Rowing is probably the best full-body workout out there, and that’s not hyperbole—rowing engages 86 percent of your muscles. And the 2,000-meter row is the gold standard test for rowing athletes as the official distance used in rowing championships. It’s also a great fitness barometer for new rowers.
What is the significance of the 2,000 meter row?
“If you’re not familiar with rowing or meters, it can seem like an arbitrary distance,” says Cityro founding coach Annie Mulgrew. “But 2,000 meters is just enough to test someone’s cardiovascular, or aerobic, fitness level and their anaerobic fitness level. It’s actually an anaerobic threshold workout, adds Laura Simon, assistant coach for Yale’s women’s rowing team, meaning it pushes you to your maximum heart rate and will lead to your maximum physical output.
“It’s also a true test of one’s lung capacity,” says Mulgrew. “It requires that someone not only be in cardiovascular shape, so that they can breathe and maintain a high-intensity heart rate, but that they’re able to push through the lactic acid that’s going to build up throughout the body.” Lactic acid build-up, Simon explains, causes muscle soreness and accompanying mental discomfort.
Also, Mulgrew adds, because 86 percent of your body’s muscles must activate and coordinate together with each stroke, it’s also demanding on the musculoskeletal system. “All Your core strength muscles are activated in rowing,” says Simon. “There’s often a misconception that it’s just the arms, but the arms are the least used part, they’re used as levers, but they’re not actually used to generate power. It’s the rest of the core muscles in the body that are used to generate power—the core, the hips, the legs, the quads, all these big muscles that actually create motion in the boat.”
In fact, rowing is as much a sport of strength as it is a sport of speed, Mulgrew said. “You have to focus on driving with a strong leg,” she says. “You can think of it like deadlifting—if you’ve ever deadlifted, you know how taxing the body is, and rowing is basically like a seated deadlift. Instead of adding weight to the barbell, you build up the effort you have to do. , which pushes on the platform to perform the work of the stroke, called the drive.”
In other words, a 2,000-meter row is one of the best Ways to test your fitness.
What is a good rowing speed?
What makes the 2,000-meter row particularly challenging is that it doesn’t involve much speed. “It’s considered a sprint distance, so you have to come out of the gate at 70 percent intensity and then be able to hold yourself to 80 percent until the final sprint or the final 500, where you want to be 90 or 100 percent,” Mulgrew says. “It’s physically and mentally challenging for people.”
For the average consumer (those of us who don’t compete on actual crew teams), maintaining two-minute splits for men and 2.5-minute splits for women is great, says NASM-certified personal trainer and director Kelly Crawford. Education for the Row House.
An average rowing split time also depends on distance. Split times will be different for the 500-meter row and the 2,000-meter row. For this reason, Crawford says consistency is a good measure, meaning being consistent with your splits regardless of length and time.
What are the benefits of a rowing workout?
All of that is to say that a 2,000-meter row is roughly one of the most difficult and effective workouts you can engage in; However, it is non-weight bearing and low impact, which means it is a good option for those who want to put less stress on their skeleton and joints. “We rehabilitate a lot of people with bad knees,” says Mulgrew. “It’s also great for three-trimester pregnant women because they’re sitting. They’re strengthening their legs and their hips and their stomach, but they’re not stressing their body by standing on their heels.”
Rowing workouts build whole-body strength and help improve posture, core strength and mobility, Crawford says. And it’s a great alternative to running, if you’re debating between rowing vs. running.
What is a good finish time for a 2,000-meter row?
How fast you’ll be able to complete a 2,000-meter rowing workout depends on your size (height and weight), but Mulgrew provides benchmarks for rowers to work against. As a general rule, you want to complete each split—or 500 meters—in about two minutes.
“If you’re going to consistently hold two-minute splits for 2,000 meters, you’re going to need about eight minutes to row it,” says Mulgrew. “It’s quite challenging because eight minutes may not seem like much when you think about holding yourself accountable for endurance effort, it’s very taxing on the body because 85 percent of your muscles are active. So I’d say anywhere from eight to 10 minutes. Between will be pretty tight, and for men it could be closer to seven to nine minutes.”
A “good” finish time will be different for everyone, depending on age, gender and experience Among beginners, the average finish time for a 35-year-old male is about eight minutes; The average expiration time for a 35-year-old woman is about 10 minutes. More advanced rowers should expect to finish under seven minutes and eight minutes respectively.
How to absolutely crush a 2,000-meter row
Interested in challenging yourself to a 2,000-meter row? Get training tips from the pros below.
Focus on speed and endurance
One of the biggest Simon mistakes that novice athletes make is going out really fast and then slowing down throughout the row when – as Mulgrew also points out – it should actually be moving in the opposite direction.
If you’re trying to get faster in your splits or your 2,000-meter overall, Simon recommends doing 80 percent of your work in your steady-state zone, where your heart rate is between 145 and 160. “The fitter you get at your base, the better you’ll be able to maintain your fitness in the third and fourth 500s,” she says.
And Mulgrew recommends knowing what your split times are before you complete a 2,000-meter rowing workout. “The worst thing you can do is sit down and row indiscriminately for those eight to 10 minutes,” she says. “Not only is it going to take you longer, but it’s also going to feel awful mentally and physically.”
If you go with a game plan, on the other hand—knowing what your split times should be—you’ll be better mentally engaged. “To be physically efficient you have to have focus and the ability to make your brain and body work together so that when the body gets tired, the brain can override that and be like, ‘No, we have to keep going. ,'” Mulgrew says.
Simon notes that everyone hits this wall in the 2,000-meter row, but at different points. “As you become a more experienced athlete, you know exactly when you’re going to hit the wall and you know how to handle yourself through it,” she says. “And once you get to the other side of it, you’re home free, so to speak.”
Practice proper technique
Not working on technique before Mulgrew attempts a 2,000-meter row is the most fatal error novice rowers see. “Good technique means your strokes are efficient,” she says. “If your stroke isn’t efficient, your split times will reflect that—you’ll have consistently slower split times because the body isn’t moving in an efficient way.”
Practice makes perfect, but watch this video to get a better idea of proper form:
Keep working hard and persevere
As you might have guessed, a 2,000-meter row isn’t really a “straight-off-the-couch” workout, says Simon, but rather something you’ll have to work on over time. “You don’t have someone who’s never run before and run a half marathon with no information—they’re going to need training,” Mulgrew said. Agreed “You really need to know where your split times need to be at the 500-, 1,000-, 1,500-, and then the 2,000-meter mark, and a lot of that comes from riding before.”
Rowing’s appeal, he said, is when it looks simple it’s anything but. “It’s this beautiful, flowing movement, but if you’ve never done it before, you realize very quickly that to make it look effortless, you’re actually working really hard at it,” says Mulgrew.
He advises people to train, practice and try the 2,000-meter row for the first time as inspiration towards future work. “It’s not a challenge,” she says “Maybe do it every quarter or something just to check in and see how you’re doing. Remind yourself that whenever you’re doing a challenge like this, it’s really just about seeing what the body can do — and being there to be crazy about the body. Tried even this respect.”
The key to improvement, as with everything, is consistency. To achieve this, Crawford recommends regular rowing workouts. And what is considered a “good rowing workout” will differ depending on the individual, their goals, and the workout. “You can get a lot out of an anaerobic interval workout where you’re not rowing a ton of meters but the intensity is short bursts of vigorous effort,” she says. “You can go for more endurance/aerobic training and get more meters at a more sustained effort. In our classes at Row House, which range from recovery to HIIT to endurance, our members typically get anywhere from 3,000-10,000. [meters] In a 45-minute class.”
Invest in a rowing machine
If you’re really serious about improving your rowing skills, you’ll probably be interested in investing in your own rowing machine for home use. If so, Crawford recommends the Concept2 Model D Rower ($900), which is a machine that Olympic-level athletes use to train, but works for people of all fitness levels. “It’s so easy to maintain and will last so long,” she says. “Concept2 support is also great. We’ve outfitted all our studios with them and they’ve been amazing.”
For a gamified experience on an absolutely beautiful rowing machine, you’ll want to check out the Ergatta ($2,199), which lets you compete with other rowers. And if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, there are some great rowing machines under $500. Don’t have a lot of space at home? Get yourself a foldable rowing machine.
Make it fun
Finally, Crawford says rowing requires a lot of self-motivation. And one way to get you pumped for rowing is to make it as fun and enjoyable as possible. Crawford recommends checking out on-demand and live virtual rowing classes through Exponential Plus or Row House. If you own the aforementioned Concept2, Crawford recommends checking out the Concept2 Logbook online community, which hosts challenges that keep everyone engaged and motivated.
For personal motivation, Crawford suggests joining a rowing-based fitness studio. Bonus points if they play upbeat music and mix it with resistance training. And, if you get tired or bored of rowing and want to shake things up, there are other ways to get a good workout using your rowing machine, such as single-leg Bulgarian split squats and lateral lunges.