Rowing Machine: Rowing for Weight Loss, Part 1


Part 1 of our brand new weight loss series! This series is going to cover the basics of human movement: coordination, agility, and balance. So, let’s get you started with a few basic tools such as a few different types of balls. Lacrosse balls, mobility balls, etc.

Step 1 is balance. Can you balance on one foot for 1 minute? Can you alternate evenly? Do you struggle on one side more than the other? If so, grab a prop (pvc pipe, door frame, broom). Your feet are the foundation of your body. Also, we suggest doing this barefoot.

IF you can balance on one foot successfully, can you do so and throw a ball back and forth? Can you bounce the ball while you’re balancing? Can you switch feet? This is the beginning of mind body connection. Coordination + agility. Once you get comfortable with your balance, add in a challenging surface.

If your feet can’t articulate underneath you to help you balance and walk, then there’s no point moving on to heavy weights or cardio. It all starts with your foundation.

Step 2, add in a gentle push and pull of the arms. Maybe it’s a stair railing or a bed frame, a dresser, any elevated surface. Establish a good plank and move your chest to the surface, controlled reps for 8-10 reps, 3-5 sets. Make sure your elbow stay near to the body. Fully extend the elbow, fully extend your body down to the surface.

Next, move to a pull. Get creative. Use a TRX, rings, whatever you want. Elevate your hips and move your chest to the surface. Or perform a “ring row” type movement. The angle should be easy enough — the higher the easier.

Step 3, when it comes to using the rowing machine for weight loss, start with the basics. Don’t deviate from good movement. As you improve on this journey, you’ll be able to get deeper into the catch. You can still lose weight rowing at half-slide. Only row for 1-3 minutes at a time.

For greater detail, coaching cues, and points of performance, train with us at

Dark Horse Rowing is built for indoor rowers and gyms who want to use the rowing machine as a tool for their training, workouts, weight loss, and recovering from injury.

You’ll get workouts, coaching, and support all around the Concept 2 rowing machine. This is THE place to get great workouts and understand the rowing machine.

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  1. Excellent as always and great attention to safety and natural progression! Well thought out and planned. I look forward to the future parts of this weight loss program.

  2. Going on a 3 week vacation to the US, where I'll most probably overindulge on food, and won't exercise at all.
    And when I come back to my rower, I'll need this guide more than ever 🙂

  3. Long time viewer, first time commenting–and with a question. I use two things for fitness: the concept 2 and rock climbing. I row either 30 min or 1hr near every day, and I climb twice a week. I set the pace boat at 2:07 whether it's the shorter or longer piece, but I don't do drills or anything other than those two pieces. I usually rake in like a 2:04/5, and thanks to rowing in college + these videos have pretty good form (tho I do tend to lift my heels! I was the short bow seat and gotta reach man! >D). Am I wasting my time and/or just not being smart about rowing? As in, I really don't do any other kind of workout. Just rowing and climbing. But I did drop 40# in the last year largely thanks to your vids!

  4. This is the best and most useful information for a beginner like myself. For one who has a large stomach and cannot easily bend my ankles, this was very helpful Plus I now know how long to row for. Brilliant and thank you.

  5. Purchased a Concept2 Model D, just waiting for it in the mail and thought I'd see if there were any beginner guides since this will be my first rowing machine. Excited to find a fresh series that seems to be ongoing, so I'll definitely be digging into these videos to get the most out of my machine, thanks!

  6. I'm going to post before and after pictures of my transformation, I've got 42lbs to move for July this year, I want to be beach body ready!

  7. I've lost 45 lbs between diet changes and exercise including rowing on my concept 2 and weight training. Diet is key though to weight loss. High protein and low carbs/sugar is what worked for me. I went from 35% body fat to 13% in 5 months. Pant size went from 40 to 32 waist. I'm the same weight that I was in college 35 years ago. Feels great! You videos really helped and motivated me

  8. Heavybag HIIT 30 minutes daily and I just incorporated my Concept 2 doing HIIT 500m sets of 4 so far. Before the heavybag training I found the rowing killed my shoulders, but after 6 months of heavybag training, my shoulders are fine with rowing.

  9. I have mobility issues, and swim for losing weight. I have just lost 100 pounds, and want to add rowing into my workouts. I am not in the best of shape, so want to start slowly. I noticed you said 1-3 minutes at a time to start with. How many times a day would you recommend I do the 1-3 minutes? I do have slight heart issues, so want to start slow and build up. And yes, my Dr's know I am working out 🙂 I thank you for any tips you can give me. I am planning on ordering my rower soon.

  10. I practice balance daily by toweling off after showering. I practice towel drying one leg by balancing on the opposite leg. It incorporates balance and coordination in a practical way. I’ve gotten much better over time.


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