Often!

…Move Often!

There was a nice flow to the group, and comments afterward included, “I felt it warmed up the whole body rather than focusing on rowing specific muscles.”


Athletes went through two more assessments this morning. The Vesper Boat Club Peak Power Test and a 30 minute ergometer test supervised by Vesper Boat Club’s Nick Goode.

30 Minute erg test at 20 spm

The Peak Power Test involved pulling as HARD as you can for about 10-15 strokes and recording the number of WATTS shown on the monitor. This allowed athletes to find out their top speed as well as learn a bit more about pacing and aerobic endurance. Looking at WATTS also gave athletes a new data point to focus on instead of Erg Split.

Training Overview

Back at the hotel, Coach Goode reviewed the tests and what they measured. He stressed the importance of finding a “balance” with the training components. At Vesper, training is geared towards optimizing all components, keeping in mind that every athlete is a little different. Coach Goode and Coach Rufo discussed how other athletes train in different sports (i.e. football, soccer, golf) as well as how people need to “train” for their jobs (i.e. law enforcement, fire prevention, food services (a waiter). All training components are the same; they are developed according to the demands of the sport or profession. Therefore, as a rower if you know what you need to work on, you can train it properly and in time for an erg competition or regatta.

FMS Review: What is the Functional Movement Screen? 

Coach Rufo reviewed the Functional Movement Screen and what it measures. Athletes learned and discussed the importance of mobility, stability, and flexibility in relation to rowing. Athletes were given their individual FMS exercises, which would be applied during the afternoon training session.

FMS Application: How to use the Functional Movement Screen

Following lunch, athletes traveled back to Studio B. Everyone shared what stood out to them in regards to Coach Goode’s lecture, and the consensus was that you have to take into account ALL training components to be successful. Coach Rufo broke out the mobility box, which was filled with mobility tools that Coach Rufo has gathered over the years. Athletes learned how to perform the exercises in their individual FMS Workout sheet. A lot of time was spent on the floor using the foam rollers and mobility tools.

FMS PACKETS: Foam Rolling

FMS PACKETS: Foam Rolling

Athletes learned how test themselves and re-test following mobility/stability exercises – with good success!


Squat “Before”


Squat “Before” #2


Squat “After”


Like “Magic”!


Posture and Anaerobic Capacity

After doing pre-workout training, athletes hopped back on the rowing machines for a discussion on posture. To be clear, athletes learned there is no wrong way to row. Rather, they learned that whatever stroke and technical changes that their coaches/programs wanted to make, they have to learn to put their bodies in a good, strong position to achieve that. Athletes began scratching the surface of using the force curve on the erg, and Coach Rufo discussed different force curves. Our coxswain was able to connect different technical mistakes to posture on the rowing machine and how that related to the force curve.

After he posture discussion, athletes finished up with an anaerobic capacity workout. They learned how to row harder than their 2k pace and build up their ability to produce, tolerate, and utilize lactic acid better. It was an eye opening experience, and athletes found that their goal 2k pace was easier than it had been in the past.

Dinner and Lecture

Athletes and coaches traveled to Whole Foods for dinner. The purpose was to eat, but also to begin laying the foundation for a talk on nutrition, which will happen tomorrow. Athletes had to write down and make note of what they ate. Athletes will relate what they eat to how they train, perform, and process information. Following dinner, athletes reviewed all the training components, as well as learned the terminology they would be using after camp. Athletes and coxswain will be provided a training plan to execute for the rest of the summer. Finally, athletes were given the second part of their AthleteDISC Profile to review – potential areas of improvement. This will allow athletes to relate both their strengths and their developing attributes to different successes they have had in the past.

See you on Day 3!

Thanks for sharing!