Fun 5-Minute Rowing Challenge

Fun 5-Minute Rowing Challenge

WEARING | Athleta tank (old) // Michi leggings (old but similar) // Nike Free 5.0 sneakers

Ok I’m using the term “fun” pretty liberally here (fitness instructors tend to do that). 😉 This tabata is fun in the sense that there are game-like qualities to it? Does that count?

Fun 5-Min Rowing Challenge

First and foremost, watch this video on proper rowing form if you’re new to it.

This is a quick, sprint-based workout so you’ll want to be sure to warm up before jumping into it. Spend a few minutes gently rowing to prepare. I did 30 seconds at an easy pace / medium pace / easy pace / hard pace and repeated the sequence for a 4-minute warm up.

Ok now here’s the challenge.

1. Set the bar. Do a 100m row sprint all-out, as fast as you can. Write down your time. With the assumption it’s harder to hit our top time the more fatigued we get, we’re going to use this first time trial number as our target.

2. Set your goals for the sprint series. You’re going to do 5 100m sprints with only 20 seconds of rest in between each of them. You’ll have goal times for each and we’re going to try to IMPROVE on those times as we go. Hard AF, as the kids would say. Here’s how to set your goal times:

  • SPRINT 1 = target + 4
  • SPRINT 2 = target + 3
  • SPRINT 3 = target + 2
  • SPRINT 4 = target + 1
  • SPRINT 5 = target

3. Sprint, baby!

Do your five 100-m sprints, trying your best to meet or beat your goal times. Time the rest in between each: 20 seconds to recover, that’s it. Fun 5-Minute Rowing Challenge

I couldn’t hit the 5th sprint target the first time I tried this rowing challenge (off by ONE second–grrrr!). Tried it a second time a week later and hit it!

Were you able to hit (or beat) the target times each round? Give this workout a try and let me know in the comments!

I shot this workout at Btone–if you’re in the Boston area, be sure to try out one of the row classes they offer!

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And because it’d be too awkward to not mention the elephant in the room …

I was deeply saddened to see state after state give their stamp of approval to a man who’s run a campaign based on hate and fear, and who seems to think the way we better ourselves is by putting others down. It’s hard not to feel that every vote for him was a stamp of approval for the negative, hateful rhetoric used throughout his campaign. But I fully realize it’s not at all as simplistic as that, and many who voted for him don’t necessarily condone all his words and actions. I also realize that my bewilderment at the election results is probably proof that I need to step outside my liberal bubble more often. The good news is that working out is an excellent way to improve mood and relieve stress, and this, my friends, is a fitness blog. I’ll stick to that and let you get politics from your Facebook newsfeed. 😉

Rowing + Slider Circuit Workout

Rowing Sprints + Slider Bodyweight Exercises Circuit -- great mix of cardio and strength training!It’s been forever since I’ve shared a rowing workout with you guys! Since I stopped teaching row classes, I honestly don’t row much anymore myself but I seriously should because it kicks my butt every time. The other week I was feeling an uncharacteristically powerful surge of self discipline after teaching my morning classes and decided I’d stay after at Btone to put myself through my own rowing+megaformer circuit. It’s a rare gift to have access to both machines in the same studio, but luckily for all you at home, the megaformer exercises I did can easily be done with sliders (or a dish towel or paper plates). 🙂 No video for this one since you go through the circuit as quickly as you can and that’ll be different for everyone, but I think the pictures are (hopefully!) self-explanatory.

My friends at Champion outfitted me for today’s post, and with these uncharacteristically high October temps in Boston, I was grateful for the shorts! Both the Marathon Printed Shorts and Short-Sleeve Women’s Tee are from Champion’s Vapor X-Temp line of products. The material dries faster to help you stay cool, wicks moisture and is super lightweight.

Rowing + Sliders Circuit

This workout is essentially broken up into three mini circuits. As far as rowing, the circuits get easier as you go (yay!).

  • Circuit 1 | 300m row sprint + 60 seconds bear slide triceps push ups x3
  • Circuit 2 | 200m row sprint + 60 seconds marching plank to pike x3
  • Circuit 3 | 100m row sprint + 60 seconds mountain climber push ups x3

Complete three rounds of one circuit before moving onto the next. Rest as needed between circuits. Your goal is to stay within a couple seconds of whatever time you hit on your first sprint of a circuit. For example, if your first 300-m sprint takes you 1:07, try to stay at about 1:10 or under for the next two. As you tire, it’s harder and harder to hit that low time, but do your best to stay close to it.

Because this is a sprint workout, make sure to warm up beforehand. Spend at least 5 minutes on the rower gradually increasing speed so that you’re not going into an all-out sprint cold.

I made the below chart for an older row workout and it’s good to refer to if you need a time to aim for with the sprints (just look at the bottom half). These are general times and as long as you’re pushing your hardest (while maintaining proper form!), that’s all that matters. For my competitive people, my fastest sprints for the distances we’ll be doing are a 58-second 300m sprint, a 38-second 200m sprint and a 17-second 100m sprint. For the record, that 17-sec one was like some sort of fluke because I’ve hit it once and once only haha.

Goal Times for Rowing Springs (100m - 600m)

If you’re new to rowing, I HIGHLY recommend watching this video on proper row form. There’s a common misconception that rowing is mostly an upper body exercise but the row stroke is actually about 60% legs (20% core and just 20% arms). If you don’t have that stroke down, it’s easy to strain your back, especially at all-out sprint speeds like this workout contains. Rowing Sprints + Slider Bodyweight Exercises Circuit -- great mix of cardio and strength training!

Bear to Triceps Push Up | From plank position, bend yours knees, sliding them under your hips while maintaining tabletop spine. Slide them back out to plank and then do a triceps push up, keeping the elbows in tight to the sides of your body (think chaturanga in yoga). You can modify by doing the push up from your knees.

Marching Plank to Pike | Do one pike from your forearms (legs straight, heels lifted and pike the hips up into an upside down “v” shape) and then march up to a high plank one hand at a time and do a pike from straight arms. Continue this, leading with a different hand each time you march up and down.

Sliding Mountain Climber Push Ups | Do 6 sliding mountain climbers (3 to each side) and then perform one push up. If you need to modify the push up, low to your knees first. Since we did the triceps push up with the first exercise, have your hands wider on this exercise to more pointedly target the chest. Rowing Sprints + Slider Bodyweight Exercises Circuit -- great mix of cardio and strength training!

Outfit c/o Champion

Nothing like row sprints and some slider exercises to get a huge burn in minimal time! Try this triple circuit next time you’re at the gym. And for local readers, Btone actually offers a class that combines rowing and the megaformers (look for Tone & Row or Tandem Row on the schedule).

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Champion. The opinions and text are all mine.

Stair Pyramid Workout

Stair Pyramid Workout - bodyweight exercises and stair sprints

Heads up: If you’re local, make sure to read through to the bottom of this post–I’m giving away a bib to run the Falmouth Road Race!

This workout was a no-brainer–I have to take advantage of the stairs in my apartment while I’m here! No equipment is needed and you can get creative–if you don’t have a staircase, you could go outside and replace the stair sprints with hill sprints and just use a bench for the other exercises.

Stair Pyramid Workout


You’ll complete 10 reps of each exercise, then 9, then 8, and so on, finishing with one rep of each exercise. Go through the pyramid circuit as quickly as you can without sacrificing proper form.

Stair Pyramid Workout - bodyweight exercises and stair sprints

Stair Hop Burpees | Start standing about a foot and a half away from the bottom of your stairs. From here, squat down, bringing your hands to the floor. Hop your feet back out into a plank. Hop them back up towards your hands, releasing your hands from the floor and coming upright into a low squat position. From here, hop both feet onto the bottom step, landing in a low squat and quickly jump back down to the floor in your starting position. That’s one rep.

Stair Step Taps (RIGHT) | Start with your right foot on the second step and your left foot on the floor. Squat down, sliding your hips back as you bend your knees. Your goal is to stay this low on the right side throughout the entire exercise. From this starting position, shift your bodyweight into that right heel and tap your left foot to the first step, back down to the floor, to the second step, and back down to the floor. That combo is one rep.

TAP FIRST STEP-FLOOR-SECOND STEP-FLOOR = 1 REP

Stair Step Taps (LEFT)

Stair Push Ups | This is just a traditional push up but with your feet on a step. The higher the step, the harder the push up.

Stair Sprints | Sprint up, jog down. That’s one rep. On the even-rep rounds (10, 8, 6, 4, 2), take the stairs two at a time on the way up. On the odd-rep rounds (9, 7, 5, 3, 1), take the stairs one at a time as you run up.

UP + DOWN = 1 REP

Stair Workout - wearing Booty by Brabants leggings & Athleta tank

WEARING | tank c/o Athleta (old – shop current selection here) // Booty by Brabants leggings // sneakers c/o PUMA

Enjoy your day! I went to see Guns ‘N Roses last night at Gillette Stadium so I’m off to a slow start–totally worth it though! I rarely go to Patriots games because Gillette is such a pain to get to but to see Slash and Axl in person … hell yes I’ll sit in traffic until 1AM.

And before I end this post, I’ve got an exciting giveaway for local readers!

Falmouth Road Race Giveaway

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One lucky reader will win:

Enter using the widget below. Winner will be randomly selected this Friday.

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I’ve run the Falmouth Road Race once before and it’s so fun! Great excuse to get down to the Cape for the weekend (as if you need one). 😉

Good luck!

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