Crushing the Crew — The Ultimate Rowing Interval Workouts

Woman working out on a rowing machine

Row…row…row…yourself and crush those calories — sweatily, sweatily, sweatily, this exercise is a dream! 

We know that’s not how the classic nursery rhyme goes, but spend ten seconds on an indoor rowing machine, and we’re pretty sure you’ll be singing the exact same tune as us! This is because rowing is one of the most effective and fun cardio routines in the land, and for good reason: it’s chock-full of benefits, including: 

  • Low Impact: It does seem like most heart-pumpin’ exercises involve some form of high-impact, hard-on-the-joints movements. When you think of running, kickboxing, playing soccer or tennis, those with sensitive joints and tendons are pretty much shut out of the mix. But rowing delivers an excellent cardio workout while going easy-peasy on the body. 
  • Muscle Balance: Rowing is a remarkably democratic exercise. It hits the upper body, lower body, core — everything pretty much equally. Even our beloved indoor cycling classes tend to lean more on the legs (which is why our Spin Fusion Classes sprinkle in tons of extra movements and exercises to deliver total-body training). But with rowing, it’s all wrapped up in one sweet and sweaty package.
  • Great for All Levels: Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, a casual fitness enthusiast, or a nervous little novice — you can always strap your feet into that rower, grab the handlebar, and get to work with relative ease. 
  • Infinite Flexibility: One of the best aspects of rowing is the fact that there are TONS of variations you can do to augment your training based on your goals. These different rowing approaches not only round out your fitness and strength capabilities, they also keep the exercise routines interesting! 

But what we might love most about rowing is how seamlessly it can be broken into intervals! Rowing interval training is one of the most effective ways to improve your cardiovascular health and overall fitness level, which will cross over into every other athletic activity you go after too! A good rowing interval workout involves making adjustments to your time working and your time resting. And to help you get started in the wide world of rowing intervals, we’ve come up with a few of our favorites for ya. So read on…and row, row, row your way to better health! 

Fit man working out on a rowing machine in a fitness studio

10-Minute Rowing Interval Workouts

Straight Sixes

  • 2 minutes at a comfortable, warmup pace
  • Row at your max pace for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 6 sets
  • Row for 1 minute at a comfortable, resting pace
  • Sprint for one more minute

Triple Threat

  • 2 minutes at a comfortable, warmup pace
  • Row for 90 seconds at a semi-high pace
  • Row for 90 seconds at a higher pace
  • Row for 30 seconds at your highest pace
  • Rest for one minute
  • Repeat the entire set (minus the warm-up)
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20-Minute Rowing Interval Workouts

Three & Fives

  • 3 minutes at a comfortable, warmup pace
  • Perform five rounds at 45 seconds max pace, rest for 15 seconds
  • Rest for a full minute between sets
  • Do the entire set (minus the warm-up) three times in total

The Four by Four

  • 2 minutes at a comfortable, warmup pace
  • 1 minute intermediate, jogging pace
  • Perform a 4-minute set of: 
    • 15-second max pace, 45-second slow pace
    • 30-second max pace, 30-second slow pace
    • 45-second max pace, 15-second slow pace
    • 60-second max pace
  • Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the 4-minute set (minus the warm-up) three more times
30-Minute Rowing Interval Workouts

Killer Eights

  • 6 minutes at a comfortable, warmup pace
  • Perform eight rounds of 3-minute sets of: 
    • 20 seconds max pace, 40 seconds recovery
    • 40 seconds max pace, 20 seconds recovery
    • 60 seconds steady jogging pace

Five Alive

  • 3 minutes at a comfortable, warmup pace
  • Perform a five-minute set of the following:
    • 2 minutes at a steady jogging pace
    • 90 seconds at a running pace
    • 90 seconds full sprint pace
  • 30-second rest between each set
  • Repeat the five-minute set (minus the warm-up) four more times

Indoor rowing class featuring a man and a woman

Well, we hope our rousing rowing interval workout ideas are just what you need to get your butt on that sliding seat and go to town. And if you’re searching for even more guidance along those rocky shores, sign up for a 7-Day Free Trial with Studio SWEAT onDemand! We’ve got an endless fitness library that includes online rowing workouts, cycling, core, kickboxing, yoga, barre, Pilates, and oh so much more! In fact, we’ve got so many onDemand workouts to choose from, we were named “Best Fitness App for Variety” by some of the biggest fitness publications in the land. So don’t wait, sign up today, and let’s get fit, in and out of the water!