Are you wondering if rowing is a good workout? Definitely! If you haven't tried it yet, it's time to get acquainted with the indoor rower, also known as the ergometer or rowing machine.

Rowing workouts may seem intimidating initially, but they're surprisingly beginner-friendly and offer an excellent workout. Whether you're exploring your gym or thinking about a new home fitness tool, here's all you need to know about what could become your favourite exercise machine.

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Rowing Machine: What Exactly Is It?

A rower mimics the rowing of a boat. Though seemingly simple, stepping onto one reveals an intense workout. It's the Swiss Army knife of the gym, offering high-intensity intervals, low-impact, full-body strength, core training, heart health, endurance development, and posture control. Its versatility makes rowing suitable for everyone, from beginners to those in recovery.

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How Do You Use a Rowing Machine?

Rowing may seem tricky, but it's straightforward once you get the hang of it. Start by pushing your legs, leaning back with your core, and pulling the handle to your chest using your arms. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. Remember the sequence: "Legs, core, arms, arms, core, legs."

A common misconception is that rowing only works the upper body. It's about 60% legs, 30% core, and 10% arms. Power comes from the legs, but a tight core is essential. Focus on engaging your abs throughout to feel the burn. Keep that core tight for a more effective workout.

Benefits of Rowing Machine for Full Body Workouts

Thinking why you should try the rowing machine? Well, rowing machines offer many benefits, and you don't need to be a pro to enjoy them. With each stroke, you work both the upper and lower body, building and toning muscles while boosting endurance. Here are seven reasons why adding rowing to your workout routine is smart.

  • Rowing Works Your Arms, Legs, Back, and Core

Rowing gives your whole body a workout, not just your arms. It engages your upper body, legs, and core. In one rowing session, you target multiple muscle groups throughout your body.

  • Legs: When rowing, your legs, including quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes, are the key players. They power the rowing stroke during the drive phase when you push yourself backwards by straightening your legs. Simultaneously, you smoothly pull your arms back toward your chest.
  • Arms: In rowing, your forearms, triceps, and biceps come into play during both the pulling (drive) and extending (recovery) phases. It involves pulling your arms towards you and then extending them away.
  • Back: When rowing, your back muscles, including lats, traps, and spinal erectors, kick in during the drive phase. As you finish this phase, lean back with your legs straight and arms close to your chest.
  • Core: Your core muscles, like obliques, abs, and pecs, stay active during the entire rowing stroke, helping stabilise your body and maintain good posture.
  • Shoulders: When rowing, your deltoids work with each stroke, rotating your shoulders and activating your upper back muscles.
  • It Breaks up the Cardio Monotony

Rowing is a fantastic alternative if your regular cardio workouts are getting dull or you're looking for more variety. It's like other cardio exercises; it's often better, as it engages your whole body without stressing your joints. Rowing is a great way to add excitement to your fitness routine.

  • Improves Posture

If you spend much time sitting at a computer or looking down at your phone, your posture can suffer. Rowing is a great way to counteract these habits. It gives your upper spine a good workout, targeting the muscles in your upper back and shoulders with each stroke, helping improve your posture.

  • There's an Array of Workouts

A rowing machine is versatile and suitable for various workouts like intervals, endurance, and strength training.

It helps you reach goals fast with short, intense sessions. There is no need for lengthy runs; rowing engages your entire body, working major muscle groups for an effective cardio workout.

Quick rowing workouts, even just 15 minutes, count as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It burns more calories, benefiting your health even in short bursts. Rowing is a time-efficient way to stay active.

For proper form, think of it like a deadlift. Engage a trainer at the gym or use instructional videos for at-home rowing workouts.

How to Use a Rowing Machine?

Here's how to use a rowing machine at gyms or at home perfectly:

  • Foot Placement: Ensure the balls of your feet are securely in place with straps holding them.
  • Posture: Sit up straight with an engaged core to maintain proper form.
  • Rowing Motion: Push back with your lower body and upper back, pulling your hands to your chest and straightening your legs.
  • Return to Start: Bend your knees and drive your arms toward the base to return to the initial position.
  • Repetition: Once comfortable with your form, repeat the rowing motion and gradually increase strokes.
  • Power Generation: When speeding up, focus on pushing out with more power rather than pulling your arms in faster.

Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Shoulder Reliance: Ensure shoulders aren't doing all the work.
  • Postural Issues: Avoid hunching forward or raising arms too high; keep them straight below the chest.ÔÇŹ
  • Grip: Don't grip too tightly to prevent unnecessary tension.ÔÇŹ
  • Neck and Jaw Relaxation: Keep neck and jaw muscles relaxed, avoiding excessive clenching.

To sum it up,

Once you give rowing a shot, you'll likely discover how effortlessly it fits into your typical fitness routine. It's a simple addition that can seamlessly become part of your regular workouts, bringing a dynamic and full-body workout.

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Posted
May 27, 2024
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