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15-minute rowing workout Perfect for beginners



If you go to a gym any day of the week, you will see many popular cardio machines: treadmills, elliptical machines, bicycles, and even stair steppers. But why not the indoor rower? Is it because it is always vacant that people see through it? Or does it seem for the first time – and even savvy – athletes to stick to the equipment they already know for full body training? Either way, it’s time to wipe the rowing machine indoors and give it the attention it deserves on this 15-minute full-body workout!

Why you should try indoor rowing

Did we mention it’s a full body workout?

According to studies by the English Institute of Sport, the rowing machine uses 86% of the muscles in your entire body, which means that you literally train almost ̵

1; if not all – of your key muscle groups from head to toe. In fact, the rowing movement starts with your feet, legs, thighs and hips and ends with your abs, shoulders, arms and hands and repeats with the next stroke. This means you can balance the engagement of every muscle group in your upper body, lower body, and abs! And by “work” we mean that you build strength AND muscle endurance at the same time. The rowing motion can use the same muscles as squats, pushups, or bench presses, but the rowing machine doesn’t require you to lift a dumbbell, barbell, or any other heavy weight or device! Studies have also shown that weight training and cardio are the best ways to burn calories and torch fat. Do we have to go on at all?

High intensity with little to no impact.

Always wanted an intense workout without running, jumping or lifting heavy weights on the treadmill five days a week? Good news, you can use the indoor rower! Regardless of your fitness level, the chances of harming yourself are very small as long as you make an effort to maintain good technique throughout the session. It also means that you can improve your strength and cardio training every week without getting any extra impact or spending more time recovering between workouts. Oh, and when you’re recovering from an injury, the rower is one of the best decisions you can make when you get back to the gym in the first few weeks or sessions.

Indoor rowers are versatile and come with personalization options to help you achieve your fitness goal.

Regardless of your fitness, you can perform various exercises on the rowing machine to achieve this. If you enjoy doing some quick cardio workout before strength training, get on the rower with minimal resistance for 5-10 minutes. It’s a great way to warm up your major muscle groups before a workout. In addition to using the rowing machine for racetracks or full body training, slow rowing with light resistance can be a perfect option for active recreation on your weekly rest days.

You don’t have to spend a lot of time with the rowers to get results.

Indoor rowing is perfect for those who have a busy schedule and don’t have a full hour to go to the gym. If you focus on putting your maximum exertion from start to finish, you can get a great 15-minute or 20-minute total body workout that burns over 200 calories. All you need is a little motivation!

Keys to indoor rowing

If you missed our article on rowing on a rowing machine, this is the time to check it out! But don’t worry, we’ll do a quick refresher anyway to make sure you’re using the correct form for the rowers.Full strokes consist of four phases: catching, driving, aiming and recovering – each part is just as important as the other! To improve your rowing skills, it is important to learn the correct form of each phase in order to get the optimal speed and power for your strokes. It may seem gloomy at first, but don’t let exercise put you off! As long as you stick with it for a few weeks (or even months) you will see progress and results, and in no time with good technique you will be getting perfect full strokes. Okay let’s break down the right shape!

In the catching phase, which is basically just a starting position, place your buttocks on the seat with your feet hip-width apart in the footplates and knees bent, while you stretch your arms out in front of you to grab them with each hand. You need to lean forward slightly, so make sure you have good upper body posture, chest up, abs engaged, and shoulders back.

During the driving phase, start the strike with your legs and thighs by turning off the footplates with the heels of your feet while still leaning forward with your arms. Once your legs are straight and your knees are no longer bent, pivot them at your hips to open up your chest and torso so you can lean back. At this point, bend your elbows to your sides and row the handle towards your ribs in one motion – this shouldn’t feel like two separate pieces.

Think of the target phase in your head as a very short rest period that lasts 1-2 seconds at most. Here your legs and knees are straight in front of you, your torso, chest, and shoulders are leaning back, and your arms and handle are drawn outward into your body with your elbows. You should have exploded from the footplates enough that your toes and feet are against the foot cages.

During the recovery phase, the actions you just performed are repeated in reverse order! Lean forward and let your arms back toward Erg, taking the bend off your elbows. Make sure you are hanging by your hips to fuel this movement. Note: This phase should take twice as long as the drive (one second for the drive and two seconds for the recovery).

And then repeat! Completing each phase once is a repetition or strike.

How to measure rowing sessions

Before we get to the actual rowing machine training (we are almost there, as we promise), let’s discuss one more thing: Ways to measure your training – because you have many options! With the treadmill and elliptical exerciser, you can track your elapsed time (minutes and seconds) and distance (miles) and see how many calories are consumed once you enter your weight. You can also use the rowing machine to view elapsed time, calories, and distance. Note, however, that distance is measured in meters, not miles. Many people get confused when we start tossing around terms like beat frequency, split time, and watts. The beat rate (SPM) is the number of beats per minute and is displayed in the erg as s / m. Your split time shows you how fast you can row 500 meters, which is the equivalent of a runner reporting their mileage. After all, the watt metric measures your power, or more precisely how much power and energy your strokes have generated.

15-minute rowing machine training for every fitness level

This fast, but effective, indoor rowing machine workout is one of the best full body workouts on the market to complement strength training and improve heart endurance while burning calories and fat. Did we mention that the sessions only need to last 15 minutes?

Since this workout is measured by distance and speed, rather than time, it’s perfect for any fitness level as you can train at your own pace (we recommended target stroke rates below). Grab your water bottle and let’s get to work!

  • 100m slow: Use this time to warm up all your body parts and major muscle groups and really focus on your stroke technique. Aim for a beat frequency of 18-24 SPM.
  • 50m fast: This is one of your first sprints. Go as fast as you can while still being able to have good form and technique – you should aim for 28-36 + SPM.
  • Break 2 minutes: Take a sip of water and regroup before your next 200 yards.
  • 200m slow: Use your strength here to get maximum power with every shot. Aim again for 18-24 SPM.
  • Break 1 min: Are you starting the concept now? Hold your breath if you have to.
  • 100m slow: Get into a rhythm with good technique, 100 meters go fast! Keep aiming for 18-24 SPM.
  • 50m fast: Remember, don’t give up on speed for technology! Aim for 28-36 + SPM and see if you can get your highest stroke rate for this workout.
  • Break 2 minutes: You are almost there! These next two intervals will be the toughest yet – you got it!
  • 300m slow: Find your rhythm and aim for 18-24 SPM.
  • 100m fast: Go through your heels and engage every muscle group throughout your body. It is your last job; only a few seconds! Aim for 28-36 + SPM.
  • 500m slowly to cool down:: 500 meters is the longest row, but don’t worry – it’s just cooling off. 😊 Go see how fast your body feels.

If you’re looking to improve your fitness or after a few weeks of rowing looking for something new, try turning this into a strength cycle for you and your friends to do together next time! Just before your rest time, add an exercise or two that you can do alongside your rower on the floor with limited equipment (think dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell, etc.). Repeat or repeat each exercise for a specific number of seconds. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Stationary lunge or lunge squats (perform on both sides)
  • Squat down with dumbbells
  • Bench press with dumbbell or barbell
  • Triceps extension with dumbbell
  • Bicep curl with barbell
  • Plank (elbows on the floor or in push-up position)

If you want to add strength moves to this stretch, be sure to use light, not heavy, weight as you don’t want to tire too quickly. Also, plan and choose your exercises in advance to make sure you can balance which parts of the body and muscles you are training!


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