Rowing as cross training

Anybody other closet rowers onthis forum?

I recently purchased a used rowing erg in the post-pandemic after market…and I was surprised to find out how pleasant and engaging rowing can be.

But the best thing is that rowing seems to somehow undo a lot of the overuse/flexibility issues that my running and cycling build up. Whenever I run after a while I get chronic ‘high hamstring’ muscle pain in one leg. No amount of stretching or mobility work seems to fix it but rowing made the issue go away completely in about three workouts.

A little rowing has been a great x-training diversion from the usual swim/bike/run routine since I switched my focus to triathlon competition.


:+1: I don’t have the space, otherwise I’d buy a used Concept rower. Kettlebell work resolved my body issues from biking.


I’ve been rowing a bit this fall. Maybe an hour or two a week. I’ve also found it useful to fix some flexibility and muscle imbalance issues. And posture. I mostly started because I didn’t know what to do with myself during the kids swimming lessons and there’s a concept2 next to the pool for some reason. So now I watch the kids, row, and listen to some CME for work all at the same time. Very efficient. :sweat_smile:

I’ve only really been doing “steady state” efforts (rowing equivalent to z2 apparently), as I don’t want it to interfere with riding or lifting (often lift later those days). I’m not sure if I’ll continue outside of base season - I’d rather spend that extra time outside once that’s an option.

I can’t say I’ve noticed it to be useful cross training for cycling itself though, but again I’m not doing that much.

The other interesting thing about rowing is that, at least as a novice looking into this world, they do much less volume than we do in cycling. “High volume” training seems to top out at 6-10h a week, and additional aerobic volume is done on the bike instead. I think because rowing is not as low impact as cycling - rib stress fractures seem to be pretty common when people try and do high volume rowing.

Yep. Bought a concept 2 in 2021 just for some cross training. I like replacing some of my runs for rowing when the weather is cruddy. I also will use it for a warmup before strength training.

I just finished concept2’s holiday challenge of 100km over 30 days. Didnt want to do as much as the 200km but 100km was doable and I could still do my cycling stuff. And I do like that it’s more full body workout than cycling gets some more movement in my back and shoulders.

Longest session I’ve done is maybe 40 minutes. I do have to be careful for longer harder sessions as my lower back will get irritated a bit. I’ve worked on technique a fair amount.

I likely won’t do much during spring and summer but it’s a nice change in the cooler months.

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Longer discussion on topic:

I did ~1 year somewhat lot of rowing (got into Concept2 1M club) before getting into cycling. Really liked it, felt very meditative. Planning to get back to it for indoor season (50:50 between cycling)


I started rowing this spring. Primarily for strengthening my shoulders after 2 crashes. One crash broke my collarbone, the other my shoulder blade. Which also had a big effect on the position of the “good” collarbone which has been indefinitely repositioned. Also my tissue and ligaments where quite weak after the shoulder blade crash.

But after a session of 5 I already saw great improvements in the strength of my shoulders as well as the ligaments. It’s was also a nice mental switch after all those years cycling indoors in the off season.

Another bonus is the full body workout, core strength and it’s improving bone health. Which apparently I could use quite a bit…

With 2x 30 minute row session and 2 cycling session a week I can pretty much maintain my ftp. But hopefully I lay a good foundation to work on in the spring and summer period

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Huge fan of rowing. On my interval days prepping for CX season, Id finish with 15-20 mins of the workout of the day from concept2. Id finish those days appropriately spent!


I’ve done this a couple times. Interval session then the c2 wod right after. It’s just a nice way to mix it up.

I got a pre-loved Concept 2 a few months ago after I was diagnosed with a chronic shoulder injury.

It’s done wonders for upper body and abs. I use it for my aerobic sessions (Wednesdays and Fridays) on the high volume plan, together with a treadmill.

I either do a 1hr run or a 1hr rowing session (I really had to build up to that), or a 30min/30min split.

It also gives my bum a break - no more bruising… I’m not sure if I’d be a stronger cyclist if I ONLY cycled, but the overall fitness benefits from cross training are evident.

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I love my Concept 2 rower…much easier on my knees than running is (used to be :wink:)

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I’ve had my concept2 for a couple years and I think it’s great. Even though cycling is my main hobby I still like doing some rowing and running just to keep good general fitness. I will replace running with rowing on bad weather days. And add some rowing after strength training sessions.