My rowing workouts have been pretty fantastic lately as i'm managed to get the intensity nearly equivalent with what i'm able to do on the bike. I'm currently operating on a three week schedule (one row workout each week) which is pretty much a requirement for me when i reach a certain level of effort - it is just too hard to try exceeding my previous performance each week, which is something i, for whatever reason, feel compelled to do.
Here are my current three workouts - which, at least for a few minutes near their end, have me feeling like a condemned man.
Note - i use a concept2 rower (which seems to be standard fare at many health clubs) on resistance level 5, and my metric of choice is time/500meters. All workouts are 8 minutes long.
Workout 1: pyramids. 30 sec warm up @ 2:15, then 3 pyramids with 30 sec each at 2:15, 2:00, 1:45, 2:00, and 2:15.
Workout 2: progressive. 1 minute segments, starting at 2:20, decreasing time/500meters by 5 seconds each minute. If reaching a level that feels to be a max effort before the 8 minutes are up - try to stay at that level until the end. My last workout I started at 2:20 and spend minutes 7 and 8 at 1:50/500 meters, unable to hit 1:45 and hanging on to 1:50 for dear life.
Workout 3: double push. 2 minutes @ 2:05, 1 @ 1:45, 2 @ 2:05, 1 @ 1:45, 2 @ 2:05. My goal is to progress until my base effort is @ 2:00 and my harder intervals are at 1:45 but i'm not really that close yet - my last workout the second interval was @ 1:50 and 2:05 felt awfully hard.
I try to keep my stroke rate around 30 and increase my power per stroke as a way of recovering during the easier segments of these workouts. The only way i can hit 1:45-1:50 is to put everything i have into it and increase my stroke rate to 40+ and it feels very brutal and is definitely anaerobic - i'm usually strongly focused inwardly - eyes closed to limit any/all distractions and get all i can out of my body. i'll flit my eyes open every 3 strokes or so to make sure I'm at or under pace and count down my strokes towards the end of the interval, willing myself desperately toward it's successful completion. Fun stuff.