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Total-Body Rowing and Kettlebell Workout for Cardio and Strength

Variety is the spice of life, so they say, and the same goes for your workouts. If you’re easily bored by the same routine over and over again, it’s a good idea to switch up your exercises and combine them to create interesting new workouts that won’t bore you to tears.

Variety is great for your muscles as well. Experts believe your muscles can get used to the same old exercise if they’re all you do, so you’ll need to throw in new moves every now and then to keep your muscles working and so you don’t hit the dreaded plateau. Look at people who do CrossFit. Their workouts rely on switching them up regularly, and CrossFitters are some of the fittest people on the planet.

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At Fitness Atrium, we’re massive rowing enthusiasts, but exercise isn’t all about rowing. If your goal is to burn body fat and build strong muscle, you’ll never go wrong with adding a little variety.

In this workout, we’re going to incorporate kettlebell exercises. Kettlebells are an awesome addition to any home gym. They’re cheap, easy to find at your local sporting goods shop, and most of all can be used to provide an incredible cardio and strength workout.

Training Room Online’s Mike Stehle developed this distance rowing and kettlebell workout to get your heart pumping and your muscles screaming. Stehle shares his workout to Men’s Fitness, which you can check out in full here.

The Workout in Detail

Row at an easy pace for 200 meters. Get off, grab a kettlebell, and perform 20 snatches, 10 on each side.

To do a proper snatch, put the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Move into squat position, bending your knees and pushing your butt back. Swing the kettlebell back, then swing it forward, driving through with your hips and knees. When the kettlebell reaches shoulder level, rotate your hand and punch up. For more information on how to do a proper snatch, check out Breaking Muscle’s detailed explanation. You can also watch the video below.

Get back on the rower and increase your intensity. Row another 200 meters, then get off and do 20 kettlebell push presses, 10 on each side.

Hold the kettlebell and clean it to your shoulders to rack position. Your torso should be upright, your hips right under the kettlebell, and heels flush on the floor. Drop your body slightly at the knees, pushing weight at your heels. Squeeze your glutes and drive power from the hips as you punch the kettlebell directly overhead. Check out the YouTube video below for a visual explanation.

Row for another 200 meters at high intensity. Then get off, do 20 kettlebell swings, 10 on each side.

Place the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. From a deadlift stance, swing the kettlebell backwards. You’ll feel your arms coming in contact with your inner thighs. Then violently thrust your hips forward, taking care not to swing your arm. If you do this right, the kettlebell will just naturally go up to chest level. For you visual learners out there, here’s a more detailed video.

Get back on the rower and do another 200 meters at high intensity. Follow with 20 squat thrusts (also called burpees).

From a standing position, squat down and lay your hands flat on the floor. Next, kick your feet backward and move into plank position. Your body should be in one straight line from the neck to the feet. Perform one optional pushup then jump your feet back into crouching position before you stand up. For a more advanced variation, you can also add a jump at the end.

Get back on the rower. Row for 200 meters at high intensity. Then do 20 one-arm rows, 10 on each side.

Stand with one foot forward, one leg back. Hinge forward from the hips and go as far down as you can get while keeping your back straight. Your front knee should be bent, while your back leg should be stable. Rest one arm on your front knee as you grip the kettlebell with the other hand. Lift the kettlebell close to your torso, keeping it close to your body as you squeeze your shoulder blades and flex your elbow.

Get back on the rower. Row for another 200 meters at high intensity. Then do 20 walking lunges.

Stand with feet together. Take a step forward, and lower your hips to the floor until both knees are at a 90-degree angle. The front knee should be on top of the ankle, while the back knee should be close to the floor but not touching it. Push off with your back leg and step it forward into another lunge.

Row for 200 meters at moderate intensity. Follow with 20 half-burpees.

Half-burpees are essentially burpees without standing up. To do a half-burpee, start in crouching position with your hands flat on the floor. Kick back explosively so that you are in plank position, then jump right back into crouching position before going to a squat. Take a look at the video below for more detail.

The Workout in Brief

Row 200 meters at an easy pace.

Do 20 kettlebell snatches, 10 on each side.

Row 200 meters at a moderate pace.

Do 20 kettlebell push presses, 10 on each side.

Row 200 meters at high intensity.

Do 20 kettlebell swings, 10 on each side.

Row 200 meters at high intensity.

Do 20 squat thrusts.

Row 200 meters at high intensity.

Do 20 one-arm rows, 10 on each side.

Row 200 meters at high intensity.

Do 20 walking lunges.

Row 200 meters at high intensity.

Do 20 half-burpees.

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