Showing posts with label Me Xeno. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Me Xeno. Show all posts

Sep 4, 2012

Being a rowing tutor.

In the last few days I have received training programs from University rowers in the US. My task is threefold. 1. Check the technique on the rowing machine. 2. Check the type of lifting that is done and whether it is conductive to greater boat moving ability. 3. Make notes on the training program and make sure that the candle is not burned at both ends. I do discuss different training issues as they come.

So a light bulb went on in my head. Am I their rowing coach, of course not. Am I an technical adviser, yes, but it is difficult for other to wrap their head around it. In layman's terms, I am a rowing tutor. This is by far the simplest concept. Students have tutors for all sorts of subjects, now they have one in rowing.
[caption id="attachment_1145" align="aligncenter" width="3600"] I love this boat!
A beautiful all water double scull for rowers young and old. [/caption]

Jul 16, 2012

Holland Beker Rowing Regatta


Hello Dutch Rowers!

I would like to say hello and share with you some of my great experiences I had racing the Holland Beker. I was fortunate to win it twice and it was a lot of fun for me and my young family. In 1998, I set the course record, 6:38...
One day, after a workout, I was met at the dock by Henri Jan Wienese, Olympic gold medalist himself in 1968, it was great to exchange a few rowing stories.

Michiel Bartman, Olympic gold medalist, once said to me that while I was training on the Holland Beker race course, he and his crew mates were left perplexed. As they came to the race course, I had already started my workout. When they were finished, I was still rowing. A couple years later, Michiel asked me how long my workouts were. I would routinely row 24KM on a 2KM course and that took roughly 2 hours.

The Holland Beker is also the only regatta that offers some prize money for the winner. This is a very welcome financial boost to single scullers. Unfortunately second place winners get nothing, that is tough.

I also love the spectator truck that follows the races, that is so cool. I don't understand why the International Rowing Federation doesn't make such a truck mandatory on race courses with a road running parallel to it.

Finally, I must compliment the rowers and coaches of the Netherlands who always generate very respectable crews at the World Championship and Olympic Games. The Dutch are smart.

Cheers from California.
Xeno

Jul 14, 2012

Who is your "row model"? Frans Göbel was one of mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRHKbFgJX9M&feature=my_liked_videos&list=LLwE9lwZSwC_pjuhjavRXlUQ
Frans Göbel won the world championship in the lightweight single scull twice and he did it with an incredible display of technical superiority. I was very fortunate that my coaches understood Frans' superiority. At the time, my national team coach, Harry Mahon, was known for coaching crews that effortlessly glided over the water. Martin Cross, author of Olympic Obsession, used described Harry's crews as "ghosting along". When I read those words it gave me chills. Few are the crews that display such superiority. Frans' and Harry's technique is the reason why I won Olympic medals and am one of the very few men to have rowed in the six thirties for 2000 meters.
Enjoy this clip of Frans and the others that you will discover about him.

Jul 5, 2012

Great Rowing with Olympic gold and silver medalist Xeno Müller

The best coaching in rowing is available at a click of a button.
Xeno Müller will analyze your rowing technique and author your best training program tailored to your needs and ability.
Join him now.

Jun 6, 2012

Xeno Müller Olympic gold and silver medalist as your coach



Xeno Muller
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

Apr 30, 2012

Why did I win the Olympic gold medal in the single scull.



Why did I win?

I weighed more than Lange and Porter and certainly the rest of the field.
I was the shortest of the medalists.
I was not the strongest on the erg.

It happened because:

Enormous amount of training, without overtraining.
Simple and effective use of the body coupled with a timely catch and a clean square exit of the blade.
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

Apr 26, 2012

Turning 40!

Happy birthday to all of you born in 1972, the year of the rat.

I am turning 40 in August. Wow, I can't believe it.  How is it possible, when I can still remember turning 28 and how fit I felt when I competed at the Sydney Olympics?  These last 12 years went by in a flash.  Before, I could remember all the different years, because of the venues I traveled to as an athlete. It all ended in 2001, noooooo! 








Mar 28, 2012

Why I do what I do.

My name is Xeno.  I rowed competitively for 20 years.  My greatest achievements are winning gold and silver at the Olympics and setting the Olympic record.  As a single sculler, I am one of six who has raced faster than six minutes forty seconds for 2000 meters.

I made a life changing decision a year before the Olympics by moving to Southern California.  In Orange County I met my wife.  We have four children.  Family means everything to me.  For business I travel very little, because family is such a huge part of me.

I started my first rowing website in 1998.  Because my family's extensive schedule, my goal as a private rowing coach is to be geographically as independent as possible.  That is why I love working with my computer and a blazing fast internet connection.  Thanks to SKYPE, SCREEN-FLOW, and DROPBOX, I can deliver first class coaching to rowers half a world away.  I can coach in five different languages.

One of my strengths as a coach is to identify the smallest yet very important technical deficiencies.  What sets me even further apart from 99% of other coaches, is that I know which exercises to pick to correct the tiniest technical issues.  I know from personal experience how the muscles feel when the stroke is delivered properly.

Rowers, whom I help, improve their ability drastically.  I feel passionate about helping people enjoy the sport of rowing further.

Good night.
Xeno.

www.xenorowingcoach.com for performance rowing
www.row2go.com for rowing machine users who need motivation
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

Mar 5, 2012

Who am I looking for? Not the top 1%

Hello Rowers and Coaches.

I am coming back to my 1% theme of an earlier post.  Some peeps at the top of the rowing food chain, may not feel the urge to think outside of the box to find more speed.  This is great, because it gives the rest of the rowers the opportunity to improve training and increase boat speed. 


Feb 29, 2012

When rage drives you to Olympic Gold

En route to 6:44.85 current Olympic record and Atlanta Gold.
It is a few years back, the year after my father's untimely passing.  I did not win the national selection regatta in the single scull, I came in second behind Ueli Bodenman.  For the first time in my international rowing career, I had to compromise on how I was going to compete at the world championship

The year was 1993.  As a collegiate rower we had an amazing season racing our Brown varsity 8.  We completed a two year undefeated run, including winning the Ladies Plate at the Henley Royal Regatta.  But unlike the Olympic year before, I was not able to bring sculling and rowing the eight under one roof.

After 6 weeks of intensive training in the double scull, soul searching, and questioning my existence as a rower, we finished the world championships in 8th place.  I was not happy.  A few hours after our final, I stood at the base of the grandstand, approximately 150 meters from the finish line, and waiting for the final of the men's single scull to come through.  There I stood, with a storm of mixed emotions ripping through my chest.  My throat started knotting up.  I thought of my father.  I thought of my great Olympic run the year before.  I remember doing a 1000 knee bends in the forest as a junior.  I was meant to be racing my single scull, right there on the race course which I was observing as a SPECTATOR.  How could I have let this happen?  From a state of mixed emotions, one emotion started rising like a tidal wave... RAGE.

Suddenly, my rage changed into a weird sense of helpless observer, who had a hard time believing that his idol, the German Terminator, was being beaten.  Porter, Lange, and Chalupa entered their final 750 meters and were in a dogfight for gold.  Chalupa had the lead and lost it to Porter.  To my complete astonishment, my childhood hero, Thomas Lange, did not win.  Victory went to Derek Porter a tall lean Canadian.  He was the one capable of beating Thomas Lange.
Here is the link to the 1993 final.
Left to right, Vaclav Chalupa, Derek Porter, Thomas Lange, the next day I met Derek.

The next day, I watched the rest of the finals.  As I made my way to the shuttle, I felt a huge relief. Finally, I was taken away from a place that brought so much grief and anger to me.  Little did I know that a new personal chapter in Olympic determination was about to begin.

Steps before boarding the bus, I spotted Derek Porter, who still wore his gold medal around his neck.  I was excited to congratulate him, because he helped solve the problem of how to beat an idol, even if it was my idol.  I stretched out my hand and said: "Derek, congratulations for winning, and you beat Thomas Lange.  Finally, someone could beat him, and you are the one who did it, it was incredible."  When I said those words, I wore my heart on my sleeve.  "Yeah, thanks," was his response and kept on walking.   I felt rejected.  By instinct, I turned into a first impression character judge, which is truly unfair to Derek.  The vibe I picked up from how he responded, fueled my passion for competition and my view of Derek immediately became subjective and thus I felt that he had an air of superiority that to me spelled out: I am superior to you and anyone else for that matter.

My view of his passive response to my "groupie-ish" behavior hurt me deep down.  Without knowing it, Porter, arguably, committed the greatest mistake in his single sculling career.  As the saying goes, "don't look down to people who look up to you." That day, I was the one looking up to him.  It was that moment in my life, as a single sculler, that the final gold medal ingredient found its way into my racer-brain which galvanized my Olympic determination.  I took a deep breath, balled my fists as hard as I could.  I felt my entire body tightening up as if I was going to be shot at with a canon ball.  Aggressive energy started to flow through my veins and just like that the rage of the day before became RAGE of victory.

As soon as I returned to Brown, I started training on my own.  I did thousands of bench rows, squats, lat pull downs, horizontal rows, miles on the erg and water.  Not one day would go by without me thinking at least twice about that fateful encounter.  Not one day would go by without me thinking of my father who did not live to see the day I would win gold.  My Olympic goal was set straight in front of me, like a sight on a target.  I was on board of an unstoppable freight train, bound to smash a record on Lake Lanier.

At the world championship in 1994 and 1995, I denied Porter entry to the final. At the 1996 Olympics I overtook him in the last 250 meters to win gold and set the current Olympic record.  In 1998, I won silver and I don't remember where he ended up.  In 1999, I won another silver, he got bronze.  In 2000, I was dying in the last 500 meters, but it was over my dead body that  Porter was going to beat me.  I won silver and he came in fourth.

Since, I have mellowed out a lot, and for the sake of my wife and four children, I am very happy about it.

From left to right, Derek Porter, Xeno Müller, Thomas Lange 1996 Olympics
(Derek, if you read this, in no way do I want to portray you as someone you are not.  At the time, I had a lot of personal challenges I had to meet, and the circumstance of our encounter was so unplanned.  I am certain that you are a great person.)

 Join one of the fastest growing communities of indoor rowers at www.row2go.com and become the fastest rower at www.xenorowingcoach.com
Xeno Muller won an Olympic Gold in Atlanta and an Olympic Silver in Sydney, and is the current Olympic Record holder in the 2000m Single Scull. 


Link to the Olympic final of 1996 
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

Feb 15, 2012

How I met the bench row, a key component to Olympic gold


First day of rowing January 198
I was 13 and a half when I started rowing in Fontainebleau, France.  As a "cadet" rower, we were asked to join the Friday evening strength training session.  The weight room was part of an athletic complex across the street of a famous business school called, Insead.  This school attracted well accomplished US rowers such as, Alyson Townley, Chris Carlson, C.B. Sands-Bohrer, Anne Marden, and John Marden.  This early US rowing interaction presented me with the opportunity to hold Anne Marden's freshly won Olympic silver medal from the Seoul Olympics in my young hand.  It was amazing how big and heavy the medal was.  As I held it,  I remember looking at it long and hard which gave me the impression that the medal grew larger in my hand.  Then a voice inside of me said: "Xeno, you can achieve this, but it is going to cost you, you will suffer."  I tightened my jaw and knew that I was in it for the long haul.

My dad and I the year before Brown
As a young teenager I was a fan of movies such as Rambo, Rocky, Commando, the Running Man and a few others staring these actors...  I wanted to be as buff as Stallone and Schwarzenegger.  Even my father and grandfather enjoyed telling me that a strong body is important in a young man's life and beyond.  So it was no wonder that I was given a piston rowing machine and a punching bag for Christmas the year before I started rowing on the water at the Club D'Aviron Fontainebleau Avon.  When I first set foot in the gym that Friday evening, all I saw were free weights, a couple Smith cages, and monkey bars...  The elder rowers told us to grab four benches that were stacked along the concrete wall.  I had no clue what we were going to do with them.  Maybe we were going to sit down and talk about what we were going to do.  We were told to place three benches parallel to each other and the fourth bench was set on top.  Then an Olympic bar was placed underneath the top bench and I was told to lay belly down and grab the bar and start pulling.  The date was February 15th, 1985.

Shortly before driving to Sydney from Murwillumbah
The company of the bench row lasted 19 years from that evening on.  I did bench rows in Fontainebleau, Zurich, Sarnen, Providence, Boston, and Newport Beach.  There is no doubt in my mind that this specific exercise brought a huge amount of torque to my sculling and sweep rowing stroke.  I excelled at the French national bench row test, which consisted on how many bench pulls with 40kgs one could do in 6 minutes.  Years later, I laid there in the gym of the Newport Aquatic Center, my stopwatch already running and placed on the ground right below me, my finger tips hooked around the bar. As the stop watch reached one minute, I began pulling at a deafening pace, literally, because at the end of every pull the Olympic bar hit the metal frame creating a loud bang.  I thrived on that ear piercing sound.  I felt rage, I was in my element, my mind was screaming to go faster, harder, I wanted to tear everything apart so that my my opponents would get destroyed, they shall regret having chosen to race the single scull.  The metallic banging reminded me of a sledgehammer.  As I progressed through the six minutes, I increasingly felt my lat muscles pulsate with every draw.  My arms became twice as big.  Sweat dripped off my forehead onto the floor.  I kept counting, I wanted to go farther than 240, which meant an above 40 strokes a minute pace. I kept ramming the bar against the bench.  At one minute to go, I demanded that my body released every ounce of energy for the final sprint to complete the six minutes of hell, or was it heaven...  That day I pulled my absolute best, 248 draws at age 28, a month and a half before the Sydney Olympics.

Join one of the fastest growing communities of indoor rowers at www.row2go.com and become the fastest rower at www.xenorowingcoach.com
Xeno Muller won an Olympic Gold in Atlanta and an Olympic Silver in Sydney, and is the current Olympic Record holder in the 2000m Single Scull. 



Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

Jan 1, 2012

Being coached by Harry Mahon leading to Olympic Gold and Olympic record

I met Harry in April 1988 on a lake in Switzerland. I was 16 participating at a 3 day rowing camp. Harry at the time was the Swiss national team coach. That morning I had heard that “He” was coming to watch some of our club row. I had no idea what he looked like, sounded like, all I knew is that he had a beard and was from New Zealand.

As I sculled my single on a amazingly glassy lake, a morning so crisp that sound traveled for miles, and clock towers from different villages along the lake created a symphony celebrating the holy weekend. I spotted at one kilometer across the lake Harry and a couple other club coaches following a men’s straight four. Then the launch veered of and started approaching. I later heard from one of my future junior coaches that Harry suddenly spotted me at a distance and asked who that was and the answer given: “A new kid, he comes from France, has a Swiss passport, speaks English, a big kid, needs some work.” At that moment my quest for Olympic gold in the single scull took a serious turn to reality.

My work with Harry spanned from 1988 to 1992. I had the pleasure to work with Harry in Sarnen, Switzerlandduring summer vacations in preparation of the junior and senior world championships and my first Olympic participation in 1992. He came to coach me a couple of times in Fontaine bleau,Francewhere I lived as a kid. Scott Roop and Steve Gladstone our Brown University coaches inProvidenceRhode Islandhad the pleasure to have him visit me and get his opinion on our Freshmen eight, as I was also training the single scull to prepare for the Olympic qualification.

I have several memorable experiences with Harry regarding sculling technique. He reminded me constantly that him pulling 1:47 at stroke rate 20, with his body size is only the result of hanging from the leg drive and connecting with the upper body without pulling. He would watch like a hawk for any contraction in the upper body that came prematurely during the leg drive. While he coached us on the rowing machine, he would stand next to me and mimic relaxed shoulders with hands drawn to the side of the ribcage, with a totally relaxed face, and say, that the stroke is executed in a powerful relaxed way. Harry loved the Rowperfect and knew how difficult it was to teach pushing and hanging on a static rowing machine. Harry’s ability to understand, push and hang, without ever having been a record smashing rower himself is really remarkable. He simply had a great understanding of body mechanics and the Eye.

He made me row circles on different lakes, explaining me how the blade needed to be extracted at the finish and how I had to catch on the way up so that I would not miss water and cancel out any chance of rowing it in. I would scull along his coaching launch and he would mention squaring the blade earlier and quietly tell me that I started to move away from the constant speed the launch was traveling at. One of Harry’s trademark coaching technique was to observe the stern of my sculling boat and help me understand what an efficient pick up was. He would pull the launch right behind my stern so that I had the ability to gage my boat movement with the constant speed of the coaching launch. On good catches my single scull would stay at a constant speed away from the bow of Harry’s launch, when I missed, his launch would surge towards me, scarring me at the beginning, when in reality it was me checking the boat, because of a poor catch… rowing it in. At times he would comment every single catch for minutes at a time to let me know whether the way I was doing it was correct or not here is a sample: “No, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, NOOO! Zeino, you have to hang from the shoulders, you go like this, I would look at him and he would shrug his shoulders, blow air in his cheeks, and bend the arms and I would curse inside of myself and want to break boat and oars once I came on the shore with my fits, I never did. Then one day in Providence, suddenly started hearing: “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes…” tears started flowing over my cheeks and I stopped the boat, and began cry. I finally felt it, at the time I could not describe in words, how I did it, but I felt it and I could recreate it. Today, I can describe everything that Harry taught me and convey it to scullers and rowers whom I have the pleasure to coach. Harry pulled his launch up to me and asked what was wrong. I gathered my strength and controlled my mixture of emotional happiness and urge to go to rowing war. I said: “Harry, I get it, I GET IT, holy s..t, I G-E-T it!!!” I then saw his smiling face, his blue eyes, his friendly smile come through his beard. He was happy, he LOVED giving this type of “AHA” moments to rowers of all ages, nationalities, and caliber.

Thank you Harry, you enabled me to become an Olympic gold and silver medalist, and Olympic record holder. You gave me athletic freedom that lead me to California where I met my wife and now have four wonderful children. Thanks to you and the people who supported me over the years I can say that I have no regrets and that you were a huge part of it by sharing your passion on the water and believing in your talent as a coach and the ability of the people you worked with.
Xeno
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

The weather is the primary reason I moved to SoCal.

In January of 1995, Joerg Weitnauer, owner of WM rowing boats, advised me to move and train in Newport Beach. 16 years later I am still here.
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

A tip from personal experience about getting back your fitness and hurting yourself...

I am 39.  I am the proud father of four kids and life goes at one hundred miles per second.  There is little time for personal fitness, partly because my kids are not quite of age yet where I can share the same exercise type and duration that I would need to maintain an acceptable fitness level and body weight.  I am not the type of person who easily chooses to spend time alone to exercise.  I enjoy sharing such quality time with my family and very quickly adjust such time to what works best for the group and this ranges from walking, playground, some tennis. When the kids are in the backyard playing I grab the kettlebell and go at it and this is why I am writing this blog entry, how to overdo it :-)

One attribute I don't lack is personal motivation to exercise.  When time is of essence and I feel horribly guilty for not having done any cardio exercise, I have made a couple painful mistakes by choosing shorter and harder workouts.  From rowing I have a strong back with solid lats which make horizontal kettlebell rows no problem and I don't feel winded quickly when I attack them.  So what do I have to worry about...  my elbows, it must be the lack of use but did I mess them up by pulling back the 60 pound bell like a mad former Olympian.  Now I am seeking some sort of muscle cream to help whatever I messed up.  My lesson learned from this pain, and I hope I won't forget it ever in my lifetime, is that any type of physical exercise that you start up doing after a longer break needs to be brought back to life slowly.  The little joints and muscles will give you major flak if you don't.

So why don't I row more consistently... good point, it is because our house is too small to handle a permanent spot for the rower, and there are other logistical issues that are inexcusable reasons for not putting in the miles.  Writing this makes me wonder about my ability to self-inflict "AHA" moments.  I NEED TO ROW MORE.  Rowing is gentle on the joints, I yell it at the top of my lungs on rooftops all the time.  Rowing gives you range of motion without being hard on your joints.  Rowing allows your entire body to find a rhythm that is dictated by your breathing pattern (and not the other way around!)  Stay low with your stroke rate and increase the resistance by raising the drag factor on the concept2 rower, or add more water to your waterrower.  One of the "special" ways to increase drag on the C2 is dangerous when you have little kids: removing the silver mesh.  You will find double the drag :-) however you will also hear TRIPLE the noise!

Ok now for the business part of it all.   I have a workout library that is available online at www.row2go.com.  You can access over 70 workouts and use my instruction and rowing rhythm to get a great row out of your machine.  In case you are a possessed on the water rower or a psychotic 2K chaser on the Concept2 machine you will enjoy www.xenorowingcoach.com.  In case you want direct downloads have a look at www.facebook.com/row2go :-)
That is it for now!!!


Xeno Muller
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.
Showing posts with label Me Xeno. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Me Xeno. Show all posts

Sep 4, 2012

Being a rowing tutor.

In the last few days I have received training programs from University rowers in the US. My task is threefold. 1. Check the technique on the rowing machine. 2. Check the type of lifting that is done and whether it is conductive to greater boat moving ability. 3. Make notes on the training program and make sure that the candle is not burned at both ends. I do discuss different training issues as they come.

So a light bulb went on in my head. Am I their rowing coach, of course not. Am I an technical adviser, yes, but it is difficult for other to wrap their head around it. In layman's terms, I am a rowing tutor. This is by far the simplest concept. Students have tutors for all sorts of subjects, now they have one in rowing.
[caption id="attachment_1145" align="aligncenter" width="3600"] I love this boat!
A beautiful all water double scull for rowers young and old. [/caption]

Jul 16, 2012

Holland Beker Rowing Regatta


Hello Dutch Rowers!

I would like to say hello and share with you some of my great experiences I had racing the Holland Beker. I was fortunate to win it twice and it was a lot of fun for me and my young family. In 1998, I set the course record, 6:38...
One day, after a workout, I was met at the dock by Henri Jan Wienese, Olympic gold medalist himself in 1968, it was great to exchange a few rowing stories.

Michiel Bartman, Olympic gold medalist, once said to me that while I was training on the Holland Beker race course, he and his crew mates were left perplexed. As they came to the race course, I had already started my workout. When they were finished, I was still rowing. A couple years later, Michiel asked me how long my workouts were. I would routinely row 24KM on a 2KM course and that took roughly 2 hours.

The Holland Beker is also the only regatta that offers some prize money for the winner. This is a very welcome financial boost to single scullers. Unfortunately second place winners get nothing, that is tough.

I also love the spectator truck that follows the races, that is so cool. I don't understand why the International Rowing Federation doesn't make such a truck mandatory on race courses with a road running parallel to it.

Finally, I must compliment the rowers and coaches of the Netherlands who always generate very respectable crews at the World Championship and Olympic Games. The Dutch are smart.

Cheers from California.
Xeno

Jul 14, 2012

Who is your "row model"? Frans Göbel was one of mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRHKbFgJX9M&feature=my_liked_videos&list=LLwE9lwZSwC_pjuhjavRXlUQ
Frans Göbel won the world championship in the lightweight single scull twice and he did it with an incredible display of technical superiority. I was very fortunate that my coaches understood Frans' superiority. At the time, my national team coach, Harry Mahon, was known for coaching crews that effortlessly glided over the water. Martin Cross, author of Olympic Obsession, used described Harry's crews as "ghosting along". When I read those words it gave me chills. Few are the crews that display such superiority. Frans' and Harry's technique is the reason why I won Olympic medals and am one of the very few men to have rowed in the six thirties for 2000 meters.
Enjoy this clip of Frans and the others that you will discover about him.

Jul 5, 2012

Great Rowing with Olympic gold and silver medalist Xeno Müller

The best coaching in rowing is available at a click of a button.
Xeno Müller will analyze your rowing technique and author your best training program tailored to your needs and ability.
Join him now.

Apr 30, 2012

Why did I win the Olympic gold medal in the single scull.



Why did I win?

I weighed more than Lange and Porter and certainly the rest of the field.
I was the shortest of the medalists.
I was not the strongest on the erg.

It happened because:

Enormous amount of training, without overtraining.
Simple and effective use of the body coupled with a timely catch and a clean square exit of the blade.
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

Apr 26, 2012

Turning 40!

Happy birthday to all of you born in 1972, the year of the rat.

I am turning 40 in August. Wow, I can't believe it.  How is it possible, when I can still remember turning 28 and how fit I felt when I competed at the Sydney Olympics?  These last 12 years went by in a flash.  Before, I could remember all the different years, because of the venues I traveled to as an athlete. It all ended in 2001, noooooo! 








Mar 28, 2012

Why I do what I do.

My name is Xeno.  I rowed competitively for 20 years.  My greatest achievements are winning gold and silver at the Olympics and setting the Olympic record.  As a single sculler, I am one of six who has raced faster than six minutes forty seconds for 2000 meters.

I made a life changing decision a year before the Olympics by moving to Southern California.  In Orange County I met my wife.  We have four children.  Family means everything to me.  For business I travel very little, because family is such a huge part of me.

I started my first rowing website in 1998.  Because my family's extensive schedule, my goal as a private rowing coach is to be geographically as independent as possible.  That is why I love working with my computer and a blazing fast internet connection.  Thanks to SKYPE, SCREEN-FLOW, and DROPBOX, I can deliver first class coaching to rowers half a world away.  I can coach in five different languages.

One of my strengths as a coach is to identify the smallest yet very important technical deficiencies.  What sets me even further apart from 99% of other coaches, is that I know which exercises to pick to correct the tiniest technical issues.  I know from personal experience how the muscles feel when the stroke is delivered properly.

Rowers, whom I help, improve their ability drastically.  I feel passionate about helping people enjoy the sport of rowing further.

Good night.
Xeno.

www.xenorowingcoach.com for performance rowing
www.row2go.com for rowing machine users who need motivation
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

Mar 5, 2012

Who am I looking for? Not the top 1%

Hello Rowers and Coaches.

I am coming back to my 1% theme of an earlier post.  Some peeps at the top of the rowing food chain, may not feel the urge to think outside of the box to find more speed.  This is great, because it gives the rest of the rowers the opportunity to improve training and increase boat speed. 


Feb 29, 2012

When rage drives you to Olympic Gold

En route to 6:44.85 current Olympic record and Atlanta Gold.
It is a few years back, the year after my father's untimely passing.  I did not win the national selection regatta in the single scull, I came in second behind Ueli Bodenman.  For the first time in my international rowing career, I had to compromise on how I was going to compete at the world championship

The year was 1993.  As a collegiate rower we had an amazing season racing our Brown varsity 8.  We completed a two year undefeated run, including winning the Ladies Plate at the Henley Royal Regatta.  But unlike the Olympic year before, I was not able to bring sculling and rowing the eight under one roof.

After 6 weeks of intensive training in the double scull, soul searching, and questioning my existence as a rower, we finished the world championships in 8th place.  I was not happy.  A few hours after our final, I stood at the base of the grandstand, approximately 150 meters from the finish line, and waiting for the final of the men's single scull to come through.  There I stood, with a storm of mixed emotions ripping through my chest.  My throat started knotting up.  I thought of my father.  I thought of my great Olympic run the year before.  I remember doing a 1000 knee bends in the forest as a junior.  I was meant to be racing my single scull, right there on the race course which I was observing as a SPECTATOR.  How could I have let this happen?  From a state of mixed emotions, one emotion started rising like a tidal wave... RAGE.

Suddenly, my rage changed into a weird sense of helpless observer, who had a hard time believing that his idol, the German Terminator, was being beaten.  Porter, Lange, and Chalupa entered their final 750 meters and were in a dogfight for gold.  Chalupa had the lead and lost it to Porter.  To my complete astonishment, my childhood hero, Thomas Lange, did not win.  Victory went to Derek Porter a tall lean Canadian.  He was the one capable of beating Thomas Lange.
Here is the link to the 1993 final.
Left to right, Vaclav Chalupa, Derek Porter, Thomas Lange, the next day I met Derek.

The next day, I watched the rest of the finals.  As I made my way to the shuttle, I felt a huge relief. Finally, I was taken away from a place that brought so much grief and anger to me.  Little did I know that a new personal chapter in Olympic determination was about to begin.

Steps before boarding the bus, I spotted Derek Porter, who still wore his gold medal around his neck.  I was excited to congratulate him, because he helped solve the problem of how to beat an idol, even if it was my idol.  I stretched out my hand and said: "Derek, congratulations for winning, and you beat Thomas Lange.  Finally, someone could beat him, and you are the one who did it, it was incredible."  When I said those words, I wore my heart on my sleeve.  "Yeah, thanks," was his response and kept on walking.   I felt rejected.  By instinct, I turned into a first impression character judge, which is truly unfair to Derek.  The vibe I picked up from how he responded, fueled my passion for competition and my view of Derek immediately became subjective and thus I felt that he had an air of superiority that to me spelled out: I am superior to you and anyone else for that matter.

My view of his passive response to my "groupie-ish" behavior hurt me deep down.  Without knowing it, Porter, arguably, committed the greatest mistake in his single sculling career.  As the saying goes, "don't look down to people who look up to you." That day, I was the one looking up to him.  It was that moment in my life, as a single sculler, that the final gold medal ingredient found its way into my racer-brain which galvanized my Olympic determination.  I took a deep breath, balled my fists as hard as I could.  I felt my entire body tightening up as if I was going to be shot at with a canon ball.  Aggressive energy started to flow through my veins and just like that the rage of the day before became RAGE of victory.

As soon as I returned to Brown, I started training on my own.  I did thousands of bench rows, squats, lat pull downs, horizontal rows, miles on the erg and water.  Not one day would go by without me thinking at least twice about that fateful encounter.  Not one day would go by without me thinking of my father who did not live to see the day I would win gold.  My Olympic goal was set straight in front of me, like a sight on a target.  I was on board of an unstoppable freight train, bound to smash a record on Lake Lanier.

At the world championship in 1994 and 1995, I denied Porter entry to the final. At the 1996 Olympics I overtook him in the last 250 meters to win gold and set the current Olympic record.  In 1998, I won silver and I don't remember where he ended up.  In 1999, I won another silver, he got bronze.  In 2000, I was dying in the last 500 meters, but it was over my dead body that  Porter was going to beat me.  I won silver and he came in fourth.

Since, I have mellowed out a lot, and for the sake of my wife and four children, I am very happy about it.

From left to right, Derek Porter, Xeno Müller, Thomas Lange 1996 Olympics
(Derek, if you read this, in no way do I want to portray you as someone you are not.  At the time, I had a lot of personal challenges I had to meet, and the circumstance of our encounter was so unplanned.  I am certain that you are a great person.)

 Join one of the fastest growing communities of indoor rowers at www.row2go.com and become the fastest rower at www.xenorowingcoach.com
Xeno Muller won an Olympic Gold in Atlanta and an Olympic Silver in Sydney, and is the current Olympic Record holder in the 2000m Single Scull. 


Link to the Olympic final of 1996 
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

Feb 15, 2012

How I met the bench row, a key component to Olympic gold


First day of rowing January 198
I was 13 and a half when I started rowing in Fontainebleau, France.  As a "cadet" rower, we were asked to join the Friday evening strength training session.  The weight room was part of an athletic complex across the street of a famous business school called, Insead.  This school attracted well accomplished US rowers such as, Alyson Townley, Chris Carlson, C.B. Sands-Bohrer, Anne Marden, and John Marden.  This early US rowing interaction presented me with the opportunity to hold Anne Marden's freshly won Olympic silver medal from the Seoul Olympics in my young hand.  It was amazing how big and heavy the medal was.  As I held it,  I remember looking at it long and hard which gave me the impression that the medal grew larger in my hand.  Then a voice inside of me said: "Xeno, you can achieve this, but it is going to cost you, you will suffer."  I tightened my jaw and knew that I was in it for the long haul.

My dad and I the year before Brown
As a young teenager I was a fan of movies such as Rambo, Rocky, Commando, the Running Man and a few others staring these actors...  I wanted to be as buff as Stallone and Schwarzenegger.  Even my father and grandfather enjoyed telling me that a strong body is important in a young man's life and beyond.  So it was no wonder that I was given a piston rowing machine and a punching bag for Christmas the year before I started rowing on the water at the Club D'Aviron Fontainebleau Avon.  When I first set foot in the gym that Friday evening, all I saw were free weights, a couple Smith cages, and monkey bars...  The elder rowers told us to grab four benches that were stacked along the concrete wall.  I had no clue what we were going to do with them.  Maybe we were going to sit down and talk about what we were going to do.  We were told to place three benches parallel to each other and the fourth bench was set on top.  Then an Olympic bar was placed underneath the top bench and I was told to lay belly down and grab the bar and start pulling.  The date was February 15th, 1985.

Shortly before driving to Sydney from Murwillumbah
The company of the bench row lasted 19 years from that evening on.  I did bench rows in Fontainebleau, Zurich, Sarnen, Providence, Boston, and Newport Beach.  There is no doubt in my mind that this specific exercise brought a huge amount of torque to my sculling and sweep rowing stroke.  I excelled at the French national bench row test, which consisted on how many bench pulls with 40kgs one could do in 6 minutes.  Years later, I laid there in the gym of the Newport Aquatic Center, my stopwatch already running and placed on the ground right below me, my finger tips hooked around the bar. As the stop watch reached one minute, I began pulling at a deafening pace, literally, because at the end of every pull the Olympic bar hit the metal frame creating a loud bang.  I thrived on that ear piercing sound.  I felt rage, I was in my element, my mind was screaming to go faster, harder, I wanted to tear everything apart so that my my opponents would get destroyed, they shall regret having chosen to race the single scull.  The metallic banging reminded me of a sledgehammer.  As I progressed through the six minutes, I increasingly felt my lat muscles pulsate with every draw.  My arms became twice as big.  Sweat dripped off my forehead onto the floor.  I kept counting, I wanted to go farther than 240, which meant an above 40 strokes a minute pace. I kept ramming the bar against the bench.  At one minute to go, I demanded that my body released every ounce of energy for the final sprint to complete the six minutes of hell, or was it heaven...  That day I pulled my absolute best, 248 draws at age 28, a month and a half before the Sydney Olympics.

Join one of the fastest growing communities of indoor rowers at www.row2go.com and become the fastest rower at www.xenorowingcoach.com
Xeno Muller won an Olympic Gold in Atlanta and an Olympic Silver in Sydney, and is the current Olympic Record holder in the 2000m Single Scull. 



Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

Jan 1, 2012

Being coached by Harry Mahon leading to Olympic Gold and Olympic record

I met Harry in April 1988 on a lake in Switzerland. I was 16 participating at a 3 day rowing camp. Harry at the time was the Swiss national team coach. That morning I had heard that “He” was coming to watch some of our club row. I had no idea what he looked like, sounded like, all I knew is that he had a beard and was from New Zealand.

As I sculled my single on a amazingly glassy lake, a morning so crisp that sound traveled for miles, and clock towers from different villages along the lake created a symphony celebrating the holy weekend. I spotted at one kilometer across the lake Harry and a couple other club coaches following a men’s straight four. Then the launch veered of and started approaching. I later heard from one of my future junior coaches that Harry suddenly spotted me at a distance and asked who that was and the answer given: “A new kid, he comes from France, has a Swiss passport, speaks English, a big kid, needs some work.” At that moment my quest for Olympic gold in the single scull took a serious turn to reality.

My work with Harry spanned from 1988 to 1992. I had the pleasure to work with Harry in Sarnen, Switzerlandduring summer vacations in preparation of the junior and senior world championships and my first Olympic participation in 1992. He came to coach me a couple of times in Fontaine bleau,Francewhere I lived as a kid. Scott Roop and Steve Gladstone our Brown University coaches inProvidenceRhode Islandhad the pleasure to have him visit me and get his opinion on our Freshmen eight, as I was also training the single scull to prepare for the Olympic qualification.

I have several memorable experiences with Harry regarding sculling technique. He reminded me constantly that him pulling 1:47 at stroke rate 20, with his body size is only the result of hanging from the leg drive and connecting with the upper body without pulling. He would watch like a hawk for any contraction in the upper body that came prematurely during the leg drive. While he coached us on the rowing machine, he would stand next to me and mimic relaxed shoulders with hands drawn to the side of the ribcage, with a totally relaxed face, and say, that the stroke is executed in a powerful relaxed way. Harry loved the Rowperfect and knew how difficult it was to teach pushing and hanging on a static rowing machine. Harry’s ability to understand, push and hang, without ever having been a record smashing rower himself is really remarkable. He simply had a great understanding of body mechanics and the Eye.

He made me row circles on different lakes, explaining me how the blade needed to be extracted at the finish and how I had to catch on the way up so that I would not miss water and cancel out any chance of rowing it in. I would scull along his coaching launch and he would mention squaring the blade earlier and quietly tell me that I started to move away from the constant speed the launch was traveling at. One of Harry’s trademark coaching technique was to observe the stern of my sculling boat and help me understand what an efficient pick up was. He would pull the launch right behind my stern so that I had the ability to gage my boat movement with the constant speed of the coaching launch. On good catches my single scull would stay at a constant speed away from the bow of Harry’s launch, when I missed, his launch would surge towards me, scarring me at the beginning, when in reality it was me checking the boat, because of a poor catch… rowing it in. At times he would comment every single catch for minutes at a time to let me know whether the way I was doing it was correct or not here is a sample: “No, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, NOOO! Zeino, you have to hang from the shoulders, you go like this, I would look at him and he would shrug his shoulders, blow air in his cheeks, and bend the arms and I would curse inside of myself and want to break boat and oars once I came on the shore with my fits, I never did. Then one day in Providence, suddenly started hearing: “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes…” tears started flowing over my cheeks and I stopped the boat, and began cry. I finally felt it, at the time I could not describe in words, how I did it, but I felt it and I could recreate it. Today, I can describe everything that Harry taught me and convey it to scullers and rowers whom I have the pleasure to coach. Harry pulled his launch up to me and asked what was wrong. I gathered my strength and controlled my mixture of emotional happiness and urge to go to rowing war. I said: “Harry, I get it, I GET IT, holy s..t, I G-E-T it!!!” I then saw his smiling face, his blue eyes, his friendly smile come through his beard. He was happy, he LOVED giving this type of “AHA” moments to rowers of all ages, nationalities, and caliber.

Thank you Harry, you enabled me to become an Olympic gold and silver medalist, and Olympic record holder. You gave me athletic freedom that lead me to California where I met my wife and now have four wonderful children. Thanks to you and the people who supported me over the years I can say that I have no regrets and that you were a huge part of it by sharing your passion on the water and believing in your talent as a coach and the ability of the people you worked with.
Xeno
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

The weather is the primary reason I moved to SoCal.

In January of 1995, Joerg Weitnauer, owner of WM rowing boats, advised me to move and train in Newport Beach. 16 years later I am still here.
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.

A tip from personal experience about getting back your fitness and hurting yourself...

I am 39.  I am the proud father of four kids and life goes at one hundred miles per second.  There is little time for personal fitness, partly because my kids are not quite of age yet where I can share the same exercise type and duration that I would need to maintain an acceptable fitness level and body weight.  I am not the type of person who easily chooses to spend time alone to exercise.  I enjoy sharing such quality time with my family and very quickly adjust such time to what works best for the group and this ranges from walking, playground, some tennis. When the kids are in the backyard playing I grab the kettlebell and go at it and this is why I am writing this blog entry, how to overdo it :-)

One attribute I don't lack is personal motivation to exercise.  When time is of essence and I feel horribly guilty for not having done any cardio exercise, I have made a couple painful mistakes by choosing shorter and harder workouts.  From rowing I have a strong back with solid lats which make horizontal kettlebell rows no problem and I don't feel winded quickly when I attack them.  So what do I have to worry about...  my elbows, it must be the lack of use but did I mess them up by pulling back the 60 pound bell like a mad former Olympian.  Now I am seeking some sort of muscle cream to help whatever I messed up.  My lesson learned from this pain, and I hope I won't forget it ever in my lifetime, is that any type of physical exercise that you start up doing after a longer break needs to be brought back to life slowly.  The little joints and muscles will give you major flak if you don't.

So why don't I row more consistently... good point, it is because our house is too small to handle a permanent spot for the rower, and there are other logistical issues that are inexcusable reasons for not putting in the miles.  Writing this makes me wonder about my ability to self-inflict "AHA" moments.  I NEED TO ROW MORE.  Rowing is gentle on the joints, I yell it at the top of my lungs on rooftops all the time.  Rowing gives you range of motion without being hard on your joints.  Rowing allows your entire body to find a rhythm that is dictated by your breathing pattern (and not the other way around!)  Stay low with your stroke rate and increase the resistance by raising the drag factor on the concept2 rower, or add more water to your waterrower.  One of the "special" ways to increase drag on the C2 is dangerous when you have little kids: removing the silver mesh.  You will find double the drag :-) however you will also hear TRIPLE the noise!

Ok now for the business part of it all.   I have a workout library that is available online at www.row2go.com.  You can access over 70 workouts and use my instruction and rowing rhythm to get a great row out of your machine.  In case you are a possessed on the water rower or a psychotic 2K chaser on the Concept2 machine you will enjoy www.xenorowingcoach.com.  In case you want direct downloads have a look at www.facebook.com/row2go :-)
That is it for now!!!


Xeno Muller
Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist, indoor rowing, rowing technique.