3 Rowing Machine Programmes for Strength & Cardio

Row with this detailed exercise programme!

domyos rower 500

Exhausted your go-to rowing machine exercises and need some new ideas?

We've got you covered with a few circuit programmes that combine strength training with a rowing workout.

Be prepared to work your abs, legs and upper body to meet all your goals!

DOMYOS cardio rower

How-Tos and Benefits of a Rowing Machine

Here's a super simple way to understand a rowing machine: it's a piece of equipment positioned on the floor, where you'll get to mimic the movement of rowing on a boat.

To begin, simply strap your feet into the footbeds for stability and to maximise your use of strength during your workout.

Then, proceed to reach your arms out in front of you to grab the mobile handlebar, which is attached to a strap. 

Holding the handlebar, pull your hands back in a rowing position towards your chest as you push your legs at the same time. 

Return to your starting position – and that's all there is to it! 

Of course, you can adjust the resistance level according to your fitness needs as well. 

Try it for yourself and you'll quickly see why it's so popular in gyms: it works nearly 90% of your muscles. 

Who could say no to that?!

The 3 Rowing Machine Programmes:

To help you meet your goals, each of the following circuits was designed to work out a specific part of your body. 

Each of these circuits is 20 minutes long, but you can increase the time to 30 minutes if your heart and legs are on board!

1. ROWER FITNESS CIRCUIT: ABS

Start to 05:00: Warm up on the rower, at low resistance

05:00 to 06:00: Row at a moderate pace and moderate resistance

06:00 to 07:00: Crunches

Lie on the floor on your back, then stretch your legs up to create a right angle with your upper body. 

Start your crunches: touch your toes with your hands, keeping your legs straight. 

After each crunch, lower your back to the ground, then repeat.

07:00 to 08:00: Row at a moderate pace

08:00 to 09:00: Core work

Get into a forearm plank position with your forearms on the floor. 

Push up to your left palm and then your right palm. Both your arms should be straight. 

Return to your starting position, lowering down to your left forearm and then your right. 

Repeat these movements, starting with your right hand then left, then lower down on your right forearm before the left. Keep alternating sides as you repeat. 

During this exercise, be sure to keep your neck and hips aligned (keep your body as straight as possible).

09:00 to 10:00: Row at a moderate pace

10:00 to 11:00: Side planks

Lie on your side. 

Push up to balance on the side of one foot and your forearm on the same side. 

Lift your upper leg, keeping it parallel to the floor, and bend your knee. Try to keep your entire body aligned: neck, shoulders, hips and legs.

11:00 to 12:00: Row at a moderate pace

12:00 to 13:00: Side planks on the other side

13:00 to 14:00: Row at a moderate pace

14:00 to 15:00: Obliques

Lie on your back and bend your knees to create a right angle between your upper body and thighs, and between your thighs and calves. 

Cross your hands behind your head and touch your right elbow to your left knee, then repeat on the other side, left elbow to right knee. Try not to jerk and raise your upper body using your abs.

15:00 to 20:00: Active recovery on the rower (at a low pace)

2. ROWER FITNESS CIRCUIT: LEGS

Start to 05:00: Warm up on the rower

05:00 to 06:00: Row at a moderate pace

06:00 to 07:00: Squats

Set up with your back straight, hands together in front of you, feet hip width apart. 

Lower down as though you were trying to sit in a chair. 

When your thighs are parallel to the floor, come back up, pushing through your heels.

07:00 to 08:00: Row at a moderate pace

08:00 to 09:00: Lunges or plyo lunges

Lunges (advanced+): 

- Stand up straight, feet hip-width apart
- Move one leg forward and lower your body, hands clasped together and back straight, until the knee on your opposite leg touches the ground
- Come back up and return to your starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Plyo lunges (advanced++): 

- Plyo lunges are done just like regular lunges except that you jump into place.

09:00 to 10:00: Row at a moderate pace

10:00 to 11:00: Dumbbell deadlifts

Place your feet hip-width apart, toes slightly out. 

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lower down until they reach your ankles. Keep your neck, back and hips aligned (don't round or arch your lower back). Y

our calves should stay still and only your bum should move back to lower down. 

When you come back up, don't straighten your legs completely!

11:00 to 12:00: Row at a moderate pace

12:00 to 13:00: Star jumps

Stand with your feet together, arms at your sides. 

Jump up and land with your feet spread apart to the sides, knees slightly bent, and arms raised on either side until they meet above your head. 

Jump again, performing the reverse movement to return to your starting position.

13:00 to 14:00: Row at a moderate pace

14:00 to 15:00: Jump squats

Jump squats are done the same way as regular squats except that you jump as you come back up.

15:00 to 20:00: Active recovery on the rower (at a low pace)

3. ROWER FITNESS CIRCUIT: UPPER BODY

Start to 05:00: Warm up on the rower

05:00 to 06:00: Row at a moderate pace

06:00 to 07:00: Press-ups or tricep presses

Press-ups (advanced+): 

- Set up in a plank position, palms on the ground and shoulder-width apart
- Lower your chest to the ground, bending your elbows and keeping them close to your body. To make this easier, you can put your knees on the ground.

Tricep presses (advanced++): 

- Do press-ups with your hands closer together.

07:00 to 08:00: Row at a moderate pace

08:00 to 09:00: Press-ups or tricep presses

09:00 to 10:00: Row at a moderate pace

10:00 to 11:00: Press-ups or tricep presses

11:00 to 12:00: Row at a moderate pace

12:00 to 13:00: Press-ups or tricep presses

13:00 to 14:00: Row at a moderate pace

14:00 to 15:00: Press-ups or tricep presses

15:00 to 20:00: Active recovery on the rower (at a low pace)

Adding strength training to your cardio workout on a machine like a rower that gives you a full-body work is a great way to enhance your endurance and strength.

Do attempt the programmes above, and have fun!

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