How To Use A Rowing Machine Effectively

How To Use A Rowing Machine Effectively

How To Use A Rowing Machine

When you think about it, it doesn’t seem all that hard to know how to use a rowing machine. You sit down, you set your legs into place, and you take the oars and row,right?

It seems easy, which is why about 9.81 million people in the US use a rowing machine to exercise. The number seems paltry compared to the number of cyclists (66.72 million)and runners (60.84 million), but it does seem to be growing popular.

Quick Facts

However, many people find out quickly that when they encounter a rowing machine, using it isn’t as simple as it seems. Some of the terms used may also be confusing.

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So to clarify the situation, here are some quick facts and tips to help you out:

  • Indoor rowing machines are also called ergometers. In some instances, this is shortened to just “ergo” or “erg”.
  • The rowing machine isn’t just for an upper body workout. In fact, 60% of the power comes from your legs, 20% from bracing your core, and the last 20% is from your arms.
  • Aside from working your core, rowing develops your biceps, lower and middle back, glutes, and quads. Depending on the wrong exercise, you can also burn off hundreds of calories.
  • You should keep close track of your stroke rate (stroke per minute), but that should be displayed on your erg monitor. While some exercises may specify a stroke rate, usually you’ll want to keep this to less than 30 strokes a minute.
  •  When you get in, you should also make sure that the foot strap is placed across the ball of your foot. If the fabric strap isn’t laid out properly, you should adjust the foot stretcher (where you place your feet) by a few pegs.
  • You should also make sure that you adjust the damper setting properly. This is the level on the side that controls the resistance level, so you need to put it in the 4 to 6 setting if you’re still a beginner.

Warming Up

Just like any other workout, learning how to use a rowing machine for abs or for any other purpose (such as weight loss) will require you to warm up first.

While there are several recommended warm-up drills, the purpose of each one is the same. You have to break down the movements of each row stroke with simple and partial movements, so that you can wake up your muscles and prepare them for the real workout.

Here’s one simple drill called the reverse pick drill that should take you about 5 minutes:

  1. Sit down and begin with your knees bent, with your arms straight, back engaged,and your hips pivoted forward.
  2. Grasp the handle and extend your arms. While you keep your shoulders relaxed and your back straight, keep the handle away from your chest.
  3. Now pus off with the soles of your feet and straighten your legs while the handle is kept away from your chest.
  4. Then bend your knees so that your seat goes back towards the flywheel and you return to your starting position.
  5. Do this for 15 strokes.
  6. Now for the next stage, straighten your legs and then lean back from the hips, so you’re a little bit past the upright stance. Then while you keep your neck and spine neutral, hinge a little bit forward at the hips and bend your knees to move the seat forward.
  7. Your arms should stay extended, while you keep your leg movements controlled.
  8. Do this for another 15 strokes.
  9. In the final stage of the warm-up, after you lean back from the hips you should also pull the handle fully to your chest. Your thumbs should be touching your lower rib.
  10. Then extend your arms away from your body, while your legs and back are straight.
  11. Then hinge at the hips, and then bend your knees. As you can see, each movement is distinct for each stroke during this warm-up.
  12. Repeat for a total of 15 strokes.

Now you’re ready for a few exercises, so you can learn how to use a rowing machine to build muscle. For some workouts, you can also learn how to use a rowing machine to lose weight at the same time.

That’s one of the benefits of rowing: exercises can help you develop your abs, strengthen your muscles, and also lose weight by burning calories. Add the fact that the rowing machine doesn’t stress your joints, and it’s no wonder why using the rowing machine is becoming more popular.

30-Minute Body Blast

Here’s a simple beginner’s exercise that doesn’t require a very high stroke rate. Just keep it to about 22 to 24 strokes per minute, and then during the rest period you can do some light strokes to get your heart rate down.

  • ROW for 8 minutes.
  • Rest for 4 minutes.
  • ROW for 6 minutes.
  • Rest for 4 minutes.
  • ROW for 4 minutes.
  • Rest for 2 minutes.
  • SPRINT (ROW as fast as you can) for 2 minutes.

20-Minute Interval Workout

This time, you have an even work to rest ratio, so your rowing should be done in a minute before you rest for a minute. This exercise can help burn calories quickly.

  • ROW for 250 meters (the distance should be displayed on the monitor).
  • Rest for 1 minute.
  • Repeat for a total of 10 rounds.

Lean Leapfrog

This exercise is similar to a weightlifting session because of the sprints, but it also burns about 700 calories while you develop your strength. Try to maintain or increase your distance when you’re rowing.

  • Sprint for 1 minute, SR (stroke rate) 26.
  • Rest for 1 minute.
  • Sprint for 1 minute, SR (stroke rate) 28.
  • Rest for 1 minute.
  • Sprint for 1 minute, SR (stroke rate) 26.
  • Rest for 1 minute.
  • Sprint for 1 minute, SR (stroke rate) 28.
  • Rest for 1 minute.
  • Sprint for 1 minute, SR (stroke rate) 26.
  • Rest for 1 minute.
  • Recover and rest for 2 minutes.

Do a total of 3 rounds.

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So now that you know how to use a rowing machine, you don’t have to be intimated anymore. Develop your abs and muscles, lose weight, and keep healthy indoors!

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