Rowing is perhaps the best exercise for the entire body, 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 an excellent fitness barometer for novice rowers.
What is the meaning of a row of 2,000 meters?
“If you’re not familiar with rowing or meters, it might seem like an arbitrary distance,” says CITYROW founding instructor Annie Mulgrew. “But 2,000 meters is enough time to assess a person’s cardiovascular or aerobic fitness levels, and also their anaerobic fitness levels. It’s really an anaerobic threshold workout,” adds Laura Simon, assistant rowing team coach. Yale Women’s, which means it will get you to your maximum heart rate and peak physical performance.
“It’s also a real test of lung capacity,” says Mulgrew. “It requires someone to not only be in cardiovascular shape, so that they can breathe and maintain a high-intensity heartbeat, but also be able to push the lactic acid that will start to build up throughout the body.” Lactic acid buildup, Simon explains, is what causes muscle soreness and the accompanying emotional discomfort.
Plus, Mulgrew adds, because 86 percent of the muscles in your body have to activate and coordinate together with each stroke, it’s also taxing on the muscular system. “All of core muscle strength is activated in the sport of 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 leverage, but actually it is not used to generate power. It’s the rest of the core muscles of the body that are used to generate power: the core, the hips, the legs, the quads, all those big muscles are the ones that really generate speed in the boat.”
In fact, rowing is as much a power sport as it is a speed sport, says Mulgrew. “You have to focus on exerting a powerful leg drive,” she says. “You can think of it like the deadlift: If you’ve ever deadlifted, you know how taxing it can be on your body, and rowing is essentially like a seated deadlift. Instead of adding weight to a bar, you have to produce that effort, that push towards the platform to do the work of the blow, which is called impulse”.
In other words, a row of 2,000 meters is one of the better Ways to assess your physical condition.
What is a good rowing rhythm?
What makes the 2000 meter row particularly challenging is that there isn’t a lot of pace involved. “It’s considered a sprint distance, so you need to come out of the gate at 70 percent intensity and then be able to stay at 80 percent until the final sprint or final 500, at which point you want to ramp up until like it. 90 or 100 percent,” says Mulgrew. “That’s a physical and mental challenge for people.”
For the average consumer (those of us who don’t compete on actual crew teams), sticking to a two-minute split for men and a 2.5-minute split for women is great, says Caley Crawford, NASM-certified personal trainer. and director of education for Row House.
An average rowing split time also depends on distance. The split time will be different for a 500 meter row and a 2000 meter row. For this reason, Crawford says consistency is a better measure, which means staying consistent with your split time, regardless of length and time.
What are the benefits of a rowing workout?
All of that is to say that a 2000 meter row is pretty much one of the most difficult and effective workouts you can do; however, it is also non-weight bearing and low impact, meaning it is a good option for those looking to put less stress on their skeleton and joints. “We rehab so many people with knee problems,” says Mulgrew. “It’s also great for pregnant women through all three trimesters because they’re sitting up. It strengthens your legs, hips and abs, but doesn’t strain your body from having to stand on your ankles.”
Rowing workouts also build full-body strength and help improve posture, core strength and mobility, says Crawford. And it’s a great alternative to running, if you’re torn between rowing and running.
What is a good finish time for a 2,000 meter row?
How quickly you should be able to complete a 2,000-meter rowing workout depends on your size (height and weight), but Mulgrew gives rowers benchmarks to work against. As a general rule of thumb, he wants to complete each split, or 500 meters, in about two minutes.
“If you were to maintain a consistent two-minute split time for 2,000 meters, it would take you about eight minutes to row,” says Mulgrew. “That’s pretty challenging because while eight minutes might not seem like a lot of time when you think about holding yourself accountable for an endurance effort, it’s a lot more taxing on the body because 85 percent of your muscles are activated. So I would let’s say that eight to ten minutes would be pretty solid, and for men it might be closer to seven to nine minutes.
A “good” finishing time will be different for everyone, depending on age, gender, and experience. Among beginners, the average completion time for a 35-year-old man is about eight minutes; the average completion time for a 35-year-old woman is about 10 minutes. More advanced rowers should expect to finish in under seven minutes and under eight minutes, respectively.
How to absolutely crush a 2000 meter row
Interested in challenging yourself to a 2,000 meter row? Get training tips from the pros below.
Focus on pace and endurance
One of the biggest mistakes Simon sees novice athletes make is going out too fast and then getting slower and slower down the line when, as Mulgrew also pointed out, you should actually be progressing in the opposite direction.
If you’re trying to get faster in your splits or the 2,000 meters as a whole, Simon recommends doing 80 percent of your work in your steady-state zone, where your heart rate is between 145 and 160. “The more in The way you’re on 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 embarking on a 2,000-meter rowing workout. “The worst thing you can do is sit back and just arbitrarily row for those eight to 10 minutes,” she says. “Not only will it take longer, but you’ll also feel horrible mentally and physically.”
If you go in with a game plan, on the other hand, knowing what your split times are/should be, then you’ll be better engaged mentally. “To be physically efficient you have to have focus and the ability to get your brain and body to work together so that when the body gets tired, the brain can override it and say, ‘No, we have to move on.'” ‘” Mulgrew says.
Simon notices that everyone hits this wall in a row for 2000 meters, 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 navigate through it,” she says. “And once you get to the other side, you’re home free, so to speak.”
Practice proper technique
The most egregious mistake Mulgrew sees novice rowers make is not working on technique before attempting a 2,000-meter row. “Good technique means your stroke is efficient,” she says. “If your stroke isn’t efficient, then your split times will reflect that: you’ll have consistently slower split times because the body isn’t moving efficiently.”
Practice makes perfect, but watch this video to get a better idea of proper form:
Put the hard work and perseverance
As you may have guessed, a 2000-meter row isn’t really “straight off the couch” training, Simon says, but feats you have to work on over time. “You wouldn’t have someone who’s never run before go out and run a half marathon without any information; they should have trained,” Mulgrew agrees “You really have to know what your split times should be at the 500, 1000, 1500 and then 2000 meter mark, and a lot of that comes from having ridden before.”
The appeal of paddling, he says, is that it looks easy when it’s the opposite. “It’s a beautiful, flowing movement, but if you’ve never done it before, you’ll quickly realize that to make it look effortless, you’re actually putting in a lot of effort,” says Mulgrew.
She advises people to train, practice, and use the first time they attempt a 2,000-meter row as inspiration for future work. “It’s not a one-time challenge,” she says. “Maybe do it every quarter or something just to check in and see how you’re doing. Remember that any time you’re doing a challenge like this, it’s just to see what the body can do, and there should be Crazy Body Respect.” even trying this.”
The key to improvement, as with all things, is consistency. To achieve this, Crawford recommends regular rowing workouts. And what is considered a “good rowing workout” will differ depending on the person, the goals and the training of the person. “You can get a lot out of an anaerobic interval workout where you’re not rowing a ton of meters, but the intensity consists of short bursts of high effort,” she says. “You can also opt for more aerobic/resistance training and gain more meters with a more sustainable effort. In our Row House classes, which range from recovery to HIIT and endurance, our members typically earn between 3,000 and 10,000 [meters] in a 45-minute class.”
Invest in a rowing machine
If you really want to improve your rowing skills, you may want to invest in your own rowing machine for home use. If so, Crawford recommends the Concept2 Model D rower ($900), which is the machine Olympic-level athletes use to train, but it works for people of all fitness levels. “It’s very easy to maintain and will last a long time,” she says. “Concept2 help support is also fantastic. We outfitted all of our studios with them and they’ve been amazing.”
For a gamified experience on an absolutely gorgeous rowing machine, you’ll want to check out Ergatta ($2,199), which lets you race against other rowers. And if you’re looking for a cheaper option, there are some great rowing machines for under $500. Don’t have a lot of space at home? Get yourself a folding rowing machine.
make it fun
Lastly, Crawford says rowing requires a lot of self-motivation. And one way to encourage yourself to row is to make it as fun and enjoyable as possible. Crawford suggests checking out live and on-demand virtual rowing classes through Xponential Plus or Row House. If you own the aforementioned Concept2, Crawford suggests checking out the Concept2 Logbook online community, which hosts challenges that keep everyone engaged and motivated.
For in-person motivation, Crawford suggests attending a rowing-based gym. 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 use your rowing machine to get in a good workout, like single-leg Bulgarian split squats and lateral lunges.