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Before the gym

Get your head ready to hurt. If I have the time, I like to spend several days preparing my brain/body for the pain. You should visualize staring at the bar in your set of 15 and know that your body will be doing everything it can to tell you why you shouldn’t pick it up. This workout for most will not have muscular failure and will be dictated by how badly you want to hurt. You can’t hurt too early though.


  1. Wear oly shoes. However, if they feel very strange in the rower than forget them.
  2. Wear your knee sleeves as well. If you are going to roll them up and down be efficient.
  3. If you like gloves wear them for grip on the rower otherwise chalk the handles.
  4. Use comp plates so the bar settles easily.

Warm up

  1. Make sure your ankles are very mobile as this will create a better vertical position in your squat. Do a banded distraction (as the video above) and roll/stretch your calves
  2. 3×100 meter all out sprints on the rower with a 1 min rest.


  1. Bar should be PARALLEL to rower
  2. Damper should be between a 4-7
  3. Always tighten your straps each round on the rower but make sure to loosen them when getting out.


  1. This workout is about pacing the row. Even if you are going to do it in 7 min you still have to pace it a ton. What you will see in the graphs below is the drop off in all 3 girls sec/cal from the beginning to end of the workout. Annie was the most significant With her first 27 cal being done at a rate of 2.6 sec/cal and finishing 5.1 sec/cal. So we can know from this that their pace was a little too fast in the beginning. Their thrusters stayed constant but the question is could they have gone faster if they would have slowed the row a bit. You can’t hurt badly until the end of the row on 15.Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 23.14.40
  2. Break up the thrusters. This will vary from athletes to athlete, but there is no point in hanging on the bar unless it’s the set of 9. I will most likely do this. 15/12 – 12/9 – 9/6 – 9. If Fran is not done unbroken I might break these up even more. Short breaks b
  3. In a nutshell Sam just rowed faster and was able to maintain it. Annie actually performed almost everything at the same speed as Camille with the exception of rowing the first 27 cal faster.
  4. Row so you can transition quickly. You will look much cooler if you finish the workout first than if you finish the first 2 rounds ahead of everyone and then look like a drunk Quasimodo trying to do your last 58 reps.Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 23.14.47
  5. When you are rowing be lazy. There is no need to have much of anything flexed. What I mean is learn to shut everything possible down except a slight grip with your hands, tension in your hamstrings and lower back and some push through your quads. Everything else (including your forehead/eyebrows) are relaxed.
  6. For your catch on the rower let your arms immediately drop and lazily scoot along your legs as you set up for the next pull. This is not how rowers teach you to row. Good news is you are not in water and do not need to keep your arms off your legs because you have no paddle that can hit water. Holding arms out in front will only make them work. You will want to use your delts for the thrusters not to have them look like a fitness commercial with perfect abs and form… I promise.


Clean technique CLEAN hand positionGive it all you have
on this last event!

We’ll give it all for 15.5 and we hope these tips help. But if you ever wonder how some people reach incredible levels of performance and others struggle year after year, you came to the right place! The coaches Project Rise Fitness listen to your goals and help you improve your performance training.

Even when the Open is finished, we;ll still have all sorts of tips and advice for your training, so keep coming back for more and visit our box in Denver and in Stapleton. Get your 15.5 scores in by Monday at 6 pm – all athletes will have until 5 p.m. PT on Monday of each week to perform the workout and submit their scores. There are no exceptions to this deadline.

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