Best Hydrow Workouts For Health And Weight Loss

Hydrow offers over 4,000 on-demand classes in its library and it’s growing every week. If your primary goal is to lose weight, today I will show you the best Hydrow workouts and help you decide if this rower machine is good for weight loss.

In a nutshell, Hydrow is good for weight loss because it offers several workouts that build strength, cardio, and flexibility. Different duration and intensities of each session workout help to find a workout for every person, regardless of their fitness levels.

Ever since I got the Hydrow rower, I’ve been using it excessively for myself and my clients. As you can imagine, before I wrote this review we went through hundreds of Hydrow workouts to be able to make the recommendations below.

Best Hydrow Workouts For Weight Loss

There are over 25 different Hydrow workout types that include both the rowing and on-the-mat workouts. Rowing workouts include Drive, Sweat, Breathe, Distance, and Journey sessions. Hydrow not rowing workouts include yoga, strength, Pilates, and mobility.

Is the Hydrow good for weight loss? In general, most Hydrow workouts do help you lose weight because they engage over 80% of the muscles, which increases metabolic rate and burn more calories, in a relatively short period of time.

On average, the Hydrow workouts last for 10-20 minutes and you can burn between 150 to 400 calories. The number of calories you burn will depend on the person’s lean muscle mass, workout intensity (strokes per minute), and duration.

According to Fredrick C. Hagerman, Ph.D., a researcher from Ohio, a 6-minute rowing ergometer exercise was estimated to burn 36 kcal per minute (among elite-level rowers), which is one of the highest energy costs so far reported for any predominantly aerobic-type sport.

Of course, average people who use Hydrow aren’t genetically blessed with such outstanding aerobic and anaerobic power.

Nevertheless, some 20-minute Hydrow workouts can get you in shape (similar to high-intensity cycling or running, in terms of energy expenditure).

You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of using the Hydrow app in my review.

#1: Hour of Power Row (60 min)

Hour of Power Row is the longest and most challenging rowing pyramid-style workout that Hydrow has to offer. The goal of this workout is to maintain the same pace and power output (strokes per minute) throughout the session.

Hour of power row is a workout led by Nick Karwoski and the goal is to build up muscle endurance and keep up with the pace of 28 strokes per minute. Rowing over 60 minutes, while maintaining good and strong technique is very effective in burning calories and building up stamina.

You can find this workout by filtering “Athlete” and choosing Nick Karwoski. You can also filter via “duration” and choose 45.

It’s steady state cardio with low intensity

Hydrow Hour of Power Row is good for weight loss becasue it’s steady-state cardio. This workout allows you to maintain the correct 1:2 work-to-recovery ratio while keeping the heart rate around the aerobic threshold.

In other words, this is a good pace where you don’t get out of breathe and you can focus on burning fat over a long period of time while maintaining a correct form.

If you like long-distance rowing, choosing the class that has 24-28 strokes per minute is ideal becasue it allows you to spread the energy throughout the workout. In the long-distance rows, you don’t want the intensity to go up and down.

I also like the music that Nick uses as most of the tunes sync well with the beat. It almost feels like you are rowing to the music, which makes the workout more enjoyable.

TIP: If your goal is fat loss, I recommend using a heart rate monitor to ensure you’re hitting the right workout intensity.

#2: HIIT Row

HIIT row is all about short bursts of intensity where you go all out for 30-90 seconds, followed by recovery time. This exercise session ranges from 10 to 45 minutes and is led by multiple athletes. What I love about HIIT Row is it doesn’t get boring, compared to steady-state rows.

HIIT Row workout is a session that utilizes high-intensity interval training. It’s the combination of strength and VO2 max where your goal is to reach 28-36 strokes per minute.

Each class is different, however, some of the most common workout plans include “sections” that last for 5-10 minutes, depending on the class duration.

It’s good for aerobic and anaerobic fitness

HIIT Row is good for weight loss because it challenges different energy systems (anaerobic and aerobic). It not only works on strength but also endurance becasue it utilizes both fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers, spiking up the heart rate, and increasing the calorie burn.

Currently, there are over 480 HIIT Row workouts available. My favorite is 30 min Tahoe Turbo Row with Nick Karwoski.

  • This workout has a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio.
  • Nick pushes you to reach 36 strokes per minute (no joke).
  • For peeps who wear a heart rate monitor, this is about your heart rate zone 5.

As much as HIIT Row is effective for fat loss, you should not do this type of workout every day.

According to Peter Attia, M.D., a Canadian-American physician, you should be doing a HIIT-style type of workout no more than 1-2 per week. Rest of the week you should spend on steady-state zone 2.

#3: Climb Row

Climb Row is another good option for weight loss. This session progressively builds the intensity by gradually increasing the pace over the duration of the workout.

In general, climb row is a workout that starts from a low rhythm number and slowly increases the tempo of your strokes. By increasing the strokes per minute you also increase the workout output and metabolic rate.

The most challenging rowing workout

The climb row workouts are effective for fat loss becasue it creates progressive overload within the workout where you keep the same drag but you add more speed. This elevates your heart rate and increases the EPOC (excess post-oxygen consumption), which increases the afterburn effect.

  • Climb Rows are one of the best workouts on Hydrow for beginners who are looking for high-intensity, but are not fully ready for doing Tabata-style sprints.
  • Here, you gradually build up the pace up to 24 strokes per minute, so your body does not gets beaten up too much afterward.

One bummer with Climb rides is that you cannot filter them so easily. The fastest way to find Climb Row workouts on Hydrow is by filtering “Breathe” and then scrolling down.

My favorite Climb Row workout so far is with Mike Dostal and Dani Hansen.

#4: All In One Row

All In One Row is one of the most challenging sessions I’ve seen on the Hydrow so far. The workout is led by Mike Dostal, a former member of the Great Britain National Rowing Team.

All In One Row is the 60-minute interval training rowing session led by the winner at the British National Championships. The class includes a 10-minute warm-up and a 45-minute main workout where you do interval sprints just below the anaerobic threshold.

During the intervals, Mike sets up the tempo at 32 strokes per minute, which is achievable for short 20 min rows. However, it gets very challenging if you want to do it for 45-minutes.

It targets strength and endurance

This workout is good for weight loss because it uses both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers, which build your endurance and strength.

This workout also gets you out of breath, challenges your aerobic fitness, and elevates your calorie burn. However, I would not recommend this workout for beginners becasue of the long duration.

#5: Bodyweight Strength

Bodyweight Strength is one of the Hydrow on the mat workouts. Currently, there are over 150 strength sessions available. Workouts range from 5 to 30 minutes and include several bodyweight exercises that target your upper body, lower body, and core muscles.

That being said, each class is different. The exercises include variations of push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, and core stability.

On the one hand, this class is it doesn’t require any equipment so you can take it even outdoors. On the other hand, the workouts can get tedious because the is only so much you can do with your own body weight.

It helps to stay active on the mat

In general, Hydrow bodyweight strength workouts are effective because they are designed to supplement rowing sessions by working on all major muscle groups including chest, back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core.

  • As much as rowing is a viable way to build muscle endurance, I recommend you add at least 2-3 bodyweight training sessions to your workout plan.
  • This way you can increase your lean muscle mass and maintain a high metabolic rate.

Most of the strength workouts on Hydrow are done by Peter Donohoe, an Irish Olympic bobsledder from 1998 and 2002. Peter always goes the extra mile and provides many tips about training, breathing, technique, and motivation.

How long is the average Hydrow workout?

One of the reasons why Hydrow prioritizes shorter workouts is becasue 20 min is enough for beginners to elicit metabolic adaptations while reducing the risk of lower back pain. Low back pain is common in rowers due to repetitive motion on lumbar flexion.

In spite of these concerns, Ka-Young Shin MD, a researcher from Hallym University Medical Center, didn’t observe any musculoskeletal complications in people who were rowing for 6 weeks, 5 days a week, 20 minutes at a time.

According to Dr. Shin

“Exercise intensity control for appropriate exercise level and awareness of adverse effect on musculoskeletal system of rowing exercise would be helpful to prevent injury.”

Shin KY, 2015

This means that 10-20 minutes of Hydrow workouts not only help to build aerobic fitness but also put less stress on the lumbar spine.

Another reason is the time efficacy.

Several studies have shown that moderate-intensity workouts lasting 10-20 min deliver comparable results in regards to improving body composition, compared to steady-state 30–60 min workouts.


As you can see, Hydrow has a variety of workouts that are effective for weight loss. If your main goal is to improve body composition, I recommend doing 3-4 steady-state rows followed by 1-2 HIIT rows.

I also recommend adding 1-2 strength training sessions. That can be done as a bodyweight strength session from the Hydrow app, or a gym workout with weights.

Hydrow rowing machines are a great way to get a full-body workout in just 20 minutes. However, for optimal fat loss, you also need a fair amount of strength training, together with a calorie deficit.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc) and a veteran endurance athlete. He loves to experiment and share his successes and failures to help busy men and women who want to lose weight.

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