Ergometer Rowing for General Fitness (GPP)?

I would like to do rowing (on the ergometer machines) once a week for GPP as an alternative to tempo runs (2 tempo run sessions/week is enough for me).

Does anyone do rowing for GPP?
Any ideas for workouts I could do with them?

The Concept rower is a great piece of equip. We actaully just ordered 2 more for our facility. It could def. be used for general fitness/ tempo and I have even found that going rather fast on it for shorter distances can be a way of building work capacity and does not take long to recover from.

Sessions I have done…
10x250 1’ Rest (Ext tempo/nice and easy)
10x125 3’ Rest All out

Try them both tell me what you think.


Try 300m in 60s, with 60s recovery, at level 10 and see how many you can do. It is not a tempo workout (it is far too intense), but a real lactate tolerance workout. 10 reps is a good performance.

lol that is a pretty damn tough workout John (although idk what type of erg machine I used before, I got 330m in 1 minute a few years ago @ 5’8"). A lot of rowing depends on height–if you are taller you will always have a natural advantage over shorter folks. 2 nat’l recruits went to my high school this year (1 received full ride offers from stanford and a large “grant” from harvard) and neither were especially strong in pull-ups, rows, or anything I saw in any exercise outside of rowing (not even distance running), but they were both 6’4" with long arms and great technique.

Learn proper technique first; look at the concept 2 website where there is a guide. Otherwise you can hurt your back.

First, level 10 doesn’t make it any harder than any other level; the score is calculated off the amount of work you do. Level 10 means more drag, so you have to push harder and you get more load on the back, but you don’t have to move as fast to get the same score.

Second, that work means pulling 1:40 splits. Which is not quick; anyone competent should have no trouble doing 1’ on / 1’ off at that sort of pace for an hour or two (someone really good would be able to pull better splits than that for an hour non stop).

Depends on your height/technique/etc… I know some people that will be world class in 1-2 years (one of whom is the #1 recruit for rowing in the country) and those times are not THAT easy.

How many reps can you do then?

Haven’t tried it, but I have done 3k in 10’, so I’ll say 10. And no, that is not an elite level ergo score, or anything close to it.

Your mate is either aiming for lightweight (my sort of size, usually about 6ft, 70kg on race day), in which case he can probably do <6:20 for 2k, and should have no trouble doing as many reps as he wants, or he’s aiming for heavyweight (no weight limit), can probably do <5:55 for 2k, and would hardly be sweating on that sort of work. OK, it’s not easy work that anyone can do, but it is not going to be hard work for anyone competent.