Four Interval Workouts You Can Do On A Rowing Machine

The last time we talked about rowing machines, we said rowing was a full-body, low-impact cardio workout and an excellent substitution for running on the treadmill. Now here are a couple of intense rowing interval workouts you can try, but be warned: You're going to hate them. In a good way. Image by BenBradshaw.

Before diving into these workouts, make sure you're comfortable rowing and can maintain a steady pace for at least 15 minutes with good form, and your rowing machine has a working monitor. Choose one of the following for a workout:

  • Do sets of 1000m sprints. This teaches you that form, rhythm and cadence are important pillars of a good rowing workout. You're only rowing 1000m total for three separate sets, but with each set you're varying your strokes per minute (spm). Aim for 28 spm the first set, 24 spm the second and 26 spm in the final.
  • Pace yourself to up-tempo music. This workout is slightly less structured and flows according to the songs you choose. Make a playlist comprised of songs that will motivate you to work hard. The idea is to get to 30 spm during the catchy parts or the chorus and catch a breath during slow parts.
  • Sprint your fastest 2K time. A 2km race takes a ton of stamina, power and mental strength. Aim to get to 2000m as fast as you can. Try breaking the distance mentally into 500m chunks, which helps reduce the overall suckitude of the challenge.
  • Train like the Olympic athletes. This one is no joke. You'll be doing five sprint intervals at varying distances. It looks like this:

Interval 1: Sprint for 1000m, rest for 3:00

Interval 2: Sprint for 750m, rest for 2:30

Interval 3: Sprint for 500m, rest for 2:00

Interval 4: Sprint for 250m, rest for 2:00

Interval 5: Sprint for 750m, cool down

After one of these workouts, be sure to get up out of the rowing machine slowly and easily. You know, so you don't faint.

4 Killer Rowing Workouts [Men's Health]


    Back when some mates and I were really pushing it at the gym, our rowing challenge was:

    4 x 1000m with 1 min rest after each
    1 x 4000m followed by 1 min rest
    2 x 1000m with a 1 min rest in between

    The goal was to keep the pace below 2 mins per 500m. This means aiming to complete the whole lot in 46 minutes (or less).

    Needless to say, this was much more around technique and endurance than outright pace.

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