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Sample Class: Row and Ride

Combine the best of the outdoors and indoors with this “surf and turf” class.

Rowing and riding classes are dynamic workouts with real-life applications to both sports, rowing and cycling. The
introduction of power meters to indoor cycles and various preset programs on rowers have taken these classes to a whole new level. An understanding of the fundamentals of each sport, mixed with a little creativity, is all that is needed for an effective, fun fusion class.

Row and Ride Details

FORMAT: circuit

TOTAL TIME: 60 minutes

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: indoor cycles and rowers

MUSIC: Play various speeds from 128 to 150 beats per minute (warm-up/climbs/
flats/sprints/recovery). Use music in combination with the cycling drills, but not necessarily during the rowing and resistance portions.

SETUP (2–3 minutes): Each participant alternates from a bike to a rower in a predetermined sequence. If possible, set up the room in a semicircle format, with you (the instructor) in the center. Place one rower to the right of each cycle. Prior to class, ensure that all participants’ equipment is set up correctly, according to industry guidelines.

Warm-Up (5–7 minutes)

Start with a standard cycling warm-up. Review the cadence recommendations for cycling (60–110 revolutions per minute, or rpm), and suggest a rowing rate of
approximately 20–30+ strokes per minute (spm). Encourage participants to go at their own pace.

Segment 1 (~15 minutes)

Ride: Power Accelerations (6–7 minutes). With acceleration demands through various power output levels, this drill simulates road races. Riders gain a higher power output by increasing the resistance in each sprint. Do three sprints (15 seconds) in one set, followed by a full recovery between each sprint. Try to improve and increase each sprint by 5%; three sets per segment.


Set 1: Work phase is 45 seconds: 15 seconds d5%; 15 seconds d5%; 15 seconds d5%. Recovery is 90 seconds. Repeat for sets 2 and 3 at higher intensities.

Row: Basic Technique Review (3–4 minutes). This drill focuses on perfecting the rowing stroke. Although this stroke is one fluid movement, practicing individual components develops a higher level of mastery.

  • Row with arms only, 30 seconds (legs are stationary).
  • Row with arms and back only, 30 seconds (add a slight body swing).
  • Row with legs only, 30 seconds (arms extended, upper body leaning forward).
  • Row with legs and back, 30 seconds; keep arms extended (work on proper torso swing forward and back in concert with leg movement).
  • Progress to full-slide row, 60 seconds.

Resistance (2–3 minutes). Remain seated with legs extended. Grasp handle and begin one-arm biceps curls (30 seconds; 12–15 reps); switch arms. Next, perform one-arm triceps extensions in seated position (12–15 reps); switch arms. Exit rower and perform 12–15 squats. Transition back to bike (about 1 minute).

Segment 2 (~15 minutes)

Ride: Breakaways (6–7 minutes). This drill adds power to participants’ pedal strokes. Have the class pedal at a slow cadence with light resistance for about 30 seconds. Cue to increase resistance, lift off the saddle and drive the pedals hard. The breakaway should last no longer than 10 seconds, or approximately 10 pedal strokes.

Summary: Sprint, add resistance, breakaway for 10 seconds, recover for 90–120 seconds. Perform 4–6 breakaways with recovery time.

Row: Partial to Full Slides (3–4 minutes). The focus of this drill is using the slide at one-quarter, one-half, three-quarters and full positions. Although participants will focus on moving in fractions, the upper body and torso will be in full-row position.

  • One-quarter slide: 30 seconds, similar to arm and back drill above. Begin with slide at extended position, but move forward only one-quarter of way up rail.
  • Half slide: 30 seconds. Do same movement, but move seat halfway up rail.
  • Three-quarters slide: 30 seconds. Do similar movement, but move seat farther forward toward catch.
  • Full slide: 30–90 seconds. Progress to rowing full slide at stroke rate of
    approximately 26 spm.

Resistance (2–3 minutes). Remain seated with legs extended. Grasp handle with one arm and do one-arm rows for 30 seconds (12–15 reps); switch arms. Maintain body position and bring arm across body, touching opposite shoulder lightly with handle. Return to start. Switch, and repeat 12–15 reps. Come off rower and, while standing beside it, perform 12–15 alternating lunges. Transition back to bike.

Segment 3 (~15 minutes)

Ride: Pyramid Drill (6–7 minutes). In this drill, the work phase gets longer on a 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1 ratio of work to recovery. The first work phase determines the duration of all subsequent recovery phases. For
example, if the work phase is 15 seconds, the recovery phase is 15 seconds. The next set will be 30 seconds’ work followed by 15 seconds’ recovery, and the last set 45 seconds’ work and 15 seconds’ recovery. Cadence remains the same, but intensity increases with each work set.

The work-to-recovery sets consist of 15-second intervals. Start pedaling at a comfortable speed (about 80–90 rpm) in a gear that mimics a flat road with a slight head wind (a 2–3 on the RPE scale). After 30 seconds, begin the drill. Keep the speed steady, but increase resistance so that the work phase feels challenging. Pedal hard for 15 seconds, and then recover in the flat-road gear. Repeat set 2 with 30 seconds’ work, followed by 15 seconds’ recovery; then 60 seconds’ work, followed by 15 seconds’ recovery. Repeat the set, going back down the pyramid—3:1, 2:1 and then 1:1, equivalent to 15 seconds’ work and 15 seconds’ recovery.

Row: Pyramid Drill (4–5 minutes). The rowing pyramid drill follows the same concepts above, but the strokes per minute will increase each set. Focus on good technique and increase both stroke rate and duration.

  • Set 1: 15 seconds’ work at 26 spm; 15 seconds’ recovery at 22 spm.
  • Set 2: 30 seconds’ work at 28 spm; 15 seconds’ recovery at 22 spm.
  • Set 3: 45 seconds’ work at 30 spm; 15 seconds’ recovery at 22 spm.

Resistance (2–3 minutes). Remain seated with legs extended. Ensure that handle is placed in handle hold. Maintain neutral spine but lean slightly back. Starting with hands in at shoulder height, extend them out to sides and return to start position. Repeat continuously for 15 seconds. Next, reach arms to ceiling, alternating between right and left, extending quickly. Focus on engaging the torso. Transition to alternating forward reaches for 15 seconds. Last, extend one arm to side and one hand overhead. Bring both arms in and out. Repeat on other side. Exit seat and perform 12–15 push-ups off side of monorail.

Cool-Down (5–10 minutes)

Finish with light rowing. Focus on lowering the intensity—full stroke followed by legs and back, legs only, arms and back, and then arms only. Incorporate the equipment into the flexibility sequence, making sure you stretch the hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps, upper back and chest, and calves. Go to www.idea
fit.com for cool-down ideas for this class.


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Krista Popowych

Krista Popowych inspires fitness leaders, trainers and managers around the globe with her motivating sessions. She is the 2014 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and a three-time (2016, 2008, 2003) canfitpro Canadian Fitness Presenter of the YearShe is Keiser’s global director of education, as well as a Balanced Body® master trainer, JumpSport® consultant, DVD creator, published writer, Adidas-sponsored fit pro and IDEA Group Fitness Committee member.

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