Stop ignoring the rowing machine

Rowing Machine Workouts

Row repeats

Put the damper setting at 10, then position yourself correctly and safely on the rower with feet securely fastened and an overhand grip on the bar. Make sure the screen is on and that the time and distance data are clearly visible. Row for five minutes at a comfortable pace, then row for 250m as fast as possible, while maintaining proper rowing form. Rest for 60 seconds, then row another 250m at maximum effort. Repeat this pattern for a total of ten all-out 250m rows.

Build endurance

This one couldn’t be easier to follow. After an easy-pace five-minute warm-up, row for 20 minutes at the highest effort level you can consistently maintain. At the end make sure to note your average stroke rate and average speed so you have a target to improve upon next time.

Burn fat

This is a fantastic high intensity interval-style session. Warm up with an easy-pace five-minute row. Row as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat this for a total of six rounds, then take a three-minute rest. That’s one set. Do a total of three sets. The aim is to maintain the same intensity – so you row roughly the same distance – every time. If you don’t need the full three minutes of rest you weren’t going hard enough.

Time trial

A rower’s best 2km time is the equivalent of a weight trainer’s bench press one-rep max. If you’ve ever tried a 2km all-out PB you’ll know it’s agonising. Seven minutes is the gold standard for us mere mortals but that’s still a tough target. If you want to set a decent time, try doing 4 x 500m with one minute of rest in between. This helps you get used to covering the distance as quickly as you can, and as you progress reduce the duration of your rest in five- or ten-second drops to push yourself closer towards doing 2km in one all-out effort.