Rowing Machine Training For Aerobic Power

The rowing machine represents one of the aerobic exercises by definition.

 In this article : we have seen how to build a solid base of Aerobic Endurance it is absolutely necessary to work with these types of exercises because they allow you to maintain constant the optimal heart rates required for long periods of time and also because they do not cause vasoconstriction phenomena , increase in arterial pressures and localized accumulations of lactate typical instead of functional tools.

By convention I will use Concept II Model D or E in the example. It is useless to explain here the functions and settings as everything is immediately intuitive thanks to the control panel completely in Italian.

I recommend the Row as a non-specific training tool for all the most widely practiced hybrid sports , therefore from CrossFit (where in effect it becomes a specific exercise / tool) up to combat sports, also passing through Girevoy .


How to use the rowing machine

Image from the Level Up Fitness video:

Essentially the Row can be used successfully for the training of 3 non-specific conditional capacities plus relative variants on the basis of the different energy systems most involved.

  • Aerobic Capacity
  • Aerobic Power
  • Resistant Power (Power Endurance)

Aerobic capacity training for rowing machine

The Row (the rowing machine), as already mentioned, is therefore first and foremost an excellent tool for working on Aerobic Capacity linked to improving the efficiency of Cardiac Output and on Aerobic Capacity linked to the efficiency of work under the Anaerobic Threshold.

To work best on these conditional capabilities we will use the Row based on these parameters:

  • Volumes: High, from a minimum of 20 minutes up to a total of 60 minutes
  • Intensity:
    • For Aerobic Capacity linked to the optimization of Cardiac Output: Medium-low, generally corresponding to 70-80% of the HRMax for a 30-year-old athlete (130-150 bmp), the optimal intensity must therefore be included in the range that there is between the Aerobic Threshold and the Anaerobic Threshold, therefore higher than the minimum training stimulus and lower than the maximum limit beyond which an accumulation and increase of lactate is determined which is greater than the muscular and systemic disposal capacity. This interval is none other than the optimal intensity for the maximum increase of the Systolic Range and consequently of the Cardiac Range.
    • For the Aerobic Capacity linked to the maintenance and / or increase of the Anaerobic Threshold (Medium-high), generally corresponding to 85-90% of the HRMax for a 30-year-old athlete (160-170 bmp), the optimal intensity must therefore be close or higher than the Anaerobic Threshold, in case you want to carry out maintenance or raising work.
  • Frequency: 2-3 workouts per week
  • Methods: Continuous extensive methods. Example: 30 continuous minutes, 45 continuous minutes, 6Km etc. etc.
  • Damper Setting: Lvl. 5-7. The damper lever, in these working methods, it is advisable to keep it between level 5 and 7. In fact, the rowing must be light, fluid, rhythmic and constant. In addition to monitoring the HR, it is very useful to try to maintain a constant pace, the so-called “Pace”, by monitoring the split every 500 m. That is, the intermediate time every 500 m.

Target Test: The Target Tests allow us to identify through concrete “numbers” our state of form with regard to each specific conditional capacity, in this case the tests to understand what a good level of Aerobic Capacity is that an athlete is at general must possess are typically 3:

  • Row 5000 m: <20:00
  • Heart rate at rest (Rest bmp): <55-50
  • HR at the end of 1 minute recovery from the 5000m test: <70% of HRMax

Rowing machine training for aerobic power

Still in the field of Aerobic Endurance, the Row is an excellent tool to also work on Aerobic Power in relation to the maximum lactic acid capacity and in relation to VO2Max (maximum oxygen consumption)

  • Volumes: Average from 15 minutes to 30 minutes overall.
  • Intensity: High, generally corresponding to 90-95% of the FCMax for a 30-year-old athlete (170-180 bmp), In practice, it is necessary to push the limit for the required work time, in these ranges the lactate concentrations are very high, typically> 8 mmol / l. The aim is to achieve and maintain the highest possible HR for the required working time
  • Frequency: 1-2 workouts per week.
  • Methods: Methods at intervals over distances. Typically the intervals for the VO2Max are structured by time (example: 4 min of work / 4 ‘of recovery X n Intervals, or 3 min / 3 min X n Intervals etc.) with the Row it is possible to structure them on such distances that can be covered in timing similar. Therefore, they can be set to work times equal to 1000, 1250 or even 1500 m in which one pushes to the maximum to cover this distance in the shortest possible time. Recovery times are equal to at the same time employed in the work.
  • Example: 5 X 1000 m / 1: 1 recovery.
  • Damper Setting: Lvl. 6-8

Target Test: In this case the tests are pure Aerobic Power tests over standard distances, before anyone can comment that 1000m in less than 3:30 is out of range, please note that my first record at 33 was of 3:26 to 80Kg of BW, since I am just a poor desperate with a passion for training, if you are pro or semi-pro athlete of any high metabolic effort sport, 25 years of age and 85 -90Kg of BW, and you are unable to make similar times, it simply means that you are free !!! These are therefore general good times for any athlete.

  • 1000 m in <3:30
  • 2000 m in <7:30

Rowing board for tough power

Technically, the term Power Endurance means the ability to carry out repeated efforts of an explosive, dynamic and / or ballistic nature over time, using the Row we can extend this definition to the ability to make repeated efforts at constant Wattage over time.

Generally it is a question of working at intervals of duration between 30 ” and 60 ” in which you try to cover as long a distance as possible. The standards of timing and distances are specific to going to affect the lactic acid energy system. You will then work to increase lactate production and tolerance. So works of resistance to lactacid power and resistance to lactacid capacity.

The aim is to develop a high resistance and tolerance to lactate by learning to produce constant repeated efforts of power (expressed in Watts). At a specific level this is what a boxer should do, for example, keeping his combinations of shots always efficient and constant power throughout the duration of the fight. Often, however, for a series of factors, including a poor lactic resistance, many boxers are unable to maintain the power of their strokes constant over time, thus losing efficiency from the first rounds.

  • Volumes: Average from 15 minutes to 25 minutes overall.
  • Intensity: High, generally corresponding to + 90-95% of the FCMax for a 30-year-old athlete (+ 170-180 bmp). lactate must be very high.
  • Frequency: 2 workouts per week.
  • Methods: Timed interval methods. Typically the intervals for the resistance to the Lactacid Power can be set on working times equal to 30 ” during which you push to the maximum to cover as long a distance as possible. Recovery times are also 30 ”.
  • Example: 2 blocks of 5 X 30/30 with 3 minutes of recovery between blocks.
  • The intervals for the resistance to the Lactacid Capacity, on the other hand, can be set to work times equal to 60 ” during which, even here, one pushes to the maximum to cover as long a distance as possible. Recovery times also equal to 60 ”.
  • Example 3 blocks of 3 X 60/60 with 3 minutes of recovery between blocks
  • Damper Setting: Lvl. 8-10 The damper lever, here, it is advisable to keep it between level 8 and 10. The rowing must therefore be powerful and decisive and possibly constant. The aim is to maintain the highest possible wattage for the required working time

Target Test: In this case, the tests foresee the successful completion of a certain number of intervals where in each working time it is necessary to travel a certain distance. In the test related to the resistance to lactacid power, a good value is given by the ability to complete 5 intervals 30/30 covering at least 160 m at each interval

– 5 X 30/30 @> 160 m pace

In the lactacid capacity resistance test, on the other hand, a good value is given by the ability to complete 5 60/60 intervals, covering at least 300 m at each interval.

– 5 X 60/60 @> 300 m pace


Conclusions about the rowing machine

Now, what I have done in this article is simply to present the Row for what it is and for what it can offer, considering that it is an ergometer, it allows you to put a lot of meat on the fire. All trying to provide training schedules for rowing machines that can be a point of reference even if you are starting out.

We have seen how to effectively train some conditional skills using this tool, the essential tests to understand what your level is in these, and the most effective training methods. As always, everything must be contextualized on the needs of the individual athlete and related to a precise training program belonging to an equally precise mesocycle.

 In a subsequent article I will deal with outlining the guidelines on how to program the various training methodologies in the context of precise mesocycles. We will see how to set up an Interval Training mesocycle to increase Resistant Power, a mesocycle that mixes extensive methods with interval training methods for increasing Aerobic Power, etc. etc.

Stay tuned !


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