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This HIIT Rowing and Strength Workout Will Blast the Calories Away

When you’ve hit a plateau, or when you’ve realized that two hours of steadily pounding on the pavement won’t get you any closer to your weight loss goals, turn to the rowing machine instead.

There’s a reason why the indoor rower has suddenly become the hottest trend in workout machines. Rowing gives you a full-body workout that exercises all of the major muscle groups in your body. This allows your body to boost its calorie-burning abilities and helps you blast through that plateau and burn off fat more quickly.

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And when you up the ante, you’ll get far better results than ever. I’m talking about doing high-intensity interval rowing combined with strength training exercises that build stronger muscles, reduce body fat, and boost metabolism.

This HIIT rowing and strength training workout shared by Nora Tobin, fitness editor at Shape.com, is guaranteed to give you the best of both high-intensity interval cardio and powerful strength training.

The Workout

Warm up by rowing at a slow, easy pace for 5 minutes. Keep your pace (also known as split time) at a low level. You should be able to breathe easily and carry on long conversations at this level.

Quickly increase your intensity and row for 1 minute at this level. Aim to keep your pace high (the closer to 2:00 minutes/500 meters, the better), but also work to keep your stroke rate high.

How intense should you go? Row as hard and as fast as you can at a level that still allows you to keep good form. If you realize that you’re starting to arch your back, lose power in your legs, or generally commit any of the following rowing blunders, you are rowing way too hard.

Step off the rower. Follow with 20 chair squats with your arms raised overhead. To do a chair squat, keep your feet close together and push your butt back and down like you’re going to sit on a chair. You can keep your arms raised overhead or clasped together in front of your chest. Be careful to keep your chest up, and avoid bowing as you do the squat.

Step on the rower. Follow with 1 minute of rowing at high intensity.

Step off the rower. Do 15 pushups. Get into a plank position, with your hands placed just a bit wider than your shoulders and your toes firmly on the ground. Engage your core, glutes, and hamstrings so that your body is in a straight line when seen from the side. Now, lower your arms until your elbows are at 90-degree angle, or until your chest just grazes the ground. Exhale as you push off the ground.

Step on the rower. Follow with 1 minute of rowing at high intensity.

Step off the rower. Get in plank position and hold for 1 minute. Place your hands on the floor, just slightly wider than shoulder width. Ground your toes firmly on the ground. Keep your core and glutes engaged, and your eyes looking somewhere a foot in front of you. This helps keep your head up. Hold this position for 1 minute.

Step on the rower. Follow with 1 minute of rowing at high intensity.

Step off the rower. Do 40 split squats, 20 for each side. Take a big step backward with one leg, keeping your heel off the floor. Bend both knees until they’re both at a 90-degree angle. Be careful not to push the front knee forward; it should stay on top of the ankle as you lower down.

Step on the rower. Follow with 1 minute of rowing at high intensity.

Step off the rower. Do 15 glute bridges. Lie on the floor with both knees bent and feet placed hip width apart. Slowly lift your hips, middle back, then upper back, pressing your pelvis to the sky and pushing your heels to the floor. Slowly lower back down.

Step on the rower. Follow with 1 minute of rowing at high intensity. Repeat the circuit, starting with the first 1-minute interval of high-intensity rowing. 

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