If you’ve been on a rowing machine before, I’m sure you’ve encountered plenty of information being thrown at you. Some intuitive, some maybe not so much. I’m going to go through the important bits so next time you row you can understand what’s happening, and potentially improve your numbers.
Some of this will depend on the rowing machine you’re using, however most machines will have very similar interfaces. As it’s the most popular rower, I’ll base this article around the Concept2 rower.
Upon turning the monitor on you’ll be presented with the main menu, along with the following options:
- Just Row -> Simply get started rowing and see your live metrics. I recommend this if you’re going to follow along with rowing workouts on your mobile.
- Select Workout -> This allows you to start rowing with a pre-programmed workout. You can also set up your own workout here (see my collection of rowing workouts) here.
- Connect -> Perfect for if you want to connect a bluetooth device to your rower such as a heart rate monitor.
- Memory -> Look at your past workouts.
- More Options -> General settings to customise your machine.
There are multiple workout screens you can choose from by tapping the ‘Display’ button. I’ve attached the most popular (and what I usually use) screen below.
The key metrics here are:
- Total duration of your workout.
- Your current Strokes Per Minute (s/m or SPM). In other words, how many full strokes you are completing each minute. This is the main metric used in the Rowing Machine Workouts app to keep you progressively and consistently improving. Focus on good rowing technique so you can control and maintain a steady SPM.
- Your 500m split time. This is how long it will take you to row 500 meters. If you’re a beginner it’s much more important to focus on keeping this consistent and slowly improving rather than trying to keep this low straight away.
- Your total distance so far (in meters).
- Your current heart rate (this would require you to connect a bluetooth heart rate monitor).
- Your average 500m split time over your whole workout.
- Your projected m 30:00 (how far in meters you’re expected to row in 30:00 at your current pace).
At any time, you can tap ‘Display’ to show other metrics. This all comes down to preference but you can see numbers such as your calories burned, charts to show your progress over time or even boats graphics so you can compare against a ‘pace boat’. I’d recommend giving these a go to see what works best for you.