Ass Kicking 250-Meter Rowing Workouts


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The rowing machine (aka rowing ergometer or “erg”) is an awesome piece of cardio equipment, and the 250-meter interval is a perfect distance for high-intensity interval training.

Why 250-meters?

Isn’t it too short?  Absolutely… not.  Performed for one rep, yes, it’s too short to get any significant benefit. Spread across 8+ rounds, the training effect is just right.

Repeated effort interval training works extremely well when rowing distances shorter than 500-meters.

It will take most people 40-50 seconds to row 250 meters.  45-50 seconds of high-intensity effort is a long time to be working at end range intensity. 

Smart interval training workouts can and should make you tired, but progressively.   

Interval based training is a great method to reinforce active rest period management.  You exert, then you calm yourself down as quickly as possible before the next round of exertion.  This method has great carryover to real world activities.

The 250-meter distance is overshadowed by other benchmark distances, notably the 500m, 1000m and the distance all nightmares of made of, 2000m.

The 250-meter is a perfect distance to row on its own, or as part of a circuit.  Adding exercises to the row increases the amount of work performed, which increases the training effect.

If you choose to row 250 meters without adding on other exercises (which is perfectly fine),  I recommend pulling at your maximum watt and stroke rate threshold.  I don’t see a reason not too, as the distance is short enough to sprint.  

Especially if you’re resting in between each effort, might as well leave it all on the rower.

Rowing is another zero-impact activity with high reward. Very similar to the airbike.  An excessive amount of impact can wreak havoc on a person’s joints over time.  Being able to induce such a potent training effect while sparing the joints is a major benefit of rowing.

Blazing the meters demands a total body effort, making rowing an ideal piece of cardio equipment for fat loss.  

The ideal situation for fat loss: a lot of muscles exerting together with limited rest and oxygen debt.  

Discipline with diet is the best method.

For those with internally rotated shoulders and an overworked chest excessive pressing, rowing can serve as a counter-balance since each stroke has an emphasis on upper body pulling.

Enough chit-chat.  The purpose of this article is to share three different 250m row workouts, traditional and non-traditional.  

Here they are… 

Row Workout #1: 250-meter interval

250-meter repeats 

  • Complete 8-12 rounds
  • Rest for 1:1 (work to rest) or a flat 60 seconds before starting the next interval

Using the 1:1 work to rest ratio, a 45-second effort gets you 45 seconds of rest.  Adjust the rest periods as needed.  Fatigue will creep up quickly as you progress through the rounds.

This workout can be a brilliant cardio finisher to a resistance training workout.

It may be best to row on days where pulling or grip heavy exercises are NOT part of the program to allow the hands and back a chance to rest.  

A 10 round workout will take about 15 minutes.

Workout #2:  Bodyweight Exercise + 250-meter Row 

15 Push Ups

15 Bodyweight Squats or 6 R/L Alternating Assisted Pistol Squats

250-meter row

  • Repeat for 8-10 rounds
  • Rest 60 seconds (advanced) or 75 seconds 

Here I am working this circuit… 

Integrating bodyweight exercises with rowing is a great way to mix up the session.  Remember, more muscles stimulated and more work being done equates to a higher training effect.  Remember, more muscles working equals a larger training effect. 

Depending on fitness level, the reps for push-ups and squats can be down.

If 15 push-ups are too easy, add weight in the form of a weight vest, sandbag or weight plate.  If you don’t have access to equipment, use single arm push-ups.  Switch bodyweight squats in favor of weighted

If 15 squats is a piece of cake, load up the squats with weight (sandbag, barbell, kettlebell or dumbells) or use a more advanced bodyweight progression like pistol squats.

Workout #3:  250-meters + diminishing rest periods

Interval #1:  Row 250-meters, rest 60 seconds

Interval #2:  Row 250-meters, rest 55 seconds

Interval #3:  Row 250-meters, rest 50 seconds

Interval #4:  Row 250-meters, rest 45 seconds

Interval #5:  Row 250-meters, rest 40 seconds

  • Repeat workout for 2 full rounds (10 total intervals)

A rower is a great investment.  Basic upkeep could make a rowing machine last a lifetime, no different than a car really.  There are many 15-20-year-old rowers still getting frequent use. you’ve been on the fence about the purchase due to cost, I encourage you to take the plunge.  They are worth every penny.

Amazon Prime members, the Concept2 Model D with PM5 (performance monitor 5) is $945 with free 2-day shipping.  


If you have any questions about the Concept2 Model D w/ PM5, message me privately and I can share my experience as a rowing machine owner.

Most importantly, give these workouts a shot and let me know what you think…



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