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Crank Up Your Cardio With These Rowing Machine Workouts

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What cardio machine helps you burn over 500 calories in an hour—other than a treadmill or stationary bike? The rowing machine is the answer. Deirdre Cllute, a former instructor at Row House, New York City, said that rowing machine workouts have made a huge comeback in cardio. “Everyone wants to use a rowing machine because not only do you reduce the risk of injury because it’s low-impact, but it’s also a great mix of strength and cardio endurance,” she says. “You can constantly challenge yourself and always have room to push a little more.”

You may be wondering: What is a rowing machine? Good workout? Yes! But don’t just take my word for this. The rowing machine’s benefits speak for themselves. “Each stroke is building strength in your legs, core, back, and arms,” says Clute. “The harder you push, the greater the resistance, and the better your workout is going to be.” She is referring to the effort you put into each stroke. She states that rowing is not about speed, but about control and power.

If you’re looking to get on a rowing machine, Here are eight exercises for rowing that experts have created.


30-Minute Rowing Machine Workout

This 30-minute interval workout was designed by Clute for people who need to get a quick, muscle-quivering sweat. For it, you’ll row through six rounds of the following:

  • 1 minute moderate effort (7/10 on RPE scale).
  • 1 minute at an 8 RPE
  • 1 minute at 9 RPE
  • 30 seconds max effort (10 of 10 RPE).
  • 90 seconds of easy effort (3-4 RPE).

    HIIT Rowing Machine Workout

    Annie Mulgrew is the director of programming at City Row. This HIIT workout takes you from your rowing machine to the ground for some bodyweight strength and training. Depending on your fitness level, you can complete the circuit three to four more times. Between intervals, take 30 seconds off and ensure your transitions are quick.

    • 1 minute at 9 RPE
    • 10 reps each of Bulgarian split squats
    • Ten incline pushups
    • 10 triceps dips
    • 1 minute at 3 RPE
    • Do a floor circuit again

      Workout with the Power Stroke Rowing Machine

      This basic rowing machine workout by Gretchen Raddatz (coach at Row House) focuses on using your muscle to generate the most force possible. She says, “These are hard, fast strokes that explode back.” Keep your rhythm steady, but push harder to row faster.

      • 10 power strokes for a 5 RPE
      • 10 Recovery strokes
      • 10 power strokes for a 7 RPE
      • 10 Recovery strokes
      • 10 power strokes at a 9. RPE

        Workout with the Ladder Drill Rowing Machine

        Raddatz has another great workout. She says, “This allows you to work at a faster pace, which increases your calorie burn.” “You’ll move from an aerobic zone to a sprint-style anaerobic zone.”

        • Row at a 3 RPE
        • To reach maximum effort (10 RPE), increase one effort level each 30-60 seconds.
        • Once you’ve hit it, turn around and go back down the ladder until your reach a 3 RPE

          Spicy Sprints

          Concept Fitness rowing coach Lizzy Carson says this workout is great for anyone looking for a quick and heart-pumping workout. This workout will take you just 16 minutes, but it will keep your heart rate high all the time.

          • 35 seconds at maximum effort (10 RPE).
          • Rest for 25 Seconds
          • Repeat the process 16 times

            Workout on Filthy 500’s Rowing Machine

            This one is for the pro. So make sure you’re comfortable with it. Carson says that it’s a challenging set that can be used for preparation for the 2000m test, which Carson considers the gold standard in rowing.

            • Complete a 500m distance run
            • Take a minute to rest
            • Repeat six times

              Stroke Burner Rowing Machine Workout

              Carson says that if you need to improve your stroke rate, this is a quick workout that you can do.

              • 1 minute at a 3-RPE, then rest for one minute
              • 1 minute at a 3-RPE, then rest for one minute
              • 1 minute at a 5-RPE, then rest for one minute
              • 1 minute at a 5-RPE, then rest for one minute
              • 1 minute at 7 RPE, then rest for one minute
              • 1 minute at 7 RPE, then rest for one minute
              • 1 minute at a 9RPE, then rest for one minute
              • 1 minute at a 9RPE, then rest for one minute
              • 1 minute max effort, 1 minute rest
              • 1 min max effort, done

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                Source: Women’s Health Mag

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