Functional Exercise and the Indoor Rower

Written by Concept2 NZ on January 23rd, 2018.

You may have heard the terms ‘Functional Exercise’ rather a lot recently, this exercise approach is experiencing a surge in popularity, with an increasing demand for workouts and exercise plans that focus beyond weight loss, through to enhancing daily life through fitness and well-being.

What is Functional Exercise All About?

In the same way that athletes train in the specific disciplines relevant to their competition event, a functional approach to exercise encourages you to target your workout to training the muscles that you rely on in your day-to-day lifestyle. Functional workouts can vary widely depending on what you do for a job, your health, and your plans for the future, and should change to meet changes in your lifestyle. For some, functional exercise might mean training the glutes and quads to tackle that long staircase at work, while others might use functional exercise to help build stamina and leg strength to make long walks on holiday more enjoyable. Whether you are most active at work, or in your free time; functional exercise aims to prepare your body for whatever your day will bring.

How can I use my Concept2 Indoor Rower for Functional Benefits?

As it happens, your Concept2 Indoor Rower is the perfect machine to facilitate a functional exercise approach for a wide range of different needs. While very few of us spend our daily lives rowing in a boat, the comprehensive workout that the rowing motion offers the body, makes it the perfect sequence to either target specific muscle groups, or take a more holistic approach. Using the full rowing sequence also offers a combination of both cardio and strength, making it a very inclusive workout. However, if you are looking for a more targeted functional approach, there are also other ways to break down the rowing stroke that will enable you to focus in on specific muscle groups…


While your glutes, quads and calves all receive a thorough workout from the full rowing sequence, the ‘legs only’ exercise provides an option for a targeted leg-strength workout, without adding too much load to your core and back. As with any new exercise, attempt this one slowly at a light resistance to get used to the sequence, before increasing the resistance to the level you wish to train at.

Tip: Repeat this exercise at lighter resistance for a leg workout with some cardio thrown in, or take strokes in reps of 10 at a higher resistance for a more strength focused workout.


Perhaps your job involves lifting boxes and heavy items, or maybe you find yourself carrying kids, bags and shopping all at once on your way to the car! Strengthening your arms can make a big difference to lots of different daily tasks, and your Indoor Rower can help!

Tip: Much like weight training, it is important with this exercise to maintain technique and stop or rest before you loose form.


Perhaps you are looking to keep up your rowing, but need to give your core some extra attention. We rely on our core strength for everything from walking and running, to cycling and lifting, but not everyone enjoys adding sit-ups onto every workout! Rowing on the Indoor Rower without your feet strapped in, adds pressure to the core muscles, making it a great way to get some core work into your workout without sacrificing time reserved for cardio.

Tip: Aim to keep your stroke rate a little lower than usual while you get used to the finish of the stroke. Once you adjust to the new feeling at the finish, take the rating up to your normal level.


A functional approach to exercise is a great way to streamline your workout to focus on the things that will provide the biggest benefits to you in your daily life. With the versatility of the Concept2 Indoor Rower, you have the option to adapt your workout for specific focus on functional muscle groups, on a machine that also offers a full body, strength and cardio session whenever you need it!

Let us know how you like to use your Indoor Rower in the comments below!