From the Archives: A Great Workout in 30 Minutes | Concept2

From the Archives: A Great Workout in 30 Minutes

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Dec 31, 2013

“30 and Out”

From the Update archives: Spring 1995
By Larry Gluckman, C2 Coach-in-Residence at the time

This training advice seems especially pertinent to the holidays, when time is often at a premium. It’s also interesting to note that Larry was ahead of the times in recommending HIIT (high intensity interval training), which has been shown in a number of recent studies to be a very effective training tool.

Note: This was written back when the indoor race distance was 2500m, so the prescribed paces were given relative to your 2500m pace. We have converted to a 2k base.

There are times when a short workout is better than no workout at all. Here are a few ideas that will give you a warm-up, stretch and cool down plus leave enough time to make the kids their lunch or have a cup of coffee and read the comics before heading out for the day. The common thread amongst all these workouts is a high quality of effort spread out over about 20 minutes of work.


  • Start with a warm-up of 2–3 minutes of incremental rowing (gradually increasing the length of the slide and also the intensity of the pull).
  • Then hop off the indoor rower and spend 2 minutes stretching the lower back, achilles muscles in the back of the legs and making sure the shoulder girdle is loose and ready for some work.
  • Now, get back on the indoor rower and complete 3 ten-stroke segments at increasing strokes per minute (i.e. 24, 28, and finally 32 spm).

This prep period should total about 7 minutes. You are now ready for any of the following workouts.


Pete and Jon catching a quick intense workout in the C2 Workout Room before lunch.

The intensity for the workouts below will be given in terms of 500 meter pace. You can press CHANGE DISPLAY on your Performance Monitor to view the comparable watts or calories. The base line intensity will be your 2000 meter pace. In our examples, we will use a 7:12 2000 meter time, which is a 500 meter pace of 1:48.

  1. 4 x 4 minutes with 1 minute easy paddling in between. All the pieces should fall within 2 seconds of your 2000 meter race pace. Using our example, this would be: 1:50–1:46 for the 500 meter pace range.
  2. 20 minutes, most meters possible. Your pace will be 3–5 seconds slower than race (example: 1:53–1:51).
  3. 5 x 500 meters with 1–2 minutes easy paddling in between. Pace is 2–6 seconds faster than race pace (example: 1:46–1:42).
  4. 20 x 20 seconds with 40 seconds easy paddle in between. Pace is 7–10 seconds faster than race pace (example: 1:41–1:38).
  5. Time pyramid: 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes with an easy minute of paddling between each timed segment. Pace should start at 3 seconds slower than race pace and gradually increase to be 3 seconds faster than race pace by the end (example: range from 1:51–1:45). Hint: set the Performance Monitor for a 20 minute countdown workout. On minutes 20, 17, 13, 8, 4, 1, you will row 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 minute pieces respectively.

Cool Down

The cool down should involve 2 minutes of moderate intensity rowing and 2–3 minutes of stretching and abdominal exercises (sit-ups, crunches or leg raises).

I can smell the coffee brewing.

Happy Rowing & Happy Holidays,
The C2 Crew

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