How To Train To Lose Weight On The Indoor Rower

Written by Concept2 NZ on May 8th, 2018.

Exercising on the Indoor Rower is a great way to get fit and lose weight. The rowing movement incorporates all major muscle groups in one fluid, repetitive movement; working to strengthen and tone muscles, while also providing a cardio workout. The Concept2 Indoor Rower is also a highly customizable machine, with variable resistance settings that can provide for a short, high intensity workout, or a long-distance aerobic session. Knowing which type of workout is best to help you on your weight-loss journey can help to fast-track results, so we take a look at the different types of workouts you can get on your Indoor Rower, and which might be the right choice for you.

Long and Steady

Steady, continuous training on the Indoor Rower is a very effective way to get fit and lose weight. Workout’s between 35-60min in duration at a steady aerobic pace (approximately 135-150bpm (heart rate) or 4-5/10 on the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale) are considered long and steady, and aid weigh loss by exercising the aerobic system and core muscle groups within a manageable level of stress. Because rowing involves every major muscle group, calories are burned efficiently making it a very effective method for those seeking weight loss. Exact calories burned per session are variable depending on bodyweight and speed, but you can calculate the number of calories burned in your workout using the PM5 monitor’s calorie setting and Concept2’s Calorie Calculator, a particularly useful tool for evaluating the calorie consumption of a long, steady session.

Rowing is also a sport that requires a certain level of technical proficiency in order to maximize your workout. It takes time to learn good technique, and longer duration, low intensity workouts provide the perfect environment to focus on technical development without feeling rushed or exhausted. Getting the ratio right between the recovery and drive phases (2:1) is particularly important to maintaining good rowing technique and becomes even more important as you look to increase your stroke rate.

girl rowerLong, low intensity rows provide the perfect opportunity to focus on technical development while burning calories

A considerable drawback of longer workouts is of course time. It Is not always easy to set aside a full 35min-60min in the day for exercise, and it is important that the exercise method you choose should be sustainable. Consistency of training is a significant contributor to your success in both improving fitness, reaching your weight loss goal, and keeping the weight off. Ideally, fitting in 3-4 longer duration sessions per week will have you well on your way to getting fit and losing weight, but if that is not possible you may want to consider a different approach.

Short and Sharp

High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) refers to a training methodology where workouts are short in duration, but high in intensity. Workouts total half an hour or less in duration and consist of repetitive bursts of high intensity efforts with a short rest between each one. Because the Indoor Rower is both a cardio and strength machine, quick HIIT bursts of 45 seconds fast with a high stroke rate, followed by 30 seconds easy recovery can be a great way of squeezing a quick, meaningful workout into a busy schedule. Research shows that not only do high-intensity intervals dial up the calories burnt during the workout, but this training method also stimulates the body’s recovery systems which continue to burn calories even after the workout has ended. While you may expect to burn somewhere between 250-380 calories in one 30min HIIT session, you will also continue to burn calories post workout, as your body recovers from the high intensity training. Although, calorie results from HIIT sessions are not quite as easy to track using the calorie calculator as long steady workouts, because of the variation in intensity and diversity in recovery rates.

AdobeStock 181399082Getting your rowing technique right before advancing to high intensity training is important to get the most out of your workout.

Ideally, you should aim for 4-5 HIIT workouts per week of varying lengths (10min-30min) building up to the longer workouts(30min) as your fitness improves. If you are not used to exercising and have never attempted HIIT before, it is best to seek the advice of a trainer to ensure an introductory program that is right for you. If you are already exercising and keen to give HIIT a try check out our article Heard of HIIT? for sample workouts.

HIIT training on the Indoor Rower has a lot to offer those looking to fit regular exercise into a tight schedule. However, it is important to remember that training hard is not nearly as effective and beneficial if you are not training well. While long, steady rows are great for technical development, it is much harder to develop good technique at high intensity over short durations. It is important that you first have a grounding in correct rowing technique, to make sure you are utilizing the right muscle groups and coordinating the stroke effectively. It is much easier to achieve technical proficiency at a low, continuous stroke rate, rather than at a high stroke rate where technical application and coordination becomes much more challenging. HIIT workouts performed effectively with good rowing technique are a great way to get fit and lose weight without spending hours on the rowing machine- just make sure you take the time to get your technique right first.

20170718 bharrewyn concept2-1Purchase or hire a Concept2 Indoor Rower to begin your weight loss journey in the comfort and convenience of your own home

There is of course no reason why you cannot include both long, low intensity training and HIIT workouts into your weekly exercise schedule. The two methods complement each other well; scheduling HIIT workouts on busy days, and a longer session when you have more time can be a much more sustainable exercise approach. For a taste of each in a starter program suitable for all abilities, check out this month’s FREE 1-Month training program.

Just like any new exercise, starting exercise on the Indoor Rower (whether it be a long and steady approach, or a HIIT method of training) should be gentle and progressive. Don’t expect to start rowing for a full hour, or a whole 30min HIIT workout straight up. Take your time to build muscular and cardio fitness progressively, to ensure that you exercise safely and sustainably.

Happy Training!