When used properly and accurately, a rowing machine can greatly help in achieving an effective cardiovascular workout. You may have noticed the increasing popularity of this machine and how fitness enthusiasts have been raving about it. If you are planning to include this kind of workout to your daily or weekly routine, you first need to learn how to use a rowing machine. Unlike using a stationary bike or the treadmill, the rowing machine will require little skills and knowledge for you to effectively maximize its potentials. It can be quite intimidating or perhaps hard for some but once you started to get the hang of it, you will be surprised with the benefits and enjoyment that you can get from it.

Also called the ergo-meter, the rowing machine can effectively bust calories, maybe around 280 calories in just 30 minutes. Aside from that, it is also a great workout for the legs and cores, as well as for your biceps, bottoms and thighs. Then again, not all users would get 100% positive feedback when using this machine, and this is due to improper way of using it. You need to learn the correct way on how to use a rowing machine, and this step-by-step procedure should be able to help you with that.

Getting Started

  • The catch

Known as the stroke’s starting point is the catch – because when you are rowing in a boat, the catch is that moment or term when the blade would enter the water. The first step is to get your feet strapped into the pads. The strap should be tight enough so your feet won’t slide as you move around. Center your body on the seat, while slowly bringing your knees up and sliding to the upper part of the machine. Make sure your back stays straight and not slumping or leaning towards any direction. Grab a hold of the handlebar and then bring your knees up. Your torso must be tilted slightly forward over your legs, while also keeping your spine straight and on a good posture.As you extend your arms out, your upper body should slightly move from back to forward. As you lean your body forward, start sliding your body forward to the seat while bending your legs at the same time. Once you are able to comfortably do this step, you are ready for the next stroke.

  • The slide

The next step is the slide, and this is the point where you need to flatten your wrists and have your arms all stretched out then slightly bend your knees by gently pushing backwards. This is the right time to draw your arms over and toward your knees. This part should focus the most on your core muscles and legs. Others like to call it the drive because it is the part of the routine that’s compared to when you pull the oars out of the water and then propel the boat forward.

  • The recovery

This position requires extending your arms by having your elbows straight and then return the handle towards the machine’s flywheel. The next step would be leaning the upper part of your body forward to the hips so it will follow the arms. Last step is to gradually bend the knees and then slide them forward on the seat.

  • The finish

This is the part where your shoulders should keep on working. Continue by bending your elbows while pulling the handles closer to your abdomen. Next step should be extending your legs and then leaning back slightly at the hips.

Rowing Machine Mistakes that You should Avoid

Knowing how to use a rowing machine safely can indeed give you great results and using it improperly is obviously not a good idea. Not only will it stress the lower back of your body but it can also bring injuries if you are not too careful. Here is a list of some of the things that you should not do while using the rowing machine:

* Don’t lean too far back while working on the finish position

* Don’t lean too far forward while at the catch position

* Don’t jerk the handle back with your arms

* When doing the drive position, don’t start with your legs. Start with the low back instead.

* Don’t get too tensed and stay relaxed while gripping on the handle.

Practice Makes Perfect

You don’t have to worry if at first you are not getting all the strokes and positions perfectly. Just continue practicing and make sure you set your resistance right. There are rowing machines that have adjustable resistance while some come with air resistance, which is the most commonly used in gyms. If you are using a different rowing machine for the first time, be sure to set it at a low level at first, until you get yourself acquainted with it eventually. Most experienced rowers set the machine at 3-5 as they work out, so if you are a beginner, a setting of 2-3 would be ideal.

Although there are now several models for this machine, the components are pretty much basic and the same in general. The parts should be composed of the cable, fan, flywheel and the seat. To be able to use it properly, you need to learn about the phases of the stroke and also finding the right pace for you.

You can keep track of your strokes per minute by using the change display button on your machine. This button also enables you to monitor the number of calories you have burned, your split and also numbers of kilometers traveled.

Additional Tips

Aside from knowing how to properly use the machine and also the different strokes and positions, you also need to make sure you are wearing the correct clothes for your workout. You do not want any fabric getting caught up with the machine while working out. Bottoms should be light and baggy so you can move around freely. Some prefer to use gloves but it is not totally a necessity. If you prefer to wear gloves, weightlifting gloves should work fine. As for your feet, you need to come up with a good combination of socks and shoes to ensure ultimate comfort. Go for shoes and socks that are not too wide especially at the heel part. You can use the rowing machine without shoes but make sure that you are wearing thicker socks with better grip.

Using the rowing machines can bring a lot of good benefits to your body and overall health condition. Compared to our workout equipments, this machine is relatively easier to use and with proper setting, you can be well on your way to losing those calories.