The indoor rowing workout with a little bit of everything:
Row/Ski 4 mins
10 goblet squats
15 medball sit-ups
Row/Ski 3 mins
10 DB press
10 DB row
Row/Ski 2 mins
10 walking lunges
Row/Ski 1 min – ALL OUT
The indoor rowing workout with a little bit of everything:
Row/Ski 4 mins
10 goblet squats
15 medball sit-ups
Row/Ski 3 mins
10 DB press
10 DB row
Row/Ski 2 mins
10 walking lunges
Row/Ski 1 min – ALL OUT
This workout is designed to be done alternating between the rowing machine and the SkiErg. If you don’t have access to a SkiErg you can row the whole workout. Or, if you want a bigger challenge, make it an all Ski Erg workout. If you do that aim for the lower number of rounds.
Last updated July 16, 2020
When your indoor rowing workouts call for a larger number of meters, or you’re trying to hit a big number in the Concept2 online challenges, how do you keep it interesting? By breaking the workout up into smaller chunks and changing it up.
Longer indoor rowing workouts don’t have to be boring. You just need to have a plan that brings variety into the mix.
Below we’ve given you 10 ways to kill 10k in your indoor rowing workouts, plus one bonus workout. You’ve got options that will take you from an easy row all the way through to a calorie-torching blast.
It’s up to you, pick the plan that works for you based on how you feel that day. Do one round or put several of them together for a monster meter rowing workout.
As always, if you’re new to indoor rowing get your doctor’s OK before taking on a rowing workout like these. Listen to your body and decide if it’s a good day for higher volume. If you’d rather do something shorter, check our indoor rowing workouts pages for more choices.
2. Steady–State With Power Bursts: Row 10,000 meters at the pace you found in the workout above. Drop in 10 or 20 hard strokes every 500 or 1000 meters. Aim to drop 10 seconds or more off your split every time you do the power strokes, but always return to your base, steady-state pace.
3. Rolling 100s: Warm up through the first 2-3000m, then row 100 meters hard, 100 meters easy for 1000m. Paddle for 1-2 minutes and repeat for 3-5k. This is also a great way to get used to harder effort on the rowing machine.
4. Power Intervals: Like the rolling 1000s but longer intervals. For example 250 hard meters every 750 or 1000 meters.
5. Negative Splits: Start out at a fairly easy pace and aim to drop your split per 500 meters every time over the course of the piece. Using the split window on your monitor, aim to drop it progressively over the course of the rowing workout. For example take 5 seconds off your warmup split every 2000 meters. Use the last 500-1000m as your cooldown.
6. Stroke Play: Vary your strokes per minute (SPM): 2 minutes at 22-24-26-28 SPM, with the same amount of paddle rest, 2 minutes. Do this until you have completed the 10k. Bonus points if you can do rounds 18 and 20 spm (Hint: sloooow your recovery).
7. Rolling Intervals: Row repeating cycles of 3 minutes at 22 strokes per minute, 2 mins at 25, 1 min at 28. Paddle in between if you need a break, or challenge yourself and keep on row-ling.
8. Watch the Watch: Row rounds of 1:00 on with effort/1:00 off, 2:00 on/2:00 off and so on up to 5:00 on/5:00 off, then work your way back down. Increase your intensity as you come down the pyramid. Continue until you have completed the 10k.
9. Vary the Intensity: Use this one to practice adding more intensity to your workouts. Row intervals of 4:00 on, 2:00 off, keeping your stroke rating the same (we suggest 24-26 spm) but varying your intensity through the 4-minute intervals, from sustainable to highly intense.
10. Salad Bowl: Mix it up and choose up to 5 of the options above. Do something different every 2000 meters.
Example: First 1k: Warm up
1k-2k: Steady-state, half pressure
3k-5k: Rolling 100s
5k-6k: Steady state
6k-7k: Hard 1000m
8k-9k: :30 on / :30 off. 26 spm on the work, 22 spm on the rest
9-10k: Cool down
BONUS ROW-SKI for those with access to a SkiErg. Use the undefined rest feature on your monitor to keep both machines going without having to reset. If you’re a complete badass (and in our book you are if you do this), switch the row and ski numbers so you ski more than you row.
Which one did you try? Let us know what you thought in the comments, or if you have a question about endurance rowing, in general, let us know!
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.
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
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…
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.
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.
We love birthdays and other big life events around here! They’re a great way to celebrate those special moments and build your fitness community, which is an important part of any successful fitness business. People never get tired of them, and in fact they look forward to that shared sinking feeling you get when you know there’s a challenging workout coming up. Plus, they’re a great way to add variety to your workout routine.
Yes, lots of gyms like to do birthday burpees and the like, but we’d like to encourage you to take that a step farther and really get creative. We’ll give you some examples, but we’d also love to hear how you mark those big days.
Weddings, anniversaries, birth of babies – or grandbabies. They all provide opportunities to do something out of the norm. For example, when one of our members had her first grandbaby (Born 3/12/15, weighing 9.5 lbs., 22 inches long), we celebrated with this workout:
Welcome Cosmos Workout
Warm up then do 3-5 rounds of:
1215m row or ski
9 snatch jacks or jumping jacks
9 “Charlie’s Angel’s” squats with a twist (From sumo squat position, extend arms in front of body and interlace fingers as if pointing gun. Rotate ribs slowly R and L, hips facing forward)
22 split lunges or med-ball cleans or ball slams
9 hollow rocks or sit-ups
Landmark or other birthdays are another fun one to do this way.
In our UCanRow2 Bodyshop small-group personal training studio we’ll set up a workout where our athletes row or ski meters equaling the person’s birth year, for example, then add reps revolving around their age. Or make it harder and make the birth year a meter interval. Usually we try to include the birthday girl or boy’s favorite moves or machines. And yes, we always make our birthday workouts challenging. There’s nothing like a good shared sweat to commemorate another year of life!
Here are a couple of examples we’ve done:
Happy 51st Birthday Sarah
Ski 510 m
10 DB snatch (LR=1 or 5 each side)
25 sit ups
510m run or row
10 KB swings
Finisher: 51 jumping jacks or double unders or burpees.
Happy 79th Birthday Lou
7 push-ups, 9 box steps (or box jumps)
7 DB snatches, 9 bicep curls
7 jumping jacks, 9 single-leg lateral jumps
7 bench sits, 9 sit-ups
7 push-ups, 9 sit-ups
Ski or Row 790m
Holidays work for this approach too of course. Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, they all work. Here’s one example:
Firecracker Fourth (7-4-2011)
Warm up for 10 min – stretch
Set erg or SkiErg monitor for 7411m
Set monitor after warm-up for Intervals: Distance, 500m row/ski with unlimited rest
7 – burpees
4-7 rounds for time
Done, let the grilling begin!
Got a favorite celebratory workout you like to do? Share it with the world in the comments!
Another good one for racking up the meters…
Row, SkiErg or mix:
30 mountain climbers (L/R = 2)
20 DB push press
10 Charlie’s Angels (sumo squat with a twist)
10 walking lunges
Updated May 8, 2018
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
Row 513 meters (or 2 minutes)
5 medball squat cleans
13 hollow rocks (or the sit-up of your choice)
Row 513 meters (or 2 minutes)
13 sit-ups of your choice
13 jumping jacks
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
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!
Indoor rowing is hotter than ever! Awesome, but where do you begin if you’re just getting started with the sport? And what about if you’re ready to ramp it up? We asked Natalie Dell O’Brien for her thoughts. She ought to know, she was in the first boat ever to medal for the US in the women’s quad sculls event, at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Check out her story, and some suggested rowing workouts:
In high school, I was athletic but uncoordinated. Aggressive and powerful but clumsy by nature, I could run the basketball court all day but missed the majority of the shots I took. During soccer, the more nimble girls could easily place the ball in the top corner of the goal while I jumped out of the way as it came whizzing by.
I started running and hitting the weight room. A strange combination, but they were simple tasks and I excelled. Repetition and power were my strong suit. As I shipped off to college, I sought out a sport that combined the repetition of running with the power of the weight room. When I tried out for the rowing team my freshman year, it was love at first sight. Eight years later, I made the Olympic rowing team and won a bronze medal with my three boat mates.
No matter how much experience I gained in the sport, it was never easy – which is what makes rowing such an incredible, character-building exercise. There’s always a different technique to learn or a new twist on a workout to try.
Whether you’ve been on the rowing machine for years or are giving it a shot for the first time, don’t be afraid to try something new. Here are a few rowing workout plans to get you started but before attempting, make sure you check with an instructor (preferably a certified instructor) on the correct rowing technique. This is a must!
1) 2×20 “steady state” at 20-22 strokes per minute, 5 minutes rest: While training with the national team, most of our time was spent building our base fitness. This involved a lot of long, steady workouts on the rowing machine. These types of workouts, while not “all out,” strengthen your core muscles and increase your fitness. Stay at a low stroke rate and focus on your technique and breathing. How hard should you go? Easy enough that you can talk to your workout buddy if you need to, but hard enough that you’re breathing heavy in between your words. If you’re not ready for a full 40-minute workout on the rower, no problem. Just work your way up by starting with 2×10 minutes or 2×15 minutes.
2) 1 minute on, 1 minute off x 15, at 26 strokes per minute: After warming up for 10-15 minutes, start off by doing the first 2 or 3 minutes at a 24, working up to a 26 by the fourth minute. The minute “on” should be at 80% of your maximum effort (so, make sure you’re not going 100% max effort). The purpose of this workout is to get comfortable with going harder without losing your technique. Feeling ready for a bigger challenge? Add on a second set of 15 minutes, after taking 5 minutes rest after the first set.
3) 4×1,500 meters, starting at a 24 and increasing 2 strokes per minute every 500 meters, 5 minutes rest: You’ve had a few steady state workouts under your belt, now you’re ready to bump that heart rate up! This one will do the trick. After a 10-15 minute warm-up, set the monitor for 1,500 meters and start out at 24 strokes per minute. When you cross the 1,000-meter mark, ease your stroke rating up to 26 strokes per minute. And as you come into the last 500 meters, give it another bump to 28. The key? Pacing and technique. As your stroke rating comes up – along with your heart rate – stay focused on maintaining your technique. Don’t forget to record your time so that you can monitor your progress next time!
Remember, always keep an eye on your technique as you introduce harder and harder workouts. Challenge yourself to focus on what your body does, even as your heart rate climbs higher through the workout. Ready to row? Grab a friend and head down to the studio, boathouse or gym!
Natalie Dell O’Brien is a former national team member and competed on the 2010, 2011 and 2012 USA Rowing Teams. She and her teammates won a bronze medal in the women’s quad sculls at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Happily retired from elite athletics, Natalie now lives in San Francisco with her husband Conor and is a public speaker and social marketing strategist in the tech industry in Silicon Valley. You can follower her on Twitter at NatalieDellOB.
Try these, and then let us know your favorites. Got a favorite workout you’d like to share? Post it in the comments! Want more rowing workouts? We’ve got those too! And don’t miss Natalie’s Ted Talk about the value of losing. Great stuff!
Updated June 22, 2018
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 Concept2 rowing machine or SkiErg. 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, 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.
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 an erg 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.
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.
If you find you’re feeling good and want to go a little harder at the end go ahead, but consider this permission to be done. It’s OK if you’re not always in overdrive! Pat yourself on the back for having moved 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.
Row, SkiErg or a combination for a total of 8000-10000m (24 spm on the row and a comfortable but challenging pace on the SkiErg). Add 10 hard strokes at 26 spm every four minutes.
10 pushups (or more)
1 min. plank core hold
Stretch and DONE!
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.
Download our FREE workout set #GetFlywheelFit. 11 workouts you can do in 25 minutes or less.
Updated Sept. 28, 2018
A lot of our interval skiing and rowing workouts call for using the undefined rest feature in the Concept2 rower, SkiErg or BikeErg monitor. Sadly, a lot of people still don’t know that’s even an option. Tragedy!
Time to change that. There’s a whole new world of workouts out there waiting for you!
This option, which works on most PM3 monitors (black) and all PM4 (silver) and PM5 (black with backlight) monitors, allows you or your athletes to spend as much as 10 minutes doing off-erg work without losing the data from your workout or having to reset the machine.
The feature makes it super easy to do an interval workout of, for example, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes of rowing or skiing with a series of off-erg moves in between.
Want a visual on how to do this? Here you go, watch this video from our Instagram page.
NOTE: If you do not see a box around Set Rest Time then your monitor is not yet set up with undefined rest. Update your monitor to install undefined rest.
Want to try it out? Here’s a sample workout. Of course, you can play with the off-erg exercises and make them harder or easier to fit your fitness level.
Program your monitor for 3-5 rounds of the following, using the Intervals>Distance setting with Undefined Rest
Row or Ski 500m
10 Push Ups
10 Sit Ups
10 Air Squats
Try it and tell us what you think! You can get more workouts to test this feature in our Workouts section, or by downloading our free #GetFlywheelFit workout set. Want to take it to the next level? Check out our #FlywheelFrenzy interval workout training program.
Got a favorite workout using undefined rest? If you’d like to get more rowing tips and workouts delivered right to your inbox every week, we would love it if you would sign up for our newsletter. In addition to stories like the ones you see here, you’ll get exclusive content, plus early, private access to pick up our rowing programs at a special discount.