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Concept2 Rower Workouts for Your Home Gym

You can’t beat the Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine for a home fitness cardio workout like no other.  Concept2 rower workouts simulate open water rowing in a professional row boat.  It features what we call “bomb-proof” construction, an adjustable damper (what many call a difficulty setting), a sophisticated electronic performance monitor, and above all else:  a low impact, dynamic, whole body cardiovascular/metabolic workout you can do from home.

Concept2 rower workouts provide the athlete with a variety of options, from long-slow-distance to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  You can get a high intensity workout from running, but it won’t tax your entire body the way a Concept2 Rower workout will.  You can get a high intensity, whole body workout from swimming, but it won’t provide the resistance and explosive power that a Concept2 Rower workout will.

For all intents and purposes, the Concept2 Rower can’t be beat for a home cardiovascular routine.

The Concept2 is one of our Home Gym Essentials.  It is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment you will buy for your RefuGym, but it is worth every penny.  Combined with a StudBar Pull-Up Bar, a good economical Wright Barbell and Wright Bumper Plates, you will have an incredibly dynamic home gym or garage gym, ready to provide a ton of workouts.

There are two main models of the Concept2 Rower, the Model D and the Model E.  We recommend the Model D for your Concept2 rower workouts from home because the Model E tends to be catered to a higher end clientele, interested in more advanced performance monitoring.  Other differences between the E and D are mostly cosmetic and non-essential, and do not specifically improve the function or efficacy of the rower appreciably.  Get the Model D if you’re working out from home or from your garage.

Finally you can cancel your gym membership, workout from home, and be able to say you’ve got your own garage gym!

The below list is a running log of some of our favorite Concept2 Rower Workouts that you can do from home.  If you have a Performance Monitor hooked up to your rower, you can gauge how well you did, and how you’re improving over time.

Concept2 Rower Workouts

Long Slow Distance

  • Row 5K for Time
    • Aim for a 2:00/500m pace
    • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 25 and 30
    • Damper Setting: 5
  • Row 10K for Time
    • Aim for a 2:10/500m pace
    • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24 and 28
    • Damper Setting: 5

Medium Intensity

  • 1K Intervals:
    • Row 1K
      • Aim for a 1:55/500m pace
      • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24-28
      • Damper Setting: 5
    • REST for the amount of time it took you to row your first 1K
    • Row 1K
    • Repeat for a total of 5K
  • 500m Intervals:
    • Row 500m
      • Aim for a 1:50/500m pace
      • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24 and 27
      • Damper Setting: 5
    • Rest for 3 minutes
    • Repeat for a total of 2.5K

High Intensity

  • 500m Sprints:
    • Row 500m
      • Aim for less than 1:50/500m pace
      • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24 and 27
      • Damper Setting: 5
    • Rest for 1:00
    • Repeat 4 times
  • 250m Sprints:
    • Row 250m
      • Aim for less than 1:50/500m pace
      • Try to keep your strokes per minute between 24 and 26
      • Damper Setting: 5
    • Rest for 20 seconds
    • Repeat 6 times

Keep Things Interesting

The variations on distance:rest are infinite.  We have found that sticking to 5K, 1K, 500m and 250m offers the best results; from there it is all about adjusting the speed at which you row, the stroke pace and the rest time.  Keeping the stroke rate lower than 30 is beneficial because it forces you to use more explosive strength from your legs, rather than just increasing the number of strokes to travel the same distance.  Your goal is to travel as much distance as possible using as few strokes as possible.

If you’re not interested in intervals (but why wouldn’t you be?!), you can always just sit down and start rowing.  The Performance Monitor on the rower will automatically start up and begin tracking your distance.  There’s nothing wrong with the occasional longer distance row at a slower pace; in fact it can be somewhat meditative in its own right.

If you really want a twist, there is a game built into the performance monitor as well, called the Fish Game.  You are a fish, and your goal is to eat smaller fish, while avoiding bigger fish.  Rowing faster causes your fish to swim higher, while resting or rowing slower causes your fish to sink.  You will have to speed up and slow down rapidly in order to dodge various fish, and catch others.  It’s a fun game and it is a good way to vary things up, but it is not the best for structured programming where you’re looking to improve in very specific areas.

Got a Concept2 rower workout you like?  Want to brag about your time?  Let us know in the comments below!

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