Play This Game for Better Rowing Technique

An image of the dart game on the Concept2 monitor


Rowing used to be a well-kept secret. Those of us who knew that the rowing machine is the perfect solution for total-body, non-impact fitness for people of all ages, sizes and fitness levels were few and far between.


Not any more!


Rowing has been called the new spinning, and you now see rowing gyms popping up all over, home machines are backordered and there are tons of options for doing workouts online.


Our free RowStrong group on Facebook has also grown by leaps and bounds!


For a long time, new rowers often do great just getting on the machine and starting to row.


Eventually though, the question inevitably comes:


AM I doing this right?


It’s actually a great question to ask, because nailing your technique out of the gate will go a long way towards making rowing easier, more fun and more effective all at the same time.


There are tons of drills and mantras that you can use yourself, or with your students or clients,  that will help them dial in their rowing.


But sometimes it’s fun to make a game out of it, amiright?




Most people start out with rowing the same way: They get on the machine and off they go. That alone is often enough to sustain them for a while.


Eventually, though, if they row on a Concept2 rowing machine, they discover the games on the monitor (Ahem. You did know there are games on there, right?).


The one everyone gets stuck on is the fish game.


Super fun, you get to swim through the ocean, going faster and slower to swim up and down and catch all the yummy small fry, while trying to avoid becoming the big fishes’ dinner yourself.


The game is intended to teach rowers to control their intensity.


Problem is, in our experience, most rowers aren’t skilled enough at making those quick adjustments so they end up reinforcing bad technique habits instead.


If you watch people play the game, you’ll often see them making some pretty erratic moves to stay alive. The exact opposite of the consistent, fluid strokes we want to see on the machine.


Don’t get me wrong, I love a good game of fish occasionally, and it can be a great motivator to help you get on the machine.
But we like it better as a reward after a workout.


What to do then?


There actually IS a game – also super fun – that will help you practice your technique.




This one is all about tempo and consistency. You get five strokes to start and set your pace, then 300 to try to hold what you were doing.
The closer you are to the target stroke rate and split you set on the warmup, the more points you’ll get.


Go faster than your pace strokes and you’ll have a flat line above the target. Go slower and your line will run underneath. No points. 🙁


As long as you put a little bit of oomph into it, the game makes for a great workout warmup, or it would also be a fun cooldown.


Side note for fitness professionals and studio owners: This is a fun group warmup too!




Here’s how to set it up on either a Concept2 PM4 or PM5 monitor:

PM5: From the Main Menu select More Options > Games > Darts

PM4: From the Main Menu, select Games > Darts


The total possible score is 15,000 points. We’ve seen it done!!


Give it a go and report back in the comments!



Go Deeper!


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