bg-3 Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology – Conshohocken, PA – Day 5

Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology – Conshohocken, PA – Day 5

Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology – Conshohocken, PA – Day 5


Day 5 began with athletes being able to sleep in! It’s been a long week and they needed to re-charge to process information and recover from workouts.

Indian Clubs – Revisited

Coach Rufo brought out the Indian Clubs again and athletes went through a full shoulder and hip mobility warm up. Athletes learned that tension in the torso and core could be lost as one moved from one position of stability to the next. This is an important concept in the rowing stroke. Athletes improved immensely from the first session and could feel the difference in body awareness.

Indian Clubs - Position #2

Indian Clubs – Position #2

Indian Clubs - Kneeling Position

Indian Clubs – Kneeling Position


Anaerobic Capacity – Short Interval

Athletes went through a “tempo” workout, which is a simple short interval workout at 2k race pace. They were encouraged to cover the distance as “relaxed” as possible without losing tension on the drive.  The workout allowed athletes to get more comfortable at 2k race pace completely without tiring them out.

Anaerobic Capacity Workout - TEMPO Training

Anaerobic Capacity Workout – TEMPO Training


Technique and Application of Power Improving!

Kettlebell – Loaded Carries

Coach Rufo then went over “loaded carries,” which is simply carrying a kettlebell and weight in your hands. Examples would be the “farmers walk” or “suitcase walk.” Another would be the “kettlebell rack walk.” By loading up the body with weight, the athlete is forced to hold their posture rigid. This builds a stable pattern for the body to build on, and again translates to the rowing stroke, both on the recovery and drive. Athletes were fatigued after 3 minutes of work!

Traveling Forms – Play

To break the ice again, Coach Rufo set up some pair games using foam blocks, Indian Clubs, and having athletes crawl and mirror each other. This demonstrated that training can still be fun and serve a purpose.


Work together!


Competing can still be fun!

Strength and Condition Lecture 

Following the games, Coach Rufo went a strength and conditioning lecture. Athletes learned about different training programs to build muscle, strength, power, and endurance. It is important for athletes to know what program is right for them at that particular time in the season. If an athlete is trying to get stronger and more powerful, then a strength program with a lot of rest will work better than a program where athletes are doing a lot of reps and building muscle. Building muscle during the rowing season is okay, but the athlete may be more fatigued. Coach Rufo reviewed all the reps/sets and rest schemes that are appropriate for rowing. Athletes also learned the structure of their training program following camp.

Strength and Conditioning Part II

In part two of strength and conditioning, Coach Rufo reviewed all the various exercises athletes could do during their program. These exercises are built on the program of the kettlebell lifts that were learned in camp. It was impressive how quickly some of the athlete mastered the technique/form without ever doing the exercise!

Practicing technique with PVC!

Practicing technique with PVC!


Bent Over Row – Good Hinge!

Race Plans and 2K Test!

Coach Rufo and Coach Davis finished off the day by discussing various race plans for 2k testing and rowing. Athletes shared their own 2k plans, and every one discussed what worked for them and what didn’t. Coach Rufo provided some strategies to follow, and Coach Davis tasked the athletes with writing out their own 2k Plan that they would practice the next morning.

After dinner, Coach Rufo and our coxswain sat down with each of the athletes and reviewed the race plans they created. Coach Rufo integrated AthleteDISC into the session to make sure the athlete focused on their strengths and the things that motivated them in practice and in racing. They went to bed ready to compete!

See you on DAY 6!

Thanks for sharing!