Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

General discussion on Training. How to get better on your erg, how to use your erg to get better at another sport, or anything else about improving your abilities.
Blindside
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Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by Blindside » May 4th, 2021, 6:04 pm

I'm 57 a bit of a yoyo trainer over the years, when I train I train hard but I also have periods of inactivity that may last months. I was doing a fair bit of training until about 5 months back, the gyms shutting and a fall on a mountain bike gave me the excuse to do nothing. I'm just under 6ft and just over 15 stone and follow the Keto lifestyle. I've done a little bit of Concept 2 rowing over the years in gyms, particularly when I was still playing rugby, but not a great deal. Been wanting to get into training on a Concept 2 as my knees don't like running anymore so decided to follow buy a concept 2 and do my own gym.

I read up on this forum and decided to follow BPP, Ive just done the 5000M first session, I listened to the advice and approached it at a very steady pace and tried to concentrate on the technique, from youtube videos and forum reading. I completed it in 27:57, an average stroke rate was a fairly consistent 23 s/m. My question is, I barely broke a sweat and did not really get out of breath, I enjoyed it. Should I just continue the way I am and follow the plan? should I jump ahead a few weeks? or should I push my levels of effort and speed up?

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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by mitchel674 » May 4th, 2021, 7:04 pm

Sure, why try to adhere to a proven training plan for beginners (like yourself)? Just jump ahead to some random week and give it a go.

Seriously, you're a beginner. Take some time in the early weeks and learn to row. Use this time to work on your technique. You didn't feel like you got much of workout, because your rowing stroke is weak. 28 minutes is nothing to crow about for a 5k.

Why is everyone in such a hurry? If you do this right, it takes some time to become a quality rower. No shortcuts.
55yo male, 6ft, 154lbs

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Ombrax
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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by Ombrax » May 4th, 2021, 7:24 pm

Welcome to the forum. : )

I'd say no, don't jump ahead. If you were doing a 2K at say, a 1:50 pace, then it would be worth considering, but based on your 5k pace I'd guess that you well above that and still firmly in the beginners camp.

At this point you want to do two things: 1) Get your technique ironed out, and 2) Build your aerobic base. Focus on those without trying to do too much, then you can go for it.

Good Luck

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max_ratcliffe
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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by max_ratcliffe » May 4th, 2021, 7:42 pm

Welcome to the forum and the bizarre and masochistic world of erging.

You did the right thing by starting slowly, as it's much easier to build on strong foundations.

However, is it too slow? It's difficult to tell.

It should feel like work, but still quite easy. Something perhaps like going for a hike with some hilly bits. Your breathing and hr should be elevated and you can get a bit of a sweat on. But you shouldn't be feeling like you're about to cough up a lung.

From your description it sounds like you were a little on the slow side for you. If so, you could increase the pressure a bit, but do this by pushing harder with your legs and keep the rate (strokes per minute) the same or even reduce it.

Stick with the programme and don't jump ahead. The volume increases steadily over the next few weeks and you don't want to be chasing a fast 5k split when you're doing 10k. I didn't know any better when I did the BPP and I did exactly that with inevitable HDs and stalled progress.
50 HWT
PBs:
Rower 1'=329m; 500m=1:34.0; 1k=3:25:1; 2k=7:16.5; 5k=19:44; 6k=23:24; 30'=7582m; 10k=40.28; 60'=14621m; HM=1:27:46
SkiErg 1'=298m; 500m=1:42.4; 1k=3:36.0; 2k=7:43.8; 5k=20:35; 6k=25:29; 30'=7239m; 10k=42:35; 60'=13358m; HM=1:32:24

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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by mitchel674 » May 4th, 2021, 7:49 pm

Welcome to the forum!
55yo male, 6ft, 154lbs

Dangerscouse
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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by Dangerscouse » May 5th, 2021, 12:45 am

Welcome to the forum, and as others have said stick with the plan, but just increase the pace.

The plan is a very well structured framework for anyone to use, but it's all predicated on how much effort you put in. As Max has suggested, I'd maybe lower the stroke rate to 20-22 and increase the average pace (per 500m) by about eight seconds ie 2:40 average pace and see how that feels. If that still feels too easy, drop it to 2:35. You'll soon know how fast is fast enough

At the start, technique should be a main priority as you need to make sure you're not leaking power, and ingraining bad habits.
47 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:24; 6k= 20:47; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,428m 60mins= 16,618m HM= 1:16.47; FM= 2:40:41; 50k= 3:16:09; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by jamesg » May 5th, 2021, 1:51 am

just done the 5000M first session... very steady pace and concentrate on the technique, from youtube videos and forum reading. I completed it in 27:57, an average stroke rate was a fairly consistent 23. Should I just continue the way I am and follow the plan?
5k is too long if unfit, it makes it impossible to pull a decent stroke as you can see: 28 minutes 5k is 75W and a 3-Watt stroke at 23.

Suggest you do some shorter work such as 5-6 1-minute intervals, again at low ratings, but concentrating on long hard strokes so that the work is higher: at rating 20, at least 100W, possibly 150. Make each single stroke count so that there's no hurry to pull the next one.

Drag must be low, so that the pull can be fast and long at reasonable handle force. The C2 technique page shows further detail, in particular the sequences that allow full use of the legs; that's where the work is done.

Indices to follow are Watts/Rating (the work in each stroke, 5 to 10) and Watts/kg (2W/kg is enough for basic low rate training).

A lot can be learned even at the warm-up stage. See the video:
https://www.britishrowing.org/knowledge ... warm-up-2/
Last edited by jamesg on May 5th, 2021, 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
08-1940, 183cm, 84kg. Last seen MHR 158 in 2k = 220 - 77% of age.
2021-2: stroke 6 W-min. ½k 1:55.5; 1k 4:09.2; 2k 8:42.2; 5k 23:15; 30' 6247; 10k 49:36.

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winniewinser
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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by winniewinser » May 5th, 2021, 3:24 am

Blindside wrote:
May 4th, 2021, 6:04 pm
I'm 57 a bit of a yoyo trainer over the years, when I train I train hard but I also have periods of inactivity that may last months. I was doing a fair bit of training until about 5 months back, the gyms shutting and a fall on a mountain bike gave me the excuse to do nothing. I'm just under 6ft and just over 15 stone and follow the Keto lifestyle. I've done a little bit of Concept 2 rowing over the years in gyms, particularly when I was still playing rugby, but not a great deal. Been wanting to get into training on a Concept 2 as my knees don't like running anymore so decided to follow buy a concept 2 and do my own gym.

I read up on this forum and decided to follow BPP, Ive just done the 5000M first session, I listened to the advice and approached it at a very steady pace and tried to concentrate on the technique, from youtube videos and forum reading. I completed it in 27:57, an average stroke rate was a fairly consistent 23 s/m. My question is, I barely broke a sweat and did not really get out of breath, I enjoyed it. Should I just continue the way I am and follow the plan? should I jump ahead a few weeks? or should I push my levels of effort and speed up?
Welcome aboard.

I completed all 24 weeks of the BPP when I was starting out and an vouch for the progress that can be made. Well worth sticking with it imho.

If the 5km felt like a cakewalk then I would say increase the pace. The current pace looks fairly pedestrian for a guy of your size so maybe try and get that 5km down to 2:30/500m at least. 5k is a good distance to have achieved but as the plan progresses so does the distance so grow into it.

The interval sessions that follow will get the HR up so don't think the BPP is all going to be as easy as your first 5km. If you know your 2k PB time you can pace the sessions off that. The next sessions is 6x500m/2'R......if you've not done them before you may go full banzai on the first and find you're dying on the last.....so start at a reasonably hard pace but with enough left to complete all 6.

Happy to answer questions if you have any. The BPP took me from 7:23 to 6:58 for my 2k and with many other PB's at other distances. Good luck!
Alex, LWTM, 6'2" 49yo, 100m 17.3 1' 340m, 500m 1:30.0, 1km 3:14.3, 4min 1220m, 2km 6:50.2, 5km 17:59.8, 6km 21:46.7, 30' 8082m, 10km 37:31.3, 60' 15,669m, HM 1:22:14.7, FM 3:08:12.8

Skierg 1' 281m, 2km 8:15.1, 5km 21:41.6

Blindside
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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by Blindside » May 5th, 2021, 4:06 am

Thanks all for your replies, ill stick to the plan :D It is great that this resource exists or would have just slammed into it due to ignorance.

Wasn't trying to paint myself out as Steve Redgrave I realize I'm a total beginner, it was just that the concept of training without discomfort kind of threw me a bit.

My SR was 23 in most of the splits and 24 for the last 1000M, my Watts varied which I assume showed inconsistency in technique (possibly leg drive ?)
My Watts were 77, 67, 60, 79, 93 is it better to have a higher ratio between stroke rate and Watts?

Sorry for all the questions, particularly if they are daft. I've spent more time typing than rowing :roll:

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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by Tony Cook » May 5th, 2021, 4:20 am

Blindside wrote:
May 4th, 2021, 6:04 pm
I'm 57 a bit of a yoyo trainer over the years, when I train I train hard but I also have periods of inactivity that may last months. I was doing a fair bit of training until about 5 months back, the gyms shutting and a fall on a mountain bike gave me the excuse to do nothing. I'm just under 6ft and just over 15 stone and follow the Keto lifestyle. I've done a little bit of Concept 2 rowing over the years in gyms, particularly when I was still playing rugby, but not a great deal. Been wanting to get into training on a Concept 2 as my knees don't like running anymore so decided to follow buy a concept 2 and do my own gym.

I read up on this forum and decided to follow BPP, Ive just done the 5000M first session, I listened to the advice and approached it at a very steady pace and tried to concentrate on the technique, from youtube videos and forum reading. I completed it in 27:57, an average stroke rate was a fairly consistent 23 s/m. My question is, I barely broke a sweat and did not really get out of breath, I enjoyed it. Should I just continue the way I am and follow the plan? should I jump ahead a few weeks? or should I push my levels of effort and speed up?
Welcome Blindside,
I, too, am an ex rugby player who came to proper erging at 57. Thrashed around on one in various gyms, as most rugby players do.
As I was recovering from a knee up my main focus initially was to build some muscle back in the bad leg and get a full range of movement. That forced me not to be too ambitious and push too hard to early. That was excellent for me as I had to concentrate on technique and build slowly.
Had I not been in that position I would have been like you and in typical rugby training style - if you’re lungs aren’t burning and you haven’t collapsed on the floor then it wasn’t a good session.
That said, I did go from BPP to PP in a couple of weeks as I was able to train 6 days a week. I was doing Dark Horse technique sessions from YouTube on the days between BPP sessions.
As everyone has said, build slowly. You will see constant improvements and that is encouraging. Then in 6 months time it will take a huge effort to knock one second off a time, and you will have found your level - then the hard work begins, if you want it.
Born 1963 6' 5" 100Kg
PBs only from 2020 - 100m 15.7s - 1min 355m - 500m 1:28.4 - 1k 3:10.6 - 2k 6:31.6 - 5k 17:34.9 - 6k 20:57.5 - 30min @ 20SPM 8,336m - 10k 36:28.0 - 1 hour 16,094m - HM 1:18:51.7

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hjs
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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by hjs » May 5th, 2021, 4:22 am

Blindside wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 4:06 am
Thanks all for your replies, ill stick to the plan :D It is great that this resource exists or would have just slammed into it due to ignorance.

Wasn't trying to paint myself out as Steve Redgrave I realize I'm a total beginner, it was just that the concept of training without discomfort kind of threw me a bit.

My SR was 23 in most of the splits and 24 for the last 1000M, my Watts varied which I assume showed inconsistency in technique (possibly leg drive ?)
My Watts were 77, 67, 60, 79, 93 is it better to have a higher ratio between stroke rate and Watts?

Sorry for all the questions, particularly if they are daft. I've spent more time typing than rowing :roll:
To row a 20 min 5k you need 200 watt to give you an idea. 2.00 pace/500
To row a 7 min 2k you need 300 watt. 1.45/500
To go faster you need indeed more watts per stroke. You now pull 3/4 watts per stroke. A good certainly not elite rower will pull 10 watts per stroke.

Rowers mostly use pace per 500 not watts. Although its the same just another name.

Did you track you hf numbers? That will easily tell you if you did put in enough effort. Think you number one goal should be building a good technique, and being a full beginner is the best time to do so, there are no faults yet ingrained.

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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by Blindside » May 5th, 2021, 7:35 am

hjs wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 4:22 am
Blindside wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 4:06 am
Thanks all for your replies, ill stick to the plan :D It is great that this resource exists or would have just slammed into it due to ignorance.

Wasn't trying to paint myself out as Steve Redgrave I realize I'm a total beginner, it was just that the concept of training without discomfort kind of threw me a bit.

My SR was 23 in most of the splits and 24 for the last 1000M, my Watts varied which I assume showed inconsistency in technique (possibly leg drive ?)
My Watts were 77, 67, 60, 79, 93 is it better to have a higher ratio between stroke rate and Watts?

Sorry for all the questions, particularly if they are daft. I've spent more time typing than rowing :roll:
To row a 20 min 5k you need 200 watt to give you an idea. 2.00 pace/500
To row a 7 min 2k you need 300 watt. 1.45/500
To go faster you need indeed more watts per stroke. You now pull 3/4 watts per stroke. A good certainly not elite rower will pull 10 watts per stroke.

Rowers mostly use pace per 500 not watts. Although its the same just another name.

Did you track you hf numbers? That will easily tell you if you did put in enough effort. Think you number one goal should be building a good technique, and being a full beginner is the best time to do so, there are no faults yet ingrained.

No did not track my heart rate, my effort was low, hence the post. Doing intervals today I will continue to concentrate on form but power up a bit without going mad and increase stroke rate to around 26-28 perhaps. Thanks for advice, picture is beginning to form more of what its about.

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hjs
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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by hjs » May 5th, 2021, 8:53 am

Blindside wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 7:35 am


No did not track my heart rate, my effort was low, hence the post. Doing intervals today I will continue to concentrate on form but power up a bit without going mad and increase stroke rate to around 26-28 perhaps. Thanks for advice, picture is beginning to form more of what its about.
Cheers, if you just use common sence you can’t go wrong much. After a first 6 weeks orso you will know more.

Re strokerate. Very general talking, for longer aerobic work strokerates will be lower, think 22 or even less. This will build a strong solid stroke. For shorter faster rates go to 30 and even above.
For very fast, 100% sprinting even to 60, but most rowers never even think about doing that. Only saying it is possible.

If you look around a bit on youtube you could find examples of the above stated numbers.

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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by Rowan McSheen » May 5th, 2021, 8:56 am

Stick with it. The BPP starts out lightly enough but it ramps up ... and if you're not pacing it right currently there is advice in the notes to each week. We're all different but I would say -- do the steady state rows at moderate intensity and 22-ish spm, no higher than 24. Do the shorter 500-1,000 reps at 28-30 but not too fast at the outset, and the medium reps of 1,500-2,000 somewhere in between. It's a long plan and by the time you're done you should have a good idea of how you should be pacing each session type and distance.
Stu 5' 9" 175 lb (give or take a few) born 1960

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Re: Should I stick to BPP or jump ahead a little?

Post by Blindside » May 5th, 2021, 5:39 pm

Rowan McSheen wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 8:56 am
Stick with it. The BPP starts out lightly enough but it ramps up ... and if you're not pacing it right currently there is advice in the notes to each week. We're all different but I would say -- do the steady state rows at moderate intensity and 22-ish spm, no higher than 24. Do the shorter 500-1,000 reps at 28-30 but not too fast at the outset, and the medium reps of 1,500-2,000 somewhere in between. It's a long plan and by the time you're done you should have a good idea of how you should be pacing each session type and distance.
Great advice which I had every intention of following, but I started out too quickly and after a sedentary 4 months and being 57 was not a great idea, which I suppose shows "you can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink". I will put it down as a learning experience and leave all thoughts of speeding up the programme :roll: .

I did the first 500 in 1.54 with a SR34,
2nd 2.03 SR32
3rd 2.07, SR30
4th 2.10, SR28
5th 2.08 SR28
6th 2.06 SR27

Your advice was spot on I should have kept the initial stroke rate down to around 28 and concentrated on technique more, as I tired, I struggled. I realised towards the end of the 1st 500 what I'd done, it was too late. It gives me a realistic target though as fitness improves and common sense hopefully prevails I will be looking to consistently drop below 2 mins for an interval set, on a lower stroke rate. This session hurt me :)

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