2000m row, the most grueling fitness test

Posted by Rollo
6 minutes
2000m row, the most grueling fitness test

If you really want to know what your fitness level is, the 2000m row test is probably the most indicative and grueling you can perform. This test serves not only to give an indication of the general state of fitness, but it is also an excellent benchmark for evaluating progress in terms of aerobic capacity and power over time. In rowing it is also the test on which the training planning of athletes of all levels, from children to the elite, is based.

The 2k test takes no prisoners

Training on an rowing machine activates 85% of the body's muscles and can take your heart rate to very high levels in no time. It requires a blend of endurance and power, and the low impact nature of the movement has no adverse effects on joints such as running. Competitive rowers are some of the fittest and most powerful athletes on the planet and the rowing machine plays a vital role in their training.

The gold standard of performance on the rowing machine is 2,000 meters for time. 10k is also a possible test but not as accurate in terms of indicative outcomes as it is on 2k. The distance derives from the fact that 2,000 meters is that of the standard race. More simply, 2K for time is referred to by many as the best comprehensive fitness test ever created.

All you need is a rowing machine and a lot of willpower to help you not to give up prematurely and unfortunately for you, poor performance cannot be attributed to adverse weather conditions. Concept2 rowers are the competition standard, but RP3s are also great machines that in addition to simulating the feel of rowing in the water, provide very accurate performance data.

All you have to do is set your session to 2k and go. That said it seems easy but 2k done practically at its best requires power, endurance, mental strength and a comprehensive contribution from all three of the main energy systems of the body. It all adds up to one of the most excruciating physical challenges you have ever encountered.

Just to understand, a good performance for a person of about 35 should be below 06'30 "- 07'00", everything else is equivalent to a trip to the countryside and I assure you that to get to that level you really need to be fit and have an incredible mental stamina. The good news is that with the right training and the right commitment, even a normal person can get close to it. For the records, the world record on 2k in the 30-39 age group is by Rob Waddell who in 2008 achieved a score of 05'36 ”.06, still unbeaten. Can you imagine doing 2000m on the rowing machine in just over five and a half minutes?

The chart below shows how our body's three basic energy systems produce energy over time:

In our body the ATP-PC system provides most of the energy for short periods of intense exercise (0 to 10 seconds), the anaerobic lactacid system provides most of the energy for longer periods of intense exercise (up to About 1 minute) and the aerobic system provides most of the energy for continuous exercise lasting more than 1 minute.

If any of these energy systems are not up to the task, you will not be able to row at most for 2,000 meters. The fluid nature of the gesture allows you to overcome the physical barriers that exist in many other fitness tests, literally leading you to explore dark corners of your mental strength.

How to take the 2000m row test

To record a good time, you need to start fast. The first 500 meters are not quite a total sprint, but they are just below. The next 500 meters is when things really start to get weird. By that time, you've probably crossed your anaerobic threshold, which means you're now burning stored carbohydrates as your primary fuel source. Around this point, your body will start producing lactate faster than it can remove it. As lactate rapidly begins to build up in your bloodstream, your mind switches from "this is uncomfortable" to "this is pure torture". Your heart speeds up and your legs will start to burn. And you will not believe that you are only halfway. My advice is not to look at the PM display and just focus on holding on.

The third 500 meters is to quiet the voice in your head that screams you to stop while trying to maintain a decent pace. One of the beauties of this test is that it is impossible to cheat. The quality of the repetitions is directly reflected in the numbers on the display: a weak drive will see your split increase, while a strong drive will see them decrease.

As you enter the last 500 meters, you may not believe you have come this far but now is the time to access all of your reserves. In the last 300 meters or so, you'll have to squeeze out every last ounce of effort from your body. If you have performed the test properly, when the number of meters mercilessly reaches zero, you will be completely emptied.

What constitutes a "good" time in the 2,000-meter test varies widely based on age, size and fitness level. Tall people generally row faster than shorter people and it is no coincidence that competitive rowers are all tall. Just to give an idea, I'm 1.84 tall, I'm almost 59 years old and my PR on 2k is 07'23 "which places me among the" poor, weak old men ". If you want to have reference benchmarks, you can find all the records on the Concept2 website at this link , divided by type of performance and age class.

Like any other fitness test, the purpose of the 2,000-meter-for-time test is to assess whether your training is actually achieving the desired results. Before attempting this test, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the rowing technique. Once understood, the rowing machine is actually quite intuitive but in any case it is unforgiving.

Find everything is related in my book

If you are interested in learning everything about indoor rowing, I recommend that you purchase my book “Handling the rower in WODs” which was written with Crossfitters and rower-based WODs in mind. The book is available on Amazon

If you want to finally make sense of the phrase: “you rest on the rower”, this book is all you need to learn the best technique and strategies to turn the rower aka rower into your best ally, in any situation. In this informative text you will find everything that is the basis of rowing applied every day by the rowers of the best national teams, adapted to Cross Training and explained in understandable language. Through texts and images you will learn:

  • How to perform the correct rowing machine setup
  • The ideal rowing technique
  • Drills and exercises to correct mistakes and improve the technique
  • How to optimize your performance in WODs
  • The setting and execution of the 2000m test to calculate your maximals and sub-maximals
  • The use of calories, average split and power based on the test results

All accompanied by tips and practical suggestions directly from the floor.A work that cannot be missing in the library of every Cross Training athlete of all levels, from the beginner to the more experienced Rx.

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