Tired of using the usual machines in the gym? Or maybe you’re looking for something that will give you a great cardio workout but is also easy on the joints? Then a rowing machine is for you. This indoor rower has slowly been gaining quite a following because of the intense workout it provides.
The rowing machine, or ergometer as it’s called in some circles, imitates the motion made when rowing a boat. It’s a magnificent machine for whole-body strength training or a low-impact workout. It also develops your endurance, helps control posture, and trains your core.
The ergometer has been around for a while but has been overlooked. A lot of gym-goers don’t know how to use a rowing machine or are intimidated by it. But it’s simple to use, and even beginners can get the hang of it. Here’s what you need to know about this equipment:
Top Benefits of Rowing Machine
It works your whole body. At first glance, rowing appears to only work out your arms and legs. But a home rowing machine uses 86% of your muscle. One stroke is 75% leg work and 25% upper body. It targets the arms, abdominal muscles, pecs, and the upper back. It also makes the leg muscles stronger.
You can do it regardless of your fitness level. Whether you’re a gym novice or a hardcore weightlifter, the rowing machine will give you a great workout. It’s also a safe workout for those with disabilities.
It doesn’t stress your joints. The ergometer is an effective, low-impact way of burning calories. Since you control the speed, you can minimize the impact on your joints. Doctors would even recommend patients with early-stage osteoarthritis use the machine.
It strengthens your cardiovascular system. You should learn how to use a rowing machine if you want a fun and intense cardio workout. Using the machine will cause your heart to work harder, thereby strengthening the organ.
Rowing has a calming effect. The smooth, consistent gliding motion and tempo can have a meditative effect on you. Your mind can revert to an autopilot mode and achieve a level of calm.
How to Use a Rowing Machine Effectively
You need the proper form and the right technique to truly reap the benefits of the best rowing machine. There are four key phases to the rowing motion. There’s the initial position, transition, ending position, and then one last transition going back to the start. These movements are called the catch, drive, finish, and recover.
The first thing you need to do before you use the ergometer is to place yourself properly. Place your feet in the footplates. Make sure it touches your big toe before adjusting the strap until it feels snug. Sit up straight with your posterior forward on the seat. Hold both ends of the handle using an overhand grip. You’re ready to start rowing once you’re positioned properly. Here’s how you do the movements:
Catch: In this first movement, you should be sitting tall, with your back upright, your arms straight, and your knees and ankles flexed and positioned so that your shins are nearly vertical. Pull your shoulders down, then slightly lean forward. Make sure you brace your core so that your lower back is protected.
Drive: Start pushing with your legs while contracting your core. Lean back until you’re about 45 degrees once your legs straighten. Then pull the machine’s handle towards you. The grip should be a few inches above your belly. To recap, the right order of movement should be legs first, then contract your core. You then move your hips, shoulders, and arms.
Finish: This is the reverse of the Catch and is in a resting position. In this movement, your legs are extended, and the shoulders and back are straining away from your lower limbs. The handle is pulled into the body, with elbows tucked towards your torso.
Recover: Start doing the movements in Drive but in the reverse order. You should end up in the Catch position. Extend your arms and hinge your hips so your torso will move over your legs. Lastly, bend your knees.
Did you find the article informative? Then you might also enjoy reading our post on Must-Have Indoor Rowing Accessories.
Learn to Row Now!
Using a rowing machine is easy, but it will be more fun to do it in a class — either in-studio or virtual. Sign up for a rowing class at Live2Row Studios. We offer FREE online coaching to help you get started.