TSS from rowing?

Anyone know how to come up with an at least semi-accurate TSS score from using a rowing machine? It’s got power data so I’m guessing there is a way. I use a rowing app to track my workouts, but it does not output TSS.

I ride way more then I row, but I strength train 3x a week and always do a 4000-8000 meter row with intervals to warm up. Just curious if there is a way to semi-accurately track the TSS for that workout.

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My bike ride today (endurance) was a TSS of 120 for a two hour ride that burned 1400 KJ (Cal). That is 120/1400 = .085 TSS per KJ. Your C2 rowing machine (or another brand) should provide a KJ measure for your workout. Multiple your TSS/KJ from the bike times your KJ on the rower. Close enough for me.

You could probably make an educated guess as to your threshold, or do a threshold test, then stick it in the formula. Just google tss formula, I know there are several but they’re all based on Andrew Coggan’s “training with power.”

I stuck 4,000 meters in 16 minutes at an upper aerobic heart rate in training peaks and got 16tss. Feels a bit low, but maybe a starting point.

I did 3k at 11:21, but wasn’t recording power that session so I’ll have to try it again I guess. It was pretty much all out so maybe a good indication of threshold.

You can track TSS from rowing the same way as cycling. Plug in your power at FTP, and apps like trainingpeaks will automatically calculate your FTP for you.

If you don’t know your FTP, obviously you can test it in the same way that you would for a bike. Alternatively, you can do something like row at a pace that keeps your HR just under 180-age (or your top of Z2 HR estimate) for a few workouts of reasonable distance. Just use HR TSS for a TSS estimate during these workouts. Then use the average power from those workouts as your 75% FTP (i.e. top of zone 2 power) estimate. There’s a thread on this forum where someone describes how they use this approach for cycling as well.

The other thing to note is that you waste watts pushing your body up and down the slide on a rowing machine. This may or may not make much of a difference in determining your zones / TSS. If you weigh a lot, have a long slide and/or row at a very high stroke rating it can be a 30-50 watt difference between what’s displayed and what you’re actually outputting. Of course you also wasted those watts when determining your FTP, so it’s probably reasonably close to a wash.

Concept have a pace to watts calculator - https://www.concept2.co.uk/indoor-rowers/training/calculators/watts calculator

So 3k in 11:21 is a pace of 1:53.5 per 500m which translates to 239.4W.

My N=1 is that in terms of estimating FTP there is a bigger drop off from 20 to 60 minutes than there is in cycling. But maybe that’s because when I was rowing all of our races were shorter than 20 minutes so we simply never trained to go hard for longer than that (lots of long steady state stuff though, with hindsight it was a pretty polarised approach).

Old thread, but thought I’d add for those searching later. If you use the Concept2 ErgData app connected to the rowing computer (also on C2 equipment), the .FIT file when imported into Strava or TrainingPeaks will calculate out the TSS automatically. Screenshot provided to give a visual reference as to how it comes in.

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Wow, 29 TSS for 52 minutes on a rower seems low. Maybe that’s just because I’ve never developed any rowing technique.

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That particular workout was actually 8, 1000m intervals with 2min of rest between…and only at a pace of 2:13/500m for the intervals. So, only 8,000m of actual “work” with coasting in between. Don’t let the duration fool ya!

Hi there,

Here is a way that I find gives a passable ballpark number.

After completing a row, export the data file (e.g. .csv or .fit) from the rowing machine to your computer. Next, upload the file to rowsandall.com from which you can synch the data to Training Peaks. In Training Peaks, go to the rowing workout and click on the Analysis button where you can get all the data to calculate the TSS.

As you may be aware, Training Peaks defines TSS as follows:
TSS = (sec x NP® x IF®)/(FTP x 3600) x 100, where
“sec” is duration of the workout in seconds,
“NP” is Normalized Power®,
“IF” is Intensity Factor® (a percentage of your FTP; in other words how intense the effort was),
“FTP” is Functional Threshold Power (your best average power for a one-hour race or test),
and “3600” is the number of seconds in an hour.

Example for 2,000m row
Duration: 7:51 or 471 seconds
NP: 210W
IF: 0.84
FTP: 250 W (note: cycling FTP)

TSS = (471 x 210 x 0.84)/250 x 3600) x 100
TSS = 9.2

Note: In the above example, Training Peaks uses bike FTP. From what I gather, an athlete’s rowing FTP is typically 15% to 20% lower than cycling FTP. Assuming in this example that the athlete’s rowing FTP is 200 W (i.e. 20% lower than cycling FTP), we get a higher TSS value.

TSS = (471 x 210 x 1.05)/200 x 3600) x 100
TSS = 14.4

There is a substantial difference depending on which FTP is used. The rowing TSS is 37.5% higher (i.e. 14.4 vs. 9.2) due to a larger IF and smaller FP.

I am not sure why Training Peaks defaulted to using a bike FTP instead of rowing FTP to calculate TSS for a row. Logically, a rowing FTP produce a more applicable TSS value (apples to apples). I’ll check with Training Peaks if there is some way that the software can select the appropriate FTP value depending on the activity or ask them to build in that functionality if they don’t yet have that. Anyway, I hope you find this useful. Cheers.

you can add zones for rowing:

Much appreciated!

Based on my erging history that range is about right.

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how are you guys exporting the data file? Are you using the concept2 logbook app? Just be aware, if you have a gym concept2, often their firmware is not up-to-date and you can get bad or useless data.

More importantly though, what are you planning to do with the TSS? If you’re planning to use it to guide structured training for rowing, then by all means, take a threshold test and start tracking.

But if you are just trying to track ballpark estimates of how active you’re being while cross-training in the off season, you might do just as well with just guesstimating based on RPE. Because for me anyway, the two exercises are really not comparable (so even using TSS as an effort to normalize doesn’t really get me apples to apples). Like, I am waaaayy more tired after rowing for an hour at a moderate pace than cycling for an hour, and i find that subjectively i can improve and stay in shape with way less overall volume.

if you want a benchmark do a 5k test and see where you get to. This distance should give you somewhere near a 18-20min steady state flat out effort. From it you can then use either the .fit file off of C2Erg or the wattage calculator from C2’s website to figure out what you threshold is.

Agreed. For me, rowing for an hour at 120 HR burns about 950 KJ. Cycling for an hour at 120 HR burns about 725 KJ. Quite a bit more tiring rowing.