5 Rowing Machine Workouts You Need To Know

As you gear up to start your rowing machine workout sessions, it’s good to have a few different workouts in your arsenal. The last thing you want to be doing is the same workout program over and over again, which will only cause you to get stale and your results to falter. If you want to see continual progress, you need a workout program that is constantly changing and evoking changes in your body.

That is precisely what these five rowing machine workouts aim to do. Each one will challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system in a slightly different manner, ensuring that you see peak results.

The end result? You are fitter and more functional than you’ve ever been before. And, best of all, you’ve beaten boredom. You actually look forward to your workout sessions because they aren’t all the exact same. Your body and mind are challenged and you are looking forward to what’s to come.

So this said, let’s dive in and give you your five workout sessions. Do these next time you’re looking for a change of pace. Remember that you don’t necessarily have stick with just one or two workouts. You can easily progress through five different workouts over a few weeks time.

For many people, the more variety, the better.

Sprint Repeats

The first workout session you’ll definitely want to be including in your program as long as you are past the beginner stage level (note that this workout will be too intense for beginners, so they should focus on building up a workout base before moving to this type of session) is sprint repeats. In this type of session, you are going to alternate between very intense exercise with less intense active rest phases added in.

The idea with this is that you’ll be working so hard in those interval segments that you’ll push your body to the limit, develop a higher overall VO2 max level, and you’ll be primed for burning massive amounts of calories.

Your calorie burn will not only increase during the workout session, but you’ll also be expending more calories for hours after the workout session is over as well.

This means you see superior results with fat loss progression. While there is something to be said for longer, moderate paced cardio workouts that last an hour to help you burn fat, nothing is going to beat the calorie burn you get from interval training.

Your sprint repeats in this session will be of the same amount of time as your active rest phase (45 seconds in length), so be prepared for this to work you hard. Some interval sessions use longer rest periods than work periods and for others, it’s vise versa. For this one, it’s an even amount.

Here’s how the session should look.

5 minute warm-up

45 seconds at a Rate of Perceived Exercise (RPE) of 8 (on a scale from 1-10)

45 seconds at RPE of 4

45 seconds at RPE 8

45 seconds at RPE 4

45 seconds at RPE 8

45 seconds at RPE 4

45 seconds at RPE 8

45 seconds at RPE 4

45 seconds at RPE 8

45 seconds at RPE 4

45 seconds at RPE 8

45 seconds at RPE 4

45 seconds at RPE 8

45 seconds at RPE 4

45 seconds at RPE 8

45 seconds at RPE 4

5 minute cool-down

The Push-Up-Squat Workout

Next up on the list we have the push-up and squat builder. This is an excellent strength and conditioning workout that you can do right in the comfort of your own home and will ensure no muscle group gets missed.

The thing with rowing is that it works your back very well, but your chest isn’t going to get touched much. That’s why we bring push-ups into the mix. By doing a variety of different push-ups within the context of your rowing workout, you overcome this problem and will see great strengthening benefits.

To mix things up, we’ve also added some bodyweight squats, which will ensure that you also get terrific quad development. Your quads will already be working to some degree while rowing, but you’ll experience more overall glute action as you press through the legs to push away from the rower. With squats, you can focus more on just the quads if you lean forward ever so slightly and feel the quad muscles driving the body upward.

Here’s the workout to do.

5 minute warm-up

2 minutes rowing at RPE 6

15 reps regular push-ups

2 minutes rowing at RPE 6

15 reps triangle push-ups

2 minutes rowing at RPE 6

15 reps incline push-ups

2 minutes rowing at RPE 6

30 reps regular bodyweight squats

2 minutes rowing at RPE 6

15 reps decline push-ups

2 minutes rowing at RPE 6

15 reps spiderman push-ups

2 minutes rowing at RPE 6

15 reps clap push-ups (or regular if you can’t do clap push-ups)

2 minutes rowing at RPE 6

15 reps regular push-ups on an exercise ball

2 minutes rowing at RPE 6

15 reps regular bodyweight squats

The Endurance Builder

If you are hoping to boost your overall endurance levels, this endurance booster is a sure-fire trick to help you do so.  Sometimes, you just need to take the intensity down a notch but increase the total duration that you are exercising at that particular intensity level.

This workout is especially challenging as it builds intensity over time, gradually helping your body learn how to fend off fatigue. Then just when you feel as though you’re tired enough, you take a quick rest period, recover and then start over again.

Despite the fact that the RPE’s of this workout are lower, don’t let that fool you, it’ll still give you a great run for your money. Get ready for the challenge!

5 minute warm-up

2 minutes at RPE 5

2 minutes at RPE 6

2 minutes at RPE 7

2 minutes at RPE 8

4 minutes at RPE 3

2 minutes at RPE 6

2 minutes at RPE 7

2 minutes at RPE 8

2 minutes at RPE 9

4 minutes at RPE 3

1 minute at RPE 7

1 minute at RPE 8

1 minute at RPE 9

1 minute at RPE 10

5 minute cool-down

The Core Strengthener

If you are looking to boost your core strength, this workout session is definitely going to do the trick. Many people leave their core exercises until the very end of their workout session, which sounds fine in theory, but the problem with doing so is that usually, these exercises just get passed over. By the time that you finally finish the rest of your workout session, you’re tired and pressed for time so you figure, what harm is there really in skipping your ab work?

It’s time to bring your ab work into your main program. With this workout session, you’ll integrate your ab exercises in between your rowing intervals. It’s a great way to encourage six pack ab development.

5 minute warm-up

2 minutes RPE 5

20 reps lying leg raises

2 minutes RPE 6

20 crunches on an exercise ball

2 minute RPE 7

20 side to side twists

2 minutes RPE 8

1 minute plank hold

2 minutes RPE 7

30 seconds/side plank hold

2 minutes RPE 6

1 minute mountain climbers

2 minutes RPE 5

1 minute bicycle crunches

5 minute cool-down

The Burpee Challenge

Finally, to finish things off you have the burpee challenge. This challenge is perfect for those who are really looking to push their cardiovascular limits because they’ll be maximizing their explosive power while getting their heart rate up.

This challenge is definitely going to fatigue you so aim to do it before you have a rest day scheduled.

Here’s the workout to do. If you find you can’t quite get through 10 burpees in a row, no problem. Just rest in between burpees until you can finish. If it takes you a few extra minutes, just note this and next week, try and improve your performance. The most important thing is to get them all in.

5 minute warm-up

3 minutes rowing at RPE 7

10 burpees

3 minutes rowing at RPE 7

10 burpees

3 minutes rowing at RPE 7

10 burpees

3 minutes rowing at RPE 7

10 burpees

3 minutes rowing at RPE 7

10 burpees

5 minute cool-down

So as you can see, there are plenty of ways of mixing things in up your rowing workout routine. Don’t get caught in the thought pattern that you can only do rowing during a cardio routine. There are plenty of different types of exercises that you can integrate into your rowing, helping to build an even more complete workout session.

Don’t be afraid to hop of that machine from time to time. It adds more excitement to your workout routine and can help with your overall conditioning level as well.

Photo credit: Lucky Business/Shutterstock; Jacob Lund/Shutterstock; Flamingo Images/Shutterstock

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