The theory behind lightweight rowing is great: A means of creating a level playing field for athletes of slighter stature and lesser strength to compete with the same opportunities and gain the same recognition as their open class counterparts. After all, rowing is a sport that is dominated at the elite level by the tall, the strong and generally just the physically taller.
However, only those involved in lightweight rowing understand the struggles these athletes face. The weight restrictions imposed on lightweight rowing can makes competition tighter than those experienced by the open ‘heavyweight’ rowers.
We are all too familiar with stories of lightweight athletes starving themselves while pushing their bodies through sweat runs in order to shed the last few kilograms of bodyweight prior to a big race.
The unhealthy routines these athletes engage in, are a serious cause for concern and require further attention. But it doesn’t have to be like this.
So what is the alternative?
Luckily, the team at Rowperfect have pulled together their expert lightweight knowledge and advice to create an e-book, which will surely help address the issues faced by the community of lightweight rowers.
‘Tips and Tricks for Lightweight Rowers’ is available for download from our shop and covers a variety of topics, including; How to become a lightweight, dieting and nutrition advice, coaching advice and tips for weight control.
Learn what you are REALLY sacrificing as an athlete by starving yourself and exercising excessively and learn how to go about conditioning and training the RIGHT WAY with our tips and tricks!
Advice for those Coaching Lightweights
In conversation with Walter Martindale – one of the Rowperfect expert coaches, we asked him what key points a coach should know before starting training lightweight athletes
- Get a professional body composition appraisal of each athlete. Find out if it’s feasible for them to be lightweight and healthy.
- The appraisal can be done by skinfolds or hydrostatic weighing. Either way ensure the athlete (and parents if a junior) understand what’s involved.
- Line up professional dietitian advice too so anyone needing to diet does it appropriately.
- Be very nervous of coaching anyone under 21 years old who wants to be a lightweight. Full bone mineral density isn’t reached until around this age. Also beware athletes who are new to the sport. Rowing is demanding and you need to adapt to rowing and toughen up the musculature so injuries don’t occur.
- The 2004 FISA coaches conference presented research into pre-race hydration strategies and found that electrolytes were far and away the best tool to enable post-weigh-in weight regain. Research it for yourself.