The stereotypical image of a gym filled with little more than benches and weights has long been replaced with hi-tech equipment to help every health conscious individual achieve the most out of their daily exercise sessions. Disregarded by many apart from those using them for practice, rowing machines offer a far more effective and more balanced workout than you might realise and if you are pressed for time, it may well be an ideal part of your daily workout routine… and, if used properly, rowing machines are also one of the least stressful to use on the body.
To get the most out of a rowing machine, especially when purchasing one for home use, make sure that you choose one with a sliding seat which are the most common. While they will all help to give you a great all-over workout, ones with a sliding seat will give you a better workout for the lower body.
While there are no physical weights involved or no risk of falling off, you still need to take some health precautions. While using the machine, the most important thing to remember is to let your legs do most of the work for you. You should aim to keep your body in the upright position throughout exercising, avoiding unnecessary back strain, keeping it as straight as possible, but not too far forward or backwards at any time during your session. Also ensure that you don’t hunch over, which will also reduce the risk of any injuries to your back – the most common area of injury received from rowing.
Bearing all that in mind, once you’re seated and have secured your feet into the foot straps (if your rowing machine has them), you’re ready to start, so take the handle firmly in both hands with your palms facing down, your knees bent and your chest close to your thighs, but making sure that your back is straight not slouched.
From there, start to push the foot pedals extending them while pulling the handle straight towards your stomach, while still keeping your back as straight as possible, then returning back to the starting position. All the time while using the rowing machine, you should keep both your elbows and knees bent, rather than locking them when they are fully extended and make sure that all of your movements are as smooth as possible.
Whether you only use the rowing machine for a short 10 minute session, or a longer one hour workout, it’s a superb low-impact option in the gym. Unlike most pieces of gym equipment that focus on a limited number of muscle groups, rowing machines make use of several major muscle groups in your upper and lower body. They provide an excellent aerobic workout, burning calories far more effectively than other forms of exercise, and you will have walked away having a great cardio workout at the same time. What more can you ask for?
It goes without saying that if you suffer from any existing back, joint or other medical conditions, then you should consult your GP before using a rowing machine.