When going to the gym, most people focus on the treadmill or the elliptical while neglecting or entirely overlooking the rower, i.e. the rowing machine.

Since this machine provides a number of benefits, it’s sad that so many people don’t incorporate it into their workout routines.

The truth is that a lot of people simply aren’t aware of the benefits this amazing machine provides. Apart from being the most efficient piece of gym equipment that builds muscle and burns calories at the same time, the rowing machine has a number of other benefits as well:

  • Rowing is one of the most effective aerobic exercises that will keep both your lungs and heart healthy.
  • You will get a full-body workout by using a rowing machine.
  • Rowing provides strength training and cardio workout simultaneously, allowing you to lose weight and build muscle at the same time.
  • A rowing machine is great for improving endurance, flexibility, and overall fitness.
  • Since it is low-impact, a rowing machine is ideal for people with joint problems.
  • The chances of injury are low.

So, if you are intrigued by all the benefits a rowing machine provides but you haven’t tried it before, keep reading. Below, you will find a guide to using a rowing machine properly. Also, you will probably start looking for a home rowing machine as soon as you learn all about it.

Starting rowing position

Starting Position

– If you are unsure of your current fitness level, set the resistance low for your first row. You can easily increase the resistance once you get a hold of how everything functions.

– Put your feet on the pads and secure them with straps. Make sure that the straps are tight enough; your feet shouldn’t move while you use the rower. However, the straps shouldn’t be too tight either.

– Slide to the top of the machine by bringing your knees up. Grab the handle securely, but don’t hold it too tightly.

– Start sliding to the end of the machine while pulling the handle with you. Keep your legs straight and your knees slightly bent so that they aren’t locked. Slightly lean back, pulling your hands all the way to your breasts while holding the handle right under your chest, with your elbows pointing down against your sides. At this position, you should begin your workout, as well as end it once you finish a full stroke.

The Catch

– Make sure that you are moving your arms first, and your upper body should follow. Also, pay attention to your back at all times — it needs to stay straight, not slumped. Your shoulders should be all the way back, and you should use your abs as you follow through. While extending your arms out, the position of your upper body will go from slightly angled backward to slightly angled forward.

– Once your arms start extending and your body leaning forward, you should bend your legs and slide your body forward on the seat. When you get at the machine’s top, your legs will be bent completely and your arms fully extended.


The Drive

– In order to slide back to the finish position, you need to use your feet first and push off. That way, your legs will straighten, your arms will remain extended, and your body will still be slightly leaning forward. This part focuses on your legs and core muscles the most, since it is similar to pulling the oars out of the water and propelling the boat forward.

– While still pushing through with your legs, start moving your upper body so that you can begin to lean back.

– Your arms will be the last body part to return to the finish position. While your upper body angles backward, you need to pull the handle and bend your arms, allowing the handle to end up touching the front of your chest again (just like in the starting position). You shouldn’t grip the handle too tightly; most of the power should be through your legs. If you use too much force to pull the cable, you might end up with painful hand blisters and back problems.

– Until you become confident in your skill, practice your stroke at a low resistance and without rushing. If it is easier for you, you can break the moves down: do arms-body-legs while pulling to the machine’s top and legs-body-arms while pushing back.

Why Choose a Rowing Machine?

Apart from being extremely beneficial and effective for both losing weight and building muscle and endurance, a rowing machine isn’t as expensive as other, more popular gym machines.

Furthermore, it doesn’t require a lot of space. That means that it is ideal for home gyms — you can store it upright in a corner after each workout. Even if you live in a small apartment or a house, or you have a lot of furniture, you will be able to fit a rowing machine.

One more thing — since a rowing machine provides a full-body workout, you won’t need any other piece of gym equipment. Rowing alone can help you get in shape and improve your overall health and fitness. Oh, and rowing is fun; you will love doing it.