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Cardio, Glute and Core Workout with Rowing, Deadlifts and BOSU Exercises

Call me crazy but working legs is my favorite! I am on team “leg day, every day.” While I might give my trainer the side eye when she tells me it’s time for pull ups, I will never hesitate to do a squat, lunge or deadlift. I stayed at the gym after training one of my clients this morning to get my own workout done and put together a killer cardio, glute and core workout that I am excited to share with you today.

Rowing Machines

This workout kicks off with a row interval. Rowing is such an effective way to quickly to get the whole body warm and while increasing the heart rate. Rowing is probably my least favorite thing in the gym to do (for reals) so anytime I add it to my own workout it really challenges me. Ask me to run treadmill intervals and I’ll do it all day. Ask me to row for two and a half minutes and I’m on the floor.

After the row there’s awesome glute and core work with kettlebell deadlift variations. The core work continues with push ups and crunches on the BOSU. I like doing push ups on the BOSU due to the unstable surface and extra challenge that provides for the core. I threw the BOSU crunches in as active rest before you hit the rower again.

Cardio, Glute and Core Workout with Rowing, Deadlifts and BOSU Exercises

Let’s talk some more about how much you should be feeling your core in the deadlift variations…A LOT! They are a core training exercise in addition to doing amazing things for the hamstrings and glutes. This entire workout should exhaust your core (and your glutes will be singing a song after all those deadlifts).

I am going to post a video with movement demonstrations below but here are my notes on each exercise:

  • Rowing – posture is everything on the row. Resist the urge to hunch forward and round the shoulders as you row. Keep a straight spine and a lifted chest as you drive through the legs and pull the handles in towards the low ribs. Read more about row technique here.
  • Suitcase Deadlifts – stand with your feet right under the hips. Holding two kettlebells by your sides (or dumbbells if you do not have kettlebells), start by driving your hips back and then bending at the knees as you lower the kettlebells down towards the mid-shin or ankles. You’ll want to stop lowering at the point that form breaks down. You should be able to maintain a straight spine with no rounding of the upper or lower back. To come back up, drive through the heels, engage the glutes and hamstrings and rise to stand. You should be engaging abdominals in both the lowering and lifting phase of this exercise. Keep your gaze neutral throughout and avoid straining the neck by looking up as you lower.
  • Kettlebell Romanian Deadlifts – stand with your feet right under the hips or a tiny bit wider. Hold one heavy kettlebell in front of you using both hands. Begin to lower by hinging at the hips and bringing the kettlebell down towards mid-shin or to the floor. Stop at the point where form breaks down. To come back up, drive through the heels, engage the glutes and hamstrings and rise to stand. In your KB Romanian Deadlift there will only be a slight bend in the knees, much less than the suitcase variation. I like a soft knee here and do not recommend a stiff-leg variation for this particular workout. Abs engaged throughout. Keep your gaze neutral throughout and avoid straining the neck by looking up as you lower.
  • BOSU Pushups – flip the BOSU over so the ball side is down. Hold both handles and come to a plank position, knees or toes. Bend at the elbows and lower the chest down towards the flat part of the BOSU until you’ve reached a 90 degree bend in the elbows. Push back up by engaging the chest. Keep your neck long and gaze to the top of the BOSU. Avoid the tendency to look back at the feet. And like I tell ALL of my yoga students and clients, FORM OVER GOING ON THE TOES! If you try to do these on the toes but can barely bend your elbows or start to feel strain in neck, shoulders or back, drop to the knees and focus on getting full range of motion there.
  • BOSU Crunches – Place the BOSU with ball side up. Position yourself on the BOSU so that shoulder blades are draped over the ball and middle back is in the center of the ball. Crunch up just above parallel and lower back down.

Here is my demo video:

Let me say it again…form and safe movement over pushing heavier weight and taking harder variations. Move well friends!

Happy sweating and let me know if you try the workout or if you have questions!

If you had to pick would you workout lower or upper body? 

Tell me your feelings about the rower. 🙂 

Looking for more rowing workouts?
30 Rep Rowing Workout
Row, Run and Leg Burn Workout
Cinco de Cardio Workout

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Brittany May 25, 2016, 5:40 am

    I always prefer to work my legs!!! I feel like yoga sculpts my upper body and while it definitely works the lower half too, nothing sculpts a booty like heavy squats and lunges.

    • Jen DeCurtins May 26, 2016, 3:33 pm

      AMEN sister!

  • Tara May 25, 2016, 1:00 pm

    i hate the rower too. mostly cuz i cant seem to get set up right where it doesnt bother my back after a few mins. your form is excellent on the rower ! i did deadlifts today actually and i wish i would have read your post first. i love the “drive through the heels” thought. i think that would really help to bring home the point of where to push from in a deadlift ! i will think it next time for sure.

    • Jen DeCurtins May 26, 2016, 3:33 pm

      So on the rower, really be mindful of your posture. Keep your chest up and don’t round forward when you’re pulling. Really use the legs to drive away and pull. Do you feel pain in the lower, middle or upper back? If it’s middle/upper you may also need to work on your thoracic mobility.

  • Fran May 25, 2016, 1:28 pm

    At Orangetheory, rowing is my LEAST Favorite part. I used to seriously dread it but after a while I started to get better at my form and then was much quicker and stronger in my rows that now I’ve started to slowly like it!! Could happen to you! Still my least fav between weights and running but don’t always hate it! I also find it hard to go from rowing to running.

    • Jen DeCurtins May 26, 2016, 3:25 pm

      I’m not sure if after over 4 years of rowing now that I’m going to change my tune about it but we will remain hopeful! 🙂 Agreed, rowing to running is no fun at all!

  • Amanda May 25, 2016, 1:34 pm

    I would definitely go lower body. I also dislike working out my upper body. I have so much more strength in my legs that I enjoy it much more. I am also a HUGE fan of the rower. Its a great workout that will “change up” a regular routine. I have used it in a HITT class and it’s always fun to try to get to a certain number in 1 minute–then to take it a step further and try to beat that number in the next set!

    • Jen DeCurtins May 26, 2016, 3:24 pm

      I am totally cool with rowing in like 1 minute intervals. It’s the 500 and 1000 meter rows that do me in. I feel like I can give it a good go for a minute then everything starts burning…which is probably good! It’s definitely an effective piece of training equipment!

  • Laura May 26, 2016, 9:03 am

    That’s a killer workout. I would love it!
    If I have to choose, I prefer to work legs. I’ve always had strong legs and I love the moves that work them. But usually I go for upper body because I know I’m really lacking strength there and I need to work on it.

    I love/hate the rower. When I was younger, my dad had one in the garage and I’d use it a lot. Such a great workout, but hard! I actually miss it now I don’t have access to one.

    • Jen DeCurtins May 26, 2016, 3:11 pm

      My legs are definitely naturally more muscular and strong too. I actually feel like it’s easier for me to see gains and results in my upper body from less work. I feel like lower body training takes forever to see noticeable results. Love your rowing story about your dad!

  • Amanda May 26, 2016, 5:33 pm

    I did this workout today and loved it! My back, shoulders and arms are toast. I love the rower because not only is it cardio but it also works your back as well. If I’m not taking a group fitness class I always do upper body work on my own. I enjoy seeing the gains I make lifting heavier weight and love the definition I get in my arms, shoulders and back.

  • Karen January 17, 2017, 8:18 pm

    I like the full body workout the rower provides but prefer treadmill sprints any day.
    Thanks for the workout, I’m excited to try it and agree, core and legs are my favorite body parts to train.

    Question: what program do you use to make your and post your video workouts? Thanks in advance.

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