Rowing Workouts for Beginners

Before you begin your rowing workout you should make sure you have a basic grasp on good rowing technique (link).


Everyone knows that the quickest way to get injured is to begin exercising in a new way and at a pace that your body cannot handle. Start off slow and get familiar with the machine over a few weeks and gradually increase the resistance. Every beginner will have a different base level of fitness but starting off slow in any new exercise is good practice. Rowing is relatively easy, but it is also easy to get hurt if you go too fast too soon . So why not start off with this simple workout:

Warm up: Do some light stretching before you sit into the rower.

Intensity: Slowly build up to a maximum intensity of 45 – 50%

Length: 4-5 minutes

Try and focus on the following in your initial workout:

  • Posture – Try to maintain good posture as described in our how to row article. As you tire it gets harder to maintain but good posture ensures that you are rowing efficiently and that you are hitting the right muscle groups as you row.

  • Consistent pace and even stroke – Maintaining a consistent pace ensures that you can row for longer. Try to make each stroke similar in terms of the strength you use and the length of the entire movement.

  • Breathing – Breathing is a key part of any endurance sport and is a vital part of rowing. Try to inhale in the recovery section of the rowing movement and exhale during the drive. Once you get the hang of this you will notice maintain good posture, an even stroke and consistent pace becomes much easier and you will soon be able to go harder and for longer.

After you have completed, stand up and walk around for a couple of minutes. After completing a couple of times try to slowly increase the intensity and gradually add 1 minute to the length of each session. Once you are over the 10 minute mark you should begin looking some of the more advanced rowing exercises.