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Rowing Workouts for a Stronger & Wider Back

By Tara Ballard

Hi everyone!  Tara here with your Wednesday workout! This week’s activity is a little different in that we are getting out of the weight room and off the traditional cardio equipment. If you’re like me, you’ve walked past this particular piece of equipment with barely a glance at it, much less any plan to actually USE it. I’m talking about the Concept2 (or other brand) Rower.

After my competitions in May, Jill and I were talking about different ways to add size and thickness to my back to further enhance that wonderful v-taper we all love :). Enter the Indoor Rower! Jill had had good success several years ago adding muscle to her back by including power rowing intervals, so we decided to give it a shot.

After about 2.5 months of rowing once/week, I have realized not only some good size in my back, but also a big boost in strength.  And it’s not only great for the back…after 20 minutes on the Concept2 Rower,  my whole body feels like it’s been put through the wringer, as rowing incorporates muscles pretty much from head to toe, specifically targeting the legs, back, biceps and abs.

I have to admit, I was pretty nervous the first time Jill showed me what to do. I’ve tried paddling a kayak, and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. My coordination for those types of things is sadly lacking, but after a few minutes, I had gotten the hang of it.

If you’re new to rowing like me, below is a short video tutorial on how to set up the computer screen to set up your own intervals (both working and resting segments), as well as how to get your stroke going. I’m also including a couple of workouts I like to do – one goes for time, another for distance. Have fun, and let me know what you think!! ox Tara

Some Rowing How-to’s:

  • Be sure to warm-up and cool-down appropriately before and after each workout.
  • Keep your SPM or “strokes per minute” between 28-34 the whole time (top right hand corner of the screen).
  • The large middle number will usually have a “___/500m” next to it. That is the speed or pace you are rowing at. The harder you row/pull, the lower the number will go. A great time to aim for is 2:00 or lower on your intervals, at which point you are entering “Elite Rower” status :)
  • Be sure to lean as far forward as possible at the top of the stroke to lengthen it, bringing your chest to your knees, and then
  • be sure to lean back about 45-50 degrees at the end of your stroke to get the abs involved, bringing the handle to touch your chest right at the breastbone.

The Tutorial

The Workouts

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