Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Could you be the next Pinsent?
Matthew Pinsent in action on the Thames
Row your boat gently down the stream...not in Henley

Hi, I'm Matthew Pinsent, four-times Olympic rowing champion.

It takes plenty of hard work and effort to win an Olympic medal. You also need to train very, very hard.

Here is a glimpse into a typical training day in my life.


We meet at the club in Henley at about eight o'clock in the morning and start with a 10-to-15-minute warm up.

That could be spent stretching, on the rowing machine or a jog down the tow path - anything that gets the body moving.

The first training session will be on the river and we'll row between 16-20 km, which takes roughly an hour-and-a-half.

A piece of toast
A welcome break during a morning training session

There will be a certain intensity that we will train to - sometimes we have a target heart rate while other times we are trying to achieve a boat speed.

But mainly it's endurance training - and there is no short cut to building stamina.

You could say we are a bit like a marathon runners, we all just have to put the miles in!

At around 0930-1000, we'll have a break for about an hour.

At that time, we will have a drink to rehydrate ourselves and something to eat to replace our energy stores.

The kind of things we will have are cereal, toast and jam or scrambled eggs.

Porridge is a favourite in the winter!


Two or three times a week, we will spend our second session of the day in the gym.

Our gym is specifically set up for rowing, there aren't too many machines - mostly free weights.

A pair of dumbells
Free weights are used to increase rowers' power

We will lift heavy weights for five or six reps to increase our power.

Sometimes we will have a circuit session of roughly 15 stations, including press-ups and sit-ups.

We will go around the circuit three or four times.

Both strength and endurance routines take about an hour-and-a-quarter which takes us through to lunch at about 1115.

If we're hungry enough we will have three courses - maybe soup to start and a pasta main dish.

Sometimes, we will eat a dessert if we are pushing the boat out!

Three times a week we will have a third session in the day and we will either have another row on the river again, or be in the gym on the rowing machines.

We will probably do about another 45 minutes to an hour and our training day will finish at about 1400-1430.

Pasta, and lots of it
Pasta helps to provide the 4000-6000 calories a day

The afternoon and evening is spent away from rowing, so we need to organise our diet for ourselves.

I tend to eat quite a bit in the late afternoon, but not so much in the evening.

Because we row about 200km in a week - about 10,000km a year - I need to consume somewhere between 4000-6000 calories a day.

I need a lot of fuel!

That just about wraps up my training day.

I hope you are not put off by the effort that goes into being a top-class rower - the rewards are well worth it!

Links to more Rowing stories


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability Sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other Sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport