I have been reading about one of the 'newest' workout kicks, and couldn't wait to try it out for myself. The stationary rowing machine is making quite the comeback! I remember seeing these machines in different gyms and workout facilities, and probably even tried one out a time or two a long time ago.
If you have been following this blog for awhile, you might know that I completed my first half marathon. You might also know, that after the race was complete, I was excited to mix up my workouts and do some other exercises besides just running.
After attending a spin class at my local gym, I decided to roam on over to the rowing machine and test it out for the first time. Results are in, and I loved it! I was only on it for about 20 minutes, but enjoyed every minute of it.
I guess I did this a little backwards, but after enjoying my workout on the rowing machine so much, I decided to do even more research on the exercise and it's benefits.
Here are some great facts and tips I found to be helpful:
"Rowing is an invaluable tool for runners," MacKenzie said. "When you learn how to do it right it lights up weaknesses you didn't know you had. It helps runners and cyclists find power in muscles they hadn't used before." - CrossFit Endurance coach and 100-mile trail run fanatic, Brian MacKenzie of Costa Mesa, California
When properly performed, rowing gives a solid blast of cardio work, works the abs, core and lower back, and even develops flexibility in the hamstrings and calves. Perfect for runners too!
Using a rowing machine can also help to build and tone your muscles, strengthen your cardiovascular function, and increase your stamina.
Rowing burns calories rapidly, making it a great addition to your workout regimen, especially if weight loss is your main priority.
There are different ways to measure your workout, so use the change display button on your machine to track your strokes per minute, calories burned, distance traveled, or your split (how many minutes it takes you to travel 500 meters or 0.31 miles).
Here is a guide I found to better explain the movements and positions for a proper workout on the rowing machine:
Place your feet in the stirrups and slide all the way forward to the flywheel, with your knees bent and pressed against your chest. Grasp the handle with an overhand grip. Lean forward slightly from the hips, but keep your chin up, shoulders back, and spine straight. Tip: Throughout the movement, be sure your feet remain flat and that you don't tuck your chin or hunch your shoulders.
The trick to starting your drive back is moving your hands and butt at the same time. A rower's power comes from the lower body. As you drive back with your legs, think about pushing your feet through the footboard, like you're using the seated leg press. As you slide back, don't start to pull yet—your arms will naturally straighten.
Once your legs are extended, knees straight, maintain a straight spine and lean back slightly from the hips, bracing your core. Now pull. Bring the handle to your chest, driving your elbows over the plane of your hips and behind you. On the pull, think about leading with your elbows. The trick to getting back to start position is bracing your abs, driving your hips forward, and pulling your knees into your chest.
"Each rep is essentially a leg press, a dead lift, and a row. And because you're working every muscle group in your body, your heart rate is elevated," says Garrett Roberts, an exercise physiologist and the founder of GoRow Studios in Hoboken, New Jersey.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how many different muscles a rowing machine works!
If you are more of a visual learner, like me, check out this 17 second video demonstrating proper technique for the rowing machine.
Have you tried the rowing machine? Thoughts?