TRAINING DAY: An indoor rowing plan to get fitter and faster

TRAINING DAY: An indoor rowing plan to get fitter and faster

Daragh McCarthy Daragh McCarthy
14 minute read

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Welcome to the ‘TRAINING DAY’ Indoor Rowing Plan

Are you looking for a fun and challenging way to improve your fitness and overall health? Look no further than the 'TRAINING DAY' indoor rowing plan by Johan Quie, now available in the ASENSEI app. This program offers a range of workouts designed to challenge and inspire rowers of all abilities with an emphasis on perfecting technique, building endurance, and pushing limits with high-intensity interval training, 'TRAINING DAY' is the perfect way to take your rowing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or just starting, join Coach Johan and discover the power of indoor rowing for yourself. If you would like to get involved in the ASENSEI community of indoor rowers, we have a link to a FREE TRIAL to the app if you scroll to the end of this article. 

In this article, you will...

  • Uncover the ideal full-body workout in indoor rowing, a low-impact path to increased fitness and strength
  • Explore nine engaging rowing workouts designed to boost your speed and overall fitness
  • Gain insights into training smarter, not harder, with a blend of HIIT and endurance-based routines

The Expertise Behind 'TRAINING DAY': Johan Quie

If you use the ASENSEI rowing app, you might already know Coach Johan Quie from San Francisco. He's been coaching on the app for a while and has become known for his lively style and workouts that really focus on getting the rowing technique right. He started rowing in college at the University of Minnesota and was a key player in their team. After college, Johan took his rowing skills around the world. He also taught a lot of people how to row at places called RowClub and Tribe Fitness in San Francisco.

With the ‘TRAINING DAY’ program, Johan shares all his know-how with you. He'll guide you through workouts that are both fun and tough. Having Johan as your coach means you're learning from one of the best. He'll help you row in a smart way so you can get the most out of your workouts.

Both Johan and we at ASENSEI believe that getting the technique right is super important. While many people love the competitive side of rowing, Johan knows that not everyone rows to race. Some people row to get fit, build strength, or just feel better mentally. If you're one of those people, Johan creates workouts that mix rowing with other exercises. These workouts can vary in pace and intensity, and he even throws in some challenges to keep things interesting.

Curious about Johan's own story? You can read our chat with him here.

Indoor Rowing: More Than Just a Workout

Full-body workout advantage

The benefits of an indoor rowing plan range from reduced injury risk to the varied types of workouts you can complete. The rowing ergometer (erg) is ideal for completing both high-intensity cardio workouts and lower-rate fat-burning workouts.  You can complete a full resistance-based aerobic workout, building and working the muscles in your legs, abs, and arms. Although rowing mainly strengthens the legs through the push motion in the drive, your abs, back, and arms also get used. The core benefits from the control and stability required for correct technique, and the arms get their minor workout too.  The core and back strength required to stay upright helps strengthen the often-neglected lower back and improve posture.  

High Intensity/Low Impact

With the rowing machine, you can work to your max without the impact on your knees and joints.  If you have bad knees, are suffering from the early stages of arthritis, or previously had an injury in your leg, the rowing machine is the best option for you.  Building the muscle around your legs and knees is important for preventing injuries and further issues, rowing is ideal for this as it focuses on the entire leg, particularly the quads and glutes.

Less Pain/More Gain

Rowing uses concentric contractions, causing muscles to shorten and generate force while building & strengthening the muscle.  Weightlifting uses eccentric contractions which causes the muscles to lengthen under an opposing force, this can be painful and result in the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), especially for beginners.  Rowing reaps the same benefits without as much post-workout pain, meaning you can work out more consistently for longer.

To find out more about the benefits of indoor rowing, check out our article **Why choose Indoor Rowing: All Pros, No Cons!**

Why Choose the 'TRAINING DAY' indoor rowing plan on the ASENSEI app

Uniqueness of Johan Quie's approach

Johan Quie's coaching approach is truly one-of-a-kind. Within the 'TRAINING DAY' indoor rowing plan, he seamlessly integrates technical precision into each rowing session. What sets his approach apart is his deep understanding of each individual's journey. Johan tailors his guidance to cater to a diverse range of rowers, regardless of their experience levels. By emphasizing technique, endurance, and attainable milestones, Johan creates a coaching style that's inclusive and effective. His expertise provides both beginners and experienced rowers with a pathway to realizing their full potential in rowing.

Structured, progression-based programs with real-time feedback

We frequently hear from coaches here that athletes find it hard to push themselves hard enough without feedback during a workout. To overcome this challenge, the ASENSEI app sets challenging but achievable targets for you, based on your performance. ASENSEI will motivate you to keep on target if you’re not pushing hard enough during the workout.

You can access the 'TRAINING DAY' plan in the ASENSEI app today

Personalized targets to meet individual goals

How hard should I be rowing? The pace you row at will vary based upon many factors; your fitness, physiology, age, technique, and the time or distance you aim to row are all factors. And while a world record split for the classic 2000m distance is an incredible 1:35 for women and 1:24 for men, most of us will be considerably slower so the key is to find out what works for you.

The ASENSEI app can help as it will set appropriate, personalized, split time targets and track the split times for every segment of your workout. It calculates what you can and should be aiming for based on past performances and potential.

Diving into the data, we looked into the performance of ASENSEI rowers throughout the (RE)COMMIT indoor rowing plan and found that 85% managed to beat their personalized 2000m time.

Looking to find out how long you should train on a rowing machine? Check out our article on this topic here.

Inside 'TRAINING DAY' – A Closer Look

The Warmup: Laying the Foundation

Proper warmup is a crucial step before any intense physical activity, especially in rowing. It gradually increases the heart rate and circulation, which prepares the body for increased physical demand. In rowing, where synchronization and proper technique are vital, a warmup helps in refining movement patterns. This ensures not only optimum performance but also reduces the risk of injuries. In the TRAINING DAY program, emphasis on an adequate warmup ensures that participants are physically and mentally prepared for the workout ahead, optimizing both safety and effectiveness.

Before diving into any intense rowing session, Coach Johan emphasizes the importance of a thorough warm-up. Each workout commences with a pick drill, which starts with arms-only rowing. As you progress, he methodically integrates the body swing, slide, and eventually the legs into the movement. This warm-up doesn't just ready your body; it mentally prepares you for the challenges ahead, ensuring you maintain the correct rowing technique throughout.

Watch this 3-minute video to learn how to do a pick drill for your warmup

Why Technique Matters

Mastering rowing technique can be a challenging journey but is essential for anyone serious about the sport. With proper technique, rowers can ensure they're harnessing the full potential of each stroke, maximizing their workout's benefits, and minimizing the risk of injury. Maintaining a strong, neutral spine is crucial in rowing. It ensures that power is transferred efficiently from the legs through the back and to the arms. Any misalignment, like a rounded back, can lead to energy loss and potential injury. The core muscles play a pivotal role, stabilizing the spine and assisting in the transfer of power.

Throughout the TRAINING DAY program, Coach Johan takes a deep dive into the nuances of rowing technique:

  • By adopting smart and efficient rowing mechanics, you'll optimize your power output while mitigating the potential for injury.
  • With his expert guidance, you'll learn how to maintain a level chain, keep your shoulders relaxed and low, and execute swift catches.
  • Engaging your core and propelling force through your heels become the driving forces behind each stroke.
  • Coach Johan's insights extend beyond technique; they're about establishing the foundational principles that pave the way for successful rowing.
  • As you progress through the program, you'll find yourself guided by his expertise, ensuring you navigate every stroke with precision and confidence, while avoiding common mistakes that can hinder progress.

The Power of Endurance Training

The long-term benefits of endurance-based rowing

When it comes to endurance-based rowing, the advantages go beyond the immediate. This style of training, highlighted in the 'TRAINING DAY' program, offers lasting benefits that reach far beyond the workout session. Engaging in these workouts consistently leads to a stronger cardiovascular system, better lung capacity, and increased stamina. Under Coach Johan Quie's guidance, each session contributes to building enduring fitness. These workouts also build both physical strength and mental resilience, extending their benefits to everyday life challenges.

How 'TRAINING DAY' leverages endurance for maximum gains

'TRAINING DAY' takes a thoughtful approach to making the most of endurance training. Coach Johan Quie's expertly crafted program shows how endurance can be harnessed for optimal results. By combining deliberate technique with the power of endurance, each rowing stroke becomes a step towards comprehensive progress. This approach not only builds physical resilience but also nurtures the mental resolve needed to overcome obstacles. In 'TRAINING DAY,' endurance isn't just another aspect; it's a valuable tool that drives participants closer to their fitness goals while nurturing a mindset ready for continuous growth.

The Benefits of Short but Intense HIIT Workouts

The science behind high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in rowing

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in rowing operates on a simple yet effective principle. It involves alternating between short bursts of intense effort and periods of active recovery. This method prompts the body to work at maximum capacity during the high-intensity phases, which has been shown to boost cardiovascular fitness, increase calorie burn, and enhance overall endurance. HIIT also triggers the body's 'afterburn' effect, where it continues burning calories even after the workout. These brief yet powerful sessions, as a part of rowing training, help improve both aerobic and anaerobic capacities, making it an efficient and impactful way to elevate your rowing performance.

How 'TRAINING DAY' incorporates this for quick and lasting results

“What's remarkable about these is that they are a perfect example of the power of express workouts. You don't always need to exercise for long hours to see results. By focusing on intensity and challenging ourselves, we can achieve incredible gains in just 24 to 35 minutes. Indoor rowing provides a full-body workout, engaging muscles from head to toe, and elevating our heart rate for an effective cardio session.

Coach Johan Quie in TRAINING DAY indoor rowing plan

Spotlight on 'TRAINING DAY' Workouts

1. Stamina Builder: ENDURANCE PYRAMID (42 mins)

Pace yourself as stroke rates ebb and flow from 22spm to 28spm and back. Under Johan's guidance, you'll perfect your catch, power through the legs, and maintain consistent rhythms.

  • 5min warmup
  • 1x30min with no rest broken into:
    • 5min @22spm
    • 4min @24spm
    • 3min @26spm
    • 4min @28spm
    • 3min @26spm
    • 4min @24spm
    • 5min @22spm (with power 10s in final 2min)
  • Cooldown

2. Varying Paces: THE DIP (40 mins)

This reverse pyramid introduces diverse stroke rates, emphasizing the recovery phase and handle acceleration for optimal form.

  • 14min warmup with pause drill
  • 5 sets with 1min rest:
    • 3min @28spm
    • 4min @26spm
    • 5min @24spm
    • 4min @26spm
    • 3min @28spm
  • Cooldown

3. Endurance Challenge: DOSEY DOE (33 mins)

Four sets of 5-minute intervals will push your stamina as you aim for a 28spm stroke rate. Consistency and an elevated heart rate are the names of the game.

  • 5min warmup
  • 4x5min with 1min rest, each piece contains:
    • 2min @22spm
    • 2min @24spm
    • 1min @28spm
  • Cooldown with pause drill

4. Technique Focus: DIPSY (27 mins)

Navigate a stroke rate pyramid, varying from 24spm to a challenging 30spm. Consistency and technique are paramount here. 10 body weight squats are included between each piece to fire the glutes.

  • 6min warmup
  • 7 sets with 1min rest:
    • 4min @24spm
    • 3min @26spm
    • 2min @28spm
    • 1min @30spm
    • 2min @28spm
    • 3min @26spm
    • 4min @24spm
  • Cooldown

5. Intensity Burst: GOAT (27 mins)

20 high-intensity sets of alternating 30-second bursts and rests. Johan's tips optimize your form at varying stroke rates.

  • 5min warmup
  • 20x30sec with 30sec rest, stroke rate loops between:
    • 26spm
    • 28spm
    • 30spm
    • 28spm
    • 26spm
    • 28spm
    • ...
  • Cooldown

6. Speed Trials: RAPID FIRE (27 mins)

This session alternates stroke rates every 30 seconds, mixing speed with technique to push your boundaries.

  • 6min warmup with pick drill
  • 4x2min30sec with 1 min rest, each set consists of:
    • 30sec @28spm
    • 30sec @26spm
    • 30sec @24spm
    • 30sec @26spm
    • 30sec @28spm
  • 2min technique section featuring pause drill between 2nd and 3rd sets
  • Cooldown

7. Race Prep: SPRINT TRAINING (26 mins)

Emulate race conditions with varied intervals, punctuated by sprints and recovery rows. Get race-ready with Johan's expert advice.

  • 6min warmup
  • 6x3min30sec with 30sec rest, each set consists of:
    • 3min @22/24spm
    • 30sec @30/32spm
  • Cooldown with one arm rowing drill

8. Kickstart: ADVANCED WARMUP (21 mins)

Start strong with a mix of steady-state rowing, technical drills, and power exercises. Ideal as a standalone or as a primer for other workouts. Johan stresses fluidity and efficiency—key for both novices and veterans.

  • 20min of rowing
  • Cooldown

9. Push the Limits: STEP TEST (29 mins)

Tackle four sets of 5-minute intervals with escalating stroke rates. Johan's guidance ensures you maintain form and intensity throughout.

  • 3min warmup
  • 4x5min with 1min rest:
    • 5min @22spm
    • 5min @24spm
    • 5min @26spm
    • 5min @28spm
  • Cooldown

The Pain Cave: Harnessing Inner Resilience

In the final push, Johan challenges you to confront fatigue, discovering mental grit as your body demands respite. It's in this "pain cave" where true growth happens.


Ready to take your fitness to the next level? The 'TRAINING DAY' program is here to help you do just that. With expert guidance from Coach Johan Quie, you'll experience rowing in a whole new way. Whether you're focusing on technique, building endurance, or pushing your limits with intense workouts, 'TRAINING DAY' has something for everyone. Don't miss out on this opportunity to try it for yourself. Download the ASENSEI app, start your free trial, and discover the exciting world of 'TRAINING DAY' indoor rowing. Your fitness journey is about to reach new heights!

Download and try asensei for free

Rowing is better in the ASENSEI app. You will have all the key stats displayed on screen during your session, you will have ASENSEI set you personalized goals, you won't need to program the machine or take note of your results, ASENSEI does it all. The app also features a curated selection of livestream workouts, with personalised goal setting and tracking in the (RE)LIVE program.

ASENSEI is FREE to download and with no commitment you can trial the first 3 workouts in the (RE)COMMIT program and also workouts from MASTER THE BASICS, (RE)FOCUS, SWEAT FACTORY and BE A DARK HORSE.

All you need is an iPhone and access to an asensei Compatible rowing machine from Concept 2, WaterRower or FluidRower with a Bluetooth capable monitor

download asensei from the appstore

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