21 Minute HIIT Rower Workout
If you are looking for an awesome full body workout that gets your heart rate pumping, hop on a rower! The rower uses all your body’s muscles and by adding the high intensity intervals, you will be burning fat long after you finish your workout. Tons of research has shown that doing HIIT for less time than steady state cardio has benefits, like more fat burning, lowers heart rates and blood pressure, and leads to increases muscle definition.
There is no doubt that the Concept 2 rower is the best, the Olympic Team uses it, but any rower at your local gym will work. If you’ve never used a rower, I suggest visiting the Concept 2 website and watching some tutorials, so you can get proper form before you start.
This workout uses three different zones - low, medium, and high intensities, and can be completed in 21 minutes! If you are doing it right, it should be a tough workout! The two sets of intense intervals will leave you breathless and help boost your VO2 Max! Below I give an explanation of the different zones, followed by the workout. Take note of your pace during each zone, and write it down so you have a benchmark the next time you do this workout.
For Concept 2 Rowers: Pre-program in the HIIT portion of the workout, with 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off for 6 intervals. This makes it much easier once the workout begins. After your 5 minute row, reset the rower to the 20/20 workout, after completing first round, repeat the series and go back to “just row.” After the 5 minutes, you can select “re-row” from the workout category and do the second 20/20 interval ride.
Zones: (All times give are per 500 meters)
Zone One: Low Intensity
This should be a level that you could maintain easily for a long period. Depending upon your current fitness level, it could be above 3:30/500 meter, or 2:30/500 meter. Whatever pace you can do for an extended period without feeling winded. This is just a warm up and a recovery during the second set.
Zone Two: Medium Intensity
Speed up slightly from your Zone One pace. It should be about 10-20 seconds faster than your warm up. So if you were rowing around 2:40 for Zone One, your Zone Two would be trying to keep it under 2:30 or less. This should still be a pace you could maintain, but you should feel your heart rate rising.
Zone Three: High Intensity (ALL OUT EFFORT)
This is where you go as fast as you can! It’s a high intensity 20 second burst, followed by full 20 second break. You should going fast enough that you feel like you have to stop after the 20 seconds. So if you feel like you could keep going, you should probably speed up your pace. By the end of the 6th interval, you should feel ready for your break.
I look at the total number of meters I go in 20 seconds, and make a note of that number, shooting for it in every interval. Usually, your first interval will be you fastest, but it gives you a number to shoot for! Right now, I try to get around 90-95 meters during the 20 second intervals, whereas my husband shoots for 105-110. Maybe your number will be 70 meters or 80 meters, whatever the number is, shoot for that number each interval, it will be a struggle to keep as you do you fourth, fifth and sixth bursts.
It is best to preset the rower to have a 20/20 interval workout before you start. Once you finish with the Zone 1 and 2 rowing, turn on the 20/20 workout for the intervals.
If necessary, take additional breaks as needed.
Repeat the Zone 1, 2 and 3 circuit twice.
You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. Click HERE for full disclaimer.
The link to a printable version of the workout is available below.
Rower (Concept 2 is our favorite)
0:00- 2:00 Zone One Row (2 minutes)
2:00 - 5:00 Zone Two Row (3 minutes)
5:00-6:00 Break (1 minute break - take the time to set machine to 20/20 interval workout)
6:00-10:00 Zone Three Interval - 20 seconds on/20 seconds off - 6 sets - ALL OUT EFFORT
10:00 - 11:00 Break (1 minute break - reset rower to “just row” mode)
11:00 - 13:00 Zone One Row (2 minutes)
13:00 - 16:00 Zone Two Row (3 Minutes)
16:00 - 17:00 Break (1 minute break - take the time to set machine to 20/20 interval workout)
17:00 - 21:00 Zone Three Interval - 20 seconds on/20 seconds off - 6 sets - ALL OUT EFFORT
ROLL OFF ROWER!