30-Day Rowing Machine Challenge

30-Day Rowing Machine Challenge

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Rowing is a high-efficiency, low-impact exercise that we can’t get enough of. It is a full-body exercise that provides the same results whether you’ve got a high-end machine or a more budget-friendly build. Not only does it provide aerobic benefits, but it also helps build strength at a steady pace.

The ease, flexibility, and efficiency of rowing all make it one of the best workout options for people looking to lose weight. If you already have a rowing machine at home, then you can put together a simple daily routine that can start delivering results in as little as thirty days. You can easily increase or decrease the intensity of the routine along the way to suit your needs.

Organizing a workout routine into a 30-day challenge is a great way to keep yourself motivated and track your progress. We’ve put together a 30-day rowing machine challenge that can work for newcomers as well as experienced rowers alike. The goal of the challenge is to increase your daily level of physical activity and promote healthy weight loss.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Rowing Challenge Day One: Finding Motivation

a woman tries to find motivation to use a rowing machine

The hardest part of any workout routine is always the beginning. This is especially true if your experience with exercising is very limited. That makes the first day of the challenge the hardest one despite the fact that later days have increased intensity.

Finding the right source of motivation can be tough. Studies show that people who start exercise routines because of stigma related to their body image often fail to follow through with the routine [1]. Weight loss is undoubtedly an important goal, but it shouldn’t be the only goal.

Instead, you’ll need to find ways to make exercising fun and exciting. Don’t focus entirely on the pounds you want to lose along the way. Stay in the moment and find some pleasure from the exercise itself. Over the course of the 30-day challenge, your mindset will evolve and you’ll remain motivated.

Luckily, rowing can be a particularly fun exercise. The seated position of the exercise makes it easy to follow along with some form of visual entertainment. Some people prefer to watch movies or television shows on their tablets while they row. Other people want to follow along with professional trainers and compete as they row. If you have a more advanced rowing machine, then you likely have access to plenty of on-demand training sessions and virtual rowing tours. If not, you can still get similar results with a tablet and YouTube.

30-Day Rowing Challenge Week One

Now that we’ve covered the motivational aspect it’s time to look at the routine itself. The following outline covers the first seven days of the rowing challenge including your rest day. Remember to begin each day with pre-workout stretching. You can even incorporate some yoga beforehand for better results.

Day 1 Steps

  1. 60 seconds of moderate rowing
  2. 60 seconds of power strokes
  3. 30 seconds of power strokes at a higher intensity
  4. 30 seconds of maximum intensity rowing
  5. 120-second cooldown period with low-intensity rowing
  6. Repeat this set for a total of 6 rounds lasting 30 minutes

Day 2 Steps

  1. 90 seconds of moderate rowing
  2. 90 seconds of fast-paced rowing
  3. 8 push-ups
  4. 8 bodyweight squats
  5. 60 seconds of low-speed rowing to cool down
  6. Repeat this set for 5 rounds and include a 60 second rest period between sets

Day 3 Steps

  1. 60 seconds of rowing at a moderate speed
  2. 8 power strokes
  3. 8 recovery strokes
  4. 12 power strokes
  5. 12 recovery strokes
  6. 60-second cooldown period with low-speed rowing
  7. Repeat this set for 5 rounds with a 30 second rest period between sets

Day 4 Steps

This is your first rest day. It’s important to take time off to let the body recover while the muscles repair themselves. If you’ve made it this far, then you should congratulate yourself. You’ve powered through the first phase of the challenge and there’s nothing stopping you from going all of the way. You’re free to spend the entire day relaxing on the couch without feeling any shame.

Day 5 Steps

The return after your rest day is meant to be a relaxing start to warm the body up for increased intensity. Spend 30 minutes rowing at an intensity that is comfortable to you. You can push yourself harder if you’re interested in a challenge or row at a low intensity for the duration. Your muscles may still be recovering during this time so pay attention to how your body feels and don’t push yourself past your limit.

Day 6 Steps

Day 6 marks a sharp increase in intensity compared to the previous day. Start with 10 minutes of rowing at a fast pace without taking a break. Find an intensity that pushes your body but that you can maintain for the duration. Take a 90-second break after the first 10 minutes are complete and then repeat the process a second time. It’s a simple routine, but you should definitely feel the burn.

Day 7 Steps

  1. 90 seconds of rowing at a moderate intensity
  2. 90 seconds of rowing at a high intensity
  3. 10 power strokes
  4. 10 recovery strokes
  5. 10 power strokes
  6. 10 recovery strokes
  7. 30-second cooldown rowing at a low intensity
  8. Repeat this set a total of 5 times

Week Two

Congratulations!

You’ve made it through the first week of the challenge. The intensity will climb going forward but it should be easier to stay motivated. If you’ve managed to push yourself for seven days, then you certainly have the mindset to complete the remaining three weeks.

Many of the days going forward will feature similar sets from the first week. Sometimes the daily routine will include increased periods of high-intensity rowing or an increased number of strokes. There will also be a few new routines incorporated, such as distance rowing challenges.

Day 8 Steps

The good news is that you’ve earned your second rest day. The previous two days featured some high-intensity workouts and your body needs a break. Rest, relax, congratulate yourself, and prepare for the days ahead.

Day 9 Steps

  1. Row at a comfortable pace for a total of 500 meters
  2. Row at a fast pace for another 250 meters

Day 10 Steps

  1. 30 seconds of moderate rowing
  2. 60 seconds of power strokes
  3. 60 seconds of power strokes at a higher intensity
  4. 60 seconds of maximum intensity rowing
  5. 90-second cooldown period with low-intensity rowing
  6. Repeat this set 6 times

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Day 11 Steps

  1. 60 seconds of moderate rowing
  2. 60 seconds of high-intensity power strokes
  3. 60 seconds of rowing at maximum intensity
  4. 60 seconds of moderate rowing
  5. 60 seconds of cool down with low-intensity rowing
  6. Repeat this set 6 times

Day 12 Steps

  1. Row at a comfortable pace for 750 meters
  2. Row at a fast pace for 250 meters

Day 13 Steps

  • Another day to rest. You’ve earned it. And you’ve almost made it halfway through the 30-day challenge.

Day 14 Steps

  1. 60 seconds of moderate rowing
  2. 120 seconds of fast-paced rowing
  3. 12 push-ups
  4. 12 bodyweight squats
  5. 60 seconds of low-speed rowing to cool down
  6. 60 second rest period without exercising
  7. Repeat this set 5 times

Week Three

You’ve come pretty far. You’re now entering the third week and the second half of the challenge. You should already start to feel better physically and mentally. You may have noticed you have increased energy and it’s easier to get motivated for your daily routine.

Day 15 Steps

  1. Row at a comfortable pace for 1000 meters
  2. Row at maximum intensity for 10 minutes
  3. Take a 120 second break period
  4. Row at a comfortable pace for 500 meters
  5. Row at maximum intensity for 5 minutes

Day 16 Steps

This is another low-impact day similar to day 5. Row at an intensity that is comfortable to you for a total of thirty minutes. Try to remember how you felt on day 5 and consider your progress. Are you able to maintain a higher speed at a comfortable intensity?

Day 17 Steps

  • Another well-earned rest day. You’ve been working hard and recovery is important.

Day 18 Steps

  1. 60 seconds of rowing at a moderate intensity
  2. 120 seconds of rowing at a high intensity
  3. 15 power strokes
  4. 15 recovery strokes
  5. 15 power strokes
  6. 15 recovery strokes
  7. 30 seconds of cooldown rowing at a low intensity
  8. 30-second break with no exercise
  9. Repeat 5 times

Day 19 Steps

  1. Fifteen minutes of rowing at the highest intensity that you can maintain
  2. 60 second break period
  3. Fifteen minutes of rowing at maximum intensity

Day 20 Steps

  1. 30 seconds of moderate rowing
  2. 240 seconds of fast-paced rowing
  3. 12 push-ups
  4. 12 bodyweight squats
  5. 30 seconds of rowing at a low pace
  6. 30-second break
  7. Perform this set a total of 7 time

Day 21 Steps

  • Time to rest. Day 21 marks the end of week three and pushing this far is a notable achievement.

Week Four

It’s time for the final stretch of the challenge. You’ll need to row faster, longer, and harder than you’ve done so far. The previous three weeks have prepared your body new levels of intensity that you might not have believed were possible at first. Now it’s time to find your limits and gauge your progress.

Day 22 Steps

  1. Row at a fast pace for a total of 500 meters
  2. 30 second break period
  3. Row at a fast pace for a total of 500 meters
  4. 30 second break period
  5. Row at a comfortable pace for another 500 meters

Day 23 Steps

  1. 15 power strokes
  2. 15 recovery strokes
  3. 10 push-ups
  4. 10 bodyweight squats
  5. 30 second break period
  6. Repeat this series as fast as you can for a full thirty minutes

Day 24 Steps

  1. Row at the maximum speed you can maintain for a total of 20 minutes
  2. Break for 60 seconds
  3. Repeat step 1

Day 25 Steps

  • Another rest day. You’re getting close to the finish line.

Day 26 Steps

  1. Row at a comfortable speed for a total of 2000 meters without breaking

Day 27 Steps

  1. 30 seconds of moderate rowing
  2. 240 seconds of fast-paced rowing
  3. 15 power strokes
  4. 15 recovery strokes
  5. 10 push-ups
  6. 10 bodyweight squats
  7. 30 seconds of rowing at a low pace
  8. Repeat these steps a total of 7 times

Day 28 Steps

  1. Row at a pace that you can comfortably maintain for a total of 45 minutes. This is similar to the routine performed on days 5 and 16 with an increased duration.

Day 29 Steps

  • This is your final rest day. Only one more day to go.

Day 30 Steps

  1. Row at maximum intensity for 25 minutes
  2. Perform 10 power strokes
  3. Perform 10 recovery strokes
  4. Perform 10 push-ups
  5. Perform 10 bodyweight squats
  6. Break for 60 seconds
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 5

The End Of Your 30-Day Rowing Challenge

If you complete this full challenge then you should be proud of yourself. You managed to motivate yourself starting from day one and saw it through until the end. And what if you gave up on the challenge halfway through? That’s okay too. You undoubtedly made some progress and it’s never too late to get back on the machine and try again.

Following the rowing plan we’ve detailed above is certainly one way to see some results. There are some connected rowing machines that can do all of the work of creating a workout plan for you – Hydrow and Ergatta are two of our favorites – see how they compare here.

References 

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1359105307084318