That’s a great question, as I know we’ve had some other users raise similar ones.
The rower is a great tool that if available to you, you’re right- you might as well use it! As you’ve stated yourself, rowing can be a great workout, but a fairly challenging one at that. So here are my thoughts on how you might best incorporate it into your weekly routine:
1- Row for 5-10 minutes as a strength training warmup or cool down if you are on a strength integrated training plan.
As a warmup, start easy and gradually increase effort, but don’t exceed an RPE of 5 for more than 1 minute. Some shorter hard efforts are ok for activation purposes, but don’t get carried away.
As a cool down, start at a moderate effort (RPE 3-4) for 2-3 minutes, then increase slightly (to about an RPE of 5) for 1-2 minutes, then drop back down to RPE 3 and progressively decrease effort for another 2-4 minutes. This will help clear out and recirculate any metabolites that may have been left in the muscles.
2- Perform certain SUF workouts on the rower instead of the turbo- Workouts with short-medium length FTP and MAP efforts would be best, as you just can’t row hard and fast enough to get an AC or NM stimulus. I’d say 30 second-3 minute intervals would be ideal, although the upper end of that will be challenging.
Your best guide for effort will be RPE, since your HR will likely be higher than it would when cycling because it’s more of a total body effort.
If you know there’s a high or low cadence block that will last more than 20 seconds, it’s probably worth adjusting the resistance on the rower to correspond- high cadence=low resistance, low cadence=high resistance. Any shorter and by the time you get your hands back on the handle and get going again, you just won’t get enough reps in to make it worth it.
3- Shorter workouts like Joyride, GCN Escalator, GCN Muscular Endurance Intervals, Revolver and Getting Away With It might be good ones to experiment with. Workouts an hour or longer might just be too much, at least initially.
- I would not recommend using it to replace recovery spins, as I don’t think you can go easy enough and you won’t get the recovery you need.
Good luck and please let us know how it goes!