How To Get The Most Out Of Indoor Rowing

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Focus on quality

“For sustained improvement it’s better to accumulate quality time on the rower,” says Nichol. “Angle the rower towards a mirror to check your form and take short, frequent breaks if you notice you’re hunching or leaning excessively.”

Why it works “Unlike running and cycling, rowing is an unfamiliar movement. This often means your thoracic spine, hamstrings and hip flexors can suffer. Get off the rower for 30-40 seconds and have a quick foam roll or stretch.”

Get your rate right

“If you can control your rate, it becomes a powerful tool to increase speed. Improve it with a simple step-rate workout: five rounds of one minute on, two minutes off. Start at 24 strokes per minute, then increase to 26, then 28, then 30, then maximum rate for the last round.”

Why it works “There are three variables that determine speed: power, stroke length and rate. Less experienced rowers naturally think more about power. Rate and length are often forgotten.”

Set the drag properly

“The drag factor on your rower is the most accurate way to define resistance – to find it on a Concept2, go to More Options on the menu screen, then Display Drag Factor. Do a couple of strokes, and adjust the damper until you’re hitting 130-135.”

Why it works “Just using a damper number isn’t enough: altitude, climate and the age of your rower can all affect the drag, or resistance. Make sure you set the drag for every workout.”

Fix your set-up

“Get your feet right – less flexible people should have their heels lower so they can compress better and row longer, but more flexible people should go higher. Also, sitting in the front half of the seat will be more comfortable over long rows.”

Why it works “This allows the body to move well with optimum biomechanics. Some form guides caution against the shins going past vertical, but if you’re not too tall you can go further forwards to lengthen your stroke.”

Celebrate small victories

“Rowing can be frustrating. When you have a good session or achieve a good score, celebrate it and let people know. You’ve worked hard for it, so enjoy the small successes.”

Why it works “Positive reinforcement has been shown to increase habit retention. Anything that keeps you on your path will make your progress better. After a few weeks of technique work, it will all come together and you’ll realise you’re way better than you were.”

Find yourself a challenge

“There are lots of fitness challenges available at the moment, but not many for rowing. Having a goal – whether competition, target time or other – is vital to your journey to improve. Hold yourself accountable by setting a goal – and telling others about it.”

Why it works “Having a stated goal to work towards will keep you committed and make sure you’re invested in every session.”