Whether you already have a rowing machine, or are thinking of purchasing one, a rowing machine is an excellent choice for getting a full body cardio workout. But, in order to get the best workout, you need to know how best to use a rowing machine. Here’s how.
Rowing machines are a great way to get a low impact cardio workout, while working almost every major muscle group (including your back, legs, arms, and core). You also build endurance in your lungs and heart. IF your rowing machine workout is done properly, you get a great workout, with little risk of injury.
Using a Rowing Machine
It’s important to have the proper rowing motion. There are three parts to this motion:
- The Catch – At the start of your movement, you’ll be sitting tall on the machine, with your arms straight out in front of you. Your back should be upright, and your knees & ankles flexed. You’ll use your lats (these are the major muscles in your back) to pull your shoulders down, and brace your core. You’ll want to brace these muscles to protect your lower back from injury.
- The Drive – This part of the rowing movement goes in this order. You start by pushing with your legs, while at the same time contracting and bracing your core. Your arms are still straight out in front of you. When you’ve pushed back with your legs to the point where they are straight, hinge your hips and lean back about 45 degrees. At this point, you’ll then use your arms to pull the handle to your torso (think of a spot just above your belly button).
- The Finish – Now, reverse what you did in the Drive movement above. Extend your arms, bend forward, bring your torso over your legs, then bend your knees to return to The Catch position.
In short – the movement is “legs, hips, core, arms, core, hips, legs.
What To Avoid
One of the big mistakes people make is to not use their core. Your core muscles (around your gut and into your back) need to be engaged during the movement – otherwise, all you’re doing is moving your hips and legs, missing out on gaining core strength.
Another common mistake is rounding your shoulders when you lean forward for the Catch. Don’t slump – you want to keep your spine upright, locking it in place with your lats and abs.
With the proper movement, you’ll find your workouts are much more effective and injury free. And, if you’re looking for a rowing machine, Fitness 4 Home Superstore carries rowing machines from Concept 2, Spirit Fitness, and First Degree. Stop into any of our three Phoenix locations to learn more!
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