Cross Training: How to use a rowing machine for cross-training

Shelby Fanning

Do you want to find a new cross training workout for your exercise routine? Are you looking for a complementary workout that is low impact and fun? 

To meet your cross-training needs, indoor rowing can get the job done. In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know to get a fantastic workout. 

Why is cross training important?

Cross-training as an exercise protocol dates back to the 1940s. Sport trainers in Europe found that providing their athletes with some sort of adjacent activity – such as jogging or cycling for their weightlifters, for example – not only improved the athletes’ body awareness but also gave them a much-needed mental break. Cross-training was a way to stay active without burning out on the tiny details of one particular sport.

Cross training was also introduced as a way to reduce the risk of injury. When regularly participating in high impact workout activities or sports with explosive movements, there is increased risk of hurting yourself. 

Even if you’re in the best shape of your life, overuse injuries surface as a result of doing the same movements too often. A 2013 study of 1,000 gym-goers found that 56% of them had sustained an exercise injury at some point. And a summary from Yale Medicine states that over 50% of recreational runners are injured each year, mostly from overuse and muscle imbalance.

What helps to prevent these injuries? Cross training, of course! As the name implies, cross training targets different muscle groups than what you normally hit in your workout regime. These efforts help to correct imbalances in the body that can later lead to injury.

What to look for in a cross training workout

There are a few things you’ll want to look for in a cross training workout to get the most bang for your buck. Here are a few points to consider.

Low impact 

One of the primary intentions of cross-training is to prevent muscle strain and overuse. To appropriately give your joints a rest without going on a total vacation, look for a cross-training option that is low impact. Rowing, yoga, pilates, and resistance band training are all great options, and these workouts can be as intense or relaxed as you want to meet your exercise needs.

Option for variety 

You want your cross-training efforts to be fun and exciting. Look for an exercise option that can provide variety to your usual workout routine. Does this option allow for different intensities or workouts of different lengths? Or is it the same thing every time? Variety will keep you interested.

Fun and community

It’s okay to have fun while you workout! Your cross-training efforts don’t have to be done alone - look for an offline or online community that encourages you to participate and brings the fun.

Rowing checks many of the boxes above, and it’s not just a terrific solution for cross-training exercise – it’s a terrific solution for exercise period. That’s because rowing uses the majority of muscles in the body, and is minute-by-minute one of the best workouts you can do. Rowing is also a low impact workout, meaning that your joints will experience little to no strain regardless of how much you want to participate.

How Hydrow gives you cross training options and variety

We created Hydrow to deliver not only a great rowing experience, but also a terrific community, inspiring Athletes who teach live classes every week, and a robust library of workouts that provide variety. Here’s a little more about how our offerings can meet all your cross-training needs.

A library of over 2,000 workouts

With hundreds of Athlete-led rowing workouts to choose from, you’ll never run out of new workouts to try. Rowing is so efficient you can get an effective full-body workout in a fraction of the time, and class lengths range from 10 minutes for when you’re crunched for time to 45 minutes for those looking to build their endurance.

Here are a few examples of recent programming: - 20-minute Sweat workout: 3-minute warmup, two 6-minute “pyramids” with one-minute rest in between, 3-minute pyramid to finish. - 20-minute Drive workout: 3-minute warmup, three 4-minute pieces (Minute 1: 15 seconds on, 45 seconds easy; Minute 2 30/30, Minute 3 45/15, Minute 4 high effort for the full minute), 1-minute rest in between, 2-minute finisher - 30-minute Breathe workout: 3-minute warmup, four rounds of 6-minute steady sustained effort, one-minute rest in between.

Weekly Live Rows on the water

Hydrow is the first workout to feature Live Outdoor Reality™ (LOR) technology, in which you can experience the splendour of the outdoors and the aesthetics of rowing on the water from the comfort of your own home. You can join our Athletes live and keep up with the live schedule on the Hydrow mobile app so you always know when upcoming live workouts will take place.

On The Mat workouts

Want an off day from rowing? We’ve got you covered. In addition to hundreds of indoor rowing workouts to choose from, Hydrow also offers a full collection of workouts that take place off the rower. This programming, known as our On The Mat workouts, offers a mix of yoga, pilates, mobility and strength classes to give you everything you need.

- Christie recently taught a 15-minute Pilates class focused on obliques. - Peter recently taught a 10-minute “Hips Don’t Lie” hip mobility class. - Owen recently taught a 20-minute Beginner Power Yoga class. 

With Hydrow, rowing doesn’t have to just be your cross-training workout - it can become your entire workout routine.

Community, accountability, and fun

We live in an incredible time, a time in which we can use technology to connect with other people from all over the world who share our passions. We’re better together, and at Hydrow our goal is to encourage a sense of community and team. Hydrow hosts training camps throughout the year, and the Million Metre Club has various milestone achievements to always give you something to work toward.

Cross training is important to keep your body healthy and strong. But it doesn’t have to be a drag. And with a solution like Hydrow, you can get a balanced, full-body workout that will keep you motivated for months and years to come.