This is a fun one! It’s also a workout you can use to track your progress with rowing and cardiovascular endurance in general (you’ll see what I mean below). If you’re new to rowing, you may want to bookmark/pin this workout for later and wait for me to post a how-to guide for proper rowing form, which is coming soon.
I had my 6:45AM Row class yesterday at Btone Wellesley do a very similar workout and they crushed it!
30-Minute Rowing Workout
Equipment I Used:
- WaterRower GX (these machines are AWESOME, but obviously just use whatever rower you have access to!)
ROWING INTENSITY SCALE
I use the Indo-Row intensity scale (kind of), which I’ve modified below. So all the numbers you see in this workout (22-40) refer to strokes per minute. It’s just a way to quantify “easy,” “medium,” “hard” and “everything you’ve got.” On the WaterRower console, it’s the big number in the middle, and it’s how you gauge your current work intensity.
In the picture above, I’ve highlighted the numbers on the WaterRower console we’ll worry about for this particular workout. Every rowing machine will vary, which is fine—you really only need a way to track time and distance. You don’t really even need to know your strokes per minute; just go at your perceived “easy,” “medium,” “hard,” and “race pace.”
This workout will get your heart rate UP there—rowing at race pace is intense. So that being said, if you have any health issues, consult your doctor before taking on this kind of cardio load. The graphic below is good for quick reference or printing out for the gym, but (especially if you’re newer to rowing) it’s probably best to read the fuller descriptions below as well.
Warm Up | Spend 1 min at each stroke rate: 24, 26, 28, 26, 24 (upping intensity and then reducing it).
Tabata Wave | Perform 8 rounds of 20 sec hard intensity (28) and 10 sec recovery pace (<24). This will take you 4 minutes total.
Short Race Intervals | You’ll do four 100-meter sprints at a race pace (30+). Spend 30 sec at easy pressure (24) in between each sprint.
- Your goal is to be under 25 seconds for each of your 100-m sprints (beginners, under 30 sec). My record is 18 seconds, but I’ve had a student do it in 17—what a beast! These numbers are good parameters for the ladies—guys, your times will be lower.
Timed Race Pyramid | Go as far as you can go in 2 minutes, 90 seconds, 1 minute, and then 30 seconds. Rest for 30-60 seconds in between each interval (think of each interval as one leg of the race).
- Write down your distance at the end of each interval. When you’re done, add up your total distance traveled in the four legs of the race. Your goal is to be over 1,000m in total, but shoot for the 1,300s!
- You’ll have a breathless feeling by the last stretches of the long intervals (rowing at race pace for 2 minutes is NO joke). If you don’t, you weren’t pushing hard enough. So that being said…
- These numbers are just for guidance and not set in stone—listen to your body! In general, race pace is anything above “full pressure” (28). If it’s a quick race (100m, 30 seconds, etc.), you’ll want that number anywhere from mid 30’s to mid 40’s, depending on fitness level. For longer races (over 60 sec, over 200m, etc.), consider pacing yourself a bit and pulling back by a couple digits.
Cool Down | Spend 1 min at each pace: 26, 24, 22 strokes per minute.
Revisit this workout—specifically the timed race pyramid—and try to beat your previous numbers. Having times and distances as benchmarks is paramount in keeping me motivated and engaged with rowing workouts.