The four most common cardio equipment for gym or home use are the treadmill, exercise bike, cross trainer and the rowing machine. All are fantastic tools for maintaining and improving fitness. Recently I have been doing a lot more training on the indoor rower and getting to know it a little bit better. The main benefits as I see them:

Whole body workout

Indoor rowing will develop both cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. Starting the stroke with the legs the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteals initiate the ‘drive’ phase of the stroke, then the upper body begins to take over with the abdominals and obliques providing stability and then the muscles of the back and the biceps take over to finish the stroke pulling the handle into the body.

Low impact

by exercising on a rowing machine you are minimizing the risk to weight bearing joints which are often the troublesome areas which restrict other forms of exercise for some people.

Calorie burning – due to the recruitment of so many muscle groups there is a high calorie burn with indoor rowing. A row session would burn approximately twice the calories that a brisk walk would. 30 minutes rowing = 60 minutes walking.

Easy to get started

There are 4 simple parts to the stroke, the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery. Concept2 have a great technique video here that I would recommend you take a look at.

Easily adjusted intensity

All rowers allow easy adjustment to the intensity; some will have resistance settings but simply adjusting your stroke rate and how hard you pull makes all the difference. Find what is right for you.


At Sturfit we are lucky enough to have the best indoor rower around; the Concept2. The Concept2 is very easy to get started with, once you are aware of rowing technique. You can simply just get on and start rowing and set the screen to show you the information you are interested in. You can also do a lot of different things with it such as games and pre-programmed workouts of varying distance/time and intensity.

Online Logbook

For those who like to log their workouts for later analysis and comparisons you can connect your phone to the performance monitor (PM), which is the display of the rower, and via an app capture all the data of your session. This is then uploaded to the Concept2 online logbook where you can track your activities as well as have them ‘ranked’ worldwide with other users (if you wish, there is full control over privacy settings).

Workout Of the Day (WOD)

Concept2 also offer a WOD which you can sign up for by email or simply visit their website for. Each day they present 3 different workouts; a short, medium and long option. Which are up to 30 minutes, up to 45 minutes and up to 60 minutes. I have found these to be a great way of trying slightly different things, learn more about rowing, practice technique and keep the variety going. You can see them here.

If you’d like to have a chat about indoor rowing or would like any pointers then please let me know and I’d be more than happy to go through things with you. Hopefully it won’t be much longer before I see you in the gym!

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