So you're ready to start using a rowing machine? Let's take a look at a few tips you'll need to make the most of your rowing sessions.
Ready to get going on your rowing machine? You've made an excellent choice.
The rowing machine is a piece of equipment that provides an all-round workout and allows you to work on over 90% of the muscles in your body.
Here are some tips that will help you get started, such as the different types of sessions you could attempt, the right posture for rowing, and how to reduce the risk of injury.
It might seem obvious but choosing the right gear to wear is a very important part of feeling good during your session.
When you work out on a rowing machine you are going to sweat. That means you need to wear light, breathable clothing that dries quickly.
You also have to move the upper and lower part of your body a lot when rowing. To stay comfortable we recommend you wear clothing that moves with you and stretches, making you feel at ease as you move back and forth.
Don't worry, it's not that complicated. And it's better to get things right at the very start.
Let's look at how you sit first of all. Simply sit yourself down on the small sliding seat and place your feet in the footrests (your heels should be in contact with the heel cup). Then, tighten the foot straps to secure your feet in place.
Adjusting the resistance
Whatever resistance system your rowing machine uses (programmable or air resistance), we advise you to set it to the lowest level if you're just starting out.
It's important to get familiar with the machine and how you move on it before increasing the resistance.
The more you increase the resistance, the harder it is to pull on the handles.
And the faster you row on an air rowing machine, the greater the resistance. Once again, if you're just getting started, then row at a gentle pace to begin with and step it up as you go along.
There are 4 stages in the stroke you make on a rowing machine. You'll have to give it some thought to begin with but before long you'll be rowing like a pro.
You should keep your chest up and your abdominal muscles engaged throughout the stroke.
Stage 1: The catch
Your hands are around the handles, with palms facing down. You are positioned right in front of the machine, with knees and shins vertical to the ground.
Stage 2: The drive
The goal here is to fully extend your legs by pushing your feet hard against the footrests.
At the same time, pull your elbows back past the chest, while keeping the handle straight.
The chain should be parallel to the ground and should not move up or down. The handle should be closer to your navel than your chin.
And whatever you do, don't bend your back or you will run the risk of hurting yourself.
Stage 3: The recovery
To end the stroke, extend your arms, keeping your elbows and the chain parallel to the floor. The handle will move forward, your legs will flex and you will return to stage 1.
And that's how you perform a stroke on a rowing machine.
Here are some final few tips that will stop you from injuring yourself and help you get your stroke right from the very start.
Rowing is an activity that engages your whole body, not just your arms and your legs.
Your back and abdominal muscles must be tensed the whole time. As for the knees and elbows, avoid extending them fully as this may damage the joints.
Your muscles should be slightly flexed and you should start every session at a gentle pace. This will help you to warm up.
Once you've mastered the stroke, it will all come naturally.
Looking to lose a bit of body fat?
Start off by doing 2-3 sessions a week at the lowest resistance level, with each session lasting 30 - 45 minutes. Maintain a regular rhythm without too many interruptions.
You should stop only to drink water, which is very important.
Are you aiming for all-round fitness?
Row at a pace you feel comfortable with (nice and slow if you're just starting out) for 20 minutes.
Then, for the last 20 minutes, step it up and increase the resistance, switching between a steady and a moderate pace.
And to round off your reading, don't miss our article on the benefits of using a rowing machine.
You now have everything you need to get rowing like a pro and to make the most of your training session without risking injury.
All the best!