Rowing Recovery Workout – Burn Fat, Get Back on Track

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Updated July 26, 2022


Have you been struggling to get into a fitness routine? Get back on track with indoor rowing with these recovery workouts from UCanRow2. #rowingmachineworkout #indoorrowing


Have you slipped off the rowing machine workout track lately? It happens to all of us! Life just gets in the way sometimes, and the next thing you know, it’s been weeks or months and the machine has been languishing sadly in the corner.


I get it, I’ve been there … maybe verrrry recently in fact (ahem!).


Let’s get out of that funk together.


So how DO you get back on the rowing machine after a time off? 


Easing into it will allow you to do some rowing recovery.  If you’re a regular reader you know that many of our indoor rower workouts involve getting on and off the rowing machine (or the SkiErg or BikeErg).


The idea is to give you a high-intensity workout that will build strength and burn as much fat as possible in the most efficient amount of time.


As The New York Times has noted, intensity is a critical component of an effective workout.  Not to mention lots of other benefits research has found from high-intensity training: reduced appetite, better stress management, improvement of menopause symptoms and weight loss, possibly even a longer life span!


And if it takes less time you’re more likely to be able to do it consistently, right?


True, one would hope.  But we all have times during the year where we can stray from an otherwise stellar fitness program.


Vacation, the Holidays, a busy time at work, summer at home with the kids, can all move fitness to the back burner temporarily.  Hey, it happens to the best of us!  Just get back on the rowing machine as soon as you can and you’ll be back up to speed in no time.


Read on for a couple of rowing recovery workouts that will help you get there.


How to Get Back On the Rowing Track


Before you even get back on the erg, take your fitness “temperature.”


Have you put on a few pounds or feel like you’ve lost strength?  How’s your energy?  Are you raring to go or would you rather crawl back into bed?


You’ll be able to tell in your first 10-15 minutes of a rowing machine warmup if you’re going to be able to hit your rowing workout hard post-break (or any day, for that matter).


Group rowing instructors, this is an important step for you to take every time your students come to class.  Ask them how they’re feeling, and be ready to dial it back if need be.


Maybe your energy and enthusiasm will be all they need to get through, but you need to also watch for signs that the intense workout you’d planned is too much today.  If your students’ mood and energy level isn’t picking up as you go through your warmup, for example, that’s a dead giveaway that today’s not the day for high-intensity intervals.


What to do if your energy is low


If you feel like the tortoise, start with a low-and-slow steady-state row.  Keep it to 20-30 minutes and go at a conversational pace where you’re sweating but can keep up a conversation.  22-24 strokes per minute, no higher.


Want workouts you can row along to? We’ve got dozens of all lengths, intensities, and types – from rowing only to rowing with strength mixed in on our on-demand platform, and you can subscribe for just $12/month!


Check them out out here!


Side bonus: Slow rowing is a great time to practice technique.  Do rowing drills like the pick drill as part of your practice, or try rowing with your feet out of the straps.


Sometimes just getting started is all you need to get going. Other times, you’re better off taking a “something is better than nothing” approach and call it a day.


It’s OK — and totally normal – if you’re not always in overdrive!  Pat yourself on the back for having moved today, and get yourself revved up for the next workout.


If you feel more like the hare, try the Holiday Recovery Row below.  Longer, with more opportunities for effort, but still in the general mode of going lower and longer than you would in a high-intensity workout.


NOTE: This workout assumes that you were able to row longer distances before your break.  If the longest row you’ve ever done is 5000m, coming back from a break isn’t the time to try your first 10k, no matter how slow you go.



Row for 20-30 minutes at a stroke rating no higher than 24 strokes per minute.  Your goal is to stay at a conversational pace, where you’re sweating but can keep up a conversation the whole time.  Throw in some rowing drills if you like.


The pick drill, pause drill, and rowing with your feet out of the straps are all good choices for working your technique, but leave the sprint intervals and Power 10s for another day.


If you need help with any of this, find a certified indoor rowing instructor near you, or get in touch with us.  Don’t see an instructor near you?  Maybe it’s time for you to get certified, or take our certification course to ramp up your own rowing.


Did you try one of these workouts?  How did you do?  Share your results – or questions about the workouts – in the comments below!


Want more rowing machine workouts like this?

  • Get 5 free rowing workouts to build your fitness in key areas like speed, power, and endurance!


  • Our book, 101 Best Rowing Workouts, has a whole chapter of Beginner/Recovery workouts that would be perfect for a comeback


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