In my sometimes humble opinion, the rower is perhaps the most under utilized weapon in the CrossFit arsenal. A rower is not cheap and a lot of CF boxes don’t have enough to fit a whole class, but even in the big fancy boxes, the ones with forests of bars, lines of rowers, and bumpers stacked like modern day Babels, you don’t see much rowing. What rowing that does occur seems to be reserved for warming up and a single distance effort. This is shameful in both neglect and lack of creativity.
Rowing sucks. There it is, plain and simple. But it produces some pretty gnarly fitness. Sure, I guess a good five thousand meters is impressive, but what really gets me is a smoking 500 time–something in the low 20s or especially the teens. That is anaerobic prowess with little equal! Likewise a 100m time in the low teens is explosive power defined.
The rower, with its computerized monitor is uniquely suited for doing sprints of all kinds. You can also set it up for several different scoring options depending on the workout. Interval sprints are where the rower really shines. You want a faster 500 time? Hit 350m sprints with a minute or two rest (this is possibly the hardest thing I have ever done in a Crossfit box). Try 100m sprints with a heavy movement in between each interval. Work your way up and then down a sprint pyramid. How about a continuous couple thousand meters with 50 to 100m sprints at predetermined distances? Do I even need to mention Tabata?
By stacking plates under either end, you can overload the pull or speed it up depending on the desired effect (be careful). The rower also shines in the arena of physical therapy and rehab. Conditioning work for those with injuries to their knees and other lower extremity joints can be hard to find. But you think a 500m row is hard, try it with one leg stuck straight out in front of you so there is no knee flexion. Ouch.
The rower is a potent weapon. It plus your imagination equals superior fitness.
What are your favorite rowing workouts? Post to Comments.
Check out this video of world champ rower Rob Smith setting a world record of :13.9 in the 100m.