O Captain! My Captain!

Leading by example, Men’s Captain, Steve Williams has created a training guide to get “row fit” without the need for an expensive gym membership. 💪

Check out his video:

YouTube player

…off to buy me some beans 🥫🥫🥫

Club Captain’s email to Members:

Whether you want to row and race at events next year or just get better at rowing anyone can participate in winter training should they wish to.  Please keep in mind that It’s not just the World Championships at the Isles of Scillies next year that will require crews to be selected – these are the other events you can look to train for if you would like to:-  

Fowey- Feb – Louis Hunkin event ( friendly racing regatta )

 3 rivers ( March – a 10KM endurance race ) 

 Dart regatta (April – first regatta of the season )  

Lyme Masters Regatta ( May 2024 )




 4. Useful flexibility and stretching exercises 



Once provisional crews are selected for events then they can get together and decide what training they want to do and commit to but until then we can choose what we want to do over winter depending on our own current fitness levels and aspirations to get into whatever crews we wish to.  


There are a lot of us already that do several different types of off-water fitness – be it running, cycling, dancing, circuits  – you name it – most of us are doing it!

But being ROWING fit means – yes you’ve guessed it – using the Erg, otherwise known as the Concept 2 rowing machine, because this is the closest thing we have to train our muscle memory and get strong in the right places to help our gig rowing. Every great gig rowing club follows an Erg winter training plan. and there is no reason why you can’t use this machine in between on water rows throughout the winter to aid your ability to become a better rower.  The Concept 2 rowing website site is a wealth of information that is readily available to us.  If you are brand new to rowing workouts then I suggest you follow the first steps workout sessions in the top tips section –  


 We will look to cover these top tips during some technical ERG nights over the winter but in advance, you can take a look at the links above &  below to help you if you are really keen then check out the Podbean app – for concept 2 podcasts regarding rowing sessions, support and coaching!  



 British Rowing does a great beginner, intermediate and advanced training plan for a 2K Erg test and the British Rowing INSIDE INDOOR program provides extensive plans for strength training combining weights and ergs, endurance training, and general fitness training – with lots of options.  

 Feel free to use my paid subscription – using my email – nichollsn@btinternet.com  

And my password-  @1nsid3@23!&!1 

 to access these plans here:-  https://insideindoor.com/login/

You can then choose whichever plan you feel you would want to have a go at but most important of all is that you work on keeping up your fitness and training outside of the boat especially if you would like to be selected for the upcoming events next year! But everyone’s individual ability will be different so you can always create your own training plan to improve any areas you feel you need to work on.  We have a great asset in Steve ( our men’s Captain ) at our club and he has kindly devised a spreadsheet of Erg exercises we can pick and choose from to maintain and build fitness.  



 Feel free to select exercises from Steve’s sheet alongside some strength exercises and stretching exercises to build a plan of your own- see the link below to support you with this. 

Concept 2 – how to build a training plan guide should any of you wish to devise your own personal plan 🙂 



The MAIN other EXERCISE to be included within your WINTER TRAINING is strength and conditioning sessions via regular weights sessions/circuits/yoga etc.  

 WEIGHTS EXERCISES for strength training 

 The aim would be to do at least one weights session per week to include the following types of exercises:-  

  • Deadlifts  
  • Squats  
  • Single arm rows  
  • Plank (build from 30 seconds – 1 minute and then 1.30 etc )  
  • Single leg lunges  
  • Chest press 
  • Lat pull-downs  

If you have no experience with these exercises then before you do anything I would highly recommend visiting a local gym where a trained member of staff can give you an induction and show you how to perform these correctly. I have included a link to a YouTube video that shows you how to perform several of the above exercises safely and correctly – take a look –  


 YouTube is a great resource for how to perform these exercises correctly and you can also speak with Steve, Greg, Ben, Carrie, or me should you have any questions or queries about the weights side of things. If you are brand new to these exercises then please just start with your body weight alone – starting with 10 of each and increasing the number you do each week then as you become more accustomed to the correct movement for each exercise you can start to hold hand weights/ a weights bar etc to build up so you are always working harder each time.  

Anyone who has experience with weights could start with a max weight test and do 2 sets of 5 reps at a max weight for each exercise and then gradually increase the weight by small increments with each further session you do.  

 4. Useful flexibility and stretching exercises

It is very important to always warm up and cool down and stretch – see below for some helpful info about what stretches to do and how you can warm up and cool down.  


Yoga for rowers 

See below for the link for yoga for rowers book that many of us have found useful as it is full of stretches/ poses to perform that link with certain aspects of the stroke in order to help you build the strength and flexibility required at each part of the stroke.  

Yoga For Rowers: 

Building Physical & Mental Strength 



Exercising is fab but we should be doing it for the purpose of becoming better rowers !! And so we need to measure that our rowing ability is improving to ensure what we are doing is indeed helping us become better – faster / stronger / more technically able rowers. 

We will be asking all members, looking to be considered for competitive racing, to submit a 3k time and split breakdown screenshot on a quarterly basis, starting December this year, then March 2024, June 2024, and Sept 2024. 

Looking back over these throughout the year is great motivation for all of us as it shows us that all the hard work Is worthwhile because you will see yourself getting better and these exercises becoming easier! (since introducing this measure and training info and sessions the club’s overall results in competitions have improved).  

For those of us who have recently been nominated for the National County championships which requires a submission of a recent 3K then we can see that this measure on the Erg is one used by many clubs, alongside other criteria to measure a person’s rowing ability. It is not the only factor that will be considered at Exmouth Gig Club and so is not essential to the selection, however, it may disadvantage your selection chances for upcoming events if you do not provide the 3K information. 


 At Exmouth gig club we like to be as transparent as possible when it comes to how crews are selected. We specifically have a ladies selection committee made up of the male training/racing coxes that select the women’s crews and a Male selection committee made up of the female training/ racing coxes that select the men’s crews.  All selections are made using the criteria below. 

  • We hope to select the Scillies provisional crews by the end of December making use of a selection day like last year.
  • Performance at crew selection day ( December 2023 )  
  • Historical rowing performance  
  • Erg 3K data ( Qtrly data )
  • Training commitment ( Spond will be set up for Saturday / Sunday training before or after club rowing from November onwards – evening rowing won’t start until sometime in March)
  • Crew suitability & balance ( if you only row on one side then you greatly reduce your options to be included ) 

The same selection criteria will be used, bar the selection day, to decide provisional crews for the other events next year as well so I hope this gives EVERYONE  an understanding of the factors & consideration that goes into selection by the relevant committees.  

See you all on the water ( or an Erg !) soon. 

Club Captain