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!

 

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

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:

 

 

 

Interval Workout of the Day RAMP IT UP

Interval Workout of the Day: Burn fat and build strength fast with this AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workout. Adjust your weights as needed to keep yourself challenged, but also working hard to squeeze out the last couple of reps of each exercise. If your form fails, put the weight down and take a quick break until you feel ready to go again. #rowingmachineworkout #crossfitworkoutsforbeginners rowermachineworkout #intervalworkout #skiergworkout

 

Try this interval workout of the day on your own or in a group.  Pick whatever kind of weight you want to use on the weighted portion of the workout (the cleans, squats and presses).  You can use kettlebells, dumbbells, bars, milk jugs, cement blocks, or nothing at all.

 

Remember that our muscles don’t have eyes or egos, they only care about being challenged.   Pick up the weight that challenges you but also allows you to do the move correctly.   

 

Never sacrifice form for the sake of picking up heavier weight.  The minute your form fails, either move to a lighter weight or take a quick break until you feel ready to go again.  If you can’t do it correctly at all, call it a day for that exercise.

 

If you’re doing this interval workout of the day at the gym, don’t worry about how you look.  Just get busy!  Nobody’s looking closely anyway, they’re too worried about how THEY look.  Ha!

 

Interval workout: A NOTE FOR INSTRUCTORS

 

If you’re a personal trainer or group coach, this is a great one to do with multiple athletes, especially if you don’t have enough ergs for everyone.  You can easily have everyone start at a different point in the workout and work their way around the circuit.

 

Be sure to review each off-machine move before you begin class.  Remind your athletes of no more than a couple of key technique pointers for each exercise.  They won’t be able to keep much more than that in mind as they get tired.  

 

Want more workouts like this? Download our FREE workout set #GetFlywheelFit.  11 workouts you can do in 25 minutes or less. 

 

GET THE FREE WORKOUTS

 

Got an interval workout like this you’d like us to try?  Post it to the comments, we might add it to our online repertoire, and give you credit for it! 

 

You might also like: 

 

CrossRow Workouts

Row & GO Workouts

Rowing Workout Programs

 

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.

 

Updated Aug. 30, 2019

 

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.

 

 

 

HOW TO GET BACK ON TRACK  

 

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.”  Then give yourself permission to skip the gym and turn your home rowing machine into a clothes hanger.

 

Instead, give yourself a clean slate and make a plan for how you’re going to get back on track.  Like TODAY.

 

How to get back into working out

 

Ease Into It:

 

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 (or at all). Set yourself up to be successful: Aim to move 2-3 days a week for a few weeks, then build from there.

 

Do it until it’s so easy it’s automatic. Then move on.

 

Add the element of accountability:

 

Then, once you have your plan in place, tell someone about it.  A real, live person you know is spectacular, 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!

 

Be patient! 

 

You didn’t get out of shape or put on 10 lbs. in a week, you’re not going to reverse those quickly, either. All the more reason to make changes slowly and sustainably so that the effort doesn’t suck the life out of you.

 

The older we get, the longer it takes to see progress in fitness and nutrition. You might as well make it a ride you can enjoy.

 

 

 

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, all different styles.  They showcase the three formats we typically use in our UCanRow2 Bodyshop classes: Erg (aka rowing machine, SkiErg or BikeErg) 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.”

 

 

 

ERG-ONLY ROWING INTERVALS

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, where you’re rowing at a pace at which you can talk but you’d rather not.

 

Aim for a stroke rating between 24 and 28 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

ERG + BODYWEIGHT

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.

 

ERG + EQUIPMENT

4 rounds, descending pyramid:

Row 1 minute
In between do 12-9-7-5 repetitions of:
Push-ups
TRX or weighted squats / air squats
Push press
Sit-ups
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 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 and sign up for our RowReady course for beginners.

 

Also subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out our blog post on rowing technique for videos and articles that will help you refresh and review.

 

Ready for more? Check out our rowing workout programs Meter Monster and Flywheel Frenzy.

 

Need a little extra accountability? Share your plan in the comments and seal the deal!

 

 

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/

 

Rowing Technique: Perfecting the Stroke

Updated June 21, 2019


 

What rowing technique question do we get most often?  Right up there towards the top at least, it’s gotta be: “Can you just show me what a good rowing stroke looks like?”

 

 You asked for it, we’re happy to provide.  Regardless of your effort level, your stroke should always look smooth.  Legs first, then body, then arms on the drive; Arms, body, legs on the recovery.  That’s your rowing mantra, stroke after stroke after stroke.

 

Watch UCanRow2 founder Terry Smythe, one of the best in the business, as she rows below.  She was a veteran of the US national rowing team and spent 30+ years teaching indoor rowing so she knew her stuff.  Spend 30 seconds watching the rowers at your local gym and you’re likely to see anything BUT this.  Just because people are doing it doesn’t make it right!

 

via GIPHY

 

keys to perfecting your rowing technique

 

Some things to notice in Terry’s rowing stroke: Get the perfect, powerful rowing stroke with these handy tips #rowing #rowingtechnique #indoorrowing #crossfit

  • The torso swings from an 11-o’clock angle at the finish to 1 o’clock at the catch – no more, no less
  • Knees stay down on the recovery until the handle has passed them
  • The hands never stop moving, BUT (see below)
  • There is a slight pause of her torso at the finish while her hands start moving away from her body, back towards the flywheel
  • The handle moves pretty much straight back and forth, in just a slight ellipsis (think of your fingertips running across the top of the table on the drive, and your knuckles scraping the bottom of the table on the recovery)
  • The shins come to vertical at the catch – no more, no less
  • There is a 1 X 2 ratio between the drive and recovery (Say “Woof!” on the drive, “Meow!” on the recovery)
  • Toes maintain contact with the foot stretcher throughout the stroke
  • The damper is set at 3 (Not 10!)

 

HOW TO get better at indoor rowing

 

If your rowing technique doesn’t look like this don’t worry!  Rowing is a lot like golf, the relentless pursuit of the perfect stroke.  Everybody’s always working to improve some element of it or another.  And we do mean EVERYBODY.  It’s just part of the deal.  

 

Walk into the dining hall at Craftsbury Sculling Center (our favorite place to learn sculling).  You’ll hear everyone from newbie rowers on up to Olympic medalists chatting about the finer points of their strokes and how they’d like to improve them (“I’m not getting my hands away fast enough,” “I’m not pivoting enough at the hips.”)

 

So, if you’re stroke’s not where you want it, you’re in good company.  Start where you are, and keep working at it.  Get some help from a certified rowing instructor if you have one in your area.  If not, contact us, we can help you over email or Skype.

 

Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your stroke to Terry’s or anybody else’s.  We don’t start off knowing how to row, nor do we usually learn how to row at a young age the way we learn to ride a bike.  Good rowing technique comes in time though, and the results are well worth the effort!

 

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Got a question about this?  Or just want to rant about the crazy technique you’re seeing at the gym (Handle pulled up over the head anybody?)?  We hear ya!  Rant away below in the comments.

Rowing Machine Workouts: Chad 2

Master Instructor Chad Fleschner leads a sample learn-to-row rowing workout at a UCanRow2 rowing certification

 

It’s time to give you guys a new workout!  We thought it would be fun this time to dive into how the workout is put together so you get some insight into how we approach rowing workout programming.  A good row workout balances the effort on the machine with any off-erg moves, taking into consideration the fact that the machine works the whole body.

We’ve said before that we love birthday rowing machine workouts.  There’s just something about a special occasion that makes people willing to step it up.  It’s a chance to try something a little different, have fun with a theme, and showcase your athletes and clients.  When we found out it was Master Instructor Chad Fleschner’s turn to blow out the candles, we couldn’t resist putting together a special sweatfest just for him.  Read on, and then we’ll explain how we put it together.

CHAD #2 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. AWESOME)

Warm up well, then do 4 rounds of the following:

Row or ski 43 calories (Hit “Change Units” on your monitor until calories come up as your unit)

10 push press
10 front squats
13 hollow rocks
10 wall balls

Done!

The method behind the madness

Here’s how this one came together:

Chad was turning 43, so of course that became the centerpiece of the workout. Sometimes we get that done after the main part of the workout with finishers, like 43 sit-ups, air squats or push-ups. This time though, we wanted to include it in the main event.  So four rounds of work for four decades of life, with exercises that total 43 reps, distributed among 4 things (picking up on the four decades again).  The extra three reps went into the easiest movement: Hollow rocks for the win!

The exercises were ordered this way: An upper body move (push presses), a lower body move (front squats), a move that works in a break for those muscles you just worked (hollow rocks), a move that ties it all together (wall balls).  The idea was to provide enough load that the various muscle groups would get a good workout, without taxing them so much that the athletes wouldn’t be able to perform the moves properly (Safety first, always!).

So a balanced, total-body effort that’s designed to leave people able to function.  We’re big proponents of “good sore,” where the next day you know you’ve done something, but you can still get out of bed and wash your own hair.  As an instructor it’s better that your students ask you to work them harder, than it is for them to say you worked them too hard or that they got hurt doing your workout.

We digress.  Back to the workout…

Get a behind the scenes look at how we put together the Chad 2 workout

Pin this workout

calorie workouts and why we avoid them

We hope Chad’s feeling really special right about now because we almost NEVER do a rowing workout using calories.  We know, some of you are appalled: “Workouts for calories are AWESOME! What better way to track your calorie burn than to do it on the monitor?”

Hate to burst your bubble, but even on a rowing machine it’s still not really accurate.  Yes, the rowing machine is an ergometer, and therefore it responds to how hard you’re push/pulling, but it still doesn’t really know how much effort you’re putting into that 2:00 split.  On one day 2:00 might be your warmup, on another it could be your hard effort.  The monitor doesn’t know the difference, and therefore doesn’t adjust your calorie burn accordingly.

There’s another reason we don’t especially like the calories option for rowing workouts: You can’t program a workout using them as your target (the monitor only allows you to program workouts for time or distance).  So, on this one we didn’t get to do it our favorite way, by setting the monitor up for four rounds with undefined rest and letting it rip.  It worked ok though to restart the monitor with every round and row up to the desired number of calories.

make this workout your own

Obviously there’s no exercise magic behind the number 43 so if you wanted to make this workout more generic just drop it to 40 calories and 10 reps of each move.

You could also boost the calories if you like, for example to 50 or 60.  If you do that, just check in with the off-erg work and see if it needs to be adjusted down to compensate for the increased rowing or skiing effort.  In addition, if you decide to try increasing the number of exercises you should look at making them simpler to allow for the added work volume.  Add another bodyweight exercise like a push-up, for example, and drop out the compound move of the wall ball.

BOTTOM LINE: Never give your students a workout you haven’t first tested yourself.  What looks good on paper may be an ugly mess in class.  Try it, then make any adjustments to fit your athletes’ needs.

So there you have it, a new workout, a workout template, and a bonus of the thinking behind it.  Boom!  Try it and see what you think, then let us know.

Oh yeah, if this workout is Chad #2 there must be a Chad #1, right?  Yes, in fact there is, and we use it often in our instructor trainings to teach about damper setting.  You can try it yourself if you like find it on our UCR2 basic rowing workouts page.

Got questions?  Ask and we’ll answer them in the comments.

 

Rowing Through the World Cup: The Soccer Fan’s Workout

The World Cup is here!  So many hours of game time, SO many hours waiting for something to happen.  Why not set up your rowing machine in front of the TV  so you can cheer your team on while still getting in a great workout?

Sure, you could row steady-state through the whole thing, but a typical game runs around 100 minutes with stoppage time, and no commercials to break it up! Give the game a little variety by following these rules for the UCanRow2 Soccer Fan’s Workout:

Set up your rowing machine with a straight view of the TV so you don’t have to crank your neck upwards or to the side.  After the national anthem, start off with easy rowing for 6-10 minutes at 20-24 SPM.  Once you’re in your zone, hold a steady pace at 22-24 SPM or lower, but make sure you keep it controlled and don’t get too sidetracked by the TV in front of you.  Remember, hold good technique!

Up Your Game: Once the action begins, a yellow card, goal, injury, etc., add in the following for a little variety.

Yellow Card – Bad boy! 20-stroke sprint at race pace.

Corner Kick – Drop your stroke rating to 20 strokes per minute or lower for the duration of the play. Remember to s-l-o-w your slide on the recovery to help you row low.

Substitution – Water break!

Injury – Wish them luck to get back in the game with 10 hard strokes, 20 if the player is taken off the field on a stretcher.

Goal – Celebrate really loud with a big “GOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!” and then put the handle in the hook and do 10 jumping jacks or burpees.  Get back on the erg and grab a sip of water.

Penalty Kicks – Place handle in the hook and do 5 bodyweight squats during each kick.  In between kicks, get back on the erg but don’t strap in (This is a good opportunity to practice rowing with your feet out of the straps).

Half time – If you need a break, put the handle in the hook and record your meters.  That’s the number you want to try to beat in the second half of the game.  Bathroom break if you need it, or grab a healthy snack like a banana or an energy bar.  Make sure to stretch and get back on the erg for the start of the second half.  If you don’t need a break, just keep rowing! Do 6 x 1 minute of effort, 1 minute paddle then easy paddle. Remember to get fluids before the start of the second half.

Game Over – At the end of the game, record your meters in your online logbook and try to meet or exceed your meters for the next game.

Great job, soccer fan! Hopefully your team took the WIN!  Got suggestions for other ways to spice up the World Cup row?  Pop down to the comments and share!

Mother’s Day Workout to Celebrate Mom

Updated May 8, 2018


Cheryl-mom
What does mom want on Mother’s Day?  Why, a Mother’s Day workout, of course! Marketers would have you think it’s flowers, candy, jewelry or breakfast in bed (Ok we agree on that one.).  Our favorite way to celebrate mom is with an awesome indoor rowing workout.  The rowing machine will give you a great workout, regardless of your age, fitness level, or ability.  We’ve put three rowing workouts together for you here, but if you need more just head over to our workouts page.  As a bonus we’ve added some SkiErg options, but if you don’t have access to one (Tragedy!) you can just row, no problem.

Indoor rowing meets you where you are 

Indoor rowing classes are one of the best ways to work out – with your mom or anyone else!  Unlike many other fitness activities (we’re talking to you, running…), rowing lets people of all fitness levels get their sweat on together, with nobody feeling left behind.  Two people can be rowing right together at exactly the same strokes per minute.  One of you may be covering more distance in that time but nobody needs to know.  Ahhh, synchronicity.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Scaling helps make one mother’s day workout fit all 

As we said, the cool thing about rowing is that pretty much anybody can do the same workout.  That doesn’t mean, though, that everyone in rowing class can do the same workout the same way.  Enter scaling.  It’s what allows athletes of differing fitness levels to work out together, with everyone making progress and avoiding injury.

We always stress in our rowing trainings that Rule Number 1 of being a fitness professional is Do No Harm. You want to set people up to succeed and feel good about what they’ve done – especially on Mother’s Day! So if your mom (or you) can’t do a regular pushup, no problem! Do them on your knees, or standing, against a wall. Is a full squat too much? Just go down as far as you can, or use a TRX strap or a chair for support.  The main thing is to break a sweat, have fun, and then enjoy those recovery pancakes, waffles or a piece of chocolate!

Indoor Rowing Workouts

row for time not distance

We’ve given you a bunch of options here.  One thing to keep in mind though: If there’s a great variation in fitness in your indoor rowing class it’s better to do workouts for time vs. distance.  Remember that mile run in school?  Nobody wanted to come in last on that, and nobody wants to come in last on the rowing workout, either.

One way to keep things running more or less evenly is by having people row for time instead of distance.  We’ve had some fun with the date on this one and suggested 510-meter distances on a couple of the workouts (May 10th – 5-10.  Get it? Haha.).  You can just as easily make that a 2-minute row, though.  People will get about the same number of meters.

Try the Mother’s day workout!

On all of these workouts, you should warm up well with at least 15 minutes of cardio.  That could be rowing, running, walking, cycling, etc.  Whatever you do, you want to have a good sweat going before you get into the heavier effort of the workout. For each of them you should use the undefined rest feature in your monitor if you have it.

Mother’s Day Madness 1

5 Rounds

Row 513 meters (or 2 minutes)
5 medball squat cleans
13 hollow rocks (or the sit-up of your choice)

Mother’s Day Madness 2

3-5 Rounds

Row 513 meters (or 2 minutes)
5 push-ups
13 sit-ups of your choice
5 squats
13 jumping jacks

 

Balls to the Walls (and Floors)

5 Rounds

2-minute Row/Ski/Run/Walk
13 KB swings
13 cleans (either with a bar or KB.  Do 6 on a side if you use a kettlebell)
13 ball slams
13 wall balls

Row a Minute!

Warm up well, with 10-20 minutes of easy rowing or other cardio.

Set your monitor for 1 minute of work and 1 minute of rest.

Row rounds of 1 minute on, rotating with 1 minute of these exercises in any order you like: jump rope, push ups, power jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, sit ups, lunges, 20′ shuttle run, box jumps.

No rest, just keep moving!

 

 

 

Try them and tell us which one you did and how you liked it in the comments.  Happy Mother’s Day!