Manage the Rower

Rowing – it can be difficult to manage when it’s part of a workout. It’s also challenging to improve a max effort time, especially if you’ve already been improving for a while. Continued improvement is difficult to achieve. Why? Because it takes an exponential increase in effort to continue decreasing your time. We previously showed this when it came to the Assault Bike.  Now we’re going to analyze the Concept 2 Rower.

The Concept 2 website has a great tool for converting watts to pace per 500m, and vice versa. If you ever want an exact number, you can find that calculator here. What we’re going to look at is the general trend as the pace on the rower increases. We’re zooming out to look at the big picture. And fortunately for us, Concept 2 has provided the formulae they use for the calculation; we’re just graphing it.

The process for getting watts from pace is as follows:

  • Convert the pace per 500m to total seconds.
  • Divide the total number of seconds by 500, giving a numeric value.
  • Input this value into the equation, “watts = 2.8/pace3.”

For example, let’s use a 2:30/500m pace. Using the process above, 2:30 is 150 seconds. Dividing 150 by 500 gives us a value of 0.3. Plugging 0.3 into the equation gives us a wattage of 103.704. Hopefully the process makes sense, but if it doesn’t, all that really matters is the result. And if we look at the table below, column A shows pace, and column D shows watts.


Let’s look at some specifics. We’ve already established that a 2:30/500m pace requires 103.704 watts. To improve 15 seconds to a 2:15/500m pace, we need to maintain 142.255 watts. That’s an increase of 38.551 watts. To increase from there to 2:00/500m, we need to maintain 202.546 watts. Another increase of 60.291 watts. From 2:00/500m to a 1:45/500m pace is yet another increase of 99.797. You get the point, it’s exponential. Here’s the actual big picture:


What’s the key takeaway? When your WOD requires the use of a Concept 2 rower, it’s important to pace wisely. Is it really worth saving 10 seconds on the rower if you’re going to have to rest for 20 seconds to recover? Probably not. So, keep the above graph in mind, and plan accordingly. See you in the gym.

fill out this form to get started >>

Take the first step towards getting the results that you want!