Great Rowing Machine Workouts for You, and 5 Reasons to Stick With It

Rowing Machine Workouts

You can do a variety of rowing machine workouts indoors, and each of these routines can help you reach your fitness goals, whether it be to tone up, lose weight or build up cardiovascular endurance.

We've culled these great workouts from one of the leaders in the industry Concept2, a brand known for high quality and ideal ergonomics.

Perhaps the most popular type of exercise these days is interval training, which can be done on any cardio equipment including treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes, among others.

There are endless possibilities, including long intervals, short intervals, shorter resting periods, pyramids, step downs and step ups.  You can also do non-interval workouts, keeping a steady level of intensity throughout your routine.

Let's take a look at some of the possibilities for you:

Interval Workouts

Long Period Intervals

#1: 4 series of 4 minutes, resting for 2-4 minutes

#2: 4 series of 5 minutes, resting for 3 minutes

#3: 3 series of 1500 meters, with 3-5 minutes rest

Short Period Intervals

#1: Go hard for 1 minute, easy for 1 minute (or 2 or 3)

#2: 6 series of 500 meters, resting for 2 minutes

#3: 5 series of 3 minutes, with 2-3 minutes rest

Short Rest Intervals

#1: Go hard for 1 minute, easy for just 30 seconds

#2: Do 20 hard strokes, 5 easy ones

#3: Do 1 minute 40 seconds hard, 20 seconds easy

Change It Up Intervals

#1: Go hard for 5 minutes, rest 2, hard for 4 minutes, rest 2, etc.

#2: Do 500 meters, rest 2 mins, 1000 meters, rest 2 mins, etc.

#3: Do three sets of 500 m, rest, 3 sets of 250 meters, rest, etc.

Steady Workouts

Same Throughout

#1: Just row for a half an hour or 45 minutes

#2: Aim for a certain distance

#3: Set a calorie goal

Steady But Varies

#1: Row for 5000 meters, with hard strokes at each 1000 meters.

#2: Row 10 minutes comfortable, 2-3 minutes hard

#3: Row for 6000 meters, adding in some random hard rows

You can stick to just one of the above rowing machine workouts, or change it up from week to week.  These are just three examples of each type, but there are endless possibilities, and you can choose what works best for you.

You can reap more long lasting benefits from interval workouts, so start with those if you think you're up for it.  You can go easy at first, and then try to work your way up to more challenging rowing workouts.

Sprinkle in some steady workouts too every now and then so you don't burn out with the intervals.

Why You Should Stick to Your Rowing Machine Workout

When you’re tired or in a bad mood, your rowing machine workout routine may not seem very appealing some evenings. We’ve all been there – we don’t feel like exercising and we just want to be a vegetable and watch television. But you shouldn’t give up on an established rowing machine workout schedule – there are simply too many good reasons to stick with it!

Reason #1: You invested in an indoor rowing machine for a reason.

Keep in mind that you’ve invested your money in a valuable piece of exercise equipment for a variety of reasons. When you don’t feel like exercising, go over the list of reasons that drove you to buy an indoor rower in the first place. Whether it was to lose weight, get in shape, or prepare for your next outing on the river, your reasons are still valid.

Reason #2: Your rowing machine workout routine is efficient and effective.

There are very few kinds of exercise equipment that can give you both an upper body and lower body workout as well as working out your core muscles. In this respect, a rowing machine is nearly perfect. Why would you neglect something that’s so effective and gives such great results? Remind yourself that you’ll continue to see results over time. Even if you’ve just started with a rowing machine workout routine, you’ll begin seeing results in just a few weeks.

Reason #3: You’ll feel better once you’ve done your rowing routine.

Although it’s tempting to curl up on the couch with a bag of barbeque potato chips or a plate of cookies, at the end of the evening you’ll probably feel guilty. You’ll definitely feel sluggish and tired. Just fifteen minutes doing your rowing machine workout routine, however, will give you some added energy and kick-start your metabolism. You’ll feel better and continue to burn calories even after you’ve finished rowing.

Reason #4: You can use your rower and still enjoy the television.

Many people have their rowing machine in the same room as their television so they can get a good cardiovascular workout and tone their muscles without missing out on their favorite programs. If you’re addicted to some terrific programs you just can’t miss, put your machine in front of the television set. Doing your workout routine while watching TV lets you enjoy yourself while doing something good for you at the same time.

Reason #5: If you stick to your workout schedule today, you’re more likely to stick with it tomorrow, too.

Once you’ve fallen off the exercise wagon, it’s easy to just keep procrastinating. One skipped day turns into two, then three, then a week. Don’t let yourself off so easy! If you really want to continue exercising and seeing great results, resist the urge to skip your workout “just this once,” because it’s seldom really “just once.” With every day that you work out, you’re reinforcing the habit of exercising, which is one of the few great habits you can develop!

It’s easy to skip a day here and there when you have a new rowing machine workout routine. The important thing to remember is that there are seldom any good excuses for passing up a fitness routine. Keep your long term goals and our five reasons in mind and you’ll soon hate even the idea of skipping your workout!

Rowing Machine Workouts - Summary

The bottom line here is there are enormous health benefits to be gained from regular cardiovascular activity, be it rowing, swimming, running or even walking.  

Of course we know it's often difficult to motivate yourself to get on the rower each and every day.  But once you get into a routine, you'll find that it just becomes part of your schedule like shopping, sleeping, working and everything else in your life.

Remember, you don't have to do it every single day.  Even three rowing machine workouts per week is fine, as long as you exercise for a good amount of time each of those days.

Do your best to motivate yourself...put a TV in your workout space, give yourself an extra snack...whatever it is that gets you on that rowing machine.  You'll thank yourself when you see the results of your efforts!

Best Rowers 2018

Concept2 Model D

The choice of rowers installed in health club facilities, a quality piece of equipment and a great investment for your home gym.

WaterRower Natural

The WaterRower Natural rowing machine is a stunning piece of fitness equipment and offers an amazing simulation of the feel of on-the-water rowing.

Kettler Favorit

A solid budget model offering great value for the money, with continuous resistance and ergonomic design.


Comparison Chart

Compare Rowers Here


Why Buy at Amazon?