Updated April 14, 2018
Not gonna lie, when people walked into the Bodyshop and saw a version of the workout above, their faces dropped. 500m – 750m – 1000m – 2000m and back down the pyramid. Seven total rounds and close to 10,000 meters when all is said and done.
Endurance rowing. Character builder. “Ugh,” (said some).
When you’re used to rowing intervals of 500m or just a couple of minutes that’s A LOT of work. Some of us would rather stick hot needles in our eyes than row or SkiErg that much!
Endurance rowing workouts are both a physical AND mental challenge, they take a longer time to do and they can be suuuuper boring. That’s IF you don’t have the tricks we’re about to give you.
whAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT ENDURANCE ROWING?
WE GET IT, but there are a lot of good reasons to press on and do a workout like this. Among them:
- Endurance building: Monster-meter workouts like these help build cardio endurance that gives you a good base to work from, even when you’re more focused on shorter, high-intensity workouts.
- Weight loss: When weight loss is your goal, some longer rowing workouts are in order (once you’ve built up enough cardio base to push yourself for lengthier intervals)
- Cross training: Steady-state or interval rowing is great if you’re cross-training for another sport or working on your general fitness.
- One-stop workout shopping: Rowing-only workouts are one-stop-shopping. They work virtually every muscle on every stroke, without the need for any other equipment.
- Meter munching: It’s the best way to grab lots of meters in a rowing competition like the Concept2 challenges.
- Mental toughness: Having the ability to guts it out on a difficult workout (long OR short) builds mental muscle we can use when the going gets rough elsewhere. There’s nothing like being able to tell yourself, “If I can get through 10K (or 2K) I can get through this, too.”
For some people, simply rowing the distances would be challenge enough. Visit our RowStrong group on Facebook and you’ll find people who relish rowing 10K daily just for fun.
For the rest of us though, some additional distraction is in order. Read on…
hacks to bring the magic to a long rowing workout
Endurance rowing workouts are as much a mental challenge as they are physical. The key to making this kind of workout not just doable – but dare we say it, FUN – is to break up the meter pieces and do each one differently. It’s also a great time to work your technique. Be creative!
Here’s how we did this one at the Bodyshop. As you’ll see, it was actually eight intervals, so if you do the workout in the photo you get a bit of a break. Ha!
Monster Meter Pyramid Workout – Bodyshop Version
Start rowing, or set your monitor for the intervals below (intervals>variable on a Concept2 monitor), with 1:30 paddle rest in between each. Keep your strokes per minute between 22 and 28.
Vary your effort throughout – as suggested below – but challenge yourself to stay within your split or pace goal for each distance. For example, your 500m split should be faster than your 2000m split since the 500 is shorter and you can be more intense.
500m – Do a Pick Drill warmup if you’re rowing, or a straight warmup if you’re skiing the workout
1000m – Technique focus: Begin to build power and find your 70-80 percent effort level. Focus on key technique elements like hip swing, cycling the hands quickly through the finish, keeping the handle straight through the stroke, etc.
1500m – Split focus: Divide the piece into three 500m sections and aim to lower your split every 500m piece
2000m – Interval focus: Row 30 seconds on at 26-28 spm, 30 seconds off at 20-22 spm
1500m – Stroke rate focus: Divide the piece into 3 500m sections (or six 250m sections) and increase your stroke rating every time
1000m – Interval focus: Rolling 100s. 100 meters hard, 100 meters easy
500m – Finish with a target of your first 1000m split, or cool down
Recovery is critical after a workout like this, particularly if higher-volume workouts aren’t a regular thing for you.
If you’re not already, develop and follow a good post-workout routine. That way you’ll be sure to repair cells and tissues that were damaged during the workout, replace nutrients and remove wastes.
MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE:
- HYDRATION – Drink water throughout the workout, but also be sure to replenish depleted stores afterwards
- STRETCHING – We will often do a 10-15 minute round of yoga after a workout like this. It helps us calm down, drop cortisol levels and generally hit the rest of the day refreshed and ready to go. We love the Down Dog app for this. It makes yoga easy, even for us non-yogis. Failing that, it’s a must to do some general stretches that target the areas most taxed in rowing.
- POST-WORKOUT SNACK – A well-balanced snack or a meal within 1-2 hours of a workout like this will help you recover, refuel and build muscle. Unless you’re working out for more than 2 hours or have very specific nutrition needs, you don’t need special supplements
- REST – Adequate recovery is essential to avoid overtraining. That includes both leaving enough time between workouts and getting sufficient sleep (7-9 hours per night is best).
Do you have favorite endurance workouts? Share them in the comments … please! We all need a good workout. Row on!!