MindsetHow to mentally prepare for the world's toughest row, get stronger and have a damn good time doing it. Levels Leadership
The mental side of training for an ocean row.
The Atlantic Ocean is the world’s second largest ocean and these boys want to row it. How are they going to do this? Resilience.
We must prep for this
Follow along with our training. The physical and the mental side of the prep for this daunting process.
Good on ya Boys
Well after two years it happened. The boys started their row from the Canary Islands to Antigua. What a two years it has been. We went from a small gym, to a furnace of a room on King Street Charleston as a temporary location, to a proper training facility downtown....
Row to Grow, in more ways than one.
The boys now have less than 70 days before they head out to the Canaries. The boat has already been shipped back to England and she will meet them there, all done up. Wrapped in the sexy logos of all the partners and charities, a long way from her naked stark white...
A little Perspective.
It is now August so the boys will leave for the Canary Islands after Thanksgiving to cross on ocean. They have completed two long training rows, one from below the Florida line which was around 160 miles and the most recent from Georgia back to Charleston which was...
Jackson’s Top 5 lifts for rowers.
1. The Seal Row
A fantastic way to strengthen the shoulders and back while closely simulating the stroke. Sometimes referred to as “Batwing Row” the exercise has many names. Used by rowing clubs around the world and a staple of Team Great Britains mighty oarsmen.
2. Trap Bar Deadlift
Most taller athletes struggle getting into the optimal position for the barbell deadlift. The trap bar is excellent for those longer individuals, like our boys. The trap bar is a neccessary componet of our training, for both strength and safety.
3. Turkish Get Up
The boys need mobility and stability for the ocean row and the Get Up is a phenomenal movement. Getting the body moving in a more primitive way, hinge and good leg drive needed to perform the lift, making the shoulders, core and legs more robust and resilient.
4. Back Squat
If it’s the legs that feed the wolf, the legs will get them across the ocean. If you want a stronger back, core, legs, arse and shoulders. Squat.
5. Farmer’s Walks
Grip strength is imperative, so a huge emphasis on improving that before the row. When at the oars for 12 hours a day, grip needs to be vise tight. There are many different variations being applied during training, front rack carries, sandbag carries are great as well. Find something heavy and carry it.
We love training:
There are many ways to skin a cat, this goes the same for training. We can get strong in a myriad of ways, the boys are getting after it in the weight room, on the water and even in the yoga studio. Mentally building their resilience on the rowing machine with a numb butt and tired legs but you know what they say? It’s just part of it.
The shoulders will be doing a ton of work during the row, so it is imperative we strengthen the front rack. Pictured is a 100-yard carry at the Citadel.
The legs are the engine of the boat, so getting the legs sea-worthy is a non-negotiable during training. Tuesday’s are the boys big leg movements which are built around compound movements like the deadlift and back squat.
While this is an ocean row for distance, we must build the aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Sessions on the rower range from 42,000 meter rows which is a marathon, 3,000m pulling as hard as you can then resting just a minute before repeating or 10×0:20s sprints, grab a bucket you may need one boys.
The body will be tested in a myriad of ways during this row and the body will be put into wild positions so another big emphasis is on mobility. Mobility comes from strength and flexibility and is the ability for the body to move freely and the only way to get there is to move. With the help of Joey Welling, Maggie Young and Noel Poff the boys are getting hyper mobile.
With the help from the legend Duncan Roy, an ocean rowing coach, the boys have been provided a blueprint for how to attack training on the erg. Three days a week, a long session, a tough quick session and a pacing or gearing session. Here is Jackson during research whilst on vacation in Utah.
Following the advice from Duncan, every Monday the boys have a long daunting row session. With no music and no seat cushion, they row for two hours minimum. If they can endure the boredom of the erg, the ocean will always be exciting.
While we all wish to be professional athletes and dedicate our all of our time to training and recovery, we aren’t. Ben and Charlie are working 40+ hours a week while training for this race. Sessions routinely take place at 5:00 a.m. which builds resilience and coffee consumption is through the roof.
Both of the Lads have a rugby background, not rowing. Rowing is a rowing sport and in order to get better at it, you must row but the importance of a good foundation of strength is mission critical. Don’t let the wild hairstyle fool you, Charles is as strong as they come.