Fitness & Training, Cardiovascular fitness

Rowing: 3 cardio programs for all profiles

Looking for some ideas for readymade rowing practice? With 3 different cardio programs for all levels and profiles, as well as advice on how to find your own variations, you won’t run out of exercise ideas to diversify your next workouts.

A classic cardio program on the rowing machine

A cardio workout on a rowing machine often consists of alternating between body weight exercises and rowing sessions with a frequency varying between 20 and 24 strokes per minute. After a 10-minute warm-up, consisting of stretching the main muscle groups and starting your rower at a moderate speed to increase your heart rate, you can test this cardio programme for about 30 minutes:

  • Four minutes of rowing.
  • Crunches for two minutes.
  • Four minutes of rowing.
  • 1 plank style exercise, to be held for 2 minutes.
  • Four minutes of rowing.
  • Air squats for two minutes.
  • Four minutes of rowing.
  • Push-ups for two minutes.
  • Four minutes of rowing.
  • 1 minute of moderate-speed rowing followed by a few stretches.

By varying the exercises you chose according to the muscle groups you wish to strengthen, the possibilities of cardio circuits with the rowing machine are infinite: burpees, jumping jack, scissors, mountain climbers… Don’t hesitate to adapt the difficulty to your level by playing with the resistance of the machine and the speed of the strokes. To get results quickly, you can do this program 3 to 4 times a week.

A fast cardio program for tighter schedules

Even if you don’t have enough time to train, try to maintain a rhythm of 3 to 4 sessions per week, by opting for a  cardio express programme on a rowing machine:

  • Warm up for five minutes, right on your rowing machine:
  • 1 minute at low speed using only the arms.
  • 1 minute, just sliding the seat a little bit without doing the full movement.
  • 1 minute with the whole body at 18 strokes a minute.
  • 1 minute using leg strength to propel you while holding the pull bar without forcing, to keep your balance.
  • 1 minute at 20 strokes a minute.
  • Row for three minutes at 20 strokes a minute.
  • Continue with three minutes at 22 strokes a minute.
  • Keep increasing the speed to 24 strokes per minute, always for 3 minutes.
  • Go back to 22 strokes a minute for three minutes.
  • For the last three minutes, finish at 20 strokes a minute.

This intense program will make you work on speed, endurance and cardio at the same time.

An ideal cardio program to start rowing

If you start rowing training, take the time to settle down and familiarise yourself with your machine: adjust the pedal straps in the middle of your feet for good support, set the resistance to an intermediate level, keep your back straight and pull more dynamically than on the return stroke, remember to breathe regularly during the effort and not to spread your arms during the movement.

Your special beginners rowing training circuit 

If you are a  beginner rower, 1 to 2 sessions per week are ideal, in order to develop good habits before increasing the frequency of training. You can start with a 20-minute cardio circuit after a 10-minute warm-up on a low-resistance rowing machine: your circuit can consist of one minute of rowing followed by one minute of recovery, to be repeated 10 times initially and more when you are comfortable.

Optimise your rowing training with the Rower RW900

Give yourself every chance to progress with confidence and never run out of training ideas with a premium rower like the NordicTrack Rower RW900. With 26 levels of digital resistance and an exclusive air resistance feature to toughen up your workouts, this compact device with Space Saver® technology folds away when you’ve finished training. Follow the virtual workout on video on its 22″ HD screen and compose your own custom cardio rowing plan with the best iFit® trainers.

Check out our Fitness & Training page for more advice.