You’ve undoubtedly seen increased crowds surrounding your gym’s rowing machines at some time in the last several years. They’re generally stowed along a wall or in a corner because they’re long and low. They used to accumulate dust, but now they’re getting a lot of usage.
Indoor (machine) and outdoor (boat) rowing have a reputation for being a fantastic type of exercise, providing a total-body workout that can help you improve your cardio.
We spoke with an exercise physiologist to discover more about the advantages of rowing, as well as how to perform it properly and avoid injury.
The benefits of rowing
CrossFitters have boosted the use of the rowing machine for training regardless of whether or not you’re near a body of water in recent years, according to Dempers. For the average Joe, CrossFit has undoubtedly boosted the rowing machine.
Rowing is a fantastic workout for anybody, even outside of the CrossFit community, for all of the reasons that have made it a popular option among CrossFitters.
Mastering the rowing machine
Rowing, like jogging or using an elliptical machine, is a full-body workout. Begin by sitting on the machine with your knees bent and your feet on the foot bar (or in straps, depending on the machine). Next, grip the handle that is connected to the machine’s flywheel in the front through a cable.
Then, while drawing the handle towards your chest, push yourself back with your legs, utilising your core muscles to tilt your body back in a smooth, controlled action. You should be able to extend your legs, lean slightly back, and compress your arms into your chest at this point.
Glide forward, bending your knees back to their starting position and extending your arms and the handle towards the flywheel. From beginning to end, it should be one continuous motion. Then you repeat the action for as long as you wish to get a good exercise.
You may control the amount of airflow into the flywheel using the damper, a lever on the side of the flywheel, which determines how much tension you pull. The greater the airflow, the more strain is created, resulting in a more intense workout.
A full-body workout
While it may appear easy, it is a great exercise. Rowing has both an aerobic and a strength component to it. You may increase the machine’s tension for a stronger pull while still driving via your legs.
As you move back and forth on your pulls, your back gets a workout as well. There’s a postural element to it, as well as focusing on upper back strength. That’s significant, given how many people spend their days looking at computers or phones. It’s critical to improve your upper spine posture.
You’ll also burn calories as a result of the full-body workout. When it comes to calorie burn, it’s right up there. It’s below jogging but above an elliptical machine in my opinion. Certain elements, like as your pace, intensity, and resistance, influence how many calories you burn. Whatever the case may be, it’s still an excellent exercise.
Low impact, high cardio
One of the major advantages of rowing is that it is a low-impact activity that allows joints to rest. You’re not putting as much wear and tear on your back and knees because it’s a resistance workout done in a sitting posture.
But, he says, choosing rowing for something more high-impact like jogging doesn’t mean you’re skipping out on cardio. If you’re just looking at it as an aerobic activity to substitute something like jogging, you can get a fantastic cardio workout by rowing for half an hour.
A flexible workout option
Rowing is versatile in terms of how you include it into your programme because it provides such an excellent aerobic exercise. You may do brief intervals between other exercises to keep your heart rate up if you don’t want to complete a full workout like the one described above.
That, I believe, is the allure of rowing. You may perform it as a stand-alone workout or as part of a broader programme, jumping on and off for brief periods of time. You may simply move to something else after a brief hit, such as push-ups or kettlebell swings, and then return.
The physical components of a rowing machine also contribute to rowing’s flexibility. If you want to buy your own machine, you’ll still need a lot of room because most rowers are around 8 feet long (though usually no wider than your body).
While some rowing machines are heavy, most are light enough to move and even store away, which is a significant benefit over stationary treadmills and elliptical machines.
Keeping the proper form
To reap the maximum advantages of rowing and avoid injury, make sure you use good technique, just as you would with any other activity.
It’s critical to keep your knees straight and neutral. You don’t want them to bend out to the side throughout your movements because this might cause hip problems. Just make sure they aren’t locked when you draw back.
Proper posture is equally crucial, but it might be a little more difficult to maintain when you’re under a lot of stress. Consider balancing a book on your head, as shown in vintage posture training movies. Maintain a straight head and back shoulders. Avoid hunching down with your shoulders rounded and your head down.
If you don’t maintain appropriate form, you may get problems with your upper and lower back, as well as back spasms. If you pull higher on your body, such as towards your chin instead of your chest, you risk shoulder problems.
Keeping these pointers in mind can help you get the most out of your rowing machine workout and leave you feeling good, albeit a bit weary.