How to Use a Rowing Machine

Rowing Machine

The Rowing Machine is an excellent choice to spice up your cardio routine. It is also a perfect exercise equipment for exercises with joint issues and if done properly, you can get a great workout with a little risk of injury. It works for every muscle group including the legs, arms, back, and core by building endurance in the heart and lungs.

Most people shy away from using rowing machines at the gym due to lack of awareness on how to use them. If Rowing Machine workouts are done properly, it works the entire body and improves the core strength. It can be done at home also for which the machine requires only a small amount of space. The key is to understand the motion and different positions while rowing. Here, the 3 perfect steps to perform the rowing motion are mentioned below

The Rowing Motion

1. The Catch

This is the beginning movement where you will be sitting tall on the rowing machine with your arms straight, back upright, knees and ankles flexed. With back straight and core engaged, push back using only legs, rolling through feet so that they are flat when the legs are extended. Keep your arms extended throughout the workout which will protect your lower back.

2. The Drive

It has a specific order of movements and begins by pushing your legs while still bracing and contracting the core. Keep up the legs straight and lean back to about 45 degrees. Finally, pull the handle towards your torso about a few inches above the belly button.

3. The Finish

Do the same movement in the reverse order to finish the move. Now, extend the arms, hinge the hips forward, bring the torso over the legs and then bend the knees as like you are back at the Catch phase.

Some Common Mistakes:

The most common mistakes done at the Rowing Machine are mentioned below with the steps to fix them.

Not using the core during the drive:

Make sure that the core is engaged before you push back with the legs. Or you will end up by doing the movement through the hips instead of your legs.

Rounding through the back:

When you round through the back and slump forward, it can place stress on the back and the shoulders.

Bending the knees first during the Finish:

When you follow the proper order of the Finish, the arms, hips, torso, and knees will get into a solid rhythm. Bending of the knees changes the timing of the move and its effectiveness.

Letting the knees to drop to the side:

Letting your knees to flop wide is a bit much for a workout. It means that you are not engaging the thinner-thigh muscles or activating the hip flexors.

Put the strap over the big toe joint:

To keep your knees from flopping, strap in your feet correctly. The adjustable strap goes over the joint at the base of the big toes in which the toes should bend comfortably so that you should be able to push off the balls of feet.

Thus, the rowing machine can be used for an effective workout that targets all the energy systems. Start with about 10 minutes of rowing initially and add gradually each time to get used to the movement. Make sure to check with the doctor before using the rowing machine in the case if any lower back pain or injury.


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