Just started rowing for my university. 5'9 165lbs 21years old. By rules I am rowing with the novice squad, I hope to make first boat light+heavy for our next regattas. We had a surprise 5k test awhile ago and I finished in 21:29 with an avg stroke of under 2:10 with a rate of about 22-24. I can usually go about 1:50-1:55 split time for 2K or 500M relays. I guess what I am asking is if there is a cap on what I can reach by the end of the fall season. Is there a plateau period in rowing?
I have a yes for your question, but a no for you specifically.
Yes, there is a threshold every rower encounters at one point in their rowing career. The term “the wall” would make any rower on my team cringe (not cause they aren’t floyd fans either teeheee), but because the point at which you begin experiencing rowing the same 2k time for weeks and weeks at a time is a theoretical wall you hit where you just cant seem to achieve a better score! Though it sure feels like a ton of bricks hits your confidence when you hit this wall.
The first time I hit my wall was as a sophomore in high school when I would hit a 1:58 consecutively on every single 2k. Four weeks at this wall I was ready to drown myself at the end of any practice just because I feared I had maxed my potential as a rower so early in my career and I feared I would stagnate there on out.
Well it was a silly fear for me to have as a sophomore in high school and an unnecessary one for you to have as a novice. It is extremely hard for someone with no prior erging experience to master their ability on an erg machine within their first few years of meeting the torture machine.
The new forms of exercise your body will encounter in general at the sport will change your capabilities on the erg completely. The 2k is more a mind game then it is a leg game & it took me three years to learn that.
You cannot hit your max when your body hasn’t been exposed to the sport long enough to endure all the changes the sport will make to it in matters of power, strength, flexibility, ect.
And that includes in the fall. Novices on my university’s team experienced dramatic changes between their 2ks just as they learned how to properly react to the monitors on the erg.
You will not reach your physical peak novice year. Not even season to season so remove that doubt from your mind.
You will encounter a physical peak in your life time.
Worry about that in your 30s.
Good luck! Great times!