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Rowing Split Time Explained: What Is a Good Split Time in Rowing

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

In this article, we are going to tell you about rowing split time and what is a good split time in rowing. Also, we will provide you with our rowing split times chart. Let’s get started.

What Does Rowing Split Time Mean

Let’s answer the question of what rowing split time is because a lot of people have this question when it comes to the concept of a rowing machine. Split is a measure of speed in rowing. And it is telling us how long it takes to go 500 meters.

People at the gym with a good rowing split time
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How to Measure Split in Rowing

There are two ways of measuring split on the indoor rowing machines. 

1. Real-Time Split

The first is real-time split. We can see it on the screen. This is telling us how long it takes us to go 500 meters. Every single stroke changes so your real-time split will adjust based on how hard or how light you push every rowing stroke.

2. Average Rowing Split Time 

The average split is an aggregate of all of those real-time splits. If we have a 2000-meter piece, it is going to average all of those strokes. 

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Every one of the 220 strokes that it’ll take you to get through 2000 meters will have its own individual real-time split. Average split takes those and averages them out. So that is an average split.

A woman following a regular rowing split time chart
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Overall Average

The overall average of the entire split is simply a way of talking about speed. And the lower the number, the faster we’re going. The higher the number, the slower we’re going. 

So, a 130 split means it would take us 1 minute and 30 seconds to go 500 meters or to go every 500 meters for the entirety of the piece. If your split was 130 for 2000 meters, it would take you a minute and 30 seconds for each of the 4 500-meter row pieces inside of that 2,000 meters.

If you have a three-minute split, that means it would take you three minutes to go every 500 meters for 2,000 meters.

Rowing Split Times Chart

Average Rowing Pace per 500mYour time for 1000mYour time for 2000m
1:202:40 5:20
1:403:20 6:40
2:004:00 8:00

Male 500m Rowing Split Times

Age Beginner Novice IntermediateAdvancedEliteWR
10 02:21.002:09.9 01:59.1 01:49.2 01:40.501:30.1
15 02:00.701:51.1 01:41.901:33.4 01:26.001:17.1
20 01:53.9 01:44.8 01:36.1 01:28.2 01:21.2 01:12.8
25 01:51.9 01:43.001:34.5 01:26.6 01:19.8 01:11.5
30 01:50.4 01:41.6 01:33.2 01:25.401:18.701:10.5
35 01:51.2 01:42.4 01:33.9 01:26.1 01:19.201:11.0
40 01:55.4 01:46.2 01:37.401:29.301:22.2 01:13.7
45 01:55.401:46.2 01:37.401:29.301:22.2 01:13.7
50 01:55.4 01:46.2 01:37.401:29.301:22.2 01:13.7
55 01:57.501:48.1 01:39.2 01:30.9 01:23.701:15.0
60 02:07.9 01:57.7 01:48.001:39.001:31.101:21.7

Female 500m Rowing Split Times

Age Beginner NoviceIntermediate Advanced Elite WR
10 02:50.102:34.0 02:18.7 02:04.901:53.101:39.3
15 02:36.1 02:21.302:07.2 01:54.601:43.8 01:31.1
20 02:25.8 02:12.0 01:58.9 01:47.1 01:36.901:25.1
25 02:25.2 02:11.401:58.401:46.7 01:36.5 01:24.8
30 02:27.702:13.7 02:00.401:48.5 01:38.2 01:26.2
35 02:28.6 02:14.5 02:01.201:49.2 01:38.801:26.8
40 02:26.202:12.3 01:59.201:47.4 01:37.2 01:25.4
45 02:28.002:14.002:00.701:48.7 01:38.4 01:26.4
50 02:36.3 02:21.4 02:07.4 01:54.801:43.901:31.2
55 02:41.202:25.9 02:11.401:58.401:47.201:34.1
60 02:49.102:33.0 02:17.902:04.2 01:52.4 01:38.7

What Is a Good Split Time in Rowing?

What’s a good time for, let’s say, a 2000-meter row? Where do you stack up compared to others? How good are you?

To be honest, “good” is relative. And how fast you should row or what your goal should be is different for every single person. Why?

Firstly, let’s take a look at the world records. Taking a look at the world rowing split times chart, we’re seeing 16-year-old intermediate rowers that are going under 6 minutes on a 2000-meter row and 16-year-old women that are going under 7 minutes.

If you look into the 20-to-30-year-old category, you can see world-record speeds that are even faster. 

But then as you get past that age bracket, the times start to slow down. However, there are still 70-year-old elite rowers out there that are going under 7 minutes, there’s still 70-year-old women that are going under around 8 minutes for the 2000-meter row.

So, does that mean at 70 years old you should still be aiming for a seven-minute 2000-meter row? Not necessarily. These are the world records. And these are done by those that are most optimally built for rowing.

A man at the gym following a rowing split time chart
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Body Weight Impacts Rowing Splits

There’s one key takeaway. A hard truth is that bigger and taller beginner rowers row faster relative to smaller bodies.

Just take a look at the men’s 2000-meter world record. Josh Dunkley-Smith and Henrik Stephansen hold the world records for the heavyweight and the lightweight 2000-meter row. There’s a reason why those categories are separated. 

Just look at the differences between the two times that they rode. These are both world records but it’s clear that JDS’ row (5:35) was much faster than Henrik Stephansen’s one (5:56).

Does that mean that Henrik S is not trying as hard as JDS was? No. It just means that body types are different. But in the sports world, you see a whole variety of different size rowing athletes.

Pure Power Output

We have to keep in mind that rowing on these machines, we row power output that doesn’t necessarily translate to in the water on a boat. Because the bigger and taller bodies that are heavier are weighing the boats down more than the lighter guys are. 

And so if you’re not strong enough to pull your weight essentially, someone that’s smaller than you might be able to outrow you in a rowing race. But if you’re more efficient for your weight, then you can outgrow someone. 

But you’re not on the water. You’re on the rowing machine. And it’s just a measure of pure power output.

What Else Impacts On Rowing Split Time

So, if you’re taking two people, guys or girls with the same fitness level, for example novice rowers, and different body sizes, the bigger and taller person wins. It’s just physics.

Also, you have to keep into account your rowing abilities, how long you’ve been rowing, your rowing technique, and how many regular rowing workouts you’ve done.

As we look through those world record age categories, we see that as we get older, the world records for a 2,000-meter row, for instance, and the time to completion get longer and longer. So, you have to keep that into account as well.

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A woman outside using a rowing split time program
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How to Find Your Own Target Rowing Splits

Do your entire workouts the best that you can and learn your own individual split times and individual performance throughout these different rows. 

If you’re writing those down each time that you go back to another body workout, you have goals to hit right there, to either match or beat what you did last time. That is setting you up on such a more healthier and sustainable success path than trying to figure out “what should I be doing?” Because it’s going to be different for every single person. 

So, give yourself a little more credit. Don’t beat yourself up over not being as fast as someone else because we’re all different. Set a training goal of rowing faster. Keep track of your rowing workout performance, try to progress, and upgrade your indoor rowing experience.

Rowing Split: FAQs

What is a good split for rowing?

Rowing split time is the amount of time it takes you to row 500 meters on the rowing machine. A good 500-meter split time is 1 minute and 35 seconds for a 25-year-old male athletic rower and 1 minute 45 seconds for a 25-year-old woman in indoor rowing.

What is an Olympic rowing split?

Rowers measure speed in 500 meters. The Olympic time for 2000-meter rowing is about 5:30-7:00. It depends on sex, environment, and boat class.

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