Even though our Peloton Row arrived months ago, I hadn’t been able to start the You Can Row Peloton Program.
Well, one, it is three-weeks long.
Most of the other Peloton Programs I’ve done are only two weeks long.
For some reason, two weeks feels more manageable than a three-week commitment.
And, two, because of the ways that Peloton Programs are structured, you must follow their week-by-week schedule.
If for some reason, you miss a week, you can’t jump ahead.
Likewise, if you miss the last week, you can’t do it over again.
Let me explain
Review of the You Can Row Peloton Program
Like I said, our Row arrived months ago.
In fact, we got ours in late November 2022.
Unfortunately, right around the time the Row arrived, I sustained a lower-back injury.
So, I started the You Can Row Peloton Program but had to stop days later.
Since then, this injury has kept me off the bike, off the yoga and strength mat, and, at the suggestion of my orthopedist, off the Row, too.
Three months later, I’m still in physical therapy.
However, I’ve made enough progress that I’m allowed to slowly reintroduce my Peloton programs.
For example, I’ve done a few 10- and 15-minute Lanebreak “classes.”
Also, I’ve taken a few arms and light weights classes.
And I’ve restarted the You Can Row Peloton Program, which I’d originally started back in December.
So, almost three months to the date that I first tried to start the You Can Row Peloton Program, I started it again.
Three weeks of rowing instruction
As I mentioned, the You Can Row Peloton Program is three weeks long.
In Week 1, you’re taking six classes over three days.
Then, there are four rest days in Week 1.
Of the six classes, two are post-rowing stretches and one is a warm-up class.
In Week 2, you have five classes over three days.
Again, this includes four rest days.
One of these classes is a Post-Row Stretch.
There are no warm up classes.
Finally, in Week 3, you have six classes over three days.
Again, this includes four rest days.
Of those six classes, one is a warm-up class and two are post-row stretches.
Anyway, that means that you start the You Can Row program with a 15-minute Intro to Rowing class with Ash Pryor and end with a 30-minute endurance row class with Matt Wilpers.
Again, you have to follow Peloton’s timing of each of the weeks, which is frustrating if you know you don’t have three weeks to commit to finishing the program.
Now that I’ve laid out the fundamentals of the You Can Row program, let me review the three weeks.
Starting the You Can Row program
The first day of the first week starts with an Ash Pryor 10-minutes Intro to Rowing Class.
Then you finish day one with a five-minute Post Row Stretch.
Your second day of rowing is a 15-minute Beginner Row with Alex Karwoski.
At first, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to row for 15 minutes.
However, Alex does a great job of breaking up rowing sprints with form drills.
To be honest, I thought the drills in this beginner class were better than the intro class.
Maybe because the class was longer and so the instructor had more time to go over things.
Anyway, I got off the rower after that 15 minute class with my personal best form score ever–88%–and really feeling like I was getting a hang of this rowing thing.
At the end of Week 1, instructors introduced the notion of pace.
I don’t get it.
Stroke rate I understand.
However, no one has done a good enough job yet of explaining what stroke rate has to do with pace–or if they’re even connected.
Maybe in Weeks 2 or 3 they will.
Finally, by the end of Week 1, I was ending class with my form score in the 90% range.
Week 2 of Peloton You Can Row Program
In Week 2, I decided to change how my shoes were sitting in the footrest.
I was experiencing weird pains in the front of my ankle and feeling like it was hard for me to push with my whole foot.
So, even though the instructors continue to tell you to line up your feet so that straps go over the widest part of your foot, take that advice with a grain of salt.
For example, I have an extra wide foot.
The widest part of my foot is actually right below my toes.
By following this advice, I was putting too much pressure on my toes and forefoot when pushing my legs away.
Once I moved the footrest from position 3 to position 1, I felt like I was finally rowing–pushing my legs after the catch–the way instructors were, well, instructing.
By the end of Week 2, I finished the last class–a 20-minute advanced beginner row with Alex–with a 93% form score.
That was my highest one yet.
In fact, it was during this class that I noticed how Alex kind of “rolled” the Row handle, almost in a circular motion.
That is, he would bring the handle towards his sternum and then almost lower it and release back towards the screen.
So, I started mimicking that and suddenly I wasn’t bending my knees too soon after the finish (I think that’s what it’s called.)
Is Week 3 really necessary
To be honest, by the time I got to Week 3 of You Can Row, I was feeling a lot like I did towards the end of the Peloton boxing program.
That is, I was pretty much just going through the motions to get to the end of the program and earn my badge.
In other words, I felt like there were diminishing returns by Week 3.
I’d already done a ton of drills and felt more comfortable on the rower.
Additionally, my Form Assist score improved to 96% by the end of Week 2.
I was pretty proud of that.
And then it didn’t improve much from there.
So, like I said, diminishing returns.
Plus, Week 3 is just taking classes.
There are no more drills classes.
Honestly, it felt like padding.
Final thoughts on the You Can Row Peloton Program
I think the You Can Row Program is a great introduction to Peloton rowing.
However, I think it skips over the fundamentals of rowing for those of us, like me, who are new to rowing, and goes right into drills too quickly.
If I were to redo this program, I would suggest that Peloton slow down and actually go over the elements of rowing that the Row covers after class in your form assist score.
This is a whole new language for people to learn, just like cadence and resistance is when you first get a Peloton bike.
In addition, I think Peloton should cut it back to a two-week program.
As I mentioned, by Week 3, it just felt like filler.
Also, it would be helpful to have an explanation about the kinds of shoes you should wear.
Quickly, I learned that running shoes, with their thick heels, would not stay put on the footbed.
So, I needed to find a flatter pair of shoes to wear.
Finally, I think the biggest complaint overall that Peloton Row owners like me have is the fact that we can’t access any of the Row content except on the rower itself.
I understand that Peloton is keeping things exclusive to encourage people to buy the machine.
However, as someone who owns the machine and pays for my All-Access membership, I do not have access to all of the content my membership should be covering.
I realize that things like Form Assist (which I love) are available only on the Row.
However, if I am able to access another kind of rower at a hotel gym, for example, or my daughters’ apartments–they both own Concept 2 Rowers–then I should be able to boot up the Peloton app and take rowing classes.