GET MO’ FROM YOUR ROW: How to row correctly, set up a program and get the best out of it!

Hi from France! We touched down for a weeks break at my paps’ place, he has been fighting a battle with multiple myeloma for the best part of 2 years so it is always great to come out here and spend quality time together with him and my step-mother Ariane – who is an absolute legend.

The weather is clear today but we landed in a thunderstorm so I had some time to sit and think about the best forms of HIIT training – as you do. One of the most effective tools in HIIT training is the none other than the concept 2 rower.

For those that don’t use the rower already, this is for you. And for those that already use the rower this is definitely for you too! It is always a positive step to go over the technical points and programming elements that make this type of training such a good option when you hit the gym (or if you have one at home).

Before we begin, you need to have a strong concept of what good rowing is so that you can reap the benefits of this type of exercise without causing yourself some damage in the process.

I was asked the other day about rowing by a friend of mine who wanted tips on how to do it without damaging his back. Instructing on this is a near impossible task without actually being there to coach the person whilst they’re doing it.

To try and remedy this problem I’ve created a little video to give you a clearer idea about what cues to make use of when you’re using this machine.

I feel this still only tells half the story. Rowing requires a very controlled tempo, I describe it as a 2-1 tempo where you take double the amount of time coming in towards the rower as you do pushing away from it.

During the ‘loading phase’ of the movement (when coming in towards the rower) your attention should be focused on keeping your spine straight as you flex your knees. This allows you, in the ‘driving phase’ (when pushing away from the rower) to push through your feet when you move backwards and engage the upper back and brace the core to create maximum torque.

Generate power through good technique rather than trying to just pull as hard as you can through the hands. It won’t help you go faster and it wont help to keep your back safe.

Now, in terms of setting up the rower for HIIT training you can easily set up the screen to set distance, time or calories.

Each of them are good parameters to judge intensity. Here are the tutorial videos to follow to set up a rower for any of those three methods of HIIT training.

Now you know how to set it up, let’s put together some programs.

Easy Intensity

200m/45sec/15kcal ON – 45sec OFF/REST

250m/60sec/25kcal ON – 60sec OFF/REST

Medium Intensity

250m/60sec/25kcal ON – 30sec OFF/REST

3000/75sec/30kcal ON – 45sec OFF/REST

High Intensity

400m/75sec/30kcal ON – 30sec OFF/REST

500m/90sec/40kcal ON – 45sec OFF/REST

Stick to your technique, follow the cues and stay consistent. You will see results.

Want to Lose Bodyfat? Try these 5 Essential Exercises…

5 Essential Exercises to Burn Body Fat

Exercise 1: Rowing

If you want to hit the whole body quickly and you want to boost your metabolism to burn fat then rowing is one of your must-do exercises. It targets the whole body, ‘what you put in – is what you get out’ in this case.  When you see your times getting lower with each practice you’ll be inspired to go harder again and again! I’ve witnessed benefits in every age group of client I’ve worked with this exercise.

KEY APPROACH:

Set a maximum 1000m or 2000m distance and try to complete it as fast as possible. Make the stroke as long and as powerful as you can. Try at the start of your workout 2x a week.

Exercise 2: Sprints

Running is the second most natural thing for your body after walking. Sprinting at maximum speed will get lipids (stored body fat) out of storage and into your bloodstream quickly.

KEY APPROACH:

Try one minute on, one minute off to start with on the tredmill. Get 10-15 rounds out on a speed that matches up to a 7/10 for you. Once you’ve got that done you can reduce the time resting to 30s instead and see if you can complete it at the same speed. Try this 2x a week after your weight training workout.

Exercise 3: Spinning

Pressing a 20kg weighted wheel in revolutions as fast as you can is almost the definition of high intensity interval training. Spinning is a powerful way to break up the monotony of regular cardio with powerful tunes and a group mentality.

KEY APPROACH:

Put the resistance up so high that you can’t turn the wheel when sitting on the seat. You’ll need to stand up to get momentum. Once you’ve got momentum go hard for a maximum of 30sec and then turn the resistance down and spin lightly for 90sec while sitting back down. It may sound easy now, but trust me the 1:3 ratio of work to rest works a treat when the 30 sprint is done at maximum intensity. Complete this 8x at the start of a workout 1x a week.

Exercise 4: Pull Ups

Asking you to lift your bodyweight from a hanging position is where many of my clients have closed down mentally and said; “There’s no way I can do that!”.

EVERYONE can do it, you just need adjustments to suit your capabilities. Your 30-40% stronger on the way down (negative phase of movement). So practice that. This exercise improves your posture, it uses the largest and most powerful muscles in the upper back and will boost fat burning hormones (HGH) in the bloodstream.

KEY APPROACH:

Knock out as many pull ups as possible every set for 8 rounds – 2 minute rests between. If you can’t pull up (yet) use a box, a band or jump up to get yourself above the bar. Slowly lower yourself into the full hanging position and repeat for 3-5 reps. Also complete 8 times. Try to do this minimum 2x a week.

Exercise 5: Resistance Band Squat Jumps

Boost balance, proprioception, speed and power with this squat jump exercise that will give the body every reason to start breaking down energy stores to provide energy for explosive movement.

KEY APPROACH:

Using a resistance band just above the knees, walk sideways like a crab to engage your glutes for 20 reps each side. After you’ve prepped/activated for jumping, stand with your hips slightly wider than hip width and the feet pressing away from one-another on the ground. Squat down into a deep position and jump up and tap the feet (using only the toes) on the ground with the legs together underneath you, immediately spring off the toes back down into a deep squat position – its like a star jump but with a squat and a band.

Do 20-30 reps 5x with a 60second rest between each set. You’ll be sweating, burning, activated and filling with pride at how hard you’re working just using your body and a band.