How To Use A Rowing Machine Properly 1

How To Use A Rowing Machine Properly

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If you are a beginner and you want to learn how to use a rowing machine properly, the best option is to seek advice from a gym instructor. There are a lot of technicalities involved in this workout and if you do things improperly, you run the risk of injuring yourself. If you plan to use a rowing machine at home and don’t want to find a gym instructor we have some tips in this article, and there are also some useful videos on places like YouTube

  • Wear comfortable clothes – gym kit
  • Secure your feet into the straps on the footplate
  • With you bottom on the seat, slide forwards so your knees are bent
  • Grab the handle firmly with both hands, with a straight back
  • Push backwards using your leg muscles
  • Lean back in a 45-degree angle
  • With straight legs and back, now pull the handle toward your chest
  • Extend your arms forward
  • Slide forward, back into the starting position.

Beginner Tips

  • Start with low resistance – between 3 and 5 to begin with, and on a low or comfortable speed
  • Practice the correct movements before increasing either resistance or speed
  • Think about how much effort is being used by each body section:
    • About 60% from your legs
    • 20% from your arms, and
    • 20% from your core
How To Use A Rowing Machine Properly

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine?

Rowing workouts are highly effective in burning calories and building strong and sculpted muscles if done the correct way. It can also be very effective in shedding belly fat. In fact, it can be more effective than running can be. Any cardiovascular exercise that enhances the heart rate is good for losing weight. Both running and rowing are highly result-oriented cardiovascular workouts. But rowing can be a better option because it’s a low-impact workout compared to running.

Rowing is a full-body workout. For losing weight, the best way is to use a combination of exercises that seek to elevate the heart rate. Losing fat belly can’t be a standalone goal and it will have to be part of the overall weight loss program, for which even rowing can be a good exercise. However, besides burning calories, rowing can also help in creating a defined muscle, especially in the midsection. Any exercise that elevates the heart rate will burn calories and help shed fat all over the body, including in the belly. Rowing can be one of the exercises aimed at losing fat but you will have to do it consistently and at a high intensity.

Is a rowing machine a good workout?

The rowing machine offers a good workout. The greatest advantage is that it can be done in a sitting position. You don’t have to be athletic or lightweight to be good at using a rowing machine. Rowing places more premiums on the power that you bring to your workout. Being heavier may have an advantage in working out at rowing because you can exert more energy. In this sense, it is not pure cardio. Rowing is a wonderful combination of strong aerobic as well as strong muscular systems.

To the beginner, the rowing machine can look intimidating to work out on, whether in the gym or at home. But once you have become comfortable with it, it is a wonderful way of making your cardio routine more interesting. The rowing machine or the ergometer is a great calorie buster that can burn up to 700-800 calories in an hour. It offers an all-body workout, with special emphasis on legs, shoulders, abs, hamstrings, and glutes. Just be aware, improper use of a rowing machine can result in back injuries and pain.

Is rowing better than running?

Both rowing and running are great cardio workouts. Most of the cardio benefits that you find in running can also be found in rowing. The rowing machine, however, has the option of increasing the resistance. This means you can train and increase your VO2 max to the target heart rate. Interval training and advanced models of the treadmill may also have this feature, the average treadmill does have this. But on a rowing machine, the resistance is a standard feature.   

Running is classified as a high-impact sport and this means that it is quite hard on the joints. Regular runners often suffer from pains in their knees, back, foot, and more. On the other hand, rowing is classified as a low-impact workout. Since the legs don’t have to bear the weight of the body, rowing is gentle and soft on the joints. If you are suffering from some kind of a pain in the joints such as arthritis, rowing can be a good alternative to running. Rowing is performed in the sitting position and not against gravity as is the case in running.

What's a good 500-metre row time?

The 500-metre row time on a rowing machine is a measurement of how much time it would take for you to move a boat 500 meters if you were on the water. It€’s also called ‘split time’. The key to getting a better 500-meter row time is in the force that you apply to pull the handle. If you work really hard on the handle, your 500-metre pace will be lower. But if you pull the handle at a stroke rate you are comfortable but manage to maximise the power you apply, your 500-metre pace will be higher. Completing a 500-metre test in 2 minutes is considered a good time.

It is good to do a regular fitness test to check your progress and the 500-meter row test is a good measurement of your progress.

Should you row every day?

Even if you really enjoy rowing machine workouts, you should not overdo it. If you are a beginner, working out on the rowing machine three times a week is more than adequate. Giving a day’s rest to your muscles between two consecutive rowing sessions will allow them to relax and recover. As your endurance level goes up, you can increase your rowing workout to up to 5 days a week. But if you find your muscles extremely sore, you can take two days to rest to recover fully before you hit the machine once again. 

Aerobic exercises even for a few minutes may turn out to be quite a challenge when you are new to them. But you can overcome this hurdle by breaking your workout into several spells of smaller duration. For example, four 15-minute sessions of rowing workout can replace an hour-long session if the endurance level does not allow the workout to be performed in one stretch. Apparently, long workouts have no advantage over short-duration workouts. What you should ensure that you do not injure your back by performing long spells on the rowing machine.

Best Home Rowing Machines

We have chosen the best home rowing machines for three different categories.

Best Overall Home Rowing Machine

The Concept Model D is probably the most popular rowing machine around. You will often see them in gyms and are used by all levels of rower, from beginner to expert. It is very smooth to use, has plenty of features available in the display unit and is built to last.

Best Budget Home Rowing Machine

For a low cost, high quality machine that also folds up for space-saving, the JLL R200 is ideal. It features ten levels of magnetic resistance and is very well built and durable for the price. This rowing machine is best suited to the beginner or intermediate rower.

Best Home Rowing Machine Under £500

The JTX Freedom offers 16 levels of air and electromagnetic resistance, giving a nice, smooth workout. It has 8 training programmes and the display allows you to track speed, distance, time, stroke rate, heart rate and more. An excellent chose for a sub-£500 rowing machine.

Conclusion - How To Use A Rowing Machine Properly

You should know how to use a rowing machine properly before you incorporate it into your regular workout to avoid any unnecessary injuries. It is a great machine for cardio exercise, whether you use one at your local gym or at home. It is also excellent for weight loss. Many have training programs and competitions.

Do you use one? Let us know your tips and best times in the comments below.


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