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Rower "Sprints"

When you do rower sprints (like 500m - 1000m), what stroke rate and drag do you use? Is it based on personal preference or additional factors?

Edit: for general conditioning, not specifically training as a rower or rowing machine savant

I believe @mortdk had some insights into this when we had this discussion a while back.

My personal thoughts would be that it’s a sprint so you turn the resistance up to max and go at it hard. Rest and repeat as needed.

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If it’s for conditioning, max resistance and balls to the wall. If you’re trying to achieve a certain time, then you’d worry about that stuff.


For conditioning try to put the drag at around 75%.

The higher the drag the longer the distance pr stroke.

Stroke is probably a personal thing. I like going for around 26 - 30 strokes pr minute, I’m looking more at the time pr 500 m.

Keep a steady pace throughout, the first minute is easy and from here on it gets pretty hard, if you start out to fast you’ll pay by the end.
It’s about trial and error.
Some likes to use a high cadence with light drag others the other way around.

I personally likes to go at a higher cadence.

Using 100% drag could put you in an oxygen debt pretty quick which in return would slow you down by the end.
However using higher or lower drag is a good way to work on putting a lot of output on every stroke (higher drag) or using a higher cadence (lower drag).

Hope it makes sense and prepare to be exhausted

Thanks all for your input. I’m wanting to add some conditioning (aka actually do the conditioning that’s supposed to be there) and have been contemplating my indoor options for the winter.


This made me smile.

I should use my rower today.

I was using one for a good while and hitting 22-24 strokes per minute and generating anywhere between 90ish to 120 watts consistently.

That would put me at just less than 1000 yards per 5 min.