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The Pete Plan Rowing Technique

author image Maggie New
Maggie New began writing professionally in 1995. New was an editorial assistant for the music magazine “Ear” and reviewed plays for various newsletters. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hunter College and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Peru State College.
The Pete Plan Rowing Technique
Rowing works all the major muscle groups. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

If you are an avid indoor rower, chances are you want to improve your technique and scores. Two kinds of training in indoor rowing help you reach your goals; the periodic plan and the continuous plan. Use the periodic plan if your objective is to get yourself up to top form for two or three races in a season. The rest of the time, row at a non-competitive speed and seek ongoing improvement using a continuous plan.

Principle of Continuity

The continuous Pete Plan, developed by the British indoor rower Pete Marston follows a three-week cycle, with each training session building on the results of the previous session. In this way, you focus on being faster each day than the previous day, but not in a continuously escalating fashion since nobody races all year round. Every three weeks, the cycle starts over again, using the previous cycle as a base.

Evolution of the Pete Plan

As Marston explains, he originally conceived of this technique after following the Wolverine Plan by Mike Gaviston, the conditioning coach for the University of Michigan Rowing team. Marston was dissatisfied with some aspects of this plan, in particular the many sessions it required during the week, and the slow stroke sessions designed to build strength. Instead, Marston invented a training technique that suited him better.

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Three Phases

Each session in the Pete Plan has three parts to it: speed intervals, anaerobic threshold intervals and endurance training. All training techniques feature one of these parts or a combination of them, as well as tests where the athlete rows at full capacity. Where the Pete Plan differs is in the endurance part, which is never slower than 22 strokes per minute.

Main Points of the Pete Plan

The Pete Plan requires one speed interval session and one endurance interval session each week, and as many sessions as you can stand, with the stroke rate at a minimum 22 strokes per minute. The steady distance sessions are anywhere from 8 to 15 kilometers, and the hard distance session vary according to ability. But where the plan differs from other training plans is in the interval sessions, which always build on former performance and let you increase your endurance at a pace that seems completely natural.

The 24 -Week Plan

This plan is designed with the beginner and intermediate rower in mind, featuring three core sessions each week, with two optional sessions. The main focus is on technique, relaxation and efficiency. The training volume is increased each week, and each day builds on the results of the previous day, starting with 5000 m the first week, building up to 12000 m in the 24th week.

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