HYROX Rowing: 7 Nuggets you need for Max Gainz

Image showing a woman using a Rowing Machine to represent the Hyrox Rowing competition workstation

Just heard of HYROX or Seasoned and looking to go to that next level?

Want to sit on the rower and know you can smash 1000m’s quickly without burning out?

The rower was my nemesis for years until I learnt an overreliance on my arms was letting me down.

Join me as I deep dive into HYROX Rowing and what I’ve learnt over 5 years to make it an easier ride

1. What is HYROX Rowing?

HYROX Rowing is the 5th Station in the HYROX Race.

You must row 1000m to complete this station.

You will have completed 5 x 1km runs, 1000m SkiErg, 50m Sled Push, 50m Sled Pull and, 80m Burpee Broad Jumps before you start the 1000m Row.

The race guide layout is;

1km Run,

1000m Ski Erg,

1km Run,

4 x 12.5m Sled Push,

1km Run,

4 x 12.5m Sled Pull,

1km Run,

80m Burpee Broad Jump,

1km Run,

1000m Row,

1km Run,

200m Kettlebells Farmers Carry,

1km Run,

100m Sandbag Lunges,

1km Run,

75-100 Wall Balls

The Official Rowing Machine for HYROX

Official HYROX Concept2 Rowing Machine

  • Dimensions:
  • Length: 244 cm
  • Width: 61 cm
  • Seat Height: 36 cm

2. The HYROX Rowing Rules

• Before starting the exercise, a ref must have reset the display.

• Competitors’ feet must remain off the floor throughout the row.

• Once the necessary distance is reached, competitors should lift an arm to signal a referee for verification.

• Athletes can exit the platform and station only after getting the green light from the referee.

Distance: 1000m

Damper Settings:
Women: 5
Women Pro/Men: 6
Men Pro: 7

The rules for every element of HYROX can be found here

3. Average HYROX Rowing Times

You can use the below times to compare your rowing times in training and competition compared to the average.

During the 2022/23 HYROX Season the average Rowing times for each category were;

Womens Open: 05:38 mins

Womens Pro: 04:59 mins

Mens Open: 04:52 mins

Mens Pro: 04:31 mins

Womens Doubles: 05:05 mins

Mens Doubles: 04:24 mins

Key one eye on the elite athlete finishing times to see how you are progressing overall.

Data Courtesy of https://www.theroxzone.com

4. Rowing Technique for HYROX

Pace Yourself

Keeping a strong steady pace with regular breathing patterns is key to a good HYROX row. Go too slow and you’ll increase your time, and going too hot will cost you later in the race.

Correct Breathing Technique

Exhale during the push-back phase and inhale while moving forward. Maintain a one-count back and two-count forward rhythm. If you’re struggling to breathe, you’re likely rushing the forward movement and not getting enough air in.

Optimal Handle Grip

When you’re pumped and ready to smash through the 1000m row it’s easy to waste energy gripping the handles too hard, I do this all the time!. Make sure you are aware of this and hold the handle just firmly enough to maintain control, avoiding palm chafing and forearm fatigue.

Leg-Driven Movement

Many people are fooled into thinking the power for rowing is generated through your arms. The bulk of the force is generated through your legs. Perfect form rowing should mainly tire your lower body, specifically the quadriceps and glutes.

Horizontal Drive

If you find yourself lifting off the seat or falling onto the rail, you are probably pulling the handle at the wrong angle. Make sure you pull straight back and not at an angle up or down.

Minimise Arm Contribution

Keep your elbows straight while engaging your legs in the push/drive, until your legs are straight. As soon as you bend your elbows, you reduce the power generated through your legs.

Watch the YouTube video below for transition and movement tips;

5. Training Tips for HYROX Rowing

To nail the 1000m row you’ll need a well-rounded training approach. This includes a focus on interval training, endurance workouts, and strength training for main muscle groups. Below is one of my free training plans to get you started;

Interval Training for Power and Speed

Interval training is here to develop both your power and speed, which are the components of effective rowing. This training method involves changing between high-intensity bursts and rest or low-intensity periods.

Workout 1

Perform 500 meters of intense rowing followed by 1-2 minutes of light rowing. Repeat this cycle for 20-30 minutes. This trains the body to recover quickly and build up tolerance for high-intensity bursts, mimicking the varied pacing in a HYROX race.


Endurance workouts help build up the stamina we need to maintain a consistent rowing pace over the 1000m. These workouts are generally longer and at a steady, moderate pace.

Workout 2

Complete a steady row for 30-60 minutes at a moderate and manageable pace. This builds up your aerobic capacity and endurance, which will pay off during the later stages of the HYROX.

Strength Training for your Supporting Muscles

For this section we’ use strength training to target the key muscle groups used in rowing, to build the strength needed. The focus is on exercises that work the legs, core, and back.

Workout 3

For each of these exercises you’ll be doing 4 sets of 10 reps with a 90 sec rest between each set.

Leg Exercises:

Barbell Squats – 4 x 10

Hamstring Curls/Straight Leg Deadlift – 4 x 10

Core Stability:

Russian Twists 4 x 10

Crunches 4 x 10

1 Min Plank

Upper Body Work:

Barbell Bent Over Row 4 x 10

Narrow Grip Seated Row 4 x 10

Deadlift 4 x 10

Creating a Balanced Training Plan

A balanced training plan should incorporate all these elements throughout the week. For instance:

  • Monday: Interval training on the rower.
  • Wednesday: Strength training focusing on legs and core.
  • Friday: Endurance rowing session.
  • Sunday: Upper body strength training with a focus on back muscles.

Consistency in training, along with a focus on technique and recovery, will lead to significant improvements in your HYROX rowing performance.

Gradually increase intensity, duration and/or the weight in each category every other week to keep a steady progress.

6. Common Mistakes in HYROX Rowing

Image of a person rowing with a red cross over the top to signify Common Mistake in the Hyrox Rowing event

Overemphasising Arms 

In rowing, only 20% of your power comes from arms and back, while legs contribute 60% and core 20%. Focus on leg-driven power during the drive phase.

Early Arm Pull

Good rowing needs timing. Let your legs lead the drive, and only engage your arms when your legs are nearly straight to improve your stroke and split time.

Quick Knee Bend in Recovery

Don’t bend your knees too soon during recovery; it costs you rest time and tires you out faster. Keep your legs straight momentarily after the finish.

Slouched Posture

Maintain a straight back and chest for better breathing and posture. Avoid slouching, especially during the catch phase.

Excessive Finish Lean

Don’t over-lean at the finish; it doesn’t add power. Keep your body angle between 11 and 1 o’clock to focus on leg and core strength.

7. Benefits of HYROX Rowing

A scientist working in a lab setting. The image highlights the scientific analysis of the physiological advantages of performing Rowing

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Rowing is an effective exercise for enhancing heart health. When you row, your heart works harder to supply oxygen-rich blood to large muscle groups like the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the latissimus dorsi in your back. This effort strengthens the heart muscle, improving its pumping efficiency and overall cardiovascular function.

Improved Aerobic and Anaerobic Fitness

Rowing engaging both aerobic (long-duration, endurance) and anaerobic (short-duration, high-intensity) fitness. It improves your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently for longer periods and also boosts your capacity for intense bursts of activity by developing muscle strength and power.

Muscle Growth

The repetitive motion of rowing stimulates muscle growth, particularly in fast-twitch muscle fibres, which allow for quick and powerful movements. This process involves breaking down these fibres during the workout, which then rebuild and grow stronger during recovery.

Increased Core Stability

Rowing demands massive engagement of core muscles, including the abs, obliques, and back muscles. This engagement is necessary for maintaining proper posture and alignment during the exercise, enhancing core stability and reducing the risk of injuries.

Hormonal Release and Improved Mood

Rowing stimulates the release of hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These hormones are known for their mood-enhancing effects, reducing the feeling of pain and adding to an improved sense of well-being.

Increased Fat Burning

Rowing increases your metabolic rate not just during the workout but also for several hours afterwards. This is due to a process known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), where your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate after the exercise session.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it. You’re now armed with the training tips and knowledge you need to master this indoor rowing workout.

Be consistent with your training. Pull harder, get that stroke rate higher and you’ll be heading towards the elite division before you know it.

When your goal is to reach the elite level, consider using a coach to tweak, monitor, and harness efficient technique.

If you’re new to HYROX try our 6 Week HYROX Training Plan for Beginners to get you started.

And, if you haven’t already, make sure you have the right gear and trainers to give you that added edge.


How Far Do You Row in HYROX?

In a HYROX event, participants row a distance of 1000 meters.

What Are the 8 HYROX Exercises?

The 8 HYROX exercises are:

  • 1000m SkiErg
  • 50m Sled Push
  • 50m Sled Pull
  • 80m Burpee Broad Jumps
  • 1000m Rowing
  • 200m Kettlebell Farmers Carry
  • 100m Sandbag Lunges
  • 75-100 Wall Balls

What Is the 1000m Row at HYROX?

The 1000m row at HYROX is a key exercise in the event where participants row for a distance of 1000 meters on a rowing machine.

What Is a HYROX Workout?

A HYROX workout is a fitness challenge combining functional exercises and running. It includes exercises like rowing, SkiErg, sled push and pull, burpee broad jumps, kettlebell carries, and sandbag lunges, interspersed with running.

How Fit Do You Need to Be to Do HYROX?

A moderate level of fitness is recommended for HYROX, suitable for a range of abilities from beginners to elite athletes. It involves cardiovascular endurance and strength for effective completion of the exercises.

How Many Times a Week Should You Train for HYROX?

Training for HYROX typically involves 3-5 sessions per week, encompassing cardiovascular, strength training, and specific exercises found in the HYROX event. The exact frequency can vary depending on individual fitness levels and goals.

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