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Rowing Machine Interval Workout

Not Using This Piece of Cardio Equipment? Big Mistake

Even if you don't have access to a boat and seven fit friends, you can row solo at the gym. Former Olympic rower Judy Geer created this rowing machine pyramid interval workout that works the entire body, hitting muscles in the core, legs, arms, back, and butt.

Before you start, set the resistance on your rowing machine between two and three, and make sure you have mastered basic form. Once you're properly prepped, learn this whole 30-minute rowing plan.

Time Set Intensity RPE*
00:00-05:00 Warmup Easy 2-5
05:00-06:00 Interval 1 Moderately Hard 6-7
06:00-07:00 Rest Easy 2-3
07:00-09:00 Interval 2 Moderately Hard 6-7
09:00-10:00 Rest Easy 2-3
10:00-13:00 Interval 3 Moderately Hard 6-7
13:00-14:00 Rest Easy 2-3
14:00-18:00 Interval 4 Moderately Hard 6-7
18:00-19:00 Rest Easy 2-3
19:00-22:00 Interval 5 Hard 8-9
22:00-23:00 Rest Easy 2-3
23:00-25:00 Interval 6 Harder 8-9
25:00-26:00 Rest Easy 2-3
26:00-27:00 Interval 7 Hardest 10
27:00-28:00 Rest Very Easy 2
28:00-30:00 Cooldown Easy 3

*RPE = Rate of perceived exertion, 1 being easy and 10 being all out

Aim for a cadence (strokes per minute, SPM) between 26 and 30 on the harder intervals, but the SPM can drop on the easy intervals. Don't forget to print this workout and take it to the gym with you.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Howard14776076 Howard14776076 3 years
Hey Lizzie why not show some creativity. The program you wrote is something that is a default on the concept 2 rower.
GreenMtnGirl GreenMtnGirl 8 years
Concept2 provides a free technique DVD! You can order one from to learn how to row. Also, here is a link to find a rowing instructor: Want to row on the water or with a club? Find one here: There are usually Learn to Row days in the spring that let you try rowing free for a day!
carodeluxe carodeluxe 8 years
As a former rower I can say PLEASE, if you can, take an introductory rowing lesson (if they're available in your area) or find a personal trainer at your gym who can give you a few pointers. You can really screw up your back by using rowing machines if you don't have a good grasp of the technique. Watching video simulations often isn't enough. I've seen this happen way too many times.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
Any good links to local rowing clubs?
JBelle80 JBelle80 8 years
Fit, I love your workouts, and I often take them to the gym with me (I just did the elliptical one, and will definitely do this one!), but I find it frustrating that even when I use the "print this" link to the supposedly printable page, the workout chart itself always breaks onto two pages, which makes it extremely difficult to continue the workout at minute 19! At that point, the pictures are just in the way. Is there a way to change the format once you use the "print this" link so that it is a little more user friendly for those of us that are using the workout? Thanks!
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