If you are looking for an intense endurance challenge, then you should consider trying a rowing workout. Rowing is one of the best workouts you can do for cardio. You do not need to join a rowing team, or even ride a boat to row across the water to achieve this exercise. A rowing machine can engage your back, legs, arms, and core during an indoor training session. The best part of this exercise is that it will not strain your joints, which means people of all sizes and ages can use this fitness equipment.


What to Know About Rowing

Most people think that rowing workouts require only upper body strength. This type of exercise actually involves your legs and hips more as they do most of the work to create power during a stroke. You start a rowing stroke by driving from your legs, engaging your core muscles, and then follow through with your strong arms.

The first step before starting a rowing workout is to familiarize yourself with how the equipment works. Beginners are advised to do three things first once they sit down on a rowing machine. First, you need to adjust the foot straps and make sure that they go across the balls of your feet. Placing them too high would limit your stroking power, and an improper leg position will result in an inefficient form.

The next thing to do is to check your damper setting, which is a lever that controls the flywheel. Setting it high will make you feel like you are rowing a heavy boat, while setting it to zero will require less energy per stroke. You can compare the damper setting to the bike gears, where you need to make adjustments in order to achieve your target resistance.

Lastly, you need to understand the machine’s monitor as it displays your workout progress. With so many metrics, it is important for you to limit yourself to the essentials. The two numbers that you need to focus on are stroke rate and watts.


Warming Up

You need to wake up your muscles before rowing. This means making simple, partial movements, and then work towards completing a full rowing motion.Always keep your legs and back straight, and shoulders should remain relaxed.

Start warming up from your arms, and then to your back and legs for a few minutes. Once you have warmed up a bit, you can now do a complete stroke, with your knees fully bent. Do this for four more minutes before starting your routine.


The Workouts

These three workout sessions will kickstart your rowing obsession. Depending on your rowing machine, these workouts have been pre-programmed in some models. Simply select your desired routine from the menu, and you can begin your workout anytime.


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Sprint Workout (30 seconds work, 30 seconds recovery)

High Intensity Interval Trainings, or HIIT, are perfect workouts for those who are always short on time. This interval rowing workout will give you a quick sweat fix. You can improve your strength, stamina, and explosive power in just 20 minutes. The whole workout session, however, will still include a few minutes of warming up and cooling down. Keep your rowing stroke rate between 26 and 32, and you can burn around 300 calories in total. Always stay in control of how fast your legs move.


Lean Leapfrog Workout (1 minute work, 1 minute recovery)

This workout allows you to compete against yourself during aggressive bursts. Most rowing workouts are aerobic, but this one was designed to be anaerobic. You will need to exhaust your muscles to produce lactate, leaving you with a burning feeling.

This anaerobic workout session will also help you improve your endurance and power output as you will be forced to maximize the strength of your legs. Pay close attention to your stroke rate, and keep your meters rowed for every interval. This challenge takes 40 minutes to complete, and will help you burn about 700 calories.

Woman exercising on row machine in fitness studio

Pyramid Power Row Workout (1 minute work, 1 minute recovery)

This intermediate-level rowing workout will help boost your endurance and rowing consistency. You need to maintain the same pace for each interval. You can set your rowing machine to show data in time-per-500-meters on the display. The challenge to be consistent will make you burn roughly 450 calories.


Maintain Proper Form All the Time

The rowing machine can be intimidating, but it is an effective way to burn fat. Once you get the hang of it, you will be surprised at how fit you have become in just a short period of time. However, it is crucial to maintain proper form throughout the workout session. Improper form can lead to serious back injuries, so it is best to be careful all the time.