Weight Loss With Indoor Rower

Weight loss isn’t easy. Fad diets come and go, but the only real, lasting solution is to change your lifestyle – with regular exercise and healthy eating habits. Concept2 can be an effective partner in the process.

The weight-loss math is simple: Burn more calories than you take in. Even just a moderate increase in your exercise level can lead to long-term weight loss, even with no change in diet. If you eat a healthy diet, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can see even more results over time.

No weight-loss plan can offer overnight results. But If YOU are willing to supply the personal commitment and patience, Concept2 Rowing can provide the other necessary ingredients.



There are several reasons why rowing can be a very effective calorie-burning exercise:

Involvement of many muscle groups – Rowing uses upper body, lower body and core muscle groups, thereby creating a large demand for calories. In addition, muscles continue to burn extra calories for a while after you finish exercising. The more muscles you use in your exercise, the more muscles will continue to burn these extra calories.

Strength as well as cardiovascular exercise – In addition to being a terrific cardiovascular exercise, rowing will also build your strength. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the better off you will be in terms of calorie-burning.

Smooth, impact-free exercise - The smooth rhythmic nature of the rowing motion, and the lack of pounding and impact, make rowing the kind of exercise that you can do for the rest of your life. If you have old injuries, or joint problems, rowing is an excellent choice of exercise. You can also do longer workouts with rowing than with some other forms of exercise which are harder on the body. The longer you work out at any given level of exertion, the more calories you will burn.
  • For a given intensity level, the longer you row, the more calories you will burn.
  • For a given elapsed time, the harder you row, the more calories you will burn.
  • Note, however, that the harder you row, the less long you will be able to sustain the workout.

Here are some strategies, based on our own experience and that of our customers, for building time and/or intensity:
  • Remember that you do not need to change your damper setting to row at a higher intensity. Nor do you need to row at a higher spm (strokes per minute). You simply need to pull harder. Specifically, the more quickly you accelerate the handle (and thus the flywheel), the more resistance you will feel. We recommend a damper setting of 2-5, and a stroke rate of 25-30 spm.
  • Use your Performance Monitor to gauge your intensity. Regardless of your choice of units, watch the middle display.
    • If you row in watts: higher intensity = higher number of watts
    • If you row in calories: higher intensity = higher number of  calories
    • If you row in pace (time/500m): higher intensity = lower number (less time needed to go 500 meters).
  • Try a gradual progression to vary and build intensity. Start by finding a steady pace that you can maintain for at least 5 minutes. Then, using your monitor as described above, increase your intensity by several seconds (or calories or watts) for one minute. Return to the original pace for one minute. Repeat this sequence several times or more. In subsequent sessions, see if you can use the higher pace as your base pace, and introduce another yet higher intensity level.
  • Take “Power Tens”, or “Power Twenties” Every 2 minutes, or every 500 meters, take 10 or 20 strokes at a higher intensity, then return to your base pace.
  • Use variety in your workouts – do intervals, alternate workouts
  • Make the most of your Performance Monitor – rotate between the different display options
  • Take breaks – especially if you get discomfort in the seat
  • Watch the news, listen to books on tape, learn a foreign language
  • Record all your meters, either online or in a logbook or on your LogCard.
  • Go for the Million Meter Club.
  • Try “Rainy Weather Housecleaning Intervals”. Put the erg in a central location in your house, and see how many 5 minute sessions you can fit into your day, between your other chores. Challenge the rest of the household to join in and take turns.

Whether you row at home or in a club setting, alone or with friends, it can help your weight loss efforts to know that you are part of a greater community of like-minded folks.

Even if you really prefer to row by yourself, you may find it rewarding and encouraging to read about others who are facing the same challenge that you are facing. You may find that you enjoy sharing your own experience with them, and that it helps you stay motivated. Or you may learn from them useful strategies for improving your workouts.

The Weight Loss & Weight Control Section of the Concept2 Forum is dedicated to discussions about rowing for weight loss. Here you can read about what others are saying, post questions of your own, and share workout tips. Join in the conversation!


In order to try and help people lose weight, Concept2 have created a free 35 page Weight Loss booklet. Whatever your aims, the information in this guide will help you to do two things.

First it will help you answer the questions – “What should I do?”, “When should I do it?”, “How can I stay on track?”, “Who can help me succeed?” and, most importantly, “Why am I doing this?”

Second, it will teach you some practical steps to knowing what to do, when to do it and how to stay on track. This information has been gained from experience with thousands of exercisers and many elite athletes.

The guide consists of four sections:

Section 1: Your Plan gets you to ask the questions, “Why am I doing this?”, “What do I want to get out of it?” and “How am I going to do it?” and helps you to create an action plan.

Section 2: Exercise Guidance does exactly what it says. It gives guidance about exercising, stretching, warming up and cooling down.

Section 3: The Training is a training guide designed by Olympic rowing coach Terry O’Neill to allow you to improve your fitness and help you lose that fat.

Section 4: Healthy Habits is full of ideas that will help you with creating a healthy diet, what foods are recommended and what should be avoided, and some lifestyle suggestions to help you maximise the programme.

This guide does not provide you with a quick fix. Fad diets may help you lose fat quickly but that fat almost always comes straight back. We think of this as the slim slow plan. This allows you to change your lifestyle, learn habits that make your lifestyle healthier and continue with this healthier lifestyle.

Contact us to get a Free Weight Loss Booklet (PDF) 


We strongly recommend that if you are clinically overweight that you seek professional medical advice before embarking on any exercise programme. Regular exercise will deliver numerous health benefits but unless it is accompanied by an appropriate diet then it will not yield any significant weight loss.

Weight management requires a calorific balance between the daily intake of nutrients via the diet to the daily expenditure of energy. If the daily intake of calories is greater than the calories burned then you may put on weight. If the intake of calories is less than those burned then you may lose weight as the energy deficit is made up from energy sources stored about the body.

The interactive weight loss programme aims to reduce body weight by 1% per week. This is achieved by a total calorie deficit of up to 1000kcals/day. This should be achieved by a combination of a reduction of dietary intake and an increase in energy expenditure.

To use: Enter your height in feet and inches and your weight in kilogrammes. Enter the amount of weight (in kilogrammes) that you want to lose and the number of sessions a week that you want to exercise. The programme will then generate a training programme based on one week for each 1% of body weight you need to lose.

This programme is not designed for people whose intention it is to achieve a target weight for competition. The purpose of this programme is to help achieve a healthy lifestyle through a sensible exercise programme accompanied by a balanced diet.

Click here to get your interactive weight loss programme.


This version of our Three Week Program is designed to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The program will introduce you to a wide variety of workouts, which will provide the structure and interest to keep you burning calories with rowing, while also allowing the flexibility to target the workouts to your own personal goals.

Click to view Three Week Program for Weight Loss & Management