Expert shares a simple rowing machine workout to improve full-body fitness

This sharp interval session from Master HYROX Trainer, Jake Dearden, is suitable for all fitness levels

Woman doing a rowing machine workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For years the best rowing machines have hidden in the shadows of bigger pieces of cardio kit, like the treadmill and elliptical. But, thanks to events, such as HYROX, and the boom of hybrid training, the rowing machine is back in the spotlight where it belongs. 

This one-kit-wonder is actually one of the most versatile pieces of equipment sitting in your gym (or home). Not only does it test your fitness levels, but it will smoke your entire body too, as it works 86% of the muscles in it. Trust us, there's so many benefits to adding the rower to your workout.

If you're keen to try the rower then give this simple interval workout from HYROX Master Trainer and Represent 247 Athlete, Jake Dearden, a go. It will help build your aerobic engine and provides a total body workout. Just don't make these rowing machine mistakes, otherwise you'll have a sloppy row!

Rowing machine workout

Jake Dearden doing rowing machine workout at HYROX

(Image credit: Fittest PR/Jake Dearden)

A few words of wisdom from Jake before you jump straight into this workout: "Maintain a smooth rowing technique throughout, avoiding sprinting with a high stroke rate (aim for between 24 and 32 strokes per minute," he says. "Also, in the rest periods, focus on breathing and bringing your heart rate down as much as you can." Here's what you'll be doing...

Complete 8 rounds:

  • 500 metres @ hard effort
  • Rest 2:00 minutes

Jake says your row should be challenging, but not your maximum effort, with no more than five seconds difference between each round. Make your last row your fastest though!

Once you’ve smashed this session, Jake says you can easily progress this workout each week. “For example, for week 2 you would perform 10 sets, then the next week 12," he explains. "You then go back to 8 but decrease the rest to 1 minute 30s, increasing the sets again each week, then the same for 1 minute of rest. If you progress with the weekly sessions, you are adding more volume over time as well as a decrease in rest time, which will both improve your aerobic capacity."

Make sure you're wearing your fitness tracker to keep track of your VO2 max, heart rate and calories burnt. 

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.