Intervals for Cardio


Indoor Rower Interval Training Tips

indoor rower

Interval training on an indoor rower provides a high calorie burning full body interval workout.  Rowing comes natural to most people so it's easy to learn.  At the start of the rowing stroke you sit in a crouched position in front of the machine with your legs bent and feet on the footrests while your arms are outstretched holding the handle.  Then you drive the seat back with your legs while simultaneously leaning back slightly and pulling the handle to your abdomen with your back and arms.  After the drive is complete you return to the starting position.  Rowing is a challenging interval workout that promotes strength in your back, arms, legs, and abs.

The Work Intervals

You can increase intensity by increasing rowing resistance, rowing faster, or both.

The Rest Intervals

For short rest intervals I recommend to just stop rowing and remain seated on the rower in the start position.

For longer rest intervals you can reduce resistance and row at a slower pace, stop rowing and remain seated in the start position, or get out of the seat and pace around.

Timing the Intervals

You can watch the timer on the console display of the rower or use an interval timer to time the intervals.

Putting It All Together

Now that we have covered all the bases let me guide you through a Rower interval workout.  I like doing short intervals on indoor rowers so for this example I am going to use the Tabata protocol.  The Tabata protocol is a short but intense 4 minute workout split between 8 sets of 20 second high intensity work intervals followed by 10 second rest intervals.

Interval Chart:

 Tabata Intervals  Sets  Time

 20s High intensity work interval + 10s Rest interval

 8  4 min.

When performing the high intensity work intervals the goal is to row fast and hard during each one.  However, make sure to keep your rowing technique sound and rowing motion smooth.  You'll notice that each work interval gets a little harder than the last one and completing the last few of them will be tough if you're pushing yourself hard enough.

I begin my interval training session with at least a 5 minute warm up.  After I complete my warm up I preset the rowing resistance to a level that will make me work hard during the work intervals and then head into my first work interval by rowing rapidly.  After my first work interval is complete I transition into my first rest interval by halting my row and staying  seated on the rower in the start position.  After the first rest interval is complete I transition back into the next work interval by rowing rapidly.  I repeat this process until I complete all eight interval sets.  Then I follow up the intervals with a 5 minute cool down.