Hey Angels and Alphas,
The rowing machine, the ergometer, or just “the rower”, is a powerful weight loss and strength building tool that often sits largely neglected in a corner of the gym. But what many people don’t realize is that it’s one of the best fitness tools out there, helping you work your entire body and get your heart rate up relatively quickly.
But why is the rowing machine so underrated?
Many people simply don’t know how to use it properly or how truly versatile it can be. Plus, people can get bored quickly if they don’t notice the benefits, leading a lot of people to falsely assume it’s not worth their time.
But a small shift in your mindset and a few tweaks that allow you to perfect your form, and you’ll discover that the rowing machine is one of the many machines that deserve a staple spot in your workout routine.
Here’s everything you need to know about it.
THE MANY BENEFITS OF THE ROWING MACHINE
First and foremost, rowing is a very intense yet very low-impact exercise. Depending on how exactly you choose to utilize it, the rower can increase your cardiovascular fitness while also building up your strength and explosive power.
Here are some of the most well-touted benefits of the ergometer:
#1 IT’S A FULL-BODY WORKOUT
Stroke for stroke, rowing will recruit over 85 percent of all the muscles in your body. If you’re someone who struggles with squeezing in high-quality workouts, it can be a time-effective solution that will boost your flexibility and allow you to hit multiple muscle groups including your arms, abs, legs, upper back, pecs, obliques, and more.
#2 IT WILL GIVE YOUR JOINTS A BREAK
Rowing is pretty much impact-free, making it the perfect option for people who need cross-training exercises that are easy on their joints. For example, if you’re a runner and your knees are achy from the constant treadmill or road running, rowing can actively support your recovery while helping you build strength in those areas.
#3 IT BOOSTS YOUR ENDURANCE
If you’ve hit a plateau in your usual cardio, rowing could potentially boost your VO2 max (which is one of the most important markers that tells you how well your body uses oxygen.) If you start to work rowing into your routine, you will likely improve your swimming and running fitness, as well.
#4 IT BURNS A TON OF CALORIES
Rowing is a high-demand exercise, allowing you to burn hundreds of calories in a single session. Case in point: according to U.S. Rowing, young athletes may burn an estimated 600 calories in just an hour of rowing. (Though this is just an average and your exact calorie burn will depend on factors such as workout intensity and body weight.)
SO HOW DO WE PERFECT OUR ROWING FORM AND REAP ALL THE WEIGHT LOSS & STRENGTH GAIN BENEFITS?
If you’re ready to give the row a go, it’s definitely worth taking the time to get the fundamentals of the stroke down so you can ensure you get a safe and effective workout every time you get on that machine.
Here’s the step-by-step process for perfecting your rowing technique:
1. SECURE BOTH OF YOUR FEET IN THE FOOTHOLDS
Many beginners tend to think not having their feet securely strapped in isn’t that big of a deal. However, as you learn to use your legs to start pushing yourself off, you’ll understand the importance of the straps. Put them on and make sure they hold your feet tight.
2. GRAB THE HANDLE WITH AN OVERHAND GRIP AND SIT UP STRAIGHT
Make sure your back isn’t rounded. That’s a must. Your body should never be curved at any point. Instead, position your back slightly slanted forward at a 45-degree angle.
3. START IN THE CATCH POSITION
To get into the catch position, simply slide your seat forward while your knees are bent, your glutes are near your heels, your arms are straight, and your body is leaning slightly forward.
4. FOR THE DRIVE OF THE MOVEMENT, PUSH YOUR HEELS INTO THE FOOTHOLDS AND JUST STRAIGHTEN YOUR LEGS
The biggest problem people have with the rowing stroke is that they fail to realize it’s primarily a push with the legs, not a pull with the arms.
Simply push with your legs first, swing your body open, and pull your arms into your chest before you repeat the process in reverse.