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8 Best Workouts For Row Machine – A Guide to Improve Your Fitness, Health, and Performance

Best Workouts For Row Machine

If you are looking for a low-impact, high-intensity, and versatile workout, you might want to consider using a rower. It is a fitness equipment that simulates the motion of a boat on water.

It works your entire body, from your legs, core, back, arms, to your lungs and heart. This type of workout can help you improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, endurance, and power. It can also burn calories, reduce stress, and prevent injuries.

However, it is not as simple as it looks. You need to master the proper technique and form to get the most out of your workout and avoid hurting yourself. Some of the key points to remember are:

  • Keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the movement
  • Start with your legs fully extended and your arms bent, holding the handle
  • Drive your legs back and then lean your torso slightly back
  • Pull the handle to your chest and then extend your arms forward
  • Lean your torso slightly forward and then bend your legs to return to the starting position
  • Repeat the cycle smoothly and rhythmically, without pausing or jerking

In this article, we will show you some of the best workouts for a rower that you can try at home or at the gym.

1. Beginner 19-minute Pyramid

This is a simple and effective exercise for rower that will help you build your aerobic capacity and endurance. The goal is to complete a pyramid of intervals, starting from 1 minute and increasing by 1 minute until you reach 5 minutes, and then decreasing by 1 minute until you go back to 1 minute.

You will rest for 1 minute between each interval. The total duration of the exercise is 19 minutes. Some variations or modifications for different levels of difficulty are:

  • To make it easier, you can reduce the length of the intervals or increase the length of the rest periods. For example, you can do a 3-minute pyramid instead of a 5-minute one, or rest for 2 minutes instead of 1 minute.
  • To make it harder, you can increase the length of the intervals or decrease the length of the rest periods. For example, you can do a 7-minute pyramid instead of a 5-minute one, or rest for 30 seconds instead of 1 minute.

2. Rowing for Stroke Consistency

Rowing for Stroke Consistency

The goal is to maintain a consistent stroke rate and rhythm throughout the workout. It consists of four sets of 10 minutes, with 2 minutes of rest between each set. The total duration is 48 minutes.

To maintain a consistent stroke rate and rhythm, you need to focus on your breathing, timing, and coordination. You can use a monitor or a timer to track your stroke rate, which is the number of strokes you take per minute. You should aim for a stroke rate of 20-22 spm, which is a comfortable and sustainable pace for most rowers.

Moreover, you can adjust the difficulty according to your condition and needs. The best solutions are to either make the pressure lower or higher, or change the duration of this exercise. 

3. Rowing for Speed

This is an exciting and challenging exercise that will help you boost your anaerobic capacity and power. The goal is to increase your power and intensity on the drive phase, which is the part of the stroke where you push with your legs and pull with your arms.

The workout consists of six sets of 1 minute, with 1 minute of rest between each set. The total duration of the workout is 12 minutes. To increase your power and intensity on the drive phase, you need to focus on your explosiveness, force, and speed.

You can use a monitor or a timer to track your power output, which is the amount of work you do per stroke. You should aim for a high power output, around 300-400 watts, and a high stroke rate, around 30-34 spm.

4. Rowing for Stamina

Rowing for Stamina

This is a tough and rewarding exercise that will help you strengthen your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The goal is to sustain your effort and endurance on the recovery phase, which is the part of the stroke where you extend your arms and bend your legs. The workout consists of three sets of 10 minutes, with 3 minutes of rest between each set.

The total duration of the workout is 39 minutes. To sustain your effort and endurance on the recovery phase, you need to focus on your breathing, cadence, and relaxation. The key is to track your improvements and increase the pressure over time since that is the best way to improve your stamina

5. 10-Minute Advanced Technique

To challenge yourself with high-intensity intervals and sprints, you need to focus on your power, speed, and effort. You can use a monitor or a timer to track your power output, which is the amount of work you do per stroke.

You should aim for a very high power output, around 500-600 watts, and a very high stroke rate, around 36-40 spm. You should also try to keep your strokes as hard and fast as you can, without losing your technique and form.

If you want to make it even harder, you can increase the number of sets or decrease the length of the rest periods. For example, you can do seven sets of 1 minute instead of five sets of 1 minute, or rest for 30 seconds instead of 1 minute.

6. EMOM 

The EMOM format will challenge you to work hard and fast, while also allowing you to recover and pace yourself. It will also help you improve your rowing distance and speed, as well as your strength and endurance in other exercises.

You can use a monitor or a timer to track your distance, time, and power output. You can also use a mat or a towel for the floor exercises. To get the most out of it, you need to complete the assigned task within the 1-minute time frame.

If you finish the task before the minute is up, you can rest until the next minute starts. If you don’t finish the task within the minute, you have to move on to the next task anyway. The tasks are:

  • Round 1: Row 200 meters
  • Round 2: Do 10 push-ups
  • Round 3: Row 250 meters
  • Round 4: Do 15 squats
  • Round 5: Row 300 meters
  • Round 6: Do 20 sit-ups
  • Round 7: Row 350 meters
  • Round 8: Do 25 lunges
  • Round 9: Row 400 meters
  • Round 10: Do 30 burpees

7. Exercise for Consistent Pacing

Exercise for Consistent Pacing

The goal is to use the average 500-meter pace metric to gauge your speed and efficiency. The workout consists of four sets of 5 minutes, with 2 minutes of rest between each set. The total duration of the workout is 28 minutes.

To use the average 500-meter pace metric, you need to divide the time it takes you to row 500 meters by the distance you row in 5 minutes. For example, if you row 1200 meters in 5 minutes, your average 500-meter pace is 2:05 (120 seconds divided by 2.4). You can use a monitor or a timer to track your distance, time, and pace.

You should aim for a consistent pace throughout the workout, without slowing down or speeding up too much. The average 500-meter pace metric will help you evaluate your rowing ability and improvement. It will also help you find your optimal pace and maintain it. You can compare your pace with other rowers or with your previous workouts. You can also set your own goals and challenges based on your pace.

8. Mixed Modal

Combining rowing with other exercises will add variety and interest to your workout. It will also work different muscle groups and skills, such as strength, endurance, power, and coordination.

You can use a monitor or a timer to track your distance, time, and power output on the rower. Also, use a counter or a partner to track your repetitions on the floor. Here is an example of a good combination:

  1. Row for 3 minutes at a moderate pace and intensity
  2. Do 15 push-ups on the floor
  3. Row for 2 minutes at a high pace and intensity
  4. Do 20 sit-ups on the floor

How to Choose the Right One?

The choice depends on various factors, such as your overall condition, previous experience, and more. There are also differences in these exercises and what you can achieve with them. In that matter, a comparison is the best way to decide. 

Workout Pros Cons
Beginner 19-minute Pyramid
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate rowers
  • Improves aerobic capacity and endurance
  • Easy to follow and adjust
  • May not be challenging enough for advanced rowers
  • Requires a timer or a monitor to track the intervals
Stroke Consistency
  • Enhances rowing technique and efficiency
  • Builds muscle memory and coordination
  • Reduces fatigue and injury risk
  • May not be very exciting or varied
  • Requires a monitor to track the stroke rate
Speed
  • Boosts anaerobic capacity and power
  • Increases calorie burn and metabolism
  • Develops fast-twitch muscle fibers
  • May be too intense or demanding for some rowers
  • Requires a good warm-up and cool-down
Stamina
  • Strengthens cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • Improves recovery and endurance
  • Teaches rowers to pace themselves
  • May be boring or monotonous for some rowers
  • Requires a long time commitment and dedication
10-Minute Advanced 
  • Ideal for busy or time-crunched rowers
  • Provides a full-body workout in a short time
  • Challenges rowers to push their limits
  • Not suitable for beginners or novice rowers
  • May cause overexertion or burnout if done too often
EMOM 
  • Incorporates the EMOM format to add variety and fun
  • Enhances stamina and efficiency
  • Allows rowers to set their own goals and pace
  • May be confusing or hard to follow for some rowers
  • Requires a timer or a monitor to track the minutes
Consistent Pacing
  • Uses the average 500-meter pace metric to measure performance and progress
  • Helps rowers to find their optimal pace and maintain it
  • Improves rowing consistency and confidence
  • May be frustrating or discouraging for some rowers
  • Requires a monitor to track the pace
Mixed Modal 
  • Combines rowing with other exercises to create a full-body workout
  • Adds variety and interest to the workout
  • Works different muscle groups and skills
  • May require additional equipment or space
  • May be difficult to transition between exercises

FAQs

What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic rowing workouts?

Aerobic rowing workouts are those that use oxygen as the main source of energy and involve moderate intensity and long duration. Anaerobic rowing workouts are those that use glucose as the main source of energy and involve high intensity and short duration.

How can I measure my rowing performance and progress?

You can measure your rowing performance and progress by using some of the following metrics: Power output, Stroke rate, Heart rate times your heart, Average 500-meter pace, and Distance.

What are some of the benefits of rowing for fitness, health, and performance?

Some of the benefits of rowing for fitness, health, and performance are:

  • It works your entire body, from your legs, core, back, arms, to your lungs and heart
  • It improves your cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, endurance, and power
  • It burns calories, reduces stress, and prevents injuries
  • It enhances your coordination, rhythm, and consistency
  • It challenges you in different ways, such as speed, stamina, consistency, and power

Summary

These workouts will help you improve your fitness, health, and performance in different ways, such as speed, stamina, consistency, and power. They will also vary in duration, intensity, and format, so you can find the one that suits your goals and preferences.

Keep in mind that your current skills and experience represent a very important factor. Therefore, adjust the practice to stay on a good track, but also to avoid injuries.

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