When used correctly, rowing machines provide an amazing full-body cardiovascular workout. This low-impact resistance exercise can help burn muscle and burn fat. At first glance, rowing machines can be intimidating and difficult to use properly if you don’t know what you’re doing. Utilise the 5 rowing machine tips below to maximise your full body rowing workout.
Learn about the equipment
There are two primary types of rowing machines: Water Rower machines and flywheel rowers. A flywheel rower features a wheel on one end with a fan inside. This machine uses air resistance from the fan blades turning to give you a workout. Many of these machines are fitted with an adjustable resistance knob, so you can crank up the intensity of your workout.
Like the name suggests, a water rower uses water resistance against fan blades. A tank sits at one end of the rower, and the user pulls the handles to spin the fan blades underwater. This action more closely mimics rowing on a boat and is much quieter than the flywheel rower since there is no chain attached to the handle. Knowing how each of these machines works will help you gain a better understanding of your exercise form.
Adjust the machine
As you sit down, be sure that your heel is fully set into the pedal. Your foot straps should be tight enough that your foot will stay in place, but you should still be able to feel your toes! Adjust the seat of the machine so your legs are comfortable extended and the handle is within reach.
Use proper form
Using the incorrect form will probably cause pain, especially in the lower back, so stop immediately if you feel any unusual discomfort. Begin with your legs bent with shins perpendicular to the floor. Fully extend your arms and grab the rowing handle. Be sure you are seated upright with your back and core engaged. Next, with a straight back and long arms, extend your legs almost completely. Then pull with your arms until the handle is just below your chest. Keep your back straight with elbows tucked in as you slide forward to the starting position. Your back and core muscles should be fully engaged throughout the rowing process.
Keep track of your rowing metrics
When you begin to use a rowing machine, it’s important to keep track of your stroke rate. This way, you can plan or follow exercise programs and track your progress. Hitting a certain stroke rate allows you to have control and intention while using your machine. A consistent stroke rate will lead to a more effective workout. Understand both the intensity and speed of each of your strokes per minute and aim to keep them as consistent as possible.
Control your breath
You should be exhaled as you exert energy. So, exhale while you extend backward, and inhale on the return to starting position. Exhale in a strong, controlled burst for one count, and inhale while moving forward for two counts. Don’t forget to take the time to inhale deeply to keep your breath steady throughout your workout. Exhaling while extending will also help you engage your core muscles more effectively.
Rowing Equipment Range at T&R Sports
Rowing is a great way to get your entire body moving, without putting too much stress on your joints. T&R Sports has a selection of both water rowers and flywheel rowers. Get your own rowing machine for an effective full-body workout whenever you want!