The Best Warmup to Do Before a Rowing Workout

 

How do you typically warm up before your rowing workout? Do you even warm up at all? And if you’re a coach or instructor, do you take a few minutes to actively plan and think about how the warmup is going to support the rest of the workout? It’s time well spent, to be sure, and in this post we’re diving in on why the rowing workout warmup is important, whether you’re a fitness professional or you row on your own. And we’ll give you a rowing workout warmup you can row along with, so no more excuses!

 

Why it’s Important to Do a Rowing Workout Warmup

 

Hey, life’s busy.  Sometimes you can barely find the time to get to the gym or get on your home rowing machine. Who’s got time to do a proper warmup?

 

You do!

 

Or at least you should if you want to make the most of it. And by “most of it” we mean your workout, not the warmup.

 

If you’re like most people, left to your own devices you’ll spend less than 5 minutes just randomly sliding back and forth on the monorail, paying more attention to the TV or your friend on the machine next to you.

 

We get it, we’ve all done it. Especially when we’re in a hurry or coming into the workout feeling frazzled and still “buzzing” from the rest of our day.

 

And news flash, it can happen to trainers, too!  We sometimes get a little lazy about being intentional with what is actually a very important part of the workout.

 

Good workout start with great warmups. So be intentional with those few minutes!

4 Tips For The Best Rowing Workout Warmup

1. Use the warmup to pattern quality movement in the main workout

 

 The primary purpose of the warmup is to bring up the body temperature and prepare the heart, joints and muscles for the work ahead. It’s also the time to shake off the rest of the day and bring your head into the room (Whether you’re the instructor or the student!).

 

If you’re going to be doing strength moves off the machine it’s important to take time during the warmup to get the muscles and joints ready for that work as well.

 

Stretching and some light dynamic work or bodyweight moves should be targeted to whatever muscle groups are going to be center stage in the main workout. 

 

2. Use the time to zero in on rowing technique and establish any technique themes for the workout

 

The warmup is prime time for practicing rowing technique. One of the best ways is to do the pick drill and use that to imprint good technique.  We also love feet-out rowing as a way to uncover and address any technique errors.

 

COACHES: Pick one or two key things you’re going to focus on in the warmup and then refer back to them in the workout. Hip swing, knees down, ratio, proper order of operations, etc. 

 

Whatever it is, start to work the language and the technique elements into the warmup and then reference them the same way during the workout so they register with your students.

 

REMEMBER: Don’t give your rowing clients too many things to focus on in one session, they’ll just get overwhelmed

 

 

 

3. The shorter the workout, the longer the warmup

 

We all wish we could get warmed up in just 5 minutes! But particularly if you’re 40+, you likely need a little more time than that.

 

Even 10 minutes can be enough to prep for a longer workout, but if the workout is short you want to be sure you don’t skip the warmup! 

 

Short, high-intensity workouts require you to already have a good sweat rolling so that when the timer starts you’re ready to HIT IT! You want to make the most of that 15- 20-minute workout so get to the point where you’re working hard right out of the gate.

 

COACHES: When you’re warming up for a higher-intensity workout be sure to include higher-intensity bouts in the warmup as well. Don’t wait until the main workout to take those first hard strokes.

 

One good way to approach it is to do a hard 10 strokes (known in rowing as a Power 10) at the top of every minute of the warmup. 

 

4. How to know if you’ve done a good warmup

 

There’s a Goldilocks zone where you’ll know if you’ve done a good warmup:

 

You should be starting to sweat “around the edges” and feel like you’ve done something. Definitely feel ready to take off any sweatshirts or outer layers you started with.

 

But if you’re breathing hard and need to take a minute to rest before you can get off the machine, you’ve probably gone a little too hard.

 

4 Best Rowing Workout Warmups

Even if the main workout doesn’t involve rowing, the erg and its total-body, non-impact exercise is a fantastic place to prepare for any other kind of effort.

 

PS: Warmups also make fabulous beginner rowing workouts: If you’re just starting out with rowing, pick a warmup you like, do a round of it, and check in with how you’re feeling. Then do a second or even a third time through if you’re feeling up for it!

 

Here are three warmups we love. They’ll get you ready for your workout, and you’ll have fun doing them, too!

 

Whichever workout you pick, do a few minutes of easy rowing first.

 

If rowing at full slide (coming all the way to the catch position) doesn’t feel good at the very beginning, this is your chance to warm up into it. Start out rowing at half- or three-quarters slide first!

 

Want some technique refreshers and drills to work on while you warm up? Our YouTube channel and our RowReady training program are chock-full of drills and other helpful rowing hints.

On to the workouts!

From our RowReady workout program

4 minutes at a stroke rate of 22 strokes per minute

3 minutes at 24 spm

2 minutes at 26 spm

1 minute at 28 spm

 

From our book 101 Best Rowing Workouts

For each round, row 10 strokes at the prescribed stroke rate, then 20 strokes at whatever rate feels comfortable for a warmup. On the early rounds, that rate may actually be higher than what you’re doing on the 10 “on” strokes.

 

Round 1: 10 strokes at 20 spm

Round 2: 10 strokes at 20 spm

Round 3: 10 strokes at 22 spm

Round 4: 10 strokes at 22 spm

Round 5: 10 strokes at 24 spm

 

An on-water rowing classic

Total time: 15 mins (approx.)

1 stroke hard, one easy

2 strokes hard, two easy

And so on up to 10 strokes hard, 10 easy

 

No prescribed stroke rates here, just do what feels like a good effort on the hard strokes and catch your breath on the easy strokes.

 

BONUS: Row Along With This Workout Warmup

Ready to row in less than 10 minutes! Do the all-important pick drill plus a stroke rate pyramid with UCanRow2 / Concept2 Master Instructor (and Olympian) Heather Alschuler!

 

 

Try these warmups and let us know in the comments which one was your favorite!

 

Want to add on a full-on workout after the warmup?

These should do the trick:

 

UCanRow2 Basic Workouts

Meter Monster & Flywheel Frenzy training programs

Monster Meter endurance rowing workouts

 

Tweetables:

 

 

Play This Game for Better Rowing Technique

An image of the dart game on the Concept2 monitor

 

Rowing used to be a well-kept secret. Those of us who knew that the rowing machine is the perfect solution for total-body, non-impact fitness for people of all ages, sizes and fitness levels were few and far between.

 

Not any more!

 

Rowing has been called the new spinning, and you now see rowing gyms popping up all over, home machines are backordered and there are tons of options for doing workouts online.

 

Our free RowStrong group on Facebook has also grown by leaps and bounds!

 

For a long time, new rowers often do great just getting on the machine and starting to row.

 

Eventually though, the question inevitably comes:

 

AM I doing this right?

 

It’s actually a great question to ask, because nailing your technique out of the gate will go a long way towards making rowing easier, more fun and more effective all at the same time.

 

There are tons of drills and mantras that you can use yourself, or with your students or clients,  that will help them dial in their rowing.

 

But sometimes it’s fun to make a game out of it, amiright?

 

TRY THE GAME THAT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER ROWER

 

Most people start out with rowing the same way: They get on the machine and off they go. That alone is often enough to sustain them for a while.

 

Eventually, though, if they row on a Concept2 rowing machine, they discover the games on the monitor (Ahem. You did know there are games on there, right?).

 

The one everyone gets stuck on is the fish game.

 

Super fun, you get to swim through the ocean, going faster and slower to swim up and down and catch all the yummy small fry, while trying to avoid becoming the big fishes’ dinner yourself.

 

The game is intended to teach rowers to control their intensity.

 

Problem is, in our experience, most rowers aren’t skilled enough at making those quick adjustments so they end up reinforcing bad technique habits instead.

 

If you watch people play the game, you’ll often see them making some pretty erratic moves to stay alive. The exact opposite of the consistent, fluid strokes we want to see on the machine.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good game of fish occasionally, and it can be a great motivator to help you get on the machine.
But we like it better as a reward after a workout.

 

What to do then?

 

There actually IS a game – also super fun – that will help you practice your technique.

 

RAMP UP YOUR ROWING TECHNIQUE WITH THE DARTS GAME

 

This one is all about tempo and consistency. You get five strokes to start and set your pace, then 300 to try to hold what you were doing.
The closer you are to the target stroke rate and split you set on the warmup, the more points you’ll get.

 

Go faster than your pace strokes and you’ll have a flat line above the target. Go slower and your line will run underneath. No points. 🙁

 

As long as you put a little bit of oomph into it, the game makes for a great workout warmup, or it would also be a fun cooldown.

 

Side note for fitness professionals and studio owners: This is a fun group warmup too!

 

TRY THE DARTS GAME!

 

Here’s how to set it up on either a Concept2 PM4 or PM5 monitor:

PM5: From the Main Menu select More Options > Games > Darts

PM4: From the Main Menu, select Games > Darts

 

The total possible score is 15,000 points. We’ve seen it done!!

 

Give it a go and report back in the comments!

 

 

Go Deeper!

 

5-Step Process to Manage Overwhelm

 

“Overwhelm kills more dreams than fear or doubt ever will.”

Jasmine Star

 

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

 

You’re going along just fine, maybe sleeping, maybe it’s 4 am. All of a sudden the stress and anxiety fog rolls in and it’s like you’ve suddenly lost all clarity. Everything you have to do feels like it has the same weight, and it’s crushing you.

 

You have zero sense of direction, no idea where to turn next, and out of the blue, you wake up crawling through quicksand with the weight of the world cinched down on your back. Even the simple act of breathing feels hard.

 

Welcome back, overwhelm (that is if it ever left).

 

We joke about it a lot, but actually overwhelm can have serious consequences for your health. The stress and anxiety it produces can take a true toll on your body: Elevated heart attack risk, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, just to name a few.

 

Even without those, it just sucks. And it’s exhausting.

 

Here’s the thing: If you’re feeling overwhelmed it means you’ve taken your focus off the present moment. You’re either looking ahead or behind – or comparing your journey to someone else’s. None of that will move the meter for your life and business. Stop doing that, friend!

 

 

managing overwhelm is a whole lot Easier said than done though, amiright?

 

I don’t have any foolproof advice to offer you about how to avoid ever falling into overwhelm, stress and anxiety. Sometimes it’s a daily occurrence if I’m honest.

 

What I have developed over the years, though, is a pretty good process to help me calm overwhelm.

 

Take a look:

 

5-Step Process to Manage Overwhelm

 

1. Make a “Dump List” – Often getting everything out of your head will help lift that feeling of random pieces of paper flying around in your mind. I keep a pad by my desk at all times. That’s where I park the to-dos that pop into my head. When overwhelm strikes, just write it down however it comes out. You’ll organize it later.

 

2. Move – Can’t even figure out what all you have to do? Take a walk, do a workout, pace the room. Movement almost always brings clarity, and a higher-intensity workout can be like releasing the steam from a pressure cooker. (Could be switched with 1 if needed)

 

3. Chunk It Up – When I worked in public relations, I would organize my tasks according to which client needed what, and within that by priority. That way I could make sure that everyone got attention every week. It works like a charm for other applications, too!

 

4. Then Break It Down – Divide the tasks into small enough bites that they feel easy. It doesn’t matter how small, the point is to get them to feel easy. It could literally be, “fold 5 shirts,” or “row for 5 minutes.” Success breeds success. Once you’ve taken one step, you’re almost guaranteed to do more.

Anne Lamott’s book Bird By Bird is my bible here. It’s one of my very favorite books on writing, but also a great primer for life. Also, she’s hilarious and a great writer herself. You can’t miss this one.

 

5. Take Messy Action – The secret sauce here is to start. Somewhere, it doesn’t matter where. Just take forward action and don’t let perfectionism get in the way. There is no “perfect” place to start. So just GO.

 

In writing, Anne Lamott calls this the sh$tty first draft. Like writing a draft that you know out of the gate won’t be the final version.

 

Forget about getting it “just right,” that’s probably what’s holding you up. Just do something. You can always go back and re-write, re-film, rework. Didn’t like the workout you gave your class today? Change it for next time! Bad angle on the workout video? Replace it with a better version.

 

 

One other thing you MUST do to manage overwhelm:

 

We’ll call this a Bonus Step in the process:

 

STOP SCROLLING! For all that is good and holy, please put your phone down the minute you notice yourself doing that.

 

Trolling social media “looking for inspiration,” can quickly become a search for proof that you’re worse than everyone else and have nothing new to share. Put your phone on airplane mode, then shove it in a drawer. Give yourself time to share your goodness with the world.

 

Keepin’ it real, I don’t always succeed at doing this. But when I do, it works like a charm. Give it a try the next time you’re struggling, and let me know how it goes in the comments!

 

 

 

Your 2K Rowing Strategy

A rowing machine monitor set for a 2000 meter race

 

Somewhere along the way in pretty much every rower’s career, the time comes to take on that most iconic of racing distances, the 2000-meter row.

 

In fact, competitive on-water rowers often live or die by their ability to cover that distance as quickly as possible on the rowing machine.  And for high-school rowers, a good 2K erg time can mean the difference between a free ride to college and going it alone.

 

If you’ve ever done one, you know that the 2K has the potential to be way more punishing than its short distance would suggest. Those 7, 8, or 10+ minutes can feel more like three or four times that.

 

That’s especially true if you go out too hard in the beginning and have to try to make it across the finish line on fumes.  That’s known as flying and dying, and it’s as miserable as it sounds.

 

We’re here to help you keep that from happening!

 

Find your PERFECT 2K Rowing Strategy

 

The nice thing about a 2K race is it’s short (even though it may not feel like it at the time). It won’t take you 3-4 hours to complete like a marathon would and you don’t have to spend months training for it, unless you want to.

 

If you’re fortunate enough to have some time to work up to doing the piece though, it’s super helpful to get a sense beforehand of what a good target time might be for you. And what mental and physical tricks you’ll want to keep you going.

 

The Concept2 pace calculator is a great starting point. Enter your 500m time and it will do the math to tell you how fast you could do 2000 meters at that same pace. If you want to know what’s possible in your age group check Concept2’s list of world and American records.

 

Even more fun and useful, though, is to do some practice rows in advance and see what YOU can do.

 

 

Find Your 2K Race Goal

 

Master Instructor Heather Alschuler uses these workouts to predict a possible 2K time:

 

8 rounds of 500m with equal rest

OR

4 rounds of 1000m with equal rest

 

This means that on the first workout you would row 8, 500-meter pieces and then row easy for another 500 meters. On the second workout, you would do the same, but with 4 rounds of 1000 meters hard and easy.

 

Of course, if you’re just getting started with rowing you can and should reduce the number of rounds if this feels like too much.

 

But if your goal is to row 2000 meters hard, you’ll want to work up to being able to do either of the workouts as written, AT WHATEVER PACING WORKS FOR YOU.

 

Either way. the idea here is to get faster as you go, and it shouldn’t feel easy to do so.

 

Part of getting good at rowing a 2K is getting good at being uncomfortable. That gets easier with time and practice, but it never gets straight-up easy, so don’t make that your goal.

 

 

Your 2K Race Plan

Now. About your race-day plan:

 

The best race plans are SIMPLE.

 

As Phil Marshall, senior women’s rowing coach for Rowing Canada says, “A complicated plan will bring a complicated result.”

 

When you’re depriving yourself of oxygen, he notes, you have to keep things simple.

 

Here’s one plan that Master Instructor Cassi Niemann likes, including a 10- 12-minute warmup that should be enough to get you ready to go hard out of the gate, without wasting too much energy.

 

Pre-2K Warmup

4 minutes 22-24 strokes per minute

 

3 minutes at 24-26

 

2 minutes at 26-28

 

1 minute at 28-30

 

Then do a few racing starts to get that dialed in, but also practice settling down into your regular racing pace quickly. That’s one of the keys to preventing the fly and die.

 

Your 2K Race Plan

 

If you’ve had the chance to practice you should have a good sense for what’s realistic. And you’ll probably also know what works for you and what doesn’t in terms of keeping the flywheel moving and your head in the game.

 

First 500: If you can get a good start, row a few power strokes and then settle into your first 500 you’re off on the right foot. Remember you don’t want this to be the fastest part of your race. It’s all about controlling your adrenaline and staying in the moment.

 

Second 500: Crank it up a bit more, try to shave a bit of time off your split, and maybe aim to do 10 hard strokes at 1000 meters to pick up the flywheel and shake things up.

 

Third 500: This is the hardest part of the race, you’ll want to have a good plan for getting through this section. It may be as simple as counting strokes (“10 strokes focusing on the legs,” “10 focusing on the swing,”), or you may want to test alternating different stroke rates every 30 seconds.

This might also be where it helps to remember why or who you’re doing this for. Do whatever it takes to get you through, just remember to keep it SIMPLE.

 

Fourth 500: You’re almost there!! Here it’s really all about gutting it out and running out the monitor. Hopefully you’ve saved enough to put the hammer down and empty the tank in the last 250 to 100 meters.

Resist the temptation to row short strokes in this section. You’ll get done faster if you save that for the very very end.

 

Most important, row your own race. Never mind what you’ve seen or heard elsewhere, this is about you and your monitor.

 

Music, yay or nay?

Whether to listen to music for your 2K is a very individual decision, as is what kind of music, of course. So is whether that music should have lyrics, which can sometimes be distracting.

 

If you ask us, good tunes are an essential part of any good 2K rowing strategy.  We wouldn’t be caught dead without them!

 

Here are some of our favorite high-energy instrumentals. Your perfect PR tune might be here!

 

One note: We HIGHLY recommend testing your playlist in advance, too. There’s nothing worse than a song you love rocking out to in your kitchen that ends up going right up your spine when you’re gasping for air on the erg.

 

 

 

When you’re done

 

Don’t forget the cooldown!! You’ll probably need a minute to recover/gasp for breath when you’re done, but then it’s important to take at least a few minutes to help your heart rate ease back to a range where you can talk normally.

 

Give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for a job well done, too!!

 

For further reading:

 

3 Tips for Better Rowing Technique

 

There’s nothing we love more than getting a juicy question in our social media DMs or blog comments. Like this one:

 

“I’ve been rowing for a while and I know I’ve developed some bad habits that I need to shake. Help!”

 

Does that one resonate with you?

 

If it does and you’re feeling a little “meh” about your rowing stroke, know that you’re in good company!

 

We all feel this way sometimes, or even a lot of the time.

 

Congratulations, you’re a rower!

 

Just like in golf, get a bunch of rowers around a table and, most likely even before the first pint of beer is empty, the conversation will make its way to technique.

 

From novice to Olympian, it’s “I’m not getting my hands away fast enough at the finish,” “I want to connect better at the catch,” etc. etc. [Actual statements heard from the mouths of super-seasoned veterans.]

 

3 EPIC TIPS TO HELP YOU ROW LIKE A BOSS

 

That’s awesome, you may be saying, but what do I actually DO??

 

To answer the question of how to fix a broken rowing stroke we called in an expert: UCanRow2 / Concept2 Master Instructor Cassi Niemann, a 20-year rowing and coaching veteran, trainer of rowing instructors and creator of our RowReady course.

 

Whether it’s your stroke you’re working on or your students’, the right approach is to go back to the basics.

 

Read More

Rowing for Weight Loss

Updated Nov. 15, 2020

 

What’s your biggest goal related to rowing? If you’re like most people, you’d love to use the machine to drop some weight. “Rowing for weight loss” and similar terms are perennial favorite Google searches.

 

New year, new month or just new week, it’s the number one goal that people have when it comes to rowing and their health.

 

And with good reason!

 

The rowing machine is a GREAT tool for weight loss, one of the best around.

 

It’s low-impact and at the same time, it targets virtually every muscle on every stroke, allowing you to burn as much as 800 calories per hour or more.

 

Super efficient, super effective and safe, especially when you do it with a certified instructor.

 

Rowing has helped countless people in our UCanRow2 community lose weight and keep it off. Me included!

 

what’s the best way to lose weight on the rowing machine?

 

We often hear from people who have set BIG meter targets rowed in a short period of time as their strategy for losing weight.

 

That’s great if it works for you, but it may not be what works well over time, and there are definitely some important factors to consider in implementing such a strategy.

 

A decade ago, my approach to rowing and weight loss was to row as many meters as I could, as many days of the week as I could.

 

If I’m completely honest, hours and hours of straight cardio was probably never the right thing. It just worked in the beginning because I was moving consistently.

 

Here’s the deal: Particularly when you’re rowing for weight loss purposes, doing hours and hours of steady-state training can be counterproductive.

 

Whaaaat? You mean my 20k-a-day-every-day strategy isn’t a winner?

 

Quite possibly not, especially over the long haul.

 

 

Here’s the problem with that kind of “chronic cardio”:

 

  • It doesn’t help build significant strength as much as resistance training does

 

 

  • Even though rowing is a great calorie burner, it’s still easy to eat back those calories – and more – if you’re not careful. Especially since rowing can make you really hungry. The laws of thermodynamics haven’t changed, friends. To lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit.

 

 

  • Rowing is a repetitive motion as well as being a great total-body non-impact activity. Too much of a good thing is still too much. I dealt with a lot of tennis elbow when I was rowing 2+ hours a day back when I initially lost my weight. All these years later, it still comes back on occasion when I go too hard.

 

 

  • Particularly as we age, too much exercise can be perceived by the body as a stressor. The body doesn’t distinguish between “good stress” and “bad stress.” If you’re menopausal or dealing with other issues where stress management is critical, you really want to pay attention to this.

 

 

So if your “Just Row” workout won’t get you there, what will?

 

 

  • SOME steady-state, moderate-intensity long rows yes, one or two workouts a week.

 

  • Higher-intensity workouts. The kind that get you really breathless and that you can’t do for very long. Think a few minutes of rowing hard followed either by an easy-rowing (paddle) break or getting off the machine and doing other exercises or stretches.

 

  • Lifting Heavy Things: Your bodyweight is a great place to start for this, but also adding additional weight with dumbbells, kettlebells, or machines if you have them. You don’t have to get fancy though. Soup cans or milk jugs filled with water or sand make good weights, too. 

 

  • A good amount of NEAT aka non-exercise activity thermogenesis. That’s just plain no-sweat movement to you and me. Walking, fidgeting, super easy peddling on a BikeErg or other stationary bicycle.

 

Even very light rowing might fall into this category as long as you’re not getting breathless. That 10k-steps-a-day goal you have? It fits here. So does stretching and restorative yoga.

 

The more the better on this one.

 

  • Don’t forget the rest! Resist the temptation to work out 7 days a week. Your body needs rest and recovery, too. That’s when your muscles rebuild from the strain you intentionally put them under during your workouts.

Keep this mantra in mind: “You progress in the rest.”

 

 

Plan on at least 1-2 days of rest per week and as many as 3 depending on how hard you’re going in your workouts.

 

 

How can you tell if you need more rest? If you’re feeling tired all the time, if your results in the gym go down rather than up, if your sleep quality declines, if your previously easy workouts consistently feel hard, if you’re super sore all the time. More info on overtraining here.

 

  • Get Your Zzzzs: You’ve heard a million times that sleep is essential for so many of our body’s functions and processes to work their best. It’s just as true for weight loss.

 

If you’re not getting adequate sleep losing weight will be SO much harder. So make bedtime and sleep hygiene a priority! Want more help with this? Check out this interview we did with a sleep expert.

 

 

Sample Rowing Workouts for Weight Loss

 

 

Ok! So what workouts can you do to get started down the road to a lighter you?

 

[As always, check with your doctor before beginning any rowing program and be sure that you are cleared to do this exercise.]

 

if you’re a beginner at rowing

 

If you’re brand new to rowing, start by rowing just for 3-5 minutes at a time. Then get up, stretch, grab a drink, see how you feel.

 

Work your way up to doing 3 rounds of 5-6 minutes, maybe trying a few harder strokes along the way.

 

Once that feels comfortable, and you can row for 20-30 minutes without stopping, you are ready to move on to more.

 

For that long workout we mentioned above, set a goal of getting to where you can row 30 minutes to an hour at a moderate pace. Pop in your headphones and your favorite tunes or a movie. Row steadily at a pace where you could talk but don’t want a long conversation.

 

If you’d like to break that workout up to keep it interesting, try working up to doing 3 rounds of 10 minutes of rowing with 5 to 10 minutes of easy rowing recovery time in between.

 

Mix up your workouts!

 

Variety is the spice of life and the antidote to boredom. Do, however, try to do the same type of workout on the same day each week.

 

Having a framework like that has been shown to support fitness.

 

Once you’re feeling more comfortable with your rowing and are ready to progress, mix in some interval training (the undefined rest feature on the Concept2 rowing machine makes this easy).

 

For starters try:

 

workout 1

 

1-3 rounds of 5-10 minutes of rowing at 22-24 strokes per minute

10 push-ups

10 high knees

10 sit-ups

 

WORkout 2

Terrific Tens (From our book 101 Best Rowing Workouts)

 

1-5 Rounds

 

Row 2 mins.
10 crunches
10 squats (with a TRX or other support if needed)
10 push-ups (off a wall or box if needed)

 

If you have weight equipment available try:

 

workout 3

 

1-3 Rounds

 

Row 1000 meters

10 dumbbell presses

10 bicep curls

10 dumbbell lateral raises

10 bodyweight or weighted squats

 

Want more help with this?

 

  • RowReady on Demand is our online course for beginners or anyone who wants a comprehensive, done-for-you way to master the rowing machine.

 

 

What questions do you have on this topic? Drop them in the comments, we’d love to help!

Best Gifts for Rowers

 

If you’re like us, you’re always on the lookout for the best gifts for rowers. We can be hard to buy for!

 

If you’ve got a rower on your gift list you know what a challenge it can be to find things they’ll love. You have YOUR favorite seat pad or pair of erging shoes, but what if your gift-ee doesn’t roll that way? 

 

Ah, the struggle is real! 

 

Have no fear, we’re here to help! We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite indoor rowing and rowing-related products to help you the next time you need the perfect birthday, holiday, or anniversary gift.  UCanRow2 rower tested, and approved!

 

Scroll on down for the list. Check back often, too. We’ll update this list with new products as we get a chance to test them and love them. 

 

Happy gifting!

 

 

Best Gifts for Rowers

 

ROWING JEWELRY

 

We asked our friends at Rubini Jewelers to make us some special pieces that would celebrate the indoor rower on your list. We’re biased, of course, but these are some of our favorite gifts for rowers!

 

1. Erger Pendant

Sterling Silver Erger Pendant 

This raised, sterling silver pendant is another UCanRow2 exclusive design. Make your allegiances known to the world: Shout it from the rooftops, “Indoor rowing is MY sport!”

 Buy it now!

 

 

2. Erg Flywheel Post Earrings

Rowing Ergometer Flywheel Post Earrings

 

These iconic, classic circle stud earrings are a must-have! Designed for us exclusively by Rubini, these sterling silver, flywheel-inspired earrings are subtle, but will catch the eye of all your erging friends, who will instantly be in on the joke.

 

Want them as dangles? Or cufflinks? Rubini can do that too! Drop them an email at info@rubinijewelers.com and ask. Tell them we sent you!

 Buy it now!

 

3. Erging Rower Brooch

Erging Rower Pin

 

This intricate brooch is crafted with quality sterling silver will be a finishing touch for all rowing lovers.

Buy it now!

 

SNAX!

4. Erg! Bars

Assortment 60 ERG! Bars - Event or School Program?

Could there be a more perfect snack for an indoor rower?? We think not!

 

Bonus, these energy bars taste delicious! They’re also minimally processed and nutrient-dense, pretty much the perfect snack for your next Hour of Power erg session.

 

12 flavors to choose from! (A favorite: Apricot P’Butter.)

 Buy it now!

 

GEAR

 

 

It’s so hard to pick a favorite here. We love so many fitness apparel brands (Athleta especially!), but the gear from JL Athletics that’s made by rowers, for rowers, is hard to beat. Here are our go-tos. 

 

 

6. Compression Wick Trou

Image result for compression wick trou

 

 

Moisture-wicking compression shorts are our go-to shorts. Basic but super comfortable, durable and affordable.

We LOVE Athleta tights too, but these last better than anything.

 Buy it now!

 

7. The Fat Ergos Collection 

bottoms tights trou workout pant sweats sweatpants shorts capri bibshorts Fat Ergos Trou Navy Fat Ergos $10-$50, Bottoms, Men's, Original Trou, Trou, Women's $42.95 Size XSmall JLAthletics

 

 

If the erg is your jam, is there really any other way to play? We especially love these shorts that are festooned with ergs (especially because the seat is double-lined to protect your back end during those long erging sessions). They’ve got other styles, too, including unis. Dress it up for your next 2k race!

Buy it now!

 

 

 

8. Vertical Houndstooth Comfy Tights

Image result for Vertical Houndstooth Comfy Tights

 

 

These tights are so comfy; you won’t want to take them off.

 

Perfect if you row in the garage or anywhere else that’s chilly.

 

High-performance knit with a cotton-comfy stretch is designed for comfort and durability.

 Buy it now!

 

9. Women’s Polyrpro Erg Trou

Image result for Women's Polypro Erg Trou

 

 

 

Dreaming of a longer erg short with a yoga-style waistband (no drawstring)?

You’ll love this soft and flexible construction.

 But it now!

 

10. Tablet Mount for Indoor Rower

 

 

 

If you know a Concept2 rower who likes to watch movies or do online workouts while they row (or BikeErg), this might be JUST the thing to put under their tree!

No more propping the iPad up on a random collection of boxes and books and hoping against hope it doesn’t fall over on your next power 10!

 Buy it now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need other ideas?

A stocking stuffer, perhaps, or a small thank-you gift? Our certified instructors are FULL of great ideas!

 

  • Seat pads

 

  • AirPods for wireless rowing

 

  • Phone cradle for Concept2 monitor

 

  • Spotify subscription

 

  • Deep blue essential oil rub from DoTerrra for sore muscles

 

  • Tower fan so you can row with a breeze

 

  • Rock My Run music app subscription

 

  • Wod & Done thumb protection tape for long rows

 

  • 3-in-1 oil and a fresh rag for chain oiling and other maintenance

 

  • Batteries for the monitor

 

  • Cycle by Body Glide to prevent chafing on long rows

 

  • Microfiber cloths for erg and sweat cleanups

 

  • Spray bottle of glass cleaner to wipe down the erg. antibacterial clothes for the handle and seat

 

What did we miss?

 

What’s missing on this list that you can’t live without, and we shouldn’t either? Drop it in the comments below and maybe we’ll add it to the next update!

Crush the Gym With A Rowing Workout Warm Up

 

Let’s talk workout prep! What’s your typical workout warm up like?

 

If you’re like most people, left to your own devices you’ll spend less than 5 minutes doing something where you’re randomly moving. You’re like to be paying more attention to the TV, a magazine, or your friend on the machine next to you than you are actually preparing for your workout.

 

We get it, we’ve all done it. Especially when we’re in a hurry or coming into the workout feeling frazzled and still “buzzing” from the rest of our day.

 

Here’s our CALL to you: Don’t waste the WORKOUT warm up!

 

A few minutes of chatter or TV is totally fine and a welcome respite. But after that, you need to get serious about ramping it up.

 

It’s super important, both physically and mentally.

 

The warmup is your chance to:

 

  • prepare your heart, muscles, and joints for the harder effort of the workout ahead

 

  • refresh your muscle memory and drill into your rowing technique so you can get the most out of your workout and prevent injury (if you’re doing a rowing workout that day

 

  • shake off the rest of the day and transition mentally into your workout

 

Your workout time is self-care, friend! Give yourself the gift of giving it your full attention.

 

Don’t just think you can spend 2 or 3 minutes and call it good, either.

 

The older we get the more workout warm up we need.  But no matter how old we are, we still need to dedicate at least 5-10 minutes to getting our engine going.

 

A quick way to tell if you’ve warmed up properly: You’ve broken a sweat by the end of it and you’re breathing a little harder, but you’re not completely out of breath.

 

Even if your main workout doesn’t involve rowing, the erg and its total-body, non-impact exercise is a fantastic place to prepare for any other kind of effort.

 

PS: They also make fabulous beginner rowing workouts. Pick one you like, do a round, and check in with how you’re feeling. Then do a second or even a third time through if you’re feeling up for it!

 

Try This: Workout Warm Up on the Rowing Machine

 

Here are three warmups we love. They’ll get you ready for your workout, and you’ll have fun doing them, too!

 

Whichever workout you pick, do a few minutes of easy rowing first. If rowing at full slide (coming all the way to the catch position) doesn’t feel good at the very beginning, this is your chance to warm up into it. Start out rowing at half- or three-quarters slide first!

 

Want some technique refreshers and drills to work on while you warm up? Our YouTube channel and our RowReady training program are chock-full of drills and other helpful rowing hints.

On to the workouts!

From our RowReady workout program

4 minutes at a stroke rate of 22 strokes per minute

3 minutes at 24 spm

2 minutes at 26 spm

1 minute at 28 spm

 

From our upcoming book 101 Best Rowing Workouts

For each round, row 10 strokes at the prescribed stroke rate, then 20 strokes at whatever rate feels comfortable for a warmup. On the early rounds, that rate may actually be higher than what you’re doing on the 10 “on” strokes.

 

Round 1: 10 strokes at 20 spm

Round 2: 10 strokes at 20 spm

Round 3: 10 strokes at 22 spm

Round 4: 10 strokes at 22 spm

Round 5: 10 strokes at 24 spm

 

An on-water rowing classic

Total time: 15 mins (approx.)

1 stroke hard, one easy

2 strokes hard, two easy

And so on up to 10 strokes hard, 10 easy

 

No prescribed stroke rates here, just do what feels like a good effort on the hard strokes and catch your breath on the easy strokes.

 

BONUS: Row Along With This Workout Warm up

Do the all-important pick drill plus a stroke rate pyramid with Master Instructor (and Olympian) Heather Alschuler! Ready to row in under 10 minutes!

 

 

Try these warmups and let us know in the comments which one was your favorite!

 

Want to add on a full-on workout after the warmup?

These should do the trick:

 

UCanRow2 Basic Workouts

Meter Monster & Flywheel Frenzy training programs

Monster Meter endurance rowing workouts

 

Tweetables:

 

 

 

5 Row Machine Workouts Rowers Love to Hate

 

5 row machine workouts that rowers love to hate - use these to build your rowing machine endurance

 

 

When was the last time you did a longer row machine workout? Like one that took you 30 minutes or more.

 

Does the very thought make you want to tear your hair out? We get it! These days everyone wants to stick to the workouts we can get through in 25 minutes or less.

 

We LOVE that approach too, and they’re the bread and butter of our UCanRow2 workouts.

 

But there are very good reasons why you should mix in a longer workout or two a week:

 

3 reasons why you should do endurance workouts

 

They help build your cardio base, which will not only give you more stamina on the rowing machine, it will help you do things like take long walks in the woods, ride your bike for multiple miles or chase after children or grandchildren for hours.

 

They give you a different kind of challenge. Research has found that in general, the more you switch things up, the better your results (unless you’re following a specific training plan, of course.

 

They help you get better at rowing. Better rowing = better results.

 

There’s tremendous value in simply putting in the time to master your rowing technique.

 

Can you learn to row well 500 meters at a time? Eventually, maybe. But you’ll get way more bang from your buck with at least some dedicated time.

 

With that in mind, we asked Cassi Niemann and Cheryl Arends, two of our master instructors who also do quite a bit of on-water racing, for some of their favorite dryland rowing workouts.

 

Or maybe better put, erg workouts they love to hate.

 

These workouts are all-rowing, sometimes longer than usual, and often more specific about the prescribed stroke rating (the number of strokes you take in a minute).

 

Try these workouts as a nice way to switch it up, build some cardio base or practice your sprints. And channel your inner on-water racer.

 

5 row machine workouts that rowers love to hate

To warm up:

 

Here’s a 10-minute warmup number that Cassi’s boat club likes to do:

4 minutes at 22 strokes per minute
3 mins at 24 spm
2 mins at 26 spm
1 min at 28 spm

NOTE: We’re old, so we would try to do a few more minutes at 22 spm if we have time.

 

To work on speed:

 

WORKOUT 1

Three rounds of 6 minutes with a 3-minute paddle rest in between:

2 mins at 20 strokes per minute
1 min at 26 spm
2 mins at 22 spm
1 min at 28-30 spm

 

NOTE: In rowing you don’t stop until the workout (or the race!) is over. Instead, you “paddle,” by rowing easy with no pressure.

 

 

WORKOUT 2

6 rounds of 1000 meters at mid-race pace (you could give a one- or two-word answer to a question but not more).

 

Do the first three rounds using a racing start. On the last three rounds ramp up as you start the piece, then sprint to the finish.

 

 

WORKOUT 3

Row the following pyramid:

250m – 500m – 750m – 1000m – 750m – 500m – 250m, with 3 mins paddle rest between each piece.

 

To work on endurance:

 

WORKOUT 1

2 25-minute rounds at 18-20 spm

 

NOTE: Our 10 ways to kill 10K post might help you get through this one.

 

 

WORKOUT 2

12-minute rounds at 16-19 strokes per minute, working on driving powerfully and a S-L-O-W recovery.

 

Cheryl’s crew does 6 rounds of this (OMG!).  Listen to your body and cut that back as needed. We recommend starting with no more than TWO rounds and taking it from there.

 

If you’re doing this correctly, by driving HARD (but smoothly) off the catch and then really taking your time on the recovery, you’ll be breathing hard despite the slow stroke rate and you’ll probably feel it in your glutes.

 

 

 

5 rowing workouts that rowers love to hate

 

Whew! We’re sweating just thinking about these row machine workouts.  If you try one we’d love to hear how it goes; drop a comment below.

 

And we’re always looking to help you with your fitness, nutrition and mindset challenges, so let us know what’s on your mind and we’ll cover it in a future post.

 

 

 

For further reading:

 

Want to try some other meters-only row machine workouts? Check out our endurance rowing workouts.

Need help to get started with rowing? Our RowReady beginner rowing program is perfect.

Want a done-for-you training program of row machine workouts? Have a look out our #MeterMonster program.

Test your newfound endurance skills with our 10 ways to kill a 10K row.

Want to get a new workout in your inbox every week? Sign up for our newsletter.

Try This: Father’s Day Workout for Rowers

What better way to honor dad than by doing a rowing workout out with him? Grab a Father's Day workout - or three!

 

 

Fathers get no respect when it comes to their special day.

 

Tools and ties, yes. But do a keyword search for “Father’s Day workout” and the term isn’t even searched enough to rank as something that’s highly sought after. Never mind a father’s day workout on the rowing machine, which we think is the best kind of workout for dads, obvi.

 

We’re here to change that.

 

We put our heads together with our certified instructors and came up with 4 brand new rowing workouts (or SkiErg or BikeErg) that would be great ways to celebrate dad on Father’s Day, or any other time. Because every day is a great day to lift up the big guy, right?

 

 

Three of these sweat fests are interval workouts that will have you on and off the rowing machine. The fourth is a chance to see what you can do with a challenging rowing-only workout. That’s just how some dads like to roll with their Father’s Day workout, and we’re cool with that.

 

Try them and see what you think, then post your thoughts and results in the comments.

 

A NOTE BEFORE WE BEGIN: These workouts assume that everyone rowing has some experience on the machine. As always, let your fitness and your gut be your guide.  The rowing machine meets you where you are and takes you as far as you want to go. That means that YOU can decide every day how hard you want to work.

 

If this will be your or dad’s first rowing workout, or one of them, be sure he checks with his doctor before beginning any new physical activity.

 

Bring on the Father’s Day Workout!

 

Father’s Day Workout #1

 

This workout, a descending ladder of push-ups mixed with rowing, one comes courtesy of Certified Instructor Jake Ballestrini of ErgX Fitness in Uncasville, CT.

 

“Growing up, my dad always used to base one’s strength on how many push-ups you could do in a row,” Jake says. “So this screams Father’s Day to me.”

 

PUSH-PULL

Do a descending ladder of 15 down to 1 push-ups, with a 200-meter row in between each set of push-ups.

That means that you will first do 15 push-ups then row 200 meters. Then do 14 push-ups, row 200 meters, and so on until you get down to 1 push up and 200 meters.

 

For those of you counting at home that means you will do a total of 3000ish meters of rowing and a whooooole lot of push-ups (120 to be exact). Adjust as needed as fatigue sets in by making the push-ups easier.  Form first always, so if you need to drop to your knees, do your push-ups with your hands on a box or off a wall, do that.

 

Ain’t no shame in scaling, and this one will catch up with you!

 

It’s a great workout for any time of year, though, because push-ups are a perfect complement to the pulling motion of rowing. Yay for muscle balance!

 

 

FATHER’S DAY WORKOUT #2

 

Here’s a workout they love at Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights in Arlington Heights, IL. Certified Rowing Instructor Karen Inman dreamed up this CrossFit-style workout. It’s a bit more advanced than the first workout and it follows a theme we love to do with holiday and birthday workouts: Include the month and date in the class design.

 

KEEPIN’ IT 1600

Buy In: 1600m Row or SkiErg (double the meters on the BikeErg)
+
16 Dad (Man) Makers
* 6 Sculling Sit-Ups or regular every 4 Man Makers
+
Cash Out: 1600m Row or SkiErg (Double the meters on the BikeErg)

 

 

Father’s Day Workout #3

 

Do IT For Dad

Six rounds:

 

Row 600m (double the meters on the BikeErg)

16 KB swings

20 Thrusters / squats

19 Sit-ups

 

 

Father’s Day Workout #4

 

This one isn’t Father’s-Day specific, but it will DEFINITELY give dad a good chance to sweat. From the cauldron of Master Instructor Heather Alschuler.

 

Mountain Climb

 

Set your monitor for variable intervals and enter the distance you’d like to go for each one, with 30 seconds rest time.

 

Row 100m at 20 strokes per minute

Rest 30 seconds

Row 200m at 22spm

Rest: 30

Row 300m at 24

Rest: 30

Row 400m at 26

Rest: 30

Row 300m at 24

Rest: 30

Row 200m at 22

Rest: 30

Row 100m at 20

 

Finished and feeling like you want more? Try adding one more mountain climb and repeat the entire set once again.

 

How did you do?

Did you try the workouts? How did you like them? Let us know in the comments, we’re seriously curious!

 

Need more workouts?

Want even more? Grab our FREE #GetFlywheelFit workout set. You get 11 classic UCanRow2 workouts that will get you burning fat and building strength. No more thinking about what kind of workout to do!