Working out on a rowing machine burns over 500 calories an hour, yet most people find it intimidating. If you’re one of them, think again!
Most people who train in the gym pretty quickly figure out all the devices and enjoy using them. But there is one that keeps a large number of gym-goers perplexed, and many just pass by it.
If you are thinking about a rowing machine right now, you guessed right.
You find yourself looking at it from every angle each time you go to the gym, and you feel incapable of figuring out what does it do and how on Earth it works. Don’t worry; you are not the first nor the last who are wondering about it.
Many people don’t understand what a rowing machine (also known as an indoor rower) is and are confused about the ways of using it.
In this article, I’ll try to explain to you what this fitness machine is and help you understand its working principle so that you can enjoy your workout to the fullest.
Why Using A Rowing Machine?
It is a remarkable machine that, in most cases, collects dust in the gym. We feel that it is unfairly neglected, only because people don’t know how to use it and are afraid to embarrass themselves.
But the truth is that there is no reason to feel embarrassed if you’re learning something new.
Of course, you won’t figure it out immediately, but after a few attempts, you will want only to use this piece of equipment and nothing else.
We state that it is an impressive machine, and we stand behind this claim because it is one of the rare gym equipment that gives you the whole-body workout.
It might sound like a fairytale, but it’s not; if rowing machine is used correctly, it provides ergometer exercises of all significant muscle groups plus a fantastic cardio workout.
Besides, it has a marvelous effect in terms of burning calories. If your goal is to lose or manage your weight, then you should consider exercising on this machine.
Rowers burn somewhere between 400 and 800 calories in an hour, also depending on their overall shape.
Furthermore, this is a low impact exercise, which makes it perfect for everyone. It means that even people who have back or knee injuries or other problems can do it.
Common Rowing Mistakes
Let’s look first at some of the common mistakes people are making when using this machine. Then I’ll explain to you the proper exercises that will enable you to achieve the full effect.
1. Using Only The Strength Of Your Arms
Most people think that that they should mainly use their upper body when rowing. Even if it might seem like that when you are observing rowers, it is entirely false.
More than that, if you put too much pressure on your arms, shoulders, and back, it can lead to severe injuries.
Instead, more than 60% of the power should come from your legs and the rest from your core and arms.
2. You Mix The Order Of Operations
The fact is that the rowing machine isn’t like a common treadmill that you need to hop on and start running or walking.
It’s a bit more complicated, and that’s probably the reason why most people avoid it. But, it’s not quantum physics, so there is no need to be afraid of it.
You must follow the proper order of operations described below, even if it might not seem logical.
3. Hunching The Back During The Stroke
If you are often in front of the computer, you probably developed a generally bad habit to lean forward.
In this case, your body will probably do the same when you are using the rowing machine.
How To Properly Use The Rowing Machine
Now, that we established what we shouldn’t do, let’s take a look at some ways on how to use this piece of equipment correctly.
It is essential to know that there are four main phases when it comes to rowing. Each of them exercises certain muscle groups, and it is necessary to do them properly.
The phases are as follows: catch, drive (leg emphasis, body swing emphasis, and arm pull through emphasis), finish, and recovery.
If you want to do it in the right way, first of all, ensure that damper settings are well adjusted. This determines the level of resistance, and it is better that you begin with lower speeds to avoid hurting yourself.
To start safely with a catch, move forward in a way for your knees to be over the ankles. This way, the chest should practically touch your thighs.
It is essential to prevent your torso from leaning forward. If it helps you, try to imagine putting your body at 1 o’clock position.
This is the hardest part. Flatten your legs completely, and then your body needs to be pulled from one to eleven o ‘clock position.
Then pull the handle with your arms while making sure that your core is tight.
When you are doing the finish, your upper body is supposed to be leaning back a bit.
At the same time, you need to keep your legs stretched to the maximum and pull the handle to the lower part of the chest.
In the end, in the phase that we call the recovery, you are doing everything again just in the reverse order. With this, you will complete a rowing stroke.
I hope that the rowing machine doesn’t seem so intimidating as it did before reading this article.
Remember, it is an excellent piece of equipment that comes with a lot of benefits. The only thing is that you need to work towards mastering the technique and make sure that you follow the correct order.
Also, if you feel that you need to be stronger before deciding to try the rowing machine out, you can do squats or some other exercise for building strength.
If you have questions or would like to share your experiences, feel free to contact me. I am looking forward to hearing from you.