06 May 2019
Gym London

The rowing machine can be found in almost every fitness facility across the country, there’s a reason for this… it’s one of the best!

One of only a few full-body pieces of cardio equipment, the rowing machine is a great tool to utilise in all parts of your workout. Here at 360, we love to get the rower involved in warmups, sweat conditioning pieces and our high intensity classes. 

Spending time on a rower will burn up your leg muscles from the drive through the legs, your core muscles as you keep tight and upright and your arms, shoulders and back as you initiate that final pull as the legs fully extend to gain that extra length on each stroke. So whilst many consider the rower to be strictly cardiovascular based, with the correct technique you’ll come off with both burning muscles and breathing heavily.

With that in mind, we do recommend you ensure you adopt the correct technique prior to delving into some rowing based workouts. 

Technique basics: Drive through your legs, keep your back straight and use your arms as a hook to simply pull the bar to your upper core to maximise stroke length once your legs are extended. We’d recommend checking out some of our Instagram posts to get a better idea. See here! 

With the basics covered, let’s take a look at our 3 favourite and most effective ways you can utilise a rowing machine in your training:


1. Low intensity steady state cardio 

One excellent way to use a rower is to maintain a steady pace over a long period of time (fitness level dependent) set a time or distance you wish to row for and maintain a steady pace for that duration. If you’re relatively inexperienced in the gym, we’d suggest aiming for a steady 15 minutes or 2.5-3km. This style of training on a regular basis will be great for building up that cardiovascular base and burning a considerable number of calories.


2. Warm-ups

As I’m sure you’re already aware, an adequate and effective warmup is a hugely important aspect of your training, that comes with a range of benefits both, physically and mentally. One key component of an effective warm-up is the process of increasing core body temperature, getting the blood pumping through the muscles and lubricating the joints. At 360 we often recommend using a rowing machine to achieve this. 

Approach: Hop onto a rower and perform what we call a ramp; complete 3 minutes, minute 1 – slow and steady, minute 2 – pick the pace up a little, minute 3 – high effort.

Minute 1: 15-20 strokes per minute (S/M)

Minute 2: 20-25 S/M

Minute 3: 25+ S/M


3. Include the rower in a sweaty conditioning session

This can be implemented in different ways. At 360, we keep our short and intense conditioning sessions to 10 minutes at the end of each small group personal training session. A few of our favourites include Tabata style sprints, pairing the rower with a plyometric exercise or to perform a style of training such as an EMOM or AMRAP. 


Sprints: 5×30 seconds all out effort with 20 second rest between.

Pair: complete 200 metres on the rower, followed by 10 burpees, repeat 5 rounds.

EMOM: 10 calorie row paired with 15 ball slams, back and forth every minute on the minute for 10 minutes. 

For more conditioning ideas click here!


So there you have it, no excuse to avoid the rower! Next time you’re in the gym, give our suggestions a try and let us know how you get on! 💪🏽


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