Rowing Workouts Concept 2

rowing workouts concept 2
Me doing a row workout and getting my tail kicked.

Rowing workouts on the concept 2 machine is something I had to get really comfortable with because quite honestly rowing was hard for me.

I have a background in basketball and running amongst other things and when I got exposed to crossfit and the rowing machine in 2010 I was taking for a great surprise at how challenging rowing was.

I’m not very tall (5’8 and 178 pounds) so most rowers would say that my height and short legs aren’t working for me.


My background in endurance sports and high intensity workouts did carry over. Rowing was just new for me and I had to learn how to be efficient.

Today I will give you:

  • Rowing workouts that can be on the concept 2
  • A video tutorial on proper rowing machine form/technique

If you are tired of doing random conditioning workouts and want some variety check out my hiit cardio workouts.

Rowing Workouts Concept 2

I mentioned earlier that I had to work hard to be good at rowing because it didn’t come naturally me.

Now, I don’t know if you are looking up some workouts because you want to improve your performance or if you just want to get in a great low impact cardio workout.

Some of my personal records are:

  • 500 Meter Row- 1:31.2
  • 1000 Meter Row – 3:12.5 (1:36/500 meters)
  • 2000 Meter Row – 7:11.0 (1:48/500 meters)
  • 3000 Meter Row – 11:09.2 (1:51/500 meters)

Rowing Workout #1

One of the reasons I showed you my personal records is to show you the difference in the splits. The shorter the duration the more intensity you should have…

…aka row faster and have a lower 500/meter split time.

When you see some of these workouts I’m going to provide to you have that in mind.

One more thing:

Shorter duration means higher intensity right? That principle is also applied to “volume” aka the amount of sets.

So, if the workout/program calls for less sets. That means I want you to give more effort.

“I’ll take intensity over volume every day of the week.”

Me 🙂
rowing workout concept 2
Interval work

This worked is pulled from our K2 Conditioning plan and is a part of our progression to improve our clients 2,000 meter time.

So if you know your 2k time I would want your “fast” pace to be at your 2K time and your easy pace to be +20 seconds.

In my case:

30 seconds @ 1:48

30 seconds @ 2:08

Rowing Workout #2

rowing workout
Negative split training.

In the first row workout we provided we worked on pushing your pace and then active recovery at your slow pace.

In this workout we are challenging your threshold hold by challenging you go fast but then an opportunity to recover between sets.

“Trust your fitness and ability to recover.”

I tell our clients this all the time. Get outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself during your sets to work hard and then you can rest.

We want this workout to have negative splits throughout the workout.

For example:

  • row x 3 minutes @ fast 2:00/500 pace
  • rest x 60 seconds
  • row x 2 minutes @ “faster” I would want to have about a -5 second drop in your splits = 1:55/500 pace
  • rest x 60 seconds
  • Row x 90 seconds (remember shorter duration means go faster) here I want another -5 split drop =1:50/pace

I’m just using the 2:00 as an example. I would want the splits to be tailored to you. Which is what we help our athletes do in our rowing program.

rowing workouts concept 2
Following a program is always better than random workouts 🙂

Rowing Workout #3

This final row workout I’m going to share with you again is geared to improve your workout capacity. I challenge you to work hard for 4 sets at a time and then get a full recovery.

rowing program

We are always coaching our athletes to have negative splits so with this row workout.

I would like to see your workout flow like this:

  • Set 1 x pace
  • rest x 45 seconds
  • set 2 (2 seconds faster)
  • rest x 45 seconds
  • sets 3 (4 seconds faster)
  • etc

Gradually increasing your speed as you reach the fourth set because then you earn a full 3 minute rest. What this does to you is it builds confidence in what you are capable of doing.

A lot of people do the complete opposite. They come out strong and they are dead after 2 or 3 sets and holding on and you never get to see the benefits of actually increasing your VO2 max.

Proper Rowing Machine Form/Technique

The video above I go over all of the tips and tricks to improve your rowing effieciency.

Like I talked about above when I first started rowing I came from a running background and rowing was really foreign to me.

But I did what I always did when I wasn’t good at something…

…I read, tested, researched, and experimented with it until I become an expert.

I rowed a lot.

And went into the pain cave a lot.

I studied damper settings, watt power, calories, all of that stuff.

In the video above I will walk you through:

  • Where your feet should be set at
  • What display screen you want
  • What damper setting you should have it set on based of your size
  • And how to become more efficient at rowing

If you found the video helpful be sure to give it a thumbs up 🙂

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Rowing workouts on the concept 2 are no joke. Yes the rower is an amazing cardio equipment that is low impact but if you are using the rower to train for performance... know exactly what I'm talking about. It can be a serious challenge!

Today I gave you three rowing workouts pulled directly from our K2 Conditioning program and I hope you enjoy them.

Comment down below which of the three workouts was your favorite!

Ready to stop doing random workouts and want to follow a rowing program? The check this out.

personal trainers
Your coaches Kevin & Katie

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I row on concept 2?

Well, the first thing you should do is increase your aerobic capacity AKA improve your endurance. If I could challenge you further it would be to test your 2,000 meter row time. Then after completing your 2k row I would encourage you to begin to work on improving that 🙂

Is 20 minutes of rowing enough?

I mentioned this earlier but it's never about how much you do rather what you do in those 20 minutes. You can get a lot serious training done in 20 minutes. In fact the three rowing workouts I gave you above are three great examples of that. Think intensity vs how much.

Is the concept 2 rower a good workout?

Rowing is a fanstatic workout. It is seriously awesome. The machine works your legs, arms, heart and is low impact. It's something I see myself doing my entire life. Especially since rowing is "horizontal pulling" it's great for improving posture and strengthening our back muscles that often gets negleted.

If you have any additional questions feel free to comment below and I'm happy to answer them for you.

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