I have done a search and found a few threads on rowing but am surprised there are not more.
I am lucky enough to have a waterrower and use it 2-3 x per week for 20-30 minutes in the hope it is adding some strength to my core arms and shoulders. The reality though is that when done properly rowing is largely about the legs. And that is my concern. At 58y of age and following a TP I need to be careful to avoid anything that adds more fatigue to my legs and adverse impacts on the plan and progress. I cannot find any training literature that deals with this. So I have some questions :grinning:
Is rowing wasted time better spent on the bike on a recovery ride?
Is it sensible to replace a recovery or some other kind of ride with rowing?
Am I better off staying on the bike and replacing the rowing with a strength and or weights regime?

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Hey @bob_dynowski,

So I have a Concept2 rower, and have used it for years. Rowing is definitely intensive and full-body - much more so than cycling - you will definitely smoke your legs doing hard rows. On the plus side, if you’re in a cycling program, you can do rowing workouts with just core and upper body, releasing the legs from the effort. Just truncate the motion to eliminate the leg press portion of the stroke.

My big issue is I have found rowing programs SOOOOO boring. Wish there was a SUFF for that!


It is so so boring! I have the A1 version which cannot be linked with any apps. Also the very motion makes it difficult to watch anything anyway. See, lots of reasons NOT to row when I can cycle :grinning:

I do like the drive part of the row which I have always considered equivalent to a squat. But it is obviously a fatiguing process.

From your description I assume you are saying pull with the hands/arms rather than drive with the legs? I’ll try that. Cheers.

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@bob_dynowski Pretty much. If you think about a rowing stroke in a vertical plane, you’re basically completing a squat, then a bent-over row (the “power stroke”). Watch a good (elite) rowing stroke:


It’s basically the two motions, smoothed into each other. So you take the squat out of the stroke by keeping your legs at full extension and completing the core/upper body motion by pivoting at your hips. Just watch the lower back.

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@CPT_A To me it is more of a deadlift. I generally don’t need video during my rowing and generally break it up with some other moves like kettle bell swings, deadlifts, pushups, etc. I do like some music.

@bob_dynowski I have the water erg and was able to retrofit it to work with the Smart Rower software. You might be able to get a similar setup for your Concept rower.

Check our Dark Horse rowing on YouTube. They have some great videos on form.

@JSampson how do you sit on your rower???


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I have the WaterRower with BT com module so I can use the smart rower app. I saw someone online talk about how they connected their rower to Zwift. I can’t find the article right now, but there’s always that. Maybe can connect it to SUF? :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Unfortunately, the A1 rower cannot accept the bt module.

Hey Bob,
Great question and there is always benefits to be found in cross training

As you have mentioned, it is a demanding activity so maybe not best to be done on a rest day but how about swapping it for a tempo or sub-threshold ride.

You can also use HR to make sure you are staying in the correct zone.

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@CPT_A Well they are not similar at the catch position but there are similarities from there:

  1. Similar muscles are used in both. While rowing is more all body and is more focused on the quads, there is definitely a lot of crossover. In general improving your deadlift can really help increase speed on the erg.
  2. Both require similar torso and core bracing so that power isn’t lost and to protect the spine.
  3. Both have similar leverage points.

Next time you are beginning your pull on the rower think about how your core and legs are engaged.

Also relevant to this thread I found the below video - it discusses how rowing and cycling can complement each other - especially from the perspective of the spine.

Rowing for Cyclists

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@emacdoug Maybe it was this one:

Use Concept2 Rower on Zwift


Yep that’s it. :+1:

As I‘m trying to expand my cross-training horizon, I have to say, I like the idea of rowing - a lot.
Dabbled with a waterrower a few years back.

It‘s actually an activity I can absolutely see myself doing in Zwift, once it’s supported.

@Pierre This is what I used to collect my data on the Water Rower without having to buy their head unit. However, I am not sure it works with Zwift.


I find music or even a podcast is enough for me on the rower. I think cycling is different especially when you are climbing hills or doing MAP intervals on the trainer. The video and the music serves as a diversion. The rower also works great for intervals with weights - you can add pretty much anything - pull-ups, cleans, pushups, deadlifts, KBS, etc.

If you haven’t used your rower in a while be sure to check the seal in the tank. Last year I started a workout and sprayed water across the floor. It is fairly easy to reseal but you do have to take the rower apart. It is also good to put in the water freshener tablets and check the straps as well.

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Thank you, @JSampson.

I dabbled and sold my waterrower, actually. This topic makes me long for a replacement, though.

Lots of great info.

I will put one in my WishFarm / Budget and see what happens in the next few month.

I’m absolutely with you on being fine with some media on the rower. It is different than cycling. At least my experience is pretty similar to what you describe.

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Ta for chipping in Rupert,

I am interested to know what specific rides you
suggest to deal with the risk of increasing fatigue? And would you suggest shortening the ride ?
The waterrower is not particularly accurate compared to the concept 2 and so I have tended to row pretty easy, HR rarely touching z3, to time or distance. For me that’s 30-32 min for 5000m.

FWIW, having tried a couple of the water rowers, I preferred (and purchased) my Concept2 rower. Enclosed fan. And no water shooting across the room - bonus!

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@CPT_A I would agree - we received the water rower from a relative. If I had to buy one I would go with Concept2 as they are easier to maintain.

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I recommend an FTP focussed or MAP intervals so something easy to follow along the lines of GOAT or revolver


On my WaterRower I wear my TickrX for HR and do intervals. I haven’t tried other rowers. I’ve also never had a problem with water spraying anywhere. It’s also relaxing to listen to the water, which can sometimes be counterproductive, especially if I suddenly need to pee after 10 minutes. :wink: