Sweat This (Rowing), Not That (Other Cardio Stuff)

Great to see Men’s Health magazine and the terrific Eat This, Not That series recognizing the calorie torching benefits of rowing in a Sweat This, Not That post.  “Rowing burns the most calories and works the most muscles, including muscles in your back, and also improves posture,” the magazine notes, and it even references a Brazilian study that indicates you can burn more than 25 percent more calories if you’re rowing on the water.

Either way, rowing and weight loss are a natural combination, and it’s a non-impact, total-body activity that you can do throughout your life.  Want some good rowing workouts to get you started?  We have them for you here, and if you’d like to read how it worked for one person check out Sarah’s Story.

Want to learn how to row better and get more out of your rowing workouts? Find a certified instructor near you or attend one of our Indoor Rowing Foundations trainings.

Generating Power on the Rowing Machine

Updated Sept. 25, 2018

How to generate power on the rowing machine. Get more out of your #rowing workout with this drill. Then test your progress on these FREE rowing interval workouts. Low-impact fat burners and strength builders, they'll get you in and out in 25 minutes or less: http://bit.ly/GetFlywheelFit #rowing #fitness #rowingmachine #row #rowworkout #concept2 #indoorrowing


How’s your rowing workout been lately? Would you like to get more of the benefits of rowing machine workouts?  We hear all the time from people who say they’re not performing as well as they’d like.  They want to get their times down and their meters up but they’re not sure how to do that.


The difference between a good workout and a great one is in how you apply power on every stroke.  That’s true whether your goals are getting a PR on your next 2K, losing 20 lbs. or simply making the most of the time you have on the machine.


In this video, UCanRow2 founder Terry Smythe shows you how to use your monitor to gauge your power output.  She also gives you a drill that will help you get faster and stronger on the machine.



Rowing Technique – Generating Power from UCanRow2 on Vimeo.



Key Benefits of Rowing Machine Workouts

  • One-stop shopping workout: Rowing is a total-body workout
  • Non-impact: It works virtually every muscle on every stroke, with no impact
  • It meets you where you are – if you can hold a handle and pull, the rowing machine can probably be modified to fit your needs
  • It takes you as far as you want to go – From easy, relaxing rows to some of the toughest competition in sport, the rowing machine is there for you.
  • You’re never too old to row: No matter your age, there’s a rowing record in your category, and since the machine is gentle on the joints, there really is no limit to when you can start rowing
  • Cross training: Rowing is great cross-training, and a great break, for athletes who do other sports.  Running, triathlon, skiing, cycling and more.
  • Weight loss: Because the rowing machine is non-impact, and offers such a great variety of workout options, it’s perfect for people who want to lose weight, a little or a lot.


What questions do you have about building more power in your stroke and workouts?  Post them in the comments below and we’ll answer!


Want workouts that put this all together for you, in a downloadable package that’s ready to take to the gym or your home rowing machine?  Check out our Meter Monster and Flywheel Frenzy rowing workout programs.


How to generate power on the rowing machine - a drill to help you row faster from https://ucanrow2.com Try this technique on these FREE low-impact rowing workouts: http://bit.ly/GetFlywheelFit #rowingworkouts #row #rowing #crossfit #wod #lowimpactworkout #rowingtechnique #fitness


For Further Reading:

Ramp Up Your Rowing Workout With Undefined Rest

10 Indoor Rowing Workouts to Kill 10K

Interval Workout of the Day: Ramp it Up

Indoor Rowing in the News: Rowing a Low-Impact Workout with High Results

We travel all over the United States doing indoor rowing training and generally turning people on to the sport. One of the coolest places we’ve ever been is Fitness Pointe in Munster, IN, where we had the good fortune to visit the day that member Judy Abbott hit 2 million meters rowed during last year’s month-long Concept2 World Erg Challenge (WOW!!!).

The NWI Times has just profiled the group, which had 254 members in this year’s rowing challenge, in which they marked their third challenge win.  This group totally gets the benefits of rowing, both the physical and the emotional, community-building: The story quotes Fitness Pointe fitness supervisor Nikki Sarkisian on the benefits of rowing: “Rowing is a great cardiovascular workout,” she says. “However, it can also be a muscular endurance workout for those individuals that row 100,000 meters or more during one workout.”

Read the full story here.

10 Fitness Apps to Rev Up Your Workout and Boost Performance

I can't I have to rowIf it’s true that rowing is the ultimate cross-training sport (and of course we heartily agree with that idea), then there must be other fitness activities that are worth doing, or that are great cross training for rowing – like cycling.   And anything worth doing is worth tracking, especially if you’re looking to improve your performance.

Mashable is out today with a list of 10 Fitness Apps that Boost Your Strength, Speed and Stamina.  The running Zombies are there, a cool Hundred Push-Ups fitness app (that we will definitely be trying) is there, and so is a new cycling and running tracking tool that was promoted during the Tour de France, Strava.

In the comments Mashable took some hits for forgetting Endomondo, one of the most popular online communities / workout trackers. BONUS: Endomondo tracks your on-water rowing workouts!

Tracking indoor rower workouts on the Concept2 rowing machine and SkiErg is easy thanks to the C2 monitor, but even we don’t sit on the erg EVERY day (unless of course a rowing challenge is in progress).  You gotta get outside when you can; it’s great to have tools that help us keep the same kind of tabs on our outdoor workouts as we can on our indoor ones.

Give these apps a try one during your weekend workouts and let us know what you think.  Anybody using any of these already?  Do any, besides Endomondo do a decent job of tracking indoor or on-water rowing workouts? What’s the best fitness app in your mind?  Tell us in the comments.

Introducing Personalized Indoor Rowing Technique Reviews

UCanRow2/Concept2 master instructor Terry Smythe gives personal rowing technique reviewDo you have a Concept2 indoor rower at home, or use one at your gym?  Are you a competitive indoor rower who’s interested in improving your performance on the machine?  Maybe you’ve been rowing for a while and would like to brush up on your indoor rowing technique or get new rowing workout ideas.

A new offering from UCanRow2 may be just the ticket: Personalized rowing technique reviews from anywhere in the world with a UCanRow2/Concept2 master instructor via Skype, video or in person.

“Often just a few simple tweaks to a person’s rowing machine technique can make a major difference in the results they get – whether their goals are weight loss, fitness or a personal best in a 2k race,” said UCanRow2’s Terry Smythe, a UCanRow2/Concept2 master instructor.  “Not everyone is able to attend one of our full-day Concept2 Indoor Rowing Basic Course trainings,” she added, “and not everyone wants to learn to teach indoor rowing.  We’re excited to be able to offer this affordable, convenient alternative to people who want to row better and are not looking to teach classes.”

Technique reviews will be led by a UCanRow2/Concept2 master instructor.  In addition to teaching the Indoor Rowing Basic Course trainings, the master instructors all have years of experience teaching people at all skill levels to row on the water and on the rowing machine.  Reviews can be done either via live video (Skype, OoVoo, etc.), by submitting a video clip of your rowing technique or at an in-person session where the master instructors are located (Currently Washington, D.C. area, Chicago, Seattle, Oakland, CA, and Houghton, MI, and coming soon to several other major US cities).

One-hour technique reviews are available for $65 and can be arranged by emailing info@ucanrow2.com.

The Ultimate Erging Playlist

Indoor rowing classMusic for rowing classes or a great rowing playlist is always a big topic of discussion around the UCanRow2 office and Concept2 instructor trainings.  We usually tell people to aim for workout music with little to no lyrics and relatively slow beats per minute, usually in the 120 bpm range or slower.  Indoor cycling music is often ideal for workout playlists, as long as it allows you or your students time to really focus on their rowing technique and not get so lost in the tunes that proper rowing form goes out the window.

All of that being said, sometimes you have a really long steady state workout in front of you, or you need a musical pick-me-up to shake off the day, or you just want to get your groove on.  For all of that, enter Rowing Journal, which has published a list of 90 minutes of erging tunes they love.  Beyond just giving you the list of songs, their Ultimate Erging Playlist goes into some detail explaining which songs you might put at which point in a workout, be it a 2k test or a steady state 10k.

Rowing workout playlists are, of course, a very personal thing but we love the thinking behind this piece … plus it made us laugh!  For example:

“First and Foremost: If it reminds anyone of the dance routines young Spice Girl wannabes made up at primary school then it is not
acceptable erg music. Ever.

“High ratings must always be accompanied by up tempo, heavy rhythm music, ideally Classic/ Hard Rock or Wagnerian Opera. There is
a feeling of invincibility as you complete your 2K PB to the inspiring sounds of Ride of the Valkyries!

“Rap has all the musicality of a ringing telephone and is easily dismissed from this discussion. In fact, the only R&B allowed is R Kelly’s
World’s Greatest.”

Check out the whole article, it’s great reading! For those of you who can’t wait to reorganize your iPods though, here’s the Rowing Journal list (Personally, we’d rather stick hot needles in our eyes than row to Livin’ on a Prayer yet again, but there’s something here for pretty much everybody):

Thunderstruck – AC/DC
Come Follow Me – The Answer
Party Hard – Andrew WK
Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
Layla – Derek and the Dominoes (Good Rhythm setter)
Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
Fans – Kings of Leon
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
Smooth – Santana
Under Pressure – Queen
Baba O’Riley – The Who
Where The Street Have No Name – U2
Sunshine On Your Love – Cream
Peaceful, Easy Feeling – The Eagles
All Right Now – Free
Man’s World – James Brown
Grace – Jeff Buckley
Mars – Holst Planet Suite
Jupiter – Holst Planet Suite
Ride of the Valkyries – Wagner

What’s on your playlist for this weekend?  Tell us in the comments and we’ll try it in class next week!

Bob Harper’s Six Weight Loss Rules

Say what you will about The Biggest Loser (and we’ve definitely got our opinions about the show and the extreme levels of exercise it prescribes, along with the quality of the rowing training), trainer Bob Harper has had great success helping people on and off the show lose weight over the years.

He’s out today with a new book — and judging by how much he’s out there promoting it already he must be needing all his CrossFit strength just to get through it!  He was on NBC’s Today show this morning giving a quick overview of his rules.  Watch the video link and you’ll get the gist.

Anyway he’s got some good, commonsense ideas about what he calls the “non-negotiable” rules for losing weight, including drinking lots of water, eating lots of protein, and going to bed hungry (not eating within three hours of bedtime).  It’ll be interesting to see if what he’s done is also compatible with the Paleo diet, which is a such a big part of so many CrossFitters’ life.

Anybody planning on reading the book? How do you see this fitting into the lifestyle of rowers who want to lose weight? Is it realistic with early mornings, heavy-duty workouts and intense erg sessions?  Tell us in the comments.

Infographic: Down and Dirty Guide to Social Media

Admit it.  You could be spending more time promoting yourself and your business with social media.  We all could.  But there’s a lot of water there to be rowed with only so many hours in the day.  As we often tell people in our Programming Intensive course, some involvement in social media — well executed — is better than no involvement in social media.

The business consultant network Zintro has looked at the research and pulled together this social networking infographic to help you decide when to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ and what information to share on each.


In a nutshell:

  • Facebook is best for more personal interactions with your contacts
  • Twitter is a good resource for quick updates in real time, monitoring the chatter about your brand and industry/sport, and finding potential members/client
  • LinkedIn is where you want to be to showcase your professional side and highlight your accomplishments (more your awards than your PRs)
  • Google+ is a good place to start or have more in-depth conversations than you can on Twitter and with people you’re not yet connected to, as is required on Facebook.

Of course you can get a lot more involved than this in social media marketing for your fitness business, but this will help you hit the highlights.

Where are you marketing your fitness business online?  Share your links here!

Your Blueprint for Fitness Social Media Success … and Sanity

We hear comments like this in our trainings all the time (or see it in the eyes of those who don’t dare say it out loud): “You want me to work really hard at being a good rower myself, a good rowing instructor / personal trainer / CrossFit coach / pied piper/Energizer bunny for rowing who takes the sport out to my community … AND you want me to be out there with it on the Web and in social media?  What are you, crazy???”

NOT crazy!  As anybody who’s attended our Programming Intensive  knows, social media and fitness marketing essential to your offline, in-gym/box success.  People will check you out on Google long before they’ll cross your physical threshold.  They need to find you online AND find the same “person” there that they’ll get at your facility.  That’s the way to get people in your classes … and more importantly keep them there.

You can be as busy as you want online.  At UCanRow2 we have one person who spends most of her time promoting our activities there.  That’s overwhelming for most, we know and we’ll do a post soon about how to work your way gradually into this area.  In the meantime though, check out this awesome social media planner from Hubspot that will give you a good start on how to be effective while keeping it all under control.  The blueprint runs you through what do do Monday through Friday to stay up to date on what’s happening in your business, put your own spin on it, then get it out on Facebook, Twitter, your blog if you have one, etc.  Not blogging yet?  Think about it, you should at least have that in your sights for down the road. Substitute another content-generating activity like Facebook posts until you’re ready.

What’s your biggest fear about social media?  Your biggest success?  Share in the comments!

Facebook Timeline Toolkit

For those of you where were hoping against hope that Facebook would change its mind and not implement the Timeline, your erg has run out of chain: Timeline went into effect for all business pages on March 30; there’s no going back now (unless of course they change their minds again). The good news is it’s not as hard as you might think to convert to Timeline, and there are lots of advantages to it, particularly for activities that are visually appealing … like rowing!

The inbound marketing firm Hubspot (which has a blog you should be following if you’re at all interested in social media marketing for fitness) has published a helpful infographic to take you through the basics.  Download their free ebook for more information on how to make Timeline work for you.  Need a cheat sheet with photo sizes and the like? Dreamgrow has put one together.

Here are some of the key changes:

  • No more default “fan-gating” pages that require people to like your page before they can see your content (to me this is great news, I’d much rather have people join my online community because they can see what’s there and like it)
  • You can spotlight up to three icons on your cover page, along with About and Photos.  Check Concept2’s Facebook page for some nice ideas.
  • You have the option to pin content to make it visible to people for longer – that only lasts for 7 days though and then you have to create a new post and pin it
  • A new “Message” feature allows users to contact your business page in much the same way they can contact your personal page (instead of having to write on your wall)

It’s a Visual, Visual, Visual World

Timeline is definitely changing the way things work on Facebook, making it more visual and requiring that you post more good content for starters, but that’s where the Internet is headed anyway: You can barely take a step in social media online and not run into articles about the growth of Instagram, Pinterest, Slideshare, and Tumblr, all of which put heavy emphasis on visuals.  And then there’s photo-friendly Google+, which is growing slowly but surely and more importantly has a huge influence on Google search results.

Much of this is also influenced by the astounding adoption of mobile and smartphone applications, coupled with our ever-shrinking attention spans.  Whatever the reason, it’s a good time to get out there and learn to take at least some basic photos (and video).

What do you think of the new Timeline?  Love it? Hate it? What’s working for you? Share your opinions and experiences in the comments.

And more food for thought: Report: Studies Split on Whether Facebook Timeline Helps Brands