How to Increase Your 500m Row

How to Increase Your 500m Row

Looking to improve your 500m row time? Try this intense partner workout to increase leg speed and explosive power out of the catch!


  • Brain patterning to improve efficiency, performance and overall conditioning
  • ROWING: Focus on powerful leg drive out of the catch and maintaining great posture on the hip hinge in the recovery.
  • Rowing is PUSH, HINGE then PULL in both directions. Learn this over and over from today forward.


  • Improved movement capability on the Rower
  • Improved performance because of correct application of power
  • Improved conditioning


Focus here is on hip opening as well as activation and mobilisation through glutes and thoracic (can be done pre-class).

30 secs each, 2 rounds:

  • Rocking Frog (hip opening active stretch)
  • Banded crab walk (glute activation)
  • Broomstick dislocates (thoracic and should mobilisation)
  • Banded pull aparts (scapular retraction and protraction)
  • Banded good mornings (posterior chain activation & hinge patterning)


Today is all about creating an understanding of the movements that are going to maximise results on the Rower.

Rowing is made up of the drive: an explosive push onto the footplate out of the catch (rather than a pull on the handle), a hip hinge to transfer and absorb the power you’ve created, and then a stable scap retraction to guide the handle in to just beneath your ribs.

You DON’T hit yourself with the handle. If you do, it means you’re pulling too hard on the handle, not using your legs enough, and generally making yourself look like an idiot.

Next is the recovery: extend your arms forward (push), lean your torso forward (hinge), and do a hamstring curl to pull (pull) yourself back towards the catch position.

Push, Hinge, Pull; Push, Hinge, Pull.


3-5 rounds, perfect technique, build in weight to a moderate weight that we will use for the workout

  • Pause squat jumps x 5 (pause in squat, weight distributed evenly across foot, explode vertically to full hip extension, catch in squat)
  • Suitcase KB deadlift x 5 (KBs on outside of feet, think rowing catch, focus on hip hinge + posterior activation in the lower to transfer this movement rowing)


In partnership:

Part 1:

Partner 1:

15 KB Suitcase Deadlift, followed immediately by 2mins ROWING

P2: Rest

When partner 1 is done, swap. Complete 3 rounds, EACH. Approx 20 mins total work

Partner 1 KB suitcase deadlifts (moderate to heavy – 2 x 12kg – 2 x 28kg) then ROWS, partner 2 absolutely nothing, then switch.

PACING: The goal is to hit the same metres for every round.

Start out a little conservatively with the goal: move perfectly and achieve the target distance 3 times. If too easy, part 2 of the workout can be more all-out.

Hold your approximate 1000m pace for the 2 minutes row. So if your 1000m time is 3:30, your target pace will be 1:45/500m.

Part 2:

4 rounds:

Partner 1:

15 x explosive squat jumps, followed immediately by 1 min ROWING

Partner 2: Rest

SWITCH. Repeat 4 rounds each.

Partner 1 jumps, then ROWS, partner 2 rests.

Rest here is shorter than Part 1 and intensity higher. Again determine your level and hit the same number 4 times.

Start conservatively. We don’t want you to blow up on this workout!

Pace is an estimate of 500m pace +5 seconds. (i.e. if you 500m is 1:40, you’ll do this at 1:45/500m).

That’s it!

How did you go with this? Let us know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “How to Increase Your 500m Row”

    1. Avatar

      Haha definitely bad! It means you’re applying power late, and with your upper body instead of your legs. Basically you want to push so hard with your legs that there isn’t any tension left in the chain by the time your arms start to bend. They’re there to transfer power from your legs to the flywheel, rather than create it. Try putting the damper down to 1, and really practice pushing hard with your legs 🙂 Thank you for commenting!

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