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Torch Fat Off with this 45-Minute Rowing Interval Workout

Sick of slogging on the treadmill, running up and down the stairs, and going to the gym for two hours every day? Rowing is the new fitness trend in town, and just before you push it aside with a dismissive wave of a hand, it can burn as much as 800 calories in an hour – much more than jogging, cycling, or hiking ever will.

More and more people are starting to realize the benefits of rowing for exercise – thanks in part to the WaterRower’s regular appearance on Netflix’s “House of Cards" – but mostly because it’s a great way to get a heart-pumping, muscle-wrenching workout in one go.

The effectiveness of rowing as a full-body workout that can help boost heart health and tone your muscles at the same time has helped propel the rowing machine to the center of the gym floor. Also, it’s a low-impact exercise that allows people with mobility problems to get in shape and stay in shape without taxing their joints.


And did I mention it’s a powerful cardio workout to burn off fat? In this workout developed by Eric Von Frohlich of Row House NYC and shared to Fitness Magazine, you’re going to turn on your body’s fat-burning mechanism to the max by exercising in intervals of cardio and strength for 45 minutes.

Here’s the full workout in detail.

Time: 0:00 to 2:00 (2 minutes)

Activity: Warm up. Start by rowing 20 strokes with only your arms. Next, row another 20 strokes with only your upper body and arms. Finally, row with your legs, upper body and arms for 20 strokes.

Time: 2:00 to 4:00 (2 minutes)

Activity: Two minutes of steady-state rowing. Aim for a stroke rate of 26 strokes per minute. Take note of your split time.

Time: 4:00 to 14:00 (10 minutes)

Activity: Row 10 strokes at maximum intensity. Recover by rowing at an easy pace until you reach 1 minute. Do this 10 times until you reach 14:00 time.

Time: 14:00 to 19:00 (5 minutes)

Activity: Stand up and perform the following exercises for 1 minute each: squats, lunges, sit-ups, pushups and hip stretches (30 seconds each for the right and left hips).

Time: 19:00 to 31:30 (12 minutes, 30 seconds)

Activity: Row 2 minutes at high-intensity. Recover by rowing at an easy pace for 30 minutes. Do this 5 times until you reach 31:30. Set your sights on a split time 10 to 15 seconds seconds slower than your split time during your 10-stroke max-intensity rowing.

Time: 31:30 to 36:30 (5 minutes)

Activity: Stand up. Do the same strength-stretch circuit. Remember: 1 minute of squats, lunges, sit-ups, pushups and hip stretches each.

Time: 36:30 to 40:30 (4 minutes)

Activity: Row 4 minutes of steady-state high-intensity rowing. Aim for a split time 5 to 10 seconds slower than your split time during your 2-minute high-intensity rowing.

Time: 40:30 to 45:00 (4 minutes, 30 seconds)

Activity: Cool down. Row 4 minutes and 30 seconds at an easy intensity.

A few things to keep in mind.

1. Do not make the mistake of setting the damper level to 10.

If you’re on a WaterRower, which you can find here on Amazon, the equivalent is filling the water tank all the way up to 19 liters. The damper setting has nothing to do with the resistance and has more to do with the weight of your “boat.” Frohlich and most rowing experts agree. The best way to get the most out of your workout is to set the damper between 3 and 5. On the WaterRower, the optimum water level is 15 to 17 liters.

2. Get the most power from your legs.

Your legs have the biggest muscles in the entire body, so it only makes sense that they do most of the work. When you drive back from the footboard, push with all your might coming from your legs. Then hinge back from your hips so that your upper back remains straight in the 11 o’clock position. And pull the handle with your arms, elbows bent and shoulder blades squeezed together, with the handles just sitting below your ribs.

3. Keep an eye on the performance monitor.

Specifically, keep an eye on your split time and stroke rate (strokes per minute). Split time refers to how long you take to row a distance of 500 meters. Stroke rate is the average number of strokes you can make per minute. Remember, a higher stroke rate doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing a better job at rowing. Frohlich says an efficient rowing workout usually has a stroke rate between 20 and 30 spm. If you’re going far above that, you’re probably not getting the most out of your workout.

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