My Father John Nunn; A Former Olympic Coach And Bronze Medalist Rower Discusses Using Cycling As The Perfect Cross-Training Exercise

Jack created Roworx in Long Beach after winning numerous medals in various events on the international rowing stage. Jack started rowing in 1996 for Long Beach Juniors and made the 1997 Junior National Team Selection Camp.

He went on to star for four years at UC Berkeley, winning four Pacific-10 Championships and three IRA National Rowing Championships. Jack was a member of the first ever undefeated Pac-10 and IRA National Champion Freshman 8 in 1998 and repeated the feat by going unbeaten in 1999. Jack helped his varsity 8 place second at the Henley Royal Regatta in 1999 in the Ladies Plate Challenge Cup in London, England. Jack also played two seasons with the Cal Ice Hockey Team before graduating in 2001 with his Bachelor’s Degree in Business/Communications. He was a gold medalist in 2007 at the first ever Concept 2 Team Indoor Rowing challenge, held in Essen, Germany. In 2006, he took silver at the Masters Nationals Open Single Event. As a member of the US Rowing National Team from 2001-2004 he placed second at the 2003 Pan American Trials in double sculls and had an outstanding 2002 that saw him claim a gold medal in Senior 8 and a silver medal in the Elite Double at the US Nationals. He was also a silver medalist in 2001 in the Nations Cup (now the U23 World Championships) 8 in Ottensheim, Austria. In 2008 and 2009 Jack competed in two international Ironman competitions in Nice, France and Florianopolis, Brazil. Jack is also the son of John Nunn, 1968 Olympics (Mexico City) Bronze Medalist in the double sculls event with partner Bill Maher. All of Jack’s athletic accomplishments would not have become a reality if it was not for the various methods of cross-training and perhaps more importantly the intense positive muscle endurance training on the bicycle while utilizing indoor cycling classes. Indoor cycling, rowing provided a safe and effective environment not only for your body and joints due to low impact but also from avoiding the dangerous outdoor cycling consequences of cars, pedestrians, and weather conditions.

Jack Nunn’s father, John Nunn, used various methods of cross training from the very beginning of his extremely successful rowing career at Cornell University. Cornell held regular indoor and outdoor cycling practices, weight room circuits, indoor rowing tanks, and running distance pieces on the roads around Campus. Cycling was used to build muscle endurance with the benefit of a low-impact workout on the joints. Circuit weight training was used to build muscle strength in core and rowing specific muscles. Rowing tanks were used for endurance and technique training in the winter months when the boathouse was frozen in. The tanks were especially useful because the coach could get right in with you and guide your body and oar into the proper position at the proper time. After winning 2 National Championships and being on the cover of Sports Illustrated at Cornell, John Nunn moved to California in 1966 to pursue his dream of making the Olympic Rowing Team. He continued to do extensive amounts of cross training even more intensively than he had done at Cornell. In addition Nunn added additional types of cross training to his regimen. When he met 1968 US Olympic velodrome Cyclist Chuck Pranke, Chuck introduced him to intense cycling road training, which was excellent for increasing aerobic capacity and building strength and endurance in the primary leg muscles that are vital to rowing boat speed. Chuck also showed him a set of stairs in the Santa Monica Canyon off San Vicente Blvd. which involved climbing 120 steps. John Nunn did wind sprints up those stairs doing 10 repetitions per workout at full sprint speed. Chuck was a compulsive cross trainer. Nunn lifted weights with him in Santa Monica. On one occasion Nunn observed Chuck doing extensive heavy weight bench presses, arm curls and shrugs. Nunn inquired how those exercises were going to help Chuck in the Velodrome. Chuck responded they weren’t, but he was keeping up his physique to his former body building standards. The 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Coliseum Stadium (still in use today mainly by USC Football) also attracted Nunn for cross training opportunities. With 90 rows of seats and ever steeper steps as one ascended, it was a perfect wind sprinting location that helped tremendously in building anaerobic capacity. Nunn did many sets of stadium stairs alongside another cross trainer Olympic Pole Vaulting Champion Bob Seagren. Nunn and his Olympic Bronze rowing doubles partner Bill Maher found another place for wind sprint torture. Model T Hill Climb Hill was the site of antique car races in Signal Hill, Long Beach because it was long, steep, and extremely challenging. This was the most exhausting workout they did and it made the most difficult rowing workout seem easy by comparison. This type of training helped to improve power and to produce faster starts and sprints, where maximum power output is required. Nunn met another velodrome cyclist, Canadian Olympian, Barry Harvey. They trained together on road training, with Nunn trying to stay close to the very fast Olympic sprinter. Trying to hang on to someone so fast helped build Nunn’s leg strength and quickness. Cross training is only valuable to a competitor in a sport, if the cross training improves performance. Unfortunately Cycling on the roads is dangerous. Barry Harvey was hit by a car, broke his hip and was knocked out of the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. Nunn also hit a car, but was not hurt. Subsequently he had a bad crash on the bike path in Redondo Beach, Ca and decided to stick to safer forms of Cross Training. Indoor Cycling Bikes offer the perfect Cross Training solution, with all the training benefits of road cycling and without the risks of crash injuries. Nunn used multiple types of Cross Training extensively to achieve Olympic success. While technically an indoor cycle, the Evo Fitness Bike utilizes a unique drive system called Orb™. The Orb™ Planetary Gear Drive System has a compact, single axis design that negates the need for a belt, chain, or external flywheel. It is a completely enclosed, three piece crank with an aligned sun gear. According to the inventor and the many trainers and cyclists who have tested the indoor cycle, the lack of a belt or chain means two things: less maintenance and a more realistic feel. Unlike indoor cycles that require constant maintenance and tuning due to the belt or chain, the Orb™ is a simple, inter-meshing gear system that is completely enclosed. This means no loose belts, disconnected chains, or exposed mechanisms that are subject to dirt, sweat, and grime. With no external flywheel, there is also an element of safety not present in other indoor cycles. The Orb™ also offers a more realistic road feel because of the unique feel of inter-meshing gears. Many trainees have said that riding the Evo Fitness Bike sounds and feels like rubber tires coasting over asphalt. To encourage this effect, the inventor of the Evo Fitness Bike also incorporated a feature called RAMP™ (Rolling Articulating Mounted Pivot). The RAMP™ feature allows the frame of the bike to pivot 10 degrees to either side of the base. This swaying motion is not intended to mimic a turn, rather, it allows riders to pedal using a more natural, full body motion. In addition to making the indoor cycle more fun to ride, it also engages the core and upper body while challenging the rider’s balance at the same time. Combining the Orb™ and RAMP™ technologies required a new design which culminated in one of the most simple and attractive indoor cycle’s available. The Evo Fitness Bike’s frame is made with an innovative cantilever design that has gone through rigorous static and dynamic testing, making it extremely durable.

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Jack Nunn

Jack Nunn is the head trainer and owner of Roworx. Jack is a former national team rower who has competed in more than 100 triathlons, including 9 full Ironmans. He has created a system of rowing that prepares the whole body for both competition and fitness longevity.

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