5 of the Most Intense Indoor Rowing Challenges

Everyone loves a good challenge from time to time. Whether you’re training for a 2K or trying to beat your time in a 5K you’ll always be trying to improve on your time. It’s the intense challenges that not many people are prepared for. I’m going to go over 5 challenges that are so mind-blowingly intense I doubt many people would have heard of them before. I think you’ll be as amazed as I was to find out that these were even a thing.

What Constitutes an Intense Challenge?

In my eyes, an intense challenge is something that you don’t normally train for that you know will be massively difficult. These can be either a distance challenge or a time challenge. I’ve participated in one relay over the course of 6780 Meters and it was really fun.

You’re working as a team to make sure that each one of you get a chance to row for a set amount of time or distance and then you get pulled off of the machine and the next person takes over. With an 8 person team, each one of you has a job to do and when you’re on the seat you’ve got to row as hard and as fast as possible.

  1. Rower
  2. Seat Holder
  3. Erg Handle Holder
  4. Foot strap holder
  5. Foot strap Holder
  6. Person to pull you off the machine
  7. Motivator
  8. Rest station

Each person will know exactly what do do so there’s no need to worry about anything. You’ll figure it out. I didn’t know anything about how to do it until I was taught how.

42,196m Row (The Marathon)

We’re starting out easy here. Yeah I said Easy… That’ll put things into perspective. The marathon row is a great challenge and still by any means classed as intense. I think the main appeal of this one is that you can say “yeah, I’ve rowed a marathon” and it’s still really impressive.

One of the most interesting things about this is that, whilst it’s based on time taken to complete, whatever way you chose to complete this will be a really spectacular feat.

100,000m Row

Next on our list is the 100,000m Row. This one is difficult. Not only do you have to row for more than twice the length of a marathon row, but you’re also fighting against your body which will most likely be saying “my bum hurts” or “I need to go to the toilet!” I’m not sure I’d be able to complete something like this. Maybe at the absolute peak of my rowing training I’d have attempted it, but I know me and I’d get bored halfway through.

As I’m writing this the world record for women’s 100,000m row is 7:00:49.6 and the world record for men’s is 6:06:06.1. Both of these times are seriously impressive to see! I wonder when we’ll see someone break past the 6 hour mark and into the 5 hour mark. Only time will tell.

The 24-Hour Row (You don’t know what intense is yet)

Now we’re getting into seriously intense territory. 24 hours. An entire day of non-stop rowing is no easy task. You’ve got to really want this to get this done. One thing I always think about when I get on a rowing machine is about getting in the right mindset to just get what I need to get done, done. If I set myself the task of doing something when I sit on that erg it’s getting finished.

Having said that, I’d probably think twice about attempting this one. The overall world record for women’s 24-Hour row as of writing this is 284,650m and for men’s is 322,357. Again, absolutely amazing records set by these two rowers. I’d love to see one of these live!

24 Hour Indoor Rowing Challenge on a Concept2

1 Million Meter Row

I’m not even joking when I say that I can’t even comprehend attempting this. Whilst I can’t find any information online regarding the rules of this challenge, I would say that based on the world records in this category (we’re talking days here, people) you would most likely be able to split these up into multiple days where you just row for a set distance each time until you’ve reached your goal of 1 million meters.

As of writing this the female world record is 5 days 21 hours and 35 minutes which is roughly 191,938 meters a day. The world record for men as I write this is 4 days 23 hours and 50 minutes which is roughly 236,406 meters a day. I’m blown away by these figures. Absolutely fantastic job and brilliant results here!

Worlds Longest Continual Row

Here’s where things reach their peak of intensity. Imagine waking up one day and deciding that you were going to get on an erg and not stop until you physically couldn’t go on any more. That’s what many people have done and the results are mind-blowing. I can’t imagine the preparation that some of these rowers would have to do to get ready for this.

As I write this the women’s world record for a continual row is 2 days 14 hours and 50 minutes. The world record for men as I write this is 4 days 5 hours. I wish I had the distance data for this, I’d love to see it! These challenges are designed to push the body to its absolute limit. That requires extreme preparation and intense dedication.

Looking through all of these times and distances it shows me the true nature of what our bodies can do if we just set our minds to the task at hand. It’s a true testament to mind over matter and how we can push through any barriers that we set in our minds. I’m blown away by the dedication I see to this sport.

What are some of the indoor rowing challenges you’ve attempted or completed? We’d love to hear about anything you’ve done. If you have any ideas for an interesting intense challenge of your own let us know!


How do I properly maintain and care for my rowing machine?

To maintain your rowing machine, regularly wipe down the rail and seat with a damp cloth to remove sweat and dirt. Check the chain for debris and apply lubricant as needed. Additionally, inspect the machine for any loose bolts or parts and tighten as necessary.

What are the key features to consider when purchasing a rowing machine for home use? 

When purchasing a rowing machine, consider the resistance type (air, magnetic, hydraulic, or water), the size and storage options, the monitor features, and the overall build quality. It’s important to choose a machine that provides a smooth and comfortable rowing experience while fitting within your available space.

How can I improve my rowing technique for a more effective and efficient workout?

To improve your rowing technique, focus on maintaining a straight back, driving through your legs, and using a smooth, controlled motion. Pay attention to the catch, drive, finish, and recovery phases of the rowing stroke. Consider seeking guidance from a certified rowing instructor or watching instructional videos to refine your technique and maximize the benefits of your workout.