Row On Into a New Activity

Krista Henderson


Snow may be flying, but you can still feel like you’re out on the water with an indoor rowing workout. Indoor rowing provides a lot of flexibility as you can build your strength and cardio endurance with longer workouts, and your anaerobic system with shorter, intense sprints. Plus, if you enjoy racing, there are competitions to participate in throughout Canada and the US. Many gyms have this equipment and some even offer instructor-led classes, a growing trend that started a few years ago.

Rowing is a full-body workout with the power of the stroke primarily driven from your legs, but your upper body works too – all to create a smooth and rhythmic stroke.

Here are some tips to get started, and help you avoid the mistake many people make of jumping on and pulling as hard as they can; that will only last so long. Start slow, doing the base training to determine your base pace, by exercising two times a week for 2 weeks, and then build from there.

Base workout:

  • Warm-Up: 1,000 m, slower than base pace.
  • Main (Base) Set: 3 x 500 m with a 2-minute recovery in between each set. Record your time for each 500 m. Keep your stroke range between 24-30 per minute, the lower the better. During recovery, get off the machine and walk around.
  • Cool Down: 1,000 m, slower than base pace.
  • Keep your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) in the range of 7-8 for your base workout.
  • Exhale as you push back and inhale as you recover and get ready for your next stroke.
  • Average out your times for all 12 sets of 500 m to determine your base pace.

Concept2 is a leading manufacturer of indoor rowers and their website ( is full of great resources to get started and keep you going from watching detailed technique videos for proper form, getting the Workout of The Day, tracking your progress in an online logbook, finding races, and more.


Krista Henderson is the Founder of Born to Reign Athletics (, a website dedicated to motivating, educating and celebrating plus size athletes. She is an award-winning plus size athlete in triathlon and indoor rowing, is recognized as a global leader in plus size athletics, and is a sought-after speaker, writer, and business consultant. Follow Krista on Facebook at or Instagram @borntoreignathletics

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