HIIT Rowing Machine Workout: Pros, Cons, and Plans PDF

A few years back, rowing was limited to professional rowers, but not anymore. Anyone who wants to challenge their strength and stamina can do it. Recently, Rowing has become one of the crucial workouts to include in high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

The rowing HIIT workout torches significant calories, enhances cardiovascular fitness, bolsters various muscle groups, and promotes weight loss.

In this article, I’ve shared all about the HIIT rowing machine workout, such as the pros, cons, and routines. This guide will help you decide whether you should perform the HIIT workout on the rowing machine, how to design a program, and what results you can expect.

But before I share all the information, let’s first understand the HIIT definition.

What is HIIT?

HIIT is a short form of High-intensity interval training. It involves alternating between intense burst activities and brief recovery time.

For example, if you do the rower HIIT workout, row intensely for 20-30 seconds, take a 20-30 second break, then follow this pattern till completing your training.

The optimum intensity during HIIT should be between 70 and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR).

The high-intensity interval training is an excellent way to promote aerobic and anaerobic health and improve body composition.1 20 Pros and Cons of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) by Murshid Akram – The Fitness Phantom

Pros and Cons of HIIT Rowing Workout

Rowing Machine Workout

The rowing interval workout enhances stamina, agility, and strength and torches more calories than other traditional cardio machines. It has the elements of both aerobic and resistance exercises.


1. Rowing Works on Full Body

The rowing machine exercise engages multiple muscles simultaneously throughout the body, including the back, biceps, abs, shoulders, and legs, making it an incredible cardio and muscle-strengthening exercise.

2. Maximum Calorie Burn

The high-intensity rowing workout is an excellent way to annihilate considerable calories in a short time.

It also has an after-burn effect, which allows your body to kindle calories even after hours of training.

According to an article published by Healthline, a person who weighs 155 lb (70 kg) burns 150 calories in 15 minutes by doing high-intensity interval rowing.2 Rowing for Weight Loss: Calories Burned, Workout Plans, and More – Healthline

So, you can do Rowing to utilize the stored fats for energy and increase your weight loss.

3. Build Muscle and Endurance

The rowing machine exercise has components of both aerobic and resistance training. It simultaneously engages multiple muscles and builds mass while enhancing your endurance and athletic fitness.

4. Promote Cardiovascular Fitness

As a cardio exercise, Rowing also improves cardiovascular health. It enhances your heart’s ability to transport more blood to your body and improves the cardiovascular system.


1. Risk of Injuries

Continuous striking of the same muscle groups without adequate recovery can result in injuries if you do it beyond your capacity.

2. Taxing on the Heart and Lunges

Due to the high-intensity nature, rowing HIIT can put excess stress on the heart and make you feel out of breath.

Now, let’s see how you can perform HIIT on the rowing machine.

10-Minute HIIT Rowing Machine Workout for Beginners

HIIT Rowing Machine Workout Beginners

As a beginner, you should start with a 10-minute rowing interval workout.

Rowing even for 10 minutes daily will boost your endurance and improve your overall fitness.

Here’s how you can perform a 10-minute HIIT on a row machine:

Perform low-intensity bodyweight cardio exercise for five minutes to prepare your muscles for rowing HIIT. It will help increase your heart rate and allow your lungs to take oxygen more efficiently so you can do well during the workout.

Here’s the workout:

1-minute60% of MHR1-min
45-sec65% of MHR1-min
30-sec70% of MHR1-min
20-sec75% of MHR1-min
15-sec x 490% of MHR30-sec

Estimated Calories Burned: 80-90

Note: Make some adjustments as needed.

15-Minute Rower HIIT Workout to Elevate Your Fitness

If you want to burn a good number of calories in a quick time, try this 15-minute high-intensity rowing machine cardio. It is for all fitness levels, including beginners, and will also help you scale for longer training.

Don’t forget to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before doing an intense training season.

Estimated Calories Burned: 120-150

11-min60 % of MHR30-sec
245-sec65 % of MHR30-sec
3-430-sec x 270 % of MHR30-sec
5-630-sec x 275 % of MHR30-sec
7-830-sec x 280 % of MHR1-min
9-1030-sec x 285 % of MHR1-min
11-1230-sec x 290% of MHR90-sec
15-minute Rowing Machine HIIT Workout

20-Minute Rowing HIIT Workout for Intermediate

rowing machine hiit workout

Estimated Calories Burned: 200-250

Before starting the HIIT session, remember to warm up your body for 5 to 10 minutes. You’ll be ready to perform the twenty-minute HIIT session once your heartbeat and blood flow increase.

DurationIntensityRestTotal Time
1-min x 360 % of MHR1-min6 minutes
45-sec x 465 % of MHR45-sec6 minutes
30-sec x 270 % of MHR30-sec2 minutes
30-sec x 275 % of MHR30-sec2 minutes
30-sec x 280 % of MHR1-min2 minutes
30-sec x 285 % of MHR1-min2 minutes


  1. You can make changes to this routine according to your fitness level.
  2. It will be difficult in the beginning. You’ll be able to increase intensity and timing as you do it consistently.
  3. Keep your body hydrated during the workout because dehydration causes cramps and makes you feel low.

Advanced 30-Minute Rowing Machine HIIT Workout for Fat Loss

HIIT workout on Rowing Machine

You can challenge your endurance with this 30-minute advanced high-intensity interval rowing workout. This routine includes various rounds of different duration, from 15 seconds to one minute. The shorter the activity time, the higher the intensity, and vice versa.

Estimated Calories Burned: 400-500

DurationIntensityRestTotal Time
1-min x 360 % of MHR1-min6 minutes
45-sec x 465 % of MHR45-sec6 minutes
30-sec x 470 % of MHR30-sec4 minutes
30-sec x 475 % of MHR30-sec4 minutes
30-sec x 480 % of MHR1-min4 minutes
30-sec x 485 % of MHR1-min4 minutes
30-sec x 490-95% of MHR1-min2 minutes

Rowing Machine Workout Plan PDF

Mistakes to Avoid During Rowing Machine HIIT Workout

Sometimes, some mistakes deteriorate the overall performance. That is why it is essential to find errors and then correct them.

Here, we look at common rowing exercise mistakes and how to improve or fix them.

Mistake #1: Keeping core lose

Your core must be tight. Keeping the core tight during machine row is an important technique to improve performance. The right way to maintain a tight core is to brace both your abdominal muscles and the lower back and maintain a good spinal position.

Mistake #2: Rounding the back

You must try to maintain a neutral spine position. You can do this by setting up the machine properly and adjusting the footplate.

Mistake #3: Less or no warm-up

Jumping directly on the machine isn’t always a good idea. Because it can cause unwanted injuries or cramps, make sure to warm up at least five minutes before Rowing. For example, you can do the treadmill run, burpees, jumping jacks, squats, and mountain climbing to warm your body.

How Often Should You Do HIIT Rowing Machine Workout?

You can do it twice a week if you’re a beginner and three times a week if you’re an intermediate. However, you can reduce the frequency if you perform several other HIIT exercises during the week.


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Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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