20 Minute Rowing Machine Workouts: 7 Fat Blasters

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Rowing is an incredible full-body workout that can improve your cardiovascular fitness, enhance muscle strength and endurance, and promote weight loss. In recent years, the rowing machine has emerged as a popular piece of fitness equipment for people looking to take their home or gym workouts to the next level. With just 20 minutes a day on the rower, you can reap remarkable benefits. This article will delve into seven engaging 20-minute rowing workouts, explore the science behind the effectiveness of a 20-minute row, and guide you on how many days per week you should row to optimize results.

Top 7 20-Minute Rowing Machine Workouts

a woman working out on a rowing machine in the gym

1. The Classic 20-Minute Row

Workout Highlights:

  • Ideal for beginners
  • Steady pace throughout the workout
  • Focus on consistency and form

The Classic 20-Minute Row is perfect for beginners and anyone looking to establish a base level of fitness. This workout emphasizes maintaining a steady, consistent pace for the entirety of the workout. During the main phase, aim to keep a consistent stroke rate and split time.

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This focus on consistency not only builds endurance but also helps you master proper rowing form, which is crucial for effectiveness and injury prevention. This workout also incorporates warm-up and cool-down periods to ensure your body is adequately prepared for the workout and recovers well post-exercise.

2. The Interval Challenger

Workout Highlights:

  • Utilizes the principles of high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Ideal for intermediate rowers
  • Challenges cardiovascular and muscular endurance

The Interval Challenger leverages the principles of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a form of training known for its efficiency and effectiveness. This workout is perfect for intermediate rowers looking to enhance their cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. It alternates between intense, all-out efforts and periods of active recovery. This style of workout not only keeps things engaging but also helps boost metabolism, thanks to the afterburn effect, leading to a higher calorie burn even post-workout.

3. The Pyramid Scheme

Workout Highlights:

  • Varying intervals of intensity and rest periods
  • Engages both aerobic and anaerobic systems
  • Helps improve overall stamina and endurance

The Pyramid Scheme introduces varying intervals of intensity and rest periods, offering a challenging and engaging workout. This structure is excellent for enhancing overall stamina and endurance as it engages both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. The varying intensity levels will push your cardiovascular system, while the rest periods allow for brief recovery and ensure sustained energy throughout the workout. As you progress through the workout, the intervals become longer, pushing your body to adapt and work harder, making this an effective method to overcome fitness plateaus.

4. The Distance Tracker

Workout Highlights:

  • Focuses on distance covered
  • Tracks progress over time
  • Builds both speed and endurance

The Distance Tracker is a goal-oriented workout that focuses on the distance covered within a set time. This approach not only provides an objective measure of your performance but also serves as a motivational tool. As you see the distance you can cover increase over time, it’s a clear indication of improved fitness levels. This style of training can be an effective way to build both speed and endurance, as you push yourself to cover more distance in the same time frame.

5. The Speed Demon

Workout Highlights:

  • Aims to improve speed and lower split time
  • High-intensity sprints with recovery periods
  • Develops anaerobic capacity and power

The Speed Demon is designed to improve your speed and lower your split time. The key here is high-intensity sprints interspersed with periods of recovery. These short, intense efforts require a substantial amount of energy and help develop your anaerobic capacity and power. Over time, this can translate into faster speeds and improved performance, whether you’re on the rower or engaging in other sports and activities.

6. The Power Stroke

Workout Highlights:

  • Focused on power and strength
  • High-intensity, powerful strokes with recovery periods
  • Enhances muscle tone and overall strength

The Power Stroke workout focuses on maximizing power output with each stroke. This form of training is perfect for building strength and enhancing muscle tone. High-intensity, powerful strokes followed by rest periods provide a form of interval training that targets your muscles. This focus on power can help improve your rowing technique by encouraging strong, controlled strokes, which can lead to better overall rowing performance.

7. The Endurance Enhancer

Workout Highlights:

  • Long, consistent rowing intervals
  • Focuses on maintaining a moderate-intensity level
  • Builds cardiovascular endurance

The Endurance Enhancer workout is all about sustained effort. This routine focuses on maintaining a moderate-intensity level for an extended period, aiming to improve cardiovascular endurance. The key here is consistency, both in terms of speed and stroke rate. By maintaining a constant rhythm, you teach your body to be more efficient at using energy and oxygen, thereby improving your overall endurance. This workout is particularly beneficial for athletes training for endurance events.

Is 20 Minutes of Rowing Enough? What the Research Says

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One of the most frequent questions among fitness enthusiasts exploring rowing workouts is: Can 20 minutes on a rowing machine provide a comprehensive workout? A wealth of research suggests that it indeed can, and the reason lies in the high-intensity nature of many rowing workouts, the engagement of major muscle groups, and the aerobic and anaerobic systems at work.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is often a feature of rowing workouts, is renowned for its efficiency and effectiveness, especially in cardiovascular improvements and fat burning. In a study published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, researchers found that even short bouts of high-intensity rowing improved aerobic capacity, strength, and body composition.

RELATED: My 5 Favorite 10-Minute Rowing Machine Workouts

High-intensity workouts, such as those possible on a rower, elicit a response known as Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), or the afterburn effect. This phenomenon results in an elevated metabolism and increased caloric burn for hours after the workout.

Rowing is also an efficient way to engage major muscle groups, with every stroke engaging your legs, core, and upper body. The British Journal of Sports Medicine published a study that highlighted how whole-body exercises like rowing engage more muscle mass, leading to higher energy expenditure and more significant cardiovascular demands than exercises that target only the lower or upper body.

Moreover, 20-minute rowing workouts challenge both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, offering a broad spectrum of fitness benefits. An article published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that incorporating interval rowing workouts into training routines significantly improved both the aerobic and anaerobic fitness of the participants.

Therefore, according to the research, 20 minutes on a rowing machine, when used effectively, can offer comprehensive cardiovascular, muscular strength and endurance, and fat-burning benefits. This makes it a convenient option for those short on time but committed to achieving their fitness goals. Nevertheless, individual results can vary based on factors such as intensity, frequency, technique, and individual fitness levels. It is crucial to ensure that your 20-minute rowing workout is well-structured and tailored to your personal goals to maximize effectiveness.

How Many Days per Week Should You Row?

a woman in the gym on a rowing machine

The frequency of rowing workouts largely depends on your fitness level and goals. However, for most people, 3-5 times a week is an ideal frequency. This gives your body ample time to rest and recover, which is essential for muscle growth and injury prevention. Remember, consistency is key, and it’s better to stick to a sustainable routine than to risk burnout or injury with daily, intense sessions.

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If you’re new to rowing, start with 2-3 times a week and gradually increase as your fitness improves. If you’re an experienced rower, you might increase the frequency or intensity of your workouts, or incorporate rowing as a part of a diverse training routine.

Final Thoughts

Rowing is a powerful workout that can transform your fitness. It’s efficient, effective, and can be tailored to suit beginners through to advanced athletes. While 20-minute workouts might seem short, when done right, they can offer numerous benefits – from fat loss and muscle building to improved cardiovascular health. Remember to listen to your body, mix up your workouts to keep things interesting, and most importantly, enjoy the process!