Seeking Advice for New Rower

The forum for general banter about the team.

Moderator: The forum police - (nee naw)

Post Reply
Warming up
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2023 2:15 am
I row on...: Model E with PM5

Seeking Advice for New Rower

Post by hansrows »

Hey everybody! Just got my Concept2 a few days ago, and luckily found this forum tonight! I've been on a bit of a fitness hiatus for the past year and trying to get back into action. Long short, my wife wanted a stationary bike so we purchased the Concept2 Package from Rogue (bike erg, ski erg, row erg). Pretty pumped with everything really.

I completed my first workout tonight: 3 sets of 3 minutes of rowing, followed with a 45 second break. My third set had me hit 500m at 2:05.6, and it got me thinking that this seems pretty slow. And I was admittedly winded after the third and final set. I searched Google for a bit and it seems like a good 500m time is 1:50 or below?

So what's the best way to "lean" into indoor rowing to build fitness? Should I just hack away at it EOD and add a little bit of time each session? Or is a more structured, detailed approach appropriate here? Thanks!
User avatar
Friend of the Free Spirits web site 2020
Friend of the Free Spirits web site 2020
Posts: 1753
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:31 pm
I row on...: Model D with PM5
Location: Bath, Somerset, UK

Re: Seeking Advice for New Rower

Post by JonT »

Hello and welcome to the group, and congratulations on getting a C2, especially getting the full set! I am very envious.

This is a complex sport and one to enter into gently and in a considered way. My main advice to you would be not to focus on pace over each 500m and instead to start your journey with a focus on technique and base fitness. The technique on an indoor rower is actually quite tricky and some say will never be truly mastered, just improved incrementally. So I would start with doing some research on the phases of a rowing stroke and the technique. This will make a huge difference to your performance and also avoid injuries. A good starting point is the C2 stoke technique guide -

In terms of fitness. I would definitely start with longer (but not too long!) and steady sessions. The received wisdom is that the best places to train are either in a zone where you are not putting yourself under physical stress (e.g. you could hold a conversation when training) or where you are working very hard, and avoiding the training sessions in-between which are not really helping with your base fitness or your peak power. But at the end of the day doing session that you enjoy is key to staying motivated to get back on the rower again.

The final thing I would say is that most beginners row at stroke rates which are far higher than they should do. It took me a very long time to learn that rowing at 20 strokes per minute is even possible never mind a good place to be training :fssmile:

A good beginning session for you would be something like 3x5mins with a good 2min break between, trying to row at 20 strokes per minutes (at least less than 25 if 20 is hard). Make sure the damper on the front of the rower is not set to 10. Most people will be rowing between 4-6. Your focus here is on technique and rowing the session with a level of effort where you feel comfortable. By the way getting a HR monitor is also recommended.

If you want to access some great videos put together by a very skilled rower then you could do worse than look at RowAlong on YouTube. There are plenty of different playlists on there but you could look at:

this one which is a gradual build up series -> ... rRld-hcIPd

or this one which incorporates the above and adds some other sessions ... NA_UMzrBem

There are some very experienced and talented rowers in this group. So please feel free to ask anything. We haver all been at the starting point, made mistakes, learnt a lot and struggle on.

56 years old, 5"10', clinging on to 75kg and frustratingly but understandably inconsistent
User avatar
Super Dedicated and Truly Free Spirit
Posts: 3782
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:57 pm
I row on...: Model D with PM5
Location: Anglesey, North Wales

Re: Seeking Advice for New Rower

Post by Mat »

Welcome to the group Hans(?)

Sounds like you've made a great choice with that package.

I can't really do more than echo Jon's reply above, and especially the RowAlong sessions - if you can literally "row along" to the videos, you'll get some great advice from John as you go, and this will provide invaluable as you develop technique and pace

2:05 pace for 3 x 3' is definitely not a bad start at all, so don't beat yourself up, and above all - don't rush it :fsbgrin:
52, 6'2" and trying to get back to 90kg post hip replacement. Looking back fondly on past achievements I've no chance of repeating
True Free Spirit
Posts: 648
Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:15 am
I row on...: Model D with PM5
Location: Marlborough, Wiltshire

Re: Seeking Advice for New Rower

Post by PSims »

Bit late in replying…for what it is worth…

I use Kinomap. Let’s me row along to a recorded video…showing sunnier skies than we have here.
Kevin Scott based in Tahiti has some fab videos to follow!

Keeps the motivation going!
OK...Focus...Speed...I am...Speed


Post Reply