Burnin’ Calories

Tuesday we’re rowing for calories instead of meters.  I found this interesting comment from Leslie Powell dated September 4, 2008 on the CrossFit Message Board comparing rowing for meters versus calories.

Rowing is weird because of the effect of drag. It’s true that you’re moving the same load the same distance no matter how quickly you row a 500M, which would imply that the work is the same.

But it’s not. The resistance of drag against the “boat” increases as you row faster, which is why power increases in a non-linear fashion.

Imagine that you do 21 Thrusters (a la Fran) in 1 minute. If you then do the same number of thrusters in 30 seconds, you double the power. But in the case of rowing, you’d have to imagine that as you speed up to 30 seconds, someone starts pushing down on the bar, i.e. the resistance increases as you speed up.

So, simply put, if you were rowing a boat through outer space w/no friction, then you’d burn the same number of calories no matter how quickly or slowly you rowed 500M. In water, though, you burn more calories as you speed up.

Hope this makes sense.

Because we’re rowing for units of energy rather than distance, increased stroke rates and damper settings make that number climb more rapidly, whereas when rowing for meters a more measured approach is generally taken.  The calorie on the C2 becomes closer to a rep of any other exercise, although 1 pull doesn’t always equal 1 calorie.  Be sure to keep technique in mind, even though we’re trying to burn calories as fast as possible, you still want to expend your energy efficiently.

June 22, 2011

Strength: Deadlift 5-5-5-5-5

WOD:
30-20-10
Thrusters, 20kg
Calorie Row

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13 thoughts on “Burnin’ Calories”

  1. DL – 72kg need to string together better. touch and go…
    WOD 11:00 at 17kg
    i still row slower than Stacey’s grandmother….

  2. DL – 100kg (working on grip/form)
    WOD – 12:48 w/ 30# DB thrusters (so technically i was moving a lot more weight than Rx – does that count as scaling up?)

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