Rowing is an alternative to other popular cardio exercises like running or HIIT that benefits your total body. Rowing machines are very accessible for in-home use, too, which makes them an even better option. If you’re interested in using a rowing machine to take advantage of all the benefits they offer, read more below to learn about rowing machine workouts you can complete on your own!
What Is A Rowing Machine
Rowing machines are cardio-based systems meant to replicate the actions of rowing inside a boat. You should begin in a seated position with your feet placed on the foot bar and your knees slightly bent. It’s also a good idea to strap your feet into place to prevent the risk of injury during a session.
The workout begins when you grab the handle towards the front of the machine, attached to a flywheel via cable. From here, push against the foot bar with your legs to jumpstart your motion. Try to angle your body backward while continuing to bring the handle towards your chest until it touches. There should be a point during the process where your legs are completely extended and straight while the handle has reached your chest and your torso is leaning slightly backward.
You can adjust the resistance to make it harder or easier to complete the exercise to ensure that you’re challenging yourself. You can also monitor your heart rate and distance traveled while using the machine on the screen in front of you.
The most unique feature of rowing machines is their ability to perform different exercises. We talked about the details of what goes into the essential row exercise, but there are many other angles you can work your body using the same machine, ranging from bicep curls all the way to reverse overhead rows.
There are even rowing machines that double as ski training machines for an added cardio boost. Check out EnergyFit’s new SKI-ROW AIR and SKI-ROW AIR + PWR dual-function training machines that serve as both fully functional rowing machines and ski trainers.
Form Is Key in Rowing Workouts
Rowing machines allow you to complete full-body exercises, meaning they focus on all the major muscle groups during a singular session. Since you’re working so much of your body, the form you have while using one of these machines is very crucial. If you hop on a rowing machine and ignore the specific way that you’re engaging your muscles, this will skyrocket your chances of injury.
One of the most important things to remember when performing a basic row is to make sure that your knees remain straight and neutral. It’s a bad idea to lock your knees when you reach the peak of the exercise, too. If your knees end up moving from side to side, this can lead to hip injury in the future.
Your knees aren’t the only body part that you need to pay attention to; make sure your back is accounted for as well. Keep your back straight and avoid jerking it in awkward ways. Keep your shoulders slightly behind your torso with your head straight as you pull the handle towards your chest. If the handle is pulled higher than this for basic rowing, you could injure your shoulders.
Start slow and practice using the rowing machine before using it at full speed to reach your workout goals. It’s crucial to nail the basics of form because it’s easy to tweak something if you’re not careful or don’t know how to use it correctly.
Benefits of At-Home Rowing
You might be wondering, “Why should I choose to use a rowing machine instead of a treadmill, Stairmaster, or elliptical?” If you read more about the benefits rowing machines offer compared to the other cardio exercises, you’ll start to understand just how beneficial a rowing machine can be.
Great For Warming Up
Like most cardio exercises, rowing can be used as a portion of your warm-up if you’re also going to the gym for strength training. Since rowing is a total-body exercise, it does an outstanding job of loosening up all the major muscle groups you need to get going.
The primary row is done in a seated position, making the machine a low impact, high cardio option. This means that your joints aren’t overly stressed while in motion, so there’s less wear and tear on your back or muscles than high-impact cardio like running.
Flexibility and Convenience
If you don’t have time to work out for a specific length of time every given day, don’t sweat it! Rowing machines provide ample opportunities to get your heart rate up, no matter how long you have to dedicate to it. You can perform shorter, quick bursts on the rower to squeeze in a workout if you want to.
As another option, you could even mix in some interval training by rowing at rapid bursts in a short amount of time, followed immediately by longer spurts of less intense rowing. Interval training exercises like these are proven to get your heart rate up dramatically and improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Although row machines aren’t exactly tiny, the right machine will be compact and easy to assemble. That makes them ideal to fit into your home and give you more flexibility to squeeze your workout regimens into your schedule. For those who find it tough to travel to the gym every day to work out, your own rowing machine will make it easier to stay committed to your routine.
Intensity and Resistance
The SKI-ROW AIR uses air-flywheel resistance, which provides a variable resistance curve. At a lower intensity, the resistance will be minimal. As the user’s intensity increases, so will the resistance. This feature gives the user far more control over the resistance level than on most other cardio machines.
The machine reacts to the user rather than just providing a static resistance. This makes it a great option for users of all ages and fitness levels.
Rowing Workout Effects
A rowing workout can benefit your whole body and is a great way to burn calories while enhancing muscles, increasing endurance, and strengthening your core. Although most people think rowing requires vast upper-body strength, it’s more about the legs and hips. It truly is a full-body workout that can strengthen your physique while providing health benefits in many of the following areas:
- Upper body
- Upper back
- Lower Body
If you are a beginner, consider starting with an instructor or personal trainer to familiarize yourself with a proper technique and appropriate stroke rate for maximum results.
All in all, rowing machines are an excellent option for cardio exercise. These machines perform a wide variety of row exercises that benefit all the major muscle groups while creating minimum stress on your joints. It’s also very simple to fit a rowing machine into your overall workout regimen. Like most exercise machines, as long as your form is precise, rowing is extremely beneficial to your health.
If you find it difficult to fit going to the gym into your schedule every day, cardio via rowing machines is a very convenient match for your wants and needs.