bg-3 Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology – Conshohocken, PA – Day 6

Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology – Conshohocken, PA – Day 6

Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology – Conshohocken, PA – Day 6


Two personal best’s and seven well executed race plans overall.

At Sparks Advanced Training and Physiology Camp 2015, we gave athletes the opportunity to practice a 2k test and plan, so they could analyze what worked and what didn’t.

Pre-2k Warm UP

Pre-2k Warm UP

Here we GO!

Here we GO!

Each athlete came up with very solid race plans, therefore it was apparent there were “gaps” in their training leading up to camp. Some athletes needed to spend more time on their aerobic capacity or steady state work. This type of work takes a long time to develop. Some athletes had to work on their anaerobic capacity or ability to sprint. This type of work does not take as long, but it has to be prescribed the right amount with the proper amount of recovery. Other athletes executed their plan well, and going forward should continue their training with the new knowledge they have taken from camp.

Heart Rates and “Taking Control of Your Training”

Following lunch, athletes were treated to a short video of Billy Mills’s Gold Medal performance in the 10,000 meters track event at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The video was to remind athletes that writing down goals, and focusing their efforts on gradually achieving those goals, can lead to amazing performances. Skipping steps, or leaving steps out only sets an athlete up for failure, which can be a lot for a high school athletes.

Athletes reviewed the Heart Rate Training chart. Athletes were able to see some examples of heart rate ranges and ergometer splits that the sample athletes would do. Coach Rufo stressed “What do you need?” versus “What you want?” In training, what you want may not be what you need. Coach Rufo discussed keeping a training tog, and the importance of overcoming the obstacles for what they need. Some of the obstacles included:

  1. Time
  2. Nutritition
  3. Sleep (Home)
  4. Getting Extra Workouts in, and what type
  5. Competition on the Team
  6. Coaches (Expectations)

Group Exercise

Following the discussion, Coach Rufo broke the athletes into two groups to create a sample workout week for the example athletes (Jack and Jill). Both athletes were training for a 2k, and the athletes needed to create a workout plan that would address some of the things each athlete needed as well as keep the athlete on task for the upcoming test. It created a lively discussion, as athletes could come up with the workouts, and the opinions were different. However, everyone stuck to the rules of the exercise.


Creating Training Plans


Working on “Jack’s” training plan.


Working on “Jill’s” training plan.

Coach Rufo was impressed! They did a great job creating programs and still were able to keep within the parameters they were given. The programs even included some fun workouts that would help break up the daily training grind. This was the first step in helping the athletes realize could take charge of their own training and still follow the programs they were given by their coaches.

MovNat – “Play” AND “Natural Movement”

Athletes returned to Studio B to learn about MovNat, which is another training modality that they could use to make their workouts fun and still train properly. MovNat involves exploring your natural environment outside the confines of the gym and/or boathouse. MovNat skills include three categories: Manipulative (lifting, carrying, throwing, catching), Combative (striking, grappling), Locomotive (walking, running, balancing, jumping, crawling, climbing, swimming). Coach Rufo demonstrated some of the skills that would be best for training for rowing, and allowed the athletes to test some of the training items.


PLAY – “Throw and Catch”

“Hmmm – Kind of looks like a Squat or Deadlift…but more FUN!”

At first athletes were hesitant. They would ask, “Coach, how many reps, sets, and what is the rest time? What is the Intensity?” However, with a little encouragement, athletes began exploring the training environment, and Coach Rufo set up a little workout. Soon athletes were lost in the skills:


CLIMBING – Pulling, Rowing

Battle Ropes and Balance Beam - Grappling and Balance

Battle Ropes and Balance Beam – “Grappling and Balance”

“Commando Crawl” – Crawling promotes coordination

Dinner and “Self-Sabotage”

Athletes returned for dinner and one more trip to Whole Foods for a fun exercise. After eating, athletes broke into their Jack and Jill teams to go on a scavenger hunt and “pack a lunch” for an upcoming 2k test. Coach Davis instructed that the meal had to be healthy, and energy packed for a typical school day where athletes normally don’t have time to eat before practice. Again, athletes impressed the coaches! Not only did they make good choices, but they were able to discuss how they could make regatta tent food a little better for their teammates. “Eat to compete!”

The final lecture of Day 6 was a lecture regarding “Self-Sabotage” or things athletes could do to psych themselves out of performing well. Athletes shared and discussed examples, and Coach Rufo explained some stages of self-sabotage. Some of the stages include being physically unprepared (i.e. under-trained), being overstimulated (i.e. letting your emotions catch up with you), or focusing on things you can’t control (i.e. the weather, the other team, etc.). Athletes also connected the strategies in their AthleteDISC profile that helped them deal with “stressful” situations in rowing.

Overall, this has been a very thoughtful, intelligent, and fun group that has demonstrated their passion for rowing, training hard, taking risks, and taking a week out their summer to work on their confidence in the sport they love. Well done!



One more day! See you tomorrow Day 7

Thanks for sharing!