The ergometer (a.k.a. "erg," C2, or rowing machine) can be an intimidating piece of exercise equipment. Most fitness machines offer pretty basic movement patterns. But the use of the erg is left open to interpretation because it allows you to move your body in almost any way imaginable, with only your feet anchored to the foot board.

 

 

It can take years to master the skill of erging and rowing, but once you get the basic (and most efficient) rowing motion down, you can look and feel like a professional!

 

The Beginner Rower Training Plan

The following training plan is intended to function as a total fitness program for an athlete just starting out as a rower. You will spend four days per week on the rower, with one day of body circuit training, one day of cross-training, and an active recovery or rest day.

 

First, let's cover some definitions. Your warm up and cool down routines can be found in my previous article. Your stroke rate (SR) is the number of times you pull in a minute, and is displayed on the erg. Now let's see what your week is going to look like:

 

Mondays

Your Monday workouts will be timed, steady-state (SS) efforts at lower SRs. The goal is to get to the point where you can hold the same 500m split pace for the entire SS workout. As the SR changes, the splits will increase or decrease slightly. The higher the SR, the lower the split, and the lower the SR, the higher the split.

 

Tuesdays

The second day of your training week will contain distance intervals at slightly higher SRs.

 

Wednesdays

Wednesday will see you doing one of two total-body circuits, described in detail below. Exercises in the body circuits should be done continuously, with the only rest coming after all of the exercises are completed once.

 

Thursdays

Timed intervals of varying stroke rates and intensities will make up your Thursdays.

 

Fridays

Friday is speed day. You'll work on shorter bursts at higher stroke rates, to build your power and capacity.

 

Saturdays

Saturdays are for getting out and having fun! Cross-train by running, swimming or biking for the time prescribed.

 

Sundays

Recovery is an important part of any program, and Sunday is the time to do it. Go for a walk, do some yoga, or take a light, short jog to flush the lactic acid and soreness that built up during the week's training. If you want, you can just rest. This day is meant to have you charged back up for the next training week ahead.

 

Bodyweight Circuits for Wednesdays

Circuit A

 

Perform 10 reps each of the following exercises in a continuous sequence:

 

  1. Squats
  2. Forward lunge (right leg)
  3. Forward lunge (left leg)
  4. Jumpees
  5. Backward lunge (right leg)
  6. Backward lunge (left leg
  7. Burpees
  8. Side lunge (right)
  9. Side lunge (left)
  10. Good mornings

 

Circuit B:

 

Perform the following exercises in a continuous sequence:

 

  1. Push ups x10
  2. Front plank, 1 min
  3. Left side plank, 1 min
  4. Right side plank, 1 min
  5. Supermans x10, hold 3 seconds at the top of each rep
  6. Bicycles x10 each side, hold 2 sec at the top of each rep
  7. Hip ups x10, hold 3 seconds at the top of each rep
  8. Alternating V-ups x10 each side
  9. Fire hydrants x10 each leg
  10. Horse kicks x10 each leg

 

Week 1

Monday

  • Row: 3x10 min
  • SR: 18
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Tuesday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 2x2km
  • SR: 22
  • Rest 4 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down
 

Wednesday

  • Body circuit A x2
  • Rest 2 min between sets

 

Thursday

  • Row: 3x12 min
  • SR: 19
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Friday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 3x1km
  • SR: 24
  • Rest 4 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Saturday

  • Cross-train 30 min

 

Sunday

  • Off or active recovery

 

Week 2

Monday

  • Row: 4x10 min
  • SR: 19
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Tuesday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 2x3km
  • SR: 24
  • Rest 5 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Wednesday

  • Body circuit B x2
  • Rest 2 min between sets

 

Thursday

  • Row: 2x20 min
  • SR: 20
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Friday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 5x500m
  • SR: 26
  • Rest 3 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Saturday

  • Cross-train 35 min

 

Sunday

  • Off or active recovery

 

Week 3

Monday

  • Row: 3x15 min
  • SR: 18/20/18 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Tuesday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 3x2km
  • SR: 22/24 for 1km each
  • Rest 4 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Wednesday

  • Body circuit A x3
  • Rest 2 min between sets

 

Thursday

  • Row: 3x15 min
  • SR: 19/21/19 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Friday

  • 15 min warm up
  • Row: 3x1km
  • SR: 26
  • Rest 4 min between sets
  • 15 min cool down

 

Saturday

  • Cross-train 40 min

 

Sunday

  • Off or active recovery

 

Week 4

Monday

  • Row: 3x20 min
  • SR: 18/20 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Tuesday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 2x3km
  • SR: 22/24/22 for 1km each
  • Rest 5 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Wednesday

  • Body circuit B x3
  • Rest 2 min between sets

 

Thursday

  • Row: 2x25 min
  • SR: 19/21 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Friday

  • 15 min warm up
  • Row: 5x500m
  • SR: 28
  • Rest 3 min between sets
  • 15 min cool down

 

Saturday

  • Cross-train 45 min

 

Sunday

  • Off or active recovery

 

girl on a concept 2 rower

The erg can be an intimidating piece of equipment to master, but steady work will yield improvement. [Photo credit: J Perez Imagery]

 

Week 5

Monday

  • Row: 3x10 min
  • SR: 18/20 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Tuesday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 2x2km
  • SR: 22/24 for 1km each
  • Rest 4 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Wednesday

  • Body circuit A x3
  • Rest 2 min between sets

 

Thursday

  • Row: 3x12 min
  • SR: 19/21/19 for 4 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Friday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 3x1km
  • SR: 26
  • Rest 4 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Saturday

  • Cross-train 30 min

 

Sunday

  • Off or active recovery

 

Week 6

Monday

  • Row: 4x10 min
  • SR: 18-20 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Tuesday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 2x3km
  • SR: 22/24/22 for 1km each
  • Rest 5 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Wednesday

  • Body circuit B x3
  • Rest 2 min between sets

 

Thursday

Part 1

  • Row: 20 min
  • SR: 19/21 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min

 

Part 2

  • Row: 20 min
  • 30 strokes "firm," 10 strokes "paddle"
  • SR: 18-26 (see note)

Note: The SR should remain the same within each 30-stroke piece. The SR should follow the progression 18-20-22-24-26-24-22-20-18-20 and so on. The firm strokes should be harder than normal continuous work. The paddle should be very easy.

 

Friday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 5x500m
  • SR: 28
  • Rest 3 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Saturday

  • Cross-train 35 min

 

Sunday

  • Off or active recovery

 

Week 7

Monday

  • Row: 3x15 min
  • SR: 18/20/18 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Tuesday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 3x2km
  • SR: 22/24 for 1km each
  • Rest 4 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Wednesday

  • Body circuit A x3
  • Rest 2 min between sets

 

Thursday

  • Row: 3x15 min
  • SR: 19/21/19 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Friday

  • 15 min warm up
  • Row: 3x1km
  • SR: 26
  • Rest 4 min between sets
  • 15 min cool down

 

Saturday

  • Cross-train 40 min

 

Sunday

  • Off or active recovery

 

Week 8

Monday

  • Row: 3x20 min
  • SR: 18/20 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Tuesday

  • 10 min warm up
  • Row: 2x3km
  • SR: 22/24/22 for 1km each
  • Rest 5 min between sets
  • 10 min cool down

 

Wednesday

  • Body circuit B x4
  • Rest 3 min between sets

 

Thursday

Part 1

  • Row: 25 min
  • SR: 19/21 for 5 min each
  • Rest 3 min

 

Part 2

  • Row: 25 min
  • 30 strokes "firm," 10 strokes "paddle"
  • SR: 20-28 (see note)

Note: The SR should remain the same within each 30-stroke piece. The SR should follow the progression 20-22-24-26-28-26-24-22-20-22 and so on. The firm strokes should be harder than normal continuous work. The paddle should be very easy.

 

Friday

  • 15 min warm up
  • Row: 5x500m
  • SR: 30
  • Rest 3 min between sets
  • 15 min cool down

 

Saturday

  • Cross-train 45 min

 

Sunday

  • Off or active recovery

 

Want to row as part of a plan you're already doing?

The Right Way to Add Rowing to Your Training Regime

 

 

 

Topic: