Graham Benton answers your indoor rowing questions

Indoor rowing pro Graham Benton took over the British Rowing Instagram account to answer your questions


Graham Benton competing at BRIC 2016 (Naomi Baker)

Indoor rowing pro Graham Benton answered all your indoor rowing questions from race day tips to over-training. Here are some highlights:


Is steady state the best way to get faster?

“I believe so. Obviously not just steady state but I reckon 80% of my training is rate 18-20. I do less these days as I do less training overall so I need to work a bit harder but building an aerobic capacity is key.”

What heart rate do you do steady state rowing at?

“It drifts up gradually but most of my training is sub-160. I don’t really do UT2 anymore.”

What’s your go to steady state session?

“12k -16k at stroke rate 18.”

Best strength movements for indoor rowing?

“Squat, deadlift, power clean, bent-over row, SLDL, compound work.”

Favourite interval workout?

“Four by 750m with three minutes rest.”

How do you know when you’re over-training?

“My sleep becomes really broken. Definitely as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised how important it is.”

Favourite 2,000m song?

“Voodoo people (Pendulum mix) by The Prodigy.”

Average stroke rate for a 5,000m?

“28-30 now but it used to be 24-26.”

What’s a good race plan for 6,000m?

“5,000m and 6,000m are all about rhythm and rate. Try and settle into pace quickly and keep the rate lively to make it feel light. You can bring the split down a good chunk in the last 500m if you have something left. Know your target split and stick to it but rate a couple higher than you would naturally for that split.”

How many calories do you eat a day?

“4,000 approximately.”

What drag factor do you use?

“132 for everything.”


Best race plan for 500m?

“Absolutely flat out followed by going almost flat out and trying not to fade too much in the last 100m. But Phil Clapp is the man to ask.” Check out Phil’s sprint rowing tips here.

Best session for gauging where to sit for a 2,000m?

“Four by 750m with three minutes rest. Will be about 2,000m pace but try and row them consistently. Quality and pace not fly and die.”

How do you deal with pre-2,000m nerves?

“Pretty badly actually. The fear starts days before and only goes away when I see ‘row’ on the monitor. I try to distract myself and focus on quality sessions to build confidence.”

What does your typical 2,000m warm up look like?

“Ten minutes in total, including three short sprints that get faster each time.”

Best racing start for a 2,000m?

“I go absolutely flat out for seven strokes then try to settle into my target split. Strokes two to five will be shorter slide.”

What’s the best pacing for a 2,000m?

“Fairly flat. Hard start, then your target split until 750m to go. Then bring it down.”

Is it silly to enter both the 2,000m and 500m at BRIC? Should I focus on one distance?

“If the 500m is your focus then yes but if the 2,000m is your main focus then why not?”

Graham will be competing at the British Rowing Indoor Championships on 8 December at Lee Valley Velopark. Entries are still open so it’s not too late to take on one last challenge before Christmas, enter now >>>.