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How Often Should I Be Doing HIIT?

I’m 6’2 315 lbs, due to some joint issues ive turned to the row machine for my conditioning and fat loss needs. I’m doing a HIIT type workout that goes as follows. 200 meters, under 40 seconds. 1 min rest. 5 sets of this. I’m increasing by one set every 2 weeks. I’m on week 3, just did my first 6th set workout yesterday. The last two weeks ive been doing that once a week. Should I be doing this more than once a week? I was thinking every other day but is that too much? Or would that be ok as long as I’m fueling correctly? Or should I just shut the fuck up cause I’m over thinking it?

Are you doing any strength training to accompany this? How low are you running your calories? Are you losing fat currently?

I struggle to adhere to this all the time, but unless you are on a deadline you want to do as much as you need to progress, and not more than that. Then when progress stalls you make small changes (such as increase how often you do conditioning) so that you can get the most out of the least and continue to coax progress.

1st off rowing is one of the (if not is the) best cardio available. It will get you fit and so long as you’re eating correctly, will help you lose weight.

One workout a week is not great. I’d assume all other things being equal and you’re not doing any other training, you could do 3 days a week. That works out to be days 1,3,5.

Start by progressing to 2 times a week. So row on days 1 and 4. Then add a third.

When you jump to three times a week, it is going to be a shock. Try adding a recovery row in mid week.
Something easy, and less anaerobic. Just until your body gets used to it. Although 2x anaerobic 1x aerobic is a good balance for longer term also.
If you stick with it you can row and do hiit 4-5 times a week. Although it does become very taxing. So again I’ve always thrown a less intense work out to aid recovery.
4x 500m is a good one. Measure the slowest time and try and improve every month.

If you want to change up your programme the concept two rowing web site has a load of info. It used to have pre written programmes for most goals.
Check it out.

If your rowing is part of a wider programme, much maybe all of the above does not apply btw. Weights and hiit are both very demanding so need programming smartly.

Good luck.

Yes, im doing your regular bro split, Chest, tris,…shoulders back, legs, biceps. I’ve been doing row machine once a week after chest and tri day. Wed. I run sprints after shoulders and back. Thursday I walk for an hour and Fridays I take a 30 min walk after legs. ill walk again for an hour either Saturday or sunday. The sprints I’ve been doing is usually just 10 40yards sprints with the walk back as my rest. The couple of times ive done it, they’ve kind of made my knees achey so that’s why id rather start doing the row machine more often. I am eating at a calorie deficit, I’m using my fitness pal and its set up with 1.0 lbs a week which has me at about 2600 calories a day. I’m taking in about 200g of protein a day and about 225 carbs. My goal is fat and weight loss bc the lighter I become, the better my knees feel, the more running I can do, the more weight I lose ect ect. I haven’t weighed myself or measured myself but I have a pair of shorts that I put on every sunday to measure my progress.

I agree, this is my first time every really using the row machine but I’ve fallen in love with it. Feels like I’m straight up full blown wind sprints when I’m finished. Since my knees been bothering me I haven’t been able to really open up on a sprint but I feel like I can with a row machine with no paint on my joints. I’ll look into that website, Ive been doing different row workouts that I’ve seen here on T nation but the 5x200m has been my favorite thus far. I timed my 2000m the first time I rowed just to get a time and it was at 8:01. I’m kinda using that as a staple to improve on. I plan on testing my time at the end of each month. Gives me something to work towards.

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500m in 80 secs is elite level. But your height and weight certainly help you here. I would follow @carlbm advice. 2 HIIT us plenty enough for starters. The rower is the best calories wise but the hardest cardio. So might be nice to toss in some elliptical or what for easier sessions.

And I wouldn’t run for now you’re too heavy

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Ive used the tower to great success before.

I used this as a preseason plan once. It worked pretty well.

Day 1
Tabata. 20 on 10 off. If you do not know tabata its hell on earth. With added pain.
The secret here is to know when to stop. If your out put drops to low on the 20 second sprint - you’re burning out for no gain. The way to do this is measure your 30 second sprint distance and use half of this as a cut off. Ie if you can sprint 220m in 30 second your min 20 sprint should be 110m. Perhaps not as ridged as this if you’re at set 7 and you get 105m. But like wise if its set 3 and you only get to 102m call it quits.

Work out 2 was 4x500m. With a full 2min rest. The slowest of which was recorded. This means you have to pace yourself. My best was 1.40 somewhere.

Then work out 3 was how many times could I row distance at a given pace in half an hour. Which again is about fatigue management. Of course change the distance to suit your fitness levels. But you want between 45 and 60 seconds worth of effort. And then 1.30 off.

This gave me a great mix of hard core hiit, solid aerobic and then the half way between.

“Get fit to run, don’t run to get fit”


Some rowing workouts I like:

Ladder: 1 minute rest between sets

  • Row 100m
  • Row 200m
  • Row 300m
  • Row 400m
  • Row 500m
  • Going back down is optional


  • Row 60-120m (something that takes <10s)
  • Continue EMOM until 5% reduction in pace
  • That’s 1 one set. You can do up to 3 sets in a single workout, separating sets by 5-7 minutes

The classic

  • Continuous 2k row

500m repeats

  • 3-5 x 500m, resting 1-2min between sets

The scuba diver: not necessarily better for fat loss, but great for aerobic conditioning

  • Set for a 10-15min row at an easy-moderate but consistent pace
  • Every minute on the minute, hold your breath as long as possible. Exhale all your air before the breath hold so you do it on empty lungs
  • You may get a bit dizzy, but this is completely safe (just uncomfortable)

EMOM ladder:

  • Minute 1: 25m
  • Minute 2: 50m
  • Minute 3: 75m
  • Minute 4: 100m
  • etc.
  • Continue until you can’t make pace. You can also go up by whatever sized interval you wish

The Litvi-row:

  • I don’t know why, but going from kettlebell swings to the tower always felt great for me. I like doing:
  • 10 KB swing
  • 500m row
  • 20 KB Swings
  • 400m row
  • 30 KB swings
  • 300m row
  • 40 KB swings
  • 200m row
  • 50 KB swings
  • 100m row

Finally, you can just superset short (<60s) pieces on the tower with your lifting work

Given you’re tremendously overweight, you should focus on walking. You’ll burn more calories than the HIIT workout since you’re in a calorie deficit and probably deconditioned, on top of doing resistance exercise already.

What galactic said. Get used to walking, walking, walking. It is so underrated, and so beneficial. Good for circulation, for getting lymphatic fluid moving, for blood sugar,etc. You will burn so many calories, and clear up your mind, without the lactic acid buildup. Not on a treadmill, but outside. Your conditioning will improve with daily regular walking. Good luck, and all the best.