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Fight Gone Bad Row Strategy by Angela Hart - CrossFit Journal

In Rowing, Videos, Workouts

March 05, 2009

Video Article

Angela Hart is a Concept2 Master Coach and a CrossFit certified trainer. She explains her rowing strategy for Fight Gone Bad. The goal is to row as many calories as possible in one minute. She suggests mixing in half and three quarter strokes with full strokes. Not only does it help psychologically get through the minute, there’s a physical boost to power output with the partial strokes.

This footage, produced by the CrossFit Again Faster crew, is from the CrossFit C2 Rowing certification in which both indoor and on-water rowing are covered.

In the video, Angela also demonstrates her technique. She pulls 23 calories, which is a bit short of her “standard” 27 calories. Not too shabby.

4min 42sec

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24 Comments on “Fight Gone Bad Row Strategy”


wrote …

Not shabby at all. But why the pyramid approach? (10-8-6-etc) Is it personal preference, or has anyone seen an advantage to "counting down" as opposed to, for example, five sets of five?


wrote …

I love this strategy. Angela was my FGB partner when I got certified in VA beach in March 2008. She coached with this technique "on the fly" during the WOD and I pulled more than 20 calories in less than a minute each round.

Thanks Angela. I continue to use your technique and will use it with Jackie tomorrow!!!


Daniel Schmieding wrote …

Rowing during FGB has always been interesting.. I've seen quite a few firebreathers who simply dont row... 3, maybe 4 cals.

Great vid, by the way.


wrote …

Did you see how winded she was after that 60sec of rowing though? i agree with #3, the highest scores IVE seen on FGB dont come from the row, but things like the PushPress and Box Jump. Using the 'max pull' method (pull hard, rest for a 2 count, pull hard again, over and over) get me about 15 calories each time, but doesnt leave me winded at all. This allows much higher scores on the other stations. Try incorporating things like the 'jumping jack' push press, or working on your rebound on box jumps if you really want a high FGB score-still a great video, but I cant see myself getting a good score on the rest of the stations comeing off the rower breathing that heavy-or doing 50 barball thrusters (on Jackie) after rowing 1000m like that!!!


wrote …

I'm confused about the goal of this strategy. If doing those shorter strokes generates more power output, wouldn't I want to row like that all the time? Why does she only recommend this for workouts that involve more than just rowing? The only way my FGB or Jackie score gets better is if I row more cals/faster OR save enough energy to compensate for the loss in the other activities. Which is this accomplishing? They seem to say that its generating more cals, but that brings me back to question 1.


wrote …

I'm with Brandon, I literally HAVE to use the row as active rest and aim for 13 cals or so because I'd be smoked for the next round if I rowed hard. I could try this on the last round of FGB or in a different WOD altogether but if I sounded like that coming off the rower I'm going to crash and burn by the time I get to the high pulls.

That being said, I love the rower cert clips and I'd love to go to one of those certs!!


wrote …

The short stroke gets the flywheel up to speed in a short amount of time.

This allows subsequent strokes to occur without the need to overcome the initial inertia of the a slow or unmoving flywheel.

The first one to three strokes of any piece, done at full length (catch to finish), are low power regardless of the individual rowing, as the flywheel must be accelerated from a dead stop.

Think of Angela's technique this way: would you rather drag race from 0 mph, or coming off the line at 20 mph?


wrote …


I understand doing it at the beginning, but I'm failing to grasp the benefit that you receive from doing the short strokes in the middle of the piece, once you already have the flywheel moving.


Cody Limbaugh wrote …

I think sometimes we get so caught up in the score and strategy of FGB (or any WOD really) we might be missing the point of the workout all together. IT IS A WORKOUT. I would rather fight through a lower score temporarily while my rowing improves if it meant 18 months from now I could score 25cal on the rower without getting smoked and continue to get higher scores on the other stations.

Remember the end-game here is elite fitness- not bragging rights of a high FGB score. Constantly using the rower as an active rest durring any WOD will result in a diminished capacity in that domain. Don't cheat yourself!


wrote …

Wow! This video was extremely helpful for me. I usually work my ass off on the rower, get super-winded and STILL only wind up with 10 or 11 calories. This sounds like a great way to get double the bang for the buck, and I am surely going to try it on my next rowing workout and FGB.


wrote …

that was a really boring 4 minutes


wrote …

Will definitely try this for Jackie today...thanks!


wrote …


The benefit of mid-effort quarter- and half-slide strokes is primarily mental. They serve as relief as the pain mounts without allowing the flywheel to slow.


Chris Walls wrote …

I would also see those shorter strokes in the middle as a way to kick the wheel back up to speed because odds are, if you're smoked, it is slowing down gradually as you're going... after 10 hard pulls it's most likely dropped off some, a couple shorties to get it back up instead of pulling harder and harder while the wheel gets slower and slower...


wrote …

the point is measured performance by time, reps or in this case a score. The higher the score the more power out put. How about this. Hop on the treadmill for a 10k set it at your max sprint pace and see how many lifetimes it will take you to complete it mainting that pace, it's not going to happen.
The goal is not to workout it's Peak Performance that is why rest is so impirtant otherwise we would just workout everyday. So whats our measure of achieving our goal of elite fitness.....A KICK ASS FGB SCORE!


wrote …

I have to agree with #9 Cody. The idea is to go as hard as you can in 5 min ex:FGB is like an MMA fight that is all scrambles and becomes extremely fatiguing.Then all you get is one minute to rest and back to work. The end goal is increased capacity in all domains and not playing on your strengths.If numbers are all you're looking for then active rest sounds like a sound competitive strategy. I train for my sport like my opponent isn't going to give me a second to rest, and if he does than great.It's gonna hurt but it'll pay off!


wrote …

My take:

Before I start to row, I take two short (2" stroke pulls) to break the flywheel, and then I proceed to do full and very long strokes. My return is very slow. This is very good during fight gone bad and helps me not get winded at all.

Very long and fast pull, and then slow return usually gets me 20+ in a minute.


wrote …

I employed this strategy today doing Jackie and found it very useful. It really allowed me to stay focused for the entire 1000 m and allowed for great pacing. Also, watching Angela's technique was very helpful. I have my own home CrossFit gym and don't get to see others perform so I find these videos to be an excellent reference tool.


wrote …

It was great to see so many comments regarding the FGB strategy that I presented in the video. The purpose of the pyramid approach is two-fold. First, the decreasing number of strokes each round gives most people a psychological edge. After the 10 there are 8, after the 8 there are 6 and so forth. Secondly, for some people the counting of strokes gives the mind something to focus on other than how much the pain sucks. As mentioned by post #7, the fractional slide strokes (1/2 slide followed by 3/4)accelerates the fly wheel very effectively as you are battling fatigue and makes the next set of full slide strokes that much stronger. It is a strategy that my collegiate and junior national athletes (and all of our competitors) used in every 2k race with great success. I was winded at the end of my minute since this was done soon after a WOD, but I could have certainly jumped of the rowing machine and finished Jackie with a respectable score. The best advice is to experiment in order to find the strategy that brings you the most success in the WOD.


wrote …

Cody's point is spot on. Getting a higher score in FGB by not rowing is not indicative of improved fitness. Metabolically, rowing is by far the hardest part of a FGB. To illustrate this, I through some of the other exercises into the Cathletics work output calculator. 30 reps of a 75# push press (used shoulder press in the calculator, which does miss the dip-drive work) accomplishes approximately 0.14 calories of work (assuming a 6'0", 175# person); 30 reps of SDHP (used clean in the calculuator) is about 7 calories of work, and 20# DB thrusters (a fun sub for wall ball) is about 3.6 calories of work. These aren't perfect comparisons, but the point is, if you sandbag the row to increase the FGB score, you quite simply aren't increasing your work capacity over the FGB time/modal domain.


wrote …

That was eyeopening. I never realized there was a strategy to rowing. I just rowed as hard as I could. Thanks for the info Angela!


replied to comment from Daniel Schmieding

Exactly. Rowing like that on Fight Gone Bad means you get a horrible score (relatively, meaning, it may be a good score compared to others, but not compared to what you could do personally using a different strategy). Effort to rep ratio is what what matters on workouts like this. 1 Cal = 3 to 5 box jumps so putting 100% effort into row is counterproductive. In my opinion, the row should be nothing more than active recovery.


replied to comment from Cody Limbaugh

Well, it depends on what your objective is exactly. If you want to improve overall fitness, it may be worth your time to put more effort into the row. If you are competing, it is worth your time to allocate energy to the most efficient use.


replied to comment from Cody Limbaugh


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