Twilight of the Quads–Killer CrossFit Rowing WOD

Thanks to Mike S., one of my Ever Green Boat Club  rower friends, for suggesting a killer workout.  I stupidly modified it a little to make it even more “hardcore” and rowing-specific.  He names it “Twilight of the Quads.” 

When I say “rowing-specific,” I mean a WOD that focuses on leg power and endurance, as this is where most of the energy comes from when rowing.  Rowers typically focus on developing the quadriceps.  Crossfitters typically focus more on glutes/hams and the posterior chain.  This WOD hits them both very hard. 

It was originally designed as a bodyweight WOD.  I added weight to the lunges, which was stupid for the first time out.  If you have knee issues or it’s your first time out, keep it bodyweight until your connective tissue adapts.  It took me almost 2 weeks to recover from this one between overstressed knee connective tissue and my glutes being absolutely blasted.

4 rounds of:

  • 50 lunges (weighted or goblet if you are up to it – I did it with 50 lbs.)
  • 50 air squats
  • 500 meter rowing sprint on the Concept2

It took me about 26 minutes.



“ I don’t always get rhabdo, but when I do, it’s from this workout!”



A Great 20-minute Crossfit-inspired Indoor Rowing Workout for the Holidays

We all know that it gets tough to find time during the holiday season to maintain a regular training rhythm.  This is one of the best things I’ve learned from Crossfit – how to use short, intense workouts that fit into a lunch break or half-hour slot to keep the training effects coming even on limited, fragmented schedules.  This is an area in which I believe that the constant variation approach is superior to the rigidly-periodized traditional training cycles, which are really tough to maintain during the holiday period.  I’d rather do 2 time-efficient, intense WODs than one long one, because the work quality will be higher.

Here’s a favorite that is a perfect training tool for 2000m Concept 2 testing.  I recommend a heavier drag factor (I use 125) as it will be really hard to move your legs quickly by the end!

5 min warmup

4 rounds of:

  • 500m row
  • 50 air squats (rowers translate this as “jumpies”) – make sure you achieve full depth!

Goal is to finish in under 15 minutes. 

I would set the C2 for distance intervals, 500m work, 2 minutes rest.  This will give you 2 minutes to do your air squats and set up for the next piece.  The faster you complete the squats, the more rest you get. 

If you are a firebreather/erg monster and find this too easy, replace the air squats with squat jumps and see if you can still finish in under 15 minutes!

This workout is literally 20 minutes end to end, meaning you can be showered and done before your heart rate even comes down!