Updated May 9, 2023
Rowing machine games: Try this one to also learn proper rowing technique
Rowing machine games are fun. But can they also help you learn proper rowing technique?
Truth be told, some can, some can’t.
The good ones will help you dial in the key parts of the rowing stroke: The hip hinge, proper ratio, a strong drive, those kinds of things.
There’s no doubt rowing machine games are popular. Some brands have pretty much dedicated their whole machine to them.
That’s great because rowing can be kind of … yeah, we’ll say it … boring to learn.
Good thing there’s a solution for that, and it’s right inside your Concept2 monitor!
Read on to learn about our favorite game on the Concept2 to help you row better and maximize your fitness on the rowing machine. HINT: It’s probably not the one you’re thinking of!
Rowing Comes of Age
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, stages, and fitness levels were few and far between.
Rowing has been called the new spinning, and you now see rowing gyms popping up all over, home machines have been sold by the thousands, and there are tons of options for doing workouts online (including our own, UCanRow2 on Demand).
As the machine has gotten more popular, so have gamified versions of rowing. Brands like Aviron and Echelon have gone all-in on the concept, but they’re not alone in offering ways to play on the machine.
In fact, industry stalwart Concept2 had games as an option well before those others even existed.
How rowing machine games can help make you a better rower
Most people start out 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, without enough variety or challenge, rowing machine workouts can get pretty boring.
And the question also comes:
Am I doing this right? Am I using proper rowing technique?
It’s actually a great question to ask because good rowing form will go a long way toward 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
If you row on a Concept2 rowing machine you’re not left out of the gamification fun! (Ahem. You did know there are games on the Concept2 monitor, 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.
The 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 instead then?
There actually IS a game on the Concept2 – also super fun – that will help you practice your technique.
Build Proper 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 warm up 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 more than once!!
Give it a go and report back in the comments!
Recommended next steps
- 3 Tips for Better Rowing Technique
- Get workout tips in your inbox every week
- Learn to Row: Go from Flywheel Freshman to Rowing Rockstar in just 4 weeks
- Follow-along rowing workouts