Best Rowing Machine Techniques You Should Know Of

You might be leaving your row machine with sore arms and an aching back.

The experts in rowing can recall their first-time experiences as being painful and leaving having sore muscles for days. Sore muscles are one of the reasons why people start avoiding their rowing machines!

The right technique will not only help you fall in love with rowing, but it’ll also help you improve your workout.

Below are the rowing machine techniques that can make you enjoy the workout.

Back to the Basics: All You Need to Know About Rowing

Let’s start this section by first answering the question, “What does a rowing machine do?

A rowing machine exercises your arms, back, and legs in one go.

To understand the rowing machine techniques, you must first be acquainted with the basic terminology involving the machines.

Split Time

Split time is the time taken to row 500 meters of a third of a mile. You should aim to take less than 2 minutes. The trick to increasing your pace is to exert more power when you are pushing.

Strokes per Minute

Strokes per minute in rowing means the number of time you stroke or row in a minute. It is advised to keep the number of strokes per minute lower than 30.

Rowing Machine Techniques: How Do You Row?

These are the steps you can follow to have a complete stroke. The steps include the catch, the drive, finish, and the recovery.

Before doing all this, you must make sure that your machine is a good condition.

Preparation: Warm Up First!

  • Set up your machine and make sure that it is secure before using it
  • Check the rowing machine settings and make sure they are meeting your rowing needs. When you are at a gym, you might find the previous user’s settings still on. Change the settings
  • Beginners must set the resistance low while figuring out their form. Rowing on a higher resistance is not safe if you are still figuring out your form. However, a very low resistance might be uncomfortable, keep on adjusting until you are comfortable
  • Ensure that your feet are securely strapped on the pad so that they don’t move haphazardly when you are sliding
  • Sit on the rowing machine properly and make sure that your legs are in a straight position but the knees must be free, not locked

The Catch: Isolation is Important

The catch is also known as leg isolation.

Starting on a good posture will make you row easily. The steps to be taken to maintain a good and correct body posture on the rowing machine:

  1. Straighten your arms and make sure that your shoulders are at a level position
  2. Keep the head in a neutral position
  3. Your upper body starting from the hips must be leaning forward
  4. The shoulders must be in front of the hips
  5. Your heels must move when necessary

The Drive: This is the Main Part You’ve Been Waiting For!

This is a real exercise.

Executing it properly can make you enjoy rowing without hurting your back. Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Pick up the handle and pull your arms up to the chest (use rowing gloves). The handle must be pulled up to below your breasts, and the elbows must be pointing down, and that’s where you must start rowing. As you end the stroke, you must also be in this position
  2. Use your legs to start driving the rowing machine. Don’t move your legs and hands at the same time
  3. While in a vertical position, swing your back and then pull using your arms
  4. Make sure that your hands are moving in a straight line from the flywheel
  5. Keep your shoulders in a low position and relaxed

The Finishing Touch

  1. Your upper body should be leaning back a bit
  2. Your legs should be extended with the handle held below your breasts
  3. Your shoulders must be in a lower position with wrists and grip relaxed

Recovery: Stretching is Crucial

  1. Lean towards the flywheel with your arms extended straight
  2. Bend your knees and slide the seat forward
  3. You can start again to the catch position to do the next stroke. Your shoulders should be relaxed

Rowing Machine Techniques and Mistakes: Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong!

Most people find themselves pulling and pushing on top of the rowing machine without knowing exactly what they are doing.

It might be confusing and boring, but if you master the correct techniques, rowing machines might be your favorite.

Rowing wrongly might strain your body instead of burning calories and building muscles. Here are the common mistakes that you usually do while using a rowing machine.

Using Your Arms to Row

Using a rowing machine requires the full commitment of the whole body. If you find yourself depending on your arms to do the hard work, you are doing it wrongly. Remember that a rowing machine engages, legs, arms, and core.

All these muscles must be used proportionally.

Here is the trick; your feet should do 60% of the hard work, and your arms must contribute 20%. The other 20% must come from the core. Using your arms to do much of the work on the rowing machine might strain your upper body and cause a backache.

Going too fast

You must focus and have a controlled speed. Breathe on the recovery stage and think about the next stroke.

Bad posture

You must maintain a good posture when you are rowing.

You might be asking yourself, is there a good posture on the rowing machine. Maintaining a good posture on a rowing machine will make you save your energy on straining your body.

You should sit up tall.

Your chest should be popped out with shoulders drawn back. Having good posture at the beginning of the row will make you have a proper workout with muscles being channeled in the right direction.

Arms And Legs Moving Simultaneously

If you find yourself moving your legs and arms simultaneously, you ain’t doing it right. Your legs must start moving first before your arms.

Start pushing by your legs, then your arms must pull to the chest later. Moving your legs and arms at the same time might strain your upper body.

Never Bend Your Back When Rowing

Make sure that your back is straight. It is a red flag to find yourself having a hunchback when rowing.

Maintain your back in a straight position in each and every step of the rowing movement. You might feel comfortable while rowing with a hunchback. However, you might feel the pain at the back later due to poor posture while rowing.

What About My Legs!?

Keep your legs together or close to each other when you are rowing. Your knees must be kept in line with your ankles. Separating them might make your knees sore.

Keep It Easy On The Handle

Beginners tend to put more pressure and force on the handle. That’s not right; you might hurt your hands. Your hands might develop blisters and callouses if you grip the handle tightly.

Relax your hands on the handle. You might waste your energy on the handle besides that you might end up being uncomfy.

Stop Rowing If You Feel Any Pain

If you are a newbie in the game of rowing, take it easy. If you feel some pain, ask for an expert to guide you through. You must do it correctly and watch out for your physical limits. If your body does not permit you to row, do not force it; you might seriously hurt your body.

Balance your speed and resistance

If you are new in the rowing workout, make sure that you start at a low resistance until you are comfortable using a higher resistance. Rowing at a higher resistance or a faster rate might injure your back if you are inexperienced.

You must start slowly, learn how to row correctly, and increase your resistance when your technique is perfect. Watch the common mistakes and how to avoid them in the below video.

Take Care of Your Rowing Machine

You must put back the handle cautiously. The rowing machine handle must not make a loud noise.

When storing the handle on the hook, make sure that it retracts completely for storage. You might damage the machine. Don’t store it on the provided hook.

The Takeaway

Using a rowing machine must improve your cardiovascular health and muscles. Doing it correctly is not just the best experience, but your body will be safer too. Just know that your whole body has to be engaged, but mainly, your legs, core, and arms will feel the workout.

Mastering the correct movement will make you enjoy the result of rowing safely. Doing it incorrectly; will leave you nursing your aching body. Always remember that your legs move first, followed by the core and arms.

Never move your arms and legs at the same time. Always maintain a good posture when you are on the erg; sit up straight.

The rowing sequence is legs, hips, arms as you pull up to the machine, then arms, hips, legs when pushing back. Anything other than this will hurt your body.

You can watch the below video to get the basics of rowing a machine.