Have you been inspired by our Olympic success in rowing? Or do you just want a different workout that will put your whole body through its paces?
The rowing machine (officially the ‘ergometer’) may not be the latest piece of high-tech gym kit, but it has stuck around for a reason. Here’s how to get the best from it.
Don’t be deceived into thinking that rowing is easy because it is done sitting down. The lower body is worked as you pull yourself into the stroke, and then the upper body takes over to complete the motion.
This all takes a fair bit of effort, so the rowing machine will also give you a good cardiovascular test too. In short – it’s an all-round workout!
There are a few things to tweak on the machine.
The main control is the damper, which adjusts resistance. This can make the rowing action feel as if you are doing anything from flying through air to rowing in concrete. Choose a lower setting to start with, and turn up as needed.
You also need to adjust the footplate and straps so your feet are held comfortably but firmly in place. Finally, make sure the handle is in reach and you are good to go.
Some machines have many more different options, including timed workouts and automatic resistance changing. Gym staff members are there to help, so don’t be afraid to ask.
To get the best technique, separate the arm and leg movements. Start by keeping your arms straight and using only your legs to push back. When you have this motion smooth, straighten your legs and use only your arms to pull the oar.
Finally put it together as a sequence of ‘legs-arms-legs-arms’. The full move starts with bent legs and ends with bent arms. Then allow yourself to glide back to the start.
Posture is king on the rowing machine. Don’t hunch your back, and keep your core engaged. Knees should stay in line with hips – don’t flop your knees out. Hands should stay at chest level.
Simple, effective and no queues. Give the rowing machine a spin!
Thanks for the simple explanation. This makes the rowing machine seem suddenly more appealing so I may give it a go next gym visit.
I like the rowing machine and can never work out why no-one else does. Good to know I'm not wasting my time on it.