Indoor Rower Workouts for Beginners | Concept2

First Workouts

Once you’re comfortable with rowing technique, gradually begin increasing the duration and intensity of your workouts. Here are workouts to try. We recommend doing them in the order listed.

Before trying these workouts, please read our liability disclaimer.

Workout 1

Start with a row of 3–5 minutes. Then take a break to stretch and walk around. If you feel good, do up to four of these short intervals of rowing.

If you want more coaching and motivation, this episode of the Concept2 Workout Podcast will coach you through the above workout with more detail about body position, the parts of the stroke, stroke rate and applying power. You'll learn how to use different features of the Performance Monitor (PM), and gain a better understanding of the relationship between your work and what you see on the PM screen—effectively an introductory lesson on how to use the PM as your training partner.

Workout 2

Begin experimenting with stroke rate and power output. On the Performance Monitor, stroke rate is displayed in the upper right corner; power output appears in the center of the monitor and can be displayed in watts, calories or pace (time per 500m). Here are the workout details:

  • 3 minutes at 20 strokes per minute (spm), comfortable effort; 1 minute rest.
  • 3 minutes at 22 spm, harder effort; 1 minute rest.
  • 3 minutes at 24 spm, comfortable effort; 1 minute rest.
  • 3 minutes at 24 spm, harder effort; 1 minute rest.
  • 10 minutes steady state rowing at your choice of power and stroke rate. Make note of what pace you settle on, because you will use it in your next workout.

This episode of As the Flywheel Spins: The Concept2 Workout Podcast will guide you through the workout, giving you more coaching and guidance as you make your way through this workout.

Workout 3

This workout introduces longer rowing with stroke rate variation. Here are the details:

  • Do four 5 minute pieces, varying the stroke rate as noted below. Try to row at a pace that is a few seconds faster than your 10 minute pace from Workout 2.
    • 20 spm for the first 2 minutes
    • 22 spm for the next 2 minutes
    • 24 spm for the last minute
    • Rest: row very easily for 2 minutes before starting the next 5 minute piece.

Workout 4

This workout focuses on longer, steady rowing.

  • Do two 10 minute pieces with 3 minutes rest in between. Aim for a pace that’s between the paces you rowed in Workouts 2 and 3. Your stroke rate should be between 22 and 26.

Workout 5

This workout features short intervals for variety. This is the workout to see how fast a pace you can achieve.

  • Row 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy for a total of 20 minutes. Watch the central display for your pace. Aim for a stroke rate of 24–28. Record your pace after the workout using the recall/memory function on the Performance Monitor.

Benchmark Piece

Once you complete Workout 5, do a benchmark piece of 30 minutes nonstop. Record your total metres, and repeat this workout every few weeks to see how you are progressing.

Next Steps

Now that you’ve completed the first few workouts, begin building an exercise plan that works for your schedule and goals. Visit our Workout of the Day page for ideas.