3 Rowing Machine Workouts to Get You Back on Track

If you've fallen off the pace with your rowing machine workouts lately, here are three new workouts to get you back in the swing.


We’ve all been there.  You’re going along fine with your rowing machine workouts.  Showing up for them according to your plan, feeling like you could conquer the world when you’re done.  Nothing’s going to stop you now!

And then life gets in the way.  You get sick, you go on vacation, you get an injury that requires you to lay off for a while. One day you wake up and you realize, “I’ve gotten way off track.”  Days or weeks have gone by without a real workout happening.

Now what?  First off, stop and take a deep breath.  Getting off track with your workouts is totally normal.  It doesn’t make you bad, wrong, or any kind of a failure.  It makes you human.




As soon as you realize you’ve fallen off your plan, don’t stew over it, and certainly don’t beat yourself up.  It happens to everyone at some point, and it’s completely fine.  The worst thing you can do is decide, “I’ll never be able to stay consistent with my rowing machine workouts no matter what I do.”  The worst thing you can do is decide to skip the gym or turn your rowing machine into a clothes hanger.

Rather than abandon all hope (totally unproductive and defeating), give yourself a clean slate to work from and and make a plan for how you’re going to get back on track.  Get started, TODAY.

If it’s been a while, make sure you ease into it.  Just because you USED to work out for 60 minutes a day, 6 days a week doesn’t mean you can or should after a long layoff.  Set yourself up to be successful: Aim to move 2-3 days a week for a few weeks, then build from there.

Then, once you have your plan in place, tell someone about it.  A real, live person you know where you live is great, but failing that Facebook or another social media platform is an excellent alternative.  Just be sure you declare it “out loud,” and ask people to check in with you from time to time.  Accountability is key, and it’s harder to hide when you announce your intentions to the world!



3 rowing Machine workouts to jump-start your restart

One of the great things about the rowing machine is it meets you where you are, regardless of your current fitness level.  Since the rowing machine is an ergometer, you are always in control of how hard it is to row.  The harder you push-pull, the harder it will be to do so, and vice versa.

A little variety doesn’t hurt to keep you consistent either.  So to start you back on the right track, here are three rowing workouts, 1 tried-and-true, and 2 brand new.  They showcase the three formats we typically use in our UCanRow2 Bodyshop classes: Erg (aka rowing machine) only, erg with bodyweight, and erg with equipment.

They’re all great and will give you a fantastic sweat.  You decide which one works best for you!

NOTE: Warm up well before each workout, keeping in mind the axiom: “The shorter the workout, the longer the warmup.”




Row intervals of 1-2-3-3-2-1 mins. (total 6 rounds), with the same amount of rest on each round.  Total time for the workout (without warmup or cooldown) is 24 minutes.

Start each round with a few short strokes to get going and build to your rating.  Each piece (interval) should be done at 80 percent of your max.  How do you know what that is?  You’re rowing at a pace at which you can talk but you’d rather not.

Aim for a stroke rating between 24 and 30 strokes per minute.  Use how you feel to determine what stroke rating to hold.  Your goal is to maintain the same split within about 5 seconds on each round.  If you find you can’t talk, you’re going too hard!

Make it easier: Back off on the intensity, or lower your stroke rating
Make it harder: Work to take 5-10 seconds off your split on each round


AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) 20 mins of:
Row 500m
10 lunges
10 push-ups
10 burpees / step-ups
8 thrusters / squats
25 jumping jacks
3 broad jumps

Make it easier: Lower intensity on the row / reduce the number of off-erg moves or do the scaled options – the second choice when there are two listed
Make it harder: Increase intensity on the erg, up the workout time by 5-10 mins.



4 Rounds, descending pyramid:

Row 1 minute
In between do 12-9-7-5 repetitions of:
TRX or weighted squats / air squats
Push press
KB swings

Make it easier: Eliminate the exercises on the last round, instead ending with the 4th row as a sprint
Make it harder: Add a round of 15 repetitions at the beginning


Give them a try, and we would be truly be thrilled and honored if you would comment below and let us know how you liked them, and if anything especially worked or didn’t work.

If you want more rowing machine workouts like this be sure to join our email list; We send out new workouts every week, along with other great content you won’t see anywhere else.

One quick caution, because Safety First and Do No Harm are our guiding principles: The workouts we post here are intended for people with at least some rowing experience.  If you’re new to the rowing machine, we recommend you find a certified indoor rowing instructor to help with the basics.  Also hit up our YouTube channel and our blog post on rowing technique for videos and articles that will help you refresh and review.

Row on!

What do you do when you fall off your indoor rowing training horse? Don't despair, or feel bad! Instead, get re-started right away with these three rowing machine workouts. Want more like this? Visit our workouts page: https://ucanrow2.com/indoor-rowing-workouts/

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