How to Program the Monitor for Single Distance and Time, Intervals Distance and Time, and Intervals Variable

When sitting down on the Concept2, you no doubt have an idea of what you’re going to do. Whether you want to or not is a different story. Regardless, because you know what your workout is going to look like you can program the rowing machine’s monitor to track your workout to give you accurate feedback so you can both learn from the workout and find your results after the workout is over.

These are the basic settings you should be using to get the most out of your workout or that you should have your athletes using in a class setting to accurately run the group class.

Programming Single Distance & Time

You’ll find this from the main Concept2 Performance Monitor by pressing “Select Workout” > “New Workout” > “Single Distance” OR “Single Time”.

              concept 2 select workout new workout                  Concept2 Single Distance Single Time

What you’re getting here is a program that will count down from whatever time or distance you choose with a minimum of 100m or :20 seconds. You can even program a full indoor rower marathon at 42,195m. Good luck if you do.

What’s great about this performance monitor setting is that the machine will be calculating completely accurate averages for you during the piece because it knows exactly how much time or distance is left. This is of benefit to you because you can manipulate the split, watts, or calories as needed knowing exactly what your expected finish will be based on your current performance.

Programming Intervals Distance & Time

To access this performance monitor setting on the Concept2 start with “Select Workout” > “New Workout” > “Intervals” > “Distance” OR “Time”.

This function is if you plan a consistent interval workout with planned work and rest variables.

For example:


5 x 500m

Rest x 2 minutes

You would program that from this menu because you know both the work distance and the rest time.

BONUS NOTE: If you have a PM5 on your Concept2 (find this by looking at the upper right of the monitor face and you’ll see PM3, 4, or 5) there is an exclusive setting built for those times where you won’t know how much rest you need.

For example:

3 Rounds of:

Row x 500m

Kettlebell Swings x 40

Wall Balls x 30

Walking lunges x 20

Burpees x 10

There’s NO WAY you’ll know exactly how long those other things will take so for your convenience, Concept2 built in an “Undefined Rest” feature.

To access it, after you’ve pressed “Intervals” > “Distance” or “Time” press the right facing arrow 3 times slowly until you see the words “Set Rest Time” blinking. Now, press the “+” button once and the words should change to “Undefined Rest Time”.

That’s it, now just set the distance or time you’ll be rowing and you’re off to the races.

If your monitor won’t allow the words “Set Rest Time” to be highlighted, just update your performance monitor using the Concept2 Utility.

Programming Intervals Variable

Following the relatively similar plan, press: “Select Workout” > “New Workout” > “Intervals” > “Variable”.

This workout setup is for those times when each round may be a different distance, time, or perhaps a combination of distance and time.

An example would be:

Row x 1000m

Rest 5 minutes

Row x 800m

Rest 4 minutes

Row x 600m

Rest 3 minutes

Row x 400m

Rest 2 minutes

Row x 200m

Notice you can vary both the workout distance AND the rest. You’ll follow the prompts after pressing the check mark each time which will bring you back to the screen where you can select “Distance” or “Time”.

Take it for what it is. The Concept2 indoor rower performance monitor can be an incredibly useful tool for both coaches and athletes when you want accurate data. Something we use every day in the gym. It’s like knowing your 1-rep max back squat numbers or your “Cindy” score. Find your baselines, and test them in your workouts. It starts with the easy task of programming the monitors and then USING that data to reinforce your performances.


If you have a PM5 monitor, you might have noticed when choosing “Distance” or “Time” above, there was also an option to select “Calorie” as well. Concept2 has just recently released calorie programming on the PM5 monitors. If you haven’t seen it yet it’s time for you to get on board and update any PM5’s you may have. Again, just use the Concept2 Utility to update the monitor free of charge. It’s like updating your iPhone but far more useful. 

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