10 Indoor Rowing Workouts to Kill 10K

Last updated Nov. 17, 2017

10 indoor rowing workouts that will make short work of a 10,000-meter piece. 3, 2, 1 go! http://ucanrow2.com


When your indoor rowing workouts call for a larger number of meters, or you’re trying to hit a big number in the Concept2 online challenges, how do you keep it interesting?  By breaking the workout up into smaller chunks and changing it up.  Longer indoor rowing workouts don’t have to be boring.  You just need to have a plan that brings variety into the mix.

Below we’ve given you 10 ways to kill 10k in your indoor rowing workouts, plus one bonus workout.  You’ve got options that will take you from an easy row all the way through, to a calorie-torching blast.  It’s up to you, pick the plan that works for you based on how you feel that day.  Do one round or put several of them together for a monster meter rowing workout.

As always, if you’re new to indoor rowing get your doctor’s OK before taking on a rowing workout like these.  Listen to your body and decide if it’s a good day for higher volume.  If you’d rather do something shorter, check our indoor rowing workouts pages for more choices.

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10 Ways to Kill 10k (+1)

  1. Set the monitor and go: Find your happy place — that point where you’re sweating but you know you could keep up this pace for a long time, and row. Put on some good tunes and lean in to the Zen of the flywheel. Use this workout to find your steady-state target pace. You should be able to talk but prefer not to, and feel that you could stay at that pace for a long time. To easily set up the workout, from the main menu hit New Workout>Standard List>10000 meters.
  2. SteadyState With Power Bursts: Row 10,000 meters at the pace you found in the workout above. Drop in 10 or 20 hard strokes every 500 or 1000 meters. Aim to drop 10 seconds or more off your split every time you do the power strokes, but always return to your base, steady-state pace.
  3. Rolling 1000s: Warm up through the first 2-3000m, then row 100 meters hard, 100 meters easy for 1000m. Paddle for 1-2 minutes and repeat for 3-5k. This is also a great way to get used to harder effort on the rowing machine.
  4. Power Intervals: Like the rolling 1000s but longer intervals. For example 250 hard meters every 750 or 1000 meters.
  5. Negative Splits: Start out at a fairly easy pace and aim to drop your split per 500 meters every time over the course of the piece. Using the split window on your monitor, aim to drop it progressively over the course of the rowing workout. For example take 5 seconds off your warmup split every 2000 meters. Use the last 500-1000m as your cooldown.Rowing a long piece doesn't have to be boring! Here are 10 ways that you can make the most of a 10,000-meter row, and keep it interesting. Let us know how you like them! www.ucanrow2.com
  6. Stroke Play: Vary your strokes per minute (SPM): 2 minutes at 22-24-26-28 SPM, with the same amount of paddle rest, 2 minutes. Do this until you have completed the 10k. Bonus points if you can do rounds 18 and 20 spm (Hint: sloooow your recovery).
  7. Rolling Intervals: Row repeating cycles of 3 minutes at 22 strokes per minute, 2 mins at 25, 1 min at 28. Paddle in between if you need a break, or challenge yourself and keep on row-ling.
  8. Watch the Watch: Row rounds of 1:00 on with effort/1:00 off, 2:00 on/2:00 off and so on up to 5:00 on/5:00 off, then work your way back down. Increase your intensity as you come down the pyramid. Continue until you have completed the 10k.
  9. Vary the Intensity: Use this one to practice adding more intensity to your workouts. Row intervals of 4:00 on, 2:00 off, keeping your stroke rating the same (we suggest 24-26 spm) but varying your intensity through the 4-minute intervals, from sustainable to highly intense.
  10. Salad Bowl: Mix it up and choose up to 5 of the options above. Do something different every 2000 meters.
    Example:  First 1k: Warm up
    1k-2k: Steady-state, half pressure
    3k-5k: Rolling 100s
    5k-6k: Steady state
    6k-7k: Hard 1000m
    7k-8k: Recover
    8k-9k: :30 on / :30 off. 26 spm on the work, 22 spm on the rest
    9-10k: Cool down
  11. BONUS Row-Ski for those with access to a SkiErg.  Use the undefined rest feature on your monitor to keep both machines going without having to reset.  If you’re a complete badass (and in our book you are if you do this), switch the row and ski numbers so you ski more than you row.

Row                          Ski

1000m                     1000m

1200m                      800m

1400m                      600m

1600m                      400m

1800m                      200m


Which one did you try?  Let us know what you thought in the comments, or if you have a question about endurance rowing in general let us know!


  1. Ivan

    How do you get verified on a 10km row

  2. Dougie

    I set myself a distance target of 1000k in 6 months which means unless you’re on it everyday you have to hit the 10,000m distance quite regularly. I aimed for a s/r of around 32 and a pace of between 1:52-1:55. It’s hard work. But the results are there to see. My resting heart beat is down 8bpm and I’ve lost nearly 2 stone (from 15st 8 to 13st 10) finished the 1000k in June

    Once I’ve past the target I’m struggling to get the motivation to do 10,000m regularly again and have dropped to 5 in 500m intervals 500m /1m rest. Killer, but I think it works to get to the next level.

    1. UCanRow2 Post author

      Nice work, Dougie!! What’s your next goal?

      1. Dougie

        2,000,000 for Christmas. Changing the rows a bit now tho to interval rowing. 10k can be a bit slow, doing the standard 500m/1min rests in 10 sittings (works out about 6.5k per row 5k and rests).
        Not sure if I’ll get there with just that though, the first million included 3 half marathons and a full marathon. So may have to up it slightly.
        One thing I don’t really get is the damper setting, I put it on between 7-8 for the 10k, about 8 for the 5k, and 10 for the 2k/500m intervals. All the videos I watch tell me I should have it on between 3-5 but I feel like I’m pulling nothing and it’s not productive, am I going wrong somewhere?

        1. Ben

          I’m a collegiate rower, and I always have the damper set at 4, the resistance or between 110-120, this mimics the resistance of water on your oar as you row.

  3. Brad

    I like to start at 1:55 splits r25 for 1500m then drop to 1:45 splits r30 x 5. When dropping back from r30 to r25 i dont let the split get higher than 1:55 . Certainly gets the heart pumping and gets pretty tough at the end. Am a 51yrold male

    1. UCanRow2 Post author

      Impressive Brad! Well done, meter monster. Not everyone can hold that split or 30 spm for that long. Row on!

  4. Mike Tett.

    I usually do 3x 10ks per week and watch a movie when rowing one. I split these up into 5 2000m segments and i each segment row hard the first 250 meters and then coast at about a 2:02 rate for the balance of the segment. Near the close of the segment I ease off and try to get my heart rate as low as possible but I am not allowed to drop to an average pace below 2:03 for the segment. I then record my heart rate and compare with previous rows. I usually see a heart rate of 130 to 140 bpm.. (I am 54 years old)

    Splitting the 10k up like this makes it much more interesting and bearable.

    Sometimes I sprint the last 2k segment at about a 1:54 pace. That is tough considering you just rowed 8k.


    1. UCanRow2 Post author

      Love it! We’ve got a 10k on the schedule for later this week, this looks like a fun approach to try. Thanks for the idea!

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