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Exercise Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Best Indoor Rowing Techniques: Using a Modern Conditioning Machine with Ancient Roots

By Staff Editor
Dec 20, 2016 - 10:22:29 AM

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( - Rowing is one of the most efficient and beneficial forms of exercise these days, and you don’t have to go out on the water to make the most of it. There are many different indoor rowing machines out there. The problem is, many people buy a
rowing machine but don’t use it to its full potential.

A rowing machine is a great way to get your cardio exercise while using your upper and lower body muscles. As it uses your entire body at the same time, you won’t have to worry about targeted muscle soreness. Check out these reviews if you need some advice on how to find your best rowing machine. Once you’ve got it set up at home, you can follow these tips and techniques so you can use your rower to get ripped.

Get a grip: Don’t hold on to the handle too tightly otherwise your hand and forearms will quickly start to ache. Just use enough grip so the handle will not slip out of your hands.

Make your legs work: Your legs are much stronger than your arms and should be doing most of the work. After a good rowing workout you should feel pumped in your quads and buttocks.

Keep in sequence: Your sequence should always be organized in the same way: legs, hips, arms, arms, hips, legs.

Push back: You shouldn’t be shifting off or popping up off the seat. If this happens it’s a sign that you’re pushing upwards instead of backwards. Always push directly back.

Straighten your arms: Don’t bend your elbows. By doing so you lose the means of transferring power from your legs. Keep your elbows relaxed, at a natural angle.

Keep a good posture: Don’t shrug your shoulders or slouch. Keep you back and shoulders straight.

Aim for your ribs: Always pull the handles towards the center of your ribcage.

Perfecting your Form

In order to maximize your workout, you must ensure that you’re rowing with the best possible form. You can work on this by practicing isolations:

Leg isolations: Sit comfortably on the rowing machine and gently grip the oar. Keep your arms extended and bend your knees. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet. Keeping your back straight, make sure your core is engaged; use the power of your legs to push backwards until they are fully extended. Keep your arms extended and let your legs do all the work. This will help you get used to the form and feel of leg work.

Arm isolations: Now you’ve become used to the feel of pushing with your legs, practice arm isolations. Keeping your legs extended, pull the oar towards your chest, keeping your elbows bent out to the sides. Touch the oar to your mid-rib cage. Use the power in your upper back rather than using your biceps or shoulders.

Now you’ve got the arm and leg isolations under control, you’re ready to combine the moves. Keeping your back straight and your core engaged, place your weight on the balls of your feet. Push back with your legs then use your upper back to pull your hands towards your chest. Then relax your arms so you slip back into your starting position.

Working Out with your Rower

This 20 minute full body workout will burn 200 calories and tone all your muscles.

0-3 mins: warm up – 16-18 strokes per min.

3-6 mins: row – 20-22 strokes per min.

6-8 mins: row - 22-24 strokes per min.

8-9 mins: row - 24-26 strokes per min.

9-10 mins: stretch.

10-14 mins: row - 22-24 strokes per min.

14-17 mins: row - 24-26 strokes per min.

17 -18 mins: row - 26-28 strokes per min.

18-20 mins: cool down - 16-18 strokes per min.

If you want to increase the burn, instead of just standing up and stretching at minute 9, you can do lunges. After the second half of your workout, you’ll be looking and feeling great, and you’ve only spent 20 minutes in the gym.

Get Pumped, Stay Inspired

Every day is going to be different and that means you won’t always feel as pumped up as you did when you first started out using your rowing workout. So what can you do to get yourself fired up again? Firstly, remind yourself of your goals, and how good you’ll be looking and feeling when you’re back in shape. Secondly think about how each day that you stick to your plan, you’re getting a little closer to that goal. Thirdly get inspired by real people. Look to your favorite artists and actors, see what shape they’re in and learn how they stay that way.


Maddison Reid works as a fitness instructor at a gym in her town. She loves keeping fit and is always there to encourage those who need an extra push. She writes about choosing and using gym equipment and fitness in general.


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