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How To Use a Rowing Machine

Last updated on: February 7th, 2020

A rowing machine is among the best equipment that you can work out with. But how to use a rowing machine properly? It is important to know how to use one properly after buying the equipment.

This is because exercising the right way using the rowing machine is a fun way to ensure that you give the body a full body work out.

The workout is very efficient in losing weight, and it works on improving the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system increasing the body’s ability regarding resistance.

Parts of the body targeted

The rowing machine can give a perfect work out depending the body parts and muscles that you want to give attention to.

It is, therefore, important to identify the body parts of the body you want to work out.

This is important to consider before buying different types of rowing machines and how they have been set up.

Rowing machine technique steps

Most people do not benefit from the row machine because they do not sit on the rowing machine in a proper position.

It needs that one follows a stroke by stroke guide in rowing the machine.

Step one

Once you sit on the seat, you should strap your feet in tightly and keep your back flat.

You should then take the bar and pull the bar out horizontally while the arms are stretched out.

You should move forward with the knees bent on the slide.

Once common mistake that is faced by people exercising is that they over, stretch their arms while leaning forward than required.

This can result in injuries such as slipped discs, and also causing you to burn out your energy within minutes of the exercise.

Step two

When the arms are stretched out, you should ensure that the wrists are alt and push yourself on the slide until the knees are bent slightly.

At this moment, you ought to draw your arms over the knees towards you.

Pulling the bar before will make you lean back making that one smooth movement into several series of jerks.

When moving backward, you need to ensure that the back slowly comes upright.

Avoid leaning back too far as this will stain the abdominal muscles and the lower back.

Also maintain that the arms are brought towards the chest and elbows are tucked in.

Step three

Before you move forward, ensure that while holding the bar at chest level you move forward.

You should only move forward when the arms are over the knees.

You should ensure that you do not rush back up into the crouch position on the slide.

Instead, you should take twice the time moving forward when the chain is slack than moving back while pulling the bar.

Once this is done, you will have completed one stroke using the row machine.

You should not be in a hurry to rush back instead try and complete about 25 strokes in one minute of the exercise.

Ensure that about 80% of the power used in the exercise comes from the legs and the rest of the arms.

Before beginning the vigorous exercise ensure that you have warmed up ten minutes at least beginning with your arms than with the legs.

Workout muscle groups

The upper body

The rowing machine is the ideal machine to use when you want to exercise the several muscles located in the upper body.

There are some workout options that you can do with the wrists and hands that will ensure that the upper body exercises fully.

This is also helpful in several sports that require upper body strength and endurance such as boat rowing.

Although much more focus will be on the shoulders, the biceps can work out, the abs and the pectoral muscles making you cover a variety number of muscles.

The lower body

Most people are usually surprised by the results their lower bodies produce regarding fitness, and they are usually shocked.

This is because most people do not realize that most of the exercise are carried out by the buttocks, legs, calves and quads.

For those who have the sliding seat on the row machine, increased movement when sliding back and forth exercises the lower body more.

Positioning while rowing

It is important that you properly position yourself when rowing so that there is a smooth feel when the energy your body is being released.

You need to focus on finding the right position before exercising to avoid suffering from cramps and straining.

Common mistakes that you should avoid when exercising

When learning how to use the rowing machine as a beginner, it is important that you keep following these tips.

Do not rush

When you begin the workout do not rush yourself into making mistakes when rowing could result in negative consequences.

It is important to learn and test how the row machine moves and how your body makes movements while rowing the machine.

As you continue working out with the rowing machine as a beginner, it becomes easier to increase the resistance when rowing and also the speed is taken in completing strokes per minute.

It is easier to pick up the momentum after starting with short rowing lessons and stopping before your muscles become tired.

This will make it easy for you to continue.

Pushing using your back muscles

It is important that you do not form a habit of doing most of the exercise with the back muscles.

This is because you want to avoid back pains caused by straining the back muscles.

You need to ensure that the legs do most of the heavy pushing when rowing.

Learning to train smoothly

When beginning to row, it is important that you avoid jerky and erratic movements that harm the body.

This is to ensure that the workout is smooth and that the results are optimized.

Ensure that when rowing the upper body, you should avoid tilting back when you finish the stroke.

The other mistake that people do is leaning forward.

When you follow the tips above, be sure that you will gain the best results when rowing.

The rowing machine is effective in exercising the whole body.

How to get the best from the rowing machine

To get the best results, find some of the workouts that you will need to understand especially for beginners using the rowing machine.

Once you get the hang of the positions when training, it will be easier for you to get the best results from your workouts.

Rowing machine positions

Once you sit on the rowing machine, you need to ensure that your feet are securely trapped in so that your feet won’t be sliding as you row.

It is important that the straps are not too tightened order to ensure that you can focus on your movement.

The grip you have on the handles should be on top of the handles to maintain smooth flow and to make it easy for your joints to have a powerful grip.

Always ensure that your wrists are parallel to the arms as you extend them out towards the position of the feet.

Once you begin feeling you are moving on the seat, the whole body tends to slide towards the feet, and you need to stop. It is then important to lean slightly in front and towards your hips and be ready for your first drive.

The drive position

The drive position

Credits: howtorow.com

Lean in a forward position and begin pushing both legs as you extend the legs and let the body drive back on the rower seat.

Once you begin doing this, you will soon realize that the energy smoothly shifts from the legs to the hands.

Make sure that you have a firm grip on the handles and tighten the abdominal muscles.

This is to get the best results and not to strain the lower back.

Your legs will point to a point where they will almost be straight though they should not be fully straight.

Keep the knees slightly bent and leaned back with the shoulders.

Finishing position

Finishing position

Credits: howtorow.com

Once the legs are almost straight lean back slightly and allow for movement by bending the elbow.

As you row pulling the handle towards the stomach and begin feeling a burn in your arms.

Lean back with the hips and keep the legs extended and the abs will also work out in this position.

The recovering position

The recovering position

Credits: howtorow.com

This comes next after the finishing position as you will stretch out your arms pushing the handle of the rowing machine to the original position before starting rowing.

This sets the motion for the next repetition.

Once you do this, extend the arms to the point that you will feel that you are unable to bend them anymore.

Do this until you are back in the position you began with.

In conclusion, just repeat these steps slowly and make sure that you do not strain the body.

Once you follow all that we have advised you to do, be ready for the best results using the rowing machine.

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  1. Most people believe that handling a rowing machine is very easy. But it is not. The techniques involved may be quite tricky. Your fitness goals will actually decide how committed you will be to the machine.

  2. Hey Kenneth,

    A very good post about how to actually row. I had the bad habit of using mostly my back muscles till now. Thank you for letting me know that using back muscles while rowing can cause back pains.

    Keep up the good work.



  3. Wow! this post really worth reading. I like the it quite much. I row sometimes but never knew steps of how to row perfectly. Thanks for sharing such an informative post here. It helps alot of people. Just want to give a thubs up to your work, keep posting such things.

  4. This is really worthy idea.We have just posted article on rowing machine review where we have suggest people to go for rowing which is best for rowing machine.

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