Erg Workouts

Rowing is such a great fitness activity because it involves both power and endurance. Some sports emphasize muscle strength, some emphasize explosive muscle power, and some emphasize aerobic endurance. Rowing emphasizes it all! The VO2 Max of elite females in rowing is similar to the sports of elite track running and nordic skiing, thereby putting rowing in the top of the list for vigorous sports!

The indoor rowing machine, or "erg" (short for ergometer), is the single best way to keep your conditioning during the winter or periods when we can't get on the water to row. In addition to an overall weightlifting plus plyometrics (epecially squat jumping) and Pilates routine combined with running or other similar crosstraining, you should be able to get and stay in super shape for rowing.

Weak and/or unbalanced muscles along with low capacity aerobic endurance negatively affects rowing technique too.

Concept2 (training and technique)

Concept2 Challenges (enter and create a logbook)

Suggested BWRC Workout:


Short Interval Pieces

2 X 5 min
2 X 6 min
2 X 7 min
2 X 8 min
2 X 9 min
2 X 10 min
2 X 12 min

These are to be rowed 100% pressure each grouping. Keep split time the same between groups. Take about 5-7 minutes rest between groups. Stroke rate is between 24-30. The first time stay with a lower stroke rate, but as you improve push the rate a little bit. The key is CONSISTENCY.

(3,2,1) min X 2
(30 sec on, 30 sec off) X 10
(optional X 2)
(1 min on, 30 sec off) X 10
(optional X 2)
(2 min on, 1 min off) X 5
(optional X 2)

100% pressure with consistent stroke rates (24-30) between groups. 5-10 minutes rest between groups.

Medium Interval

15 mins
20 mins
25 min.
30 mins

2 X 15 mins

50-75% pressure. Steady state rowing works on endurance. Don't push too hard. This is equivalent to a good jog. Once you feel efficient on these medium interval workouts, try doing two with rest in between.

Pyramid Pieces

4,3,2,1,2,3,4 minutes
5,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5 minutes

Stroke rate for these pieces needs to be a range of 18-24 (26). Start at an 18 and progress up and down by two beats so you work hardest during the minute interval.

Long Interval

40 mins
45 mins
60 mins
90 mins

2 X 20 mins

Steady state rows to be performed at 50-75% pressure with a stroke rate of 18-22.

Print the above suggested BWRC workout list

Some really tough workouts:

Excruciating Erg Workouts (from Row2K readers)

Workouts from the Cascadilla Boat Club (Ithaca, NY)