The Rio Olympics are over, and people are trying out a whole host of new sports they’ve seen on the television over the past month. Rowing is a sport that most of us are familiar with. However, it probably springs thoughts of the races between Oxford University Boat Club and Cambridge University Boat Club. Two teams of privileged students rowing rapidly down the Thames. But this isn’t the reality for most of us when it comes to rowing. What we tend to try out is the rowing machine in the local gym.
The gym is full of machines. With so many to choose from, many people find it difficult to establish an exercise routine incorporating the best machines to meet their needs. Rowing is a highly beneficial workout for people of all ages. It’s low impact, so is an easy exercise for people of almost all capabilities and fitness levels. It is great for weight loss, building your general stamina and toning up.
Low Impact Cardio
If you are overweight or have experienced joint problems, you’ll know the pain of a high impact workout. These will only go to further damage your joints. Opt for rowing as it is a low impact form of cardio. It will be easier on your joints than running or jogging. You will probably find the rowing machine even more comfortable than the cross trainer.
If you don’t exercise regularly, you will feel exhausted after your first rowing session. But don’t feel bad about this. It just means you’re a little out of shape. The more frequently you row, the less worn out you will get in a short amount of time.
Lower Body Workout
The main area that the rowing machines works is your lower body. It mainly uses your quad muscles at the front of your thighs. However, it also works your calves and glutes. This will burn calories and tone your legs and buttocks quickly.
Upper Body Workout
Though the workout to your upper body isn’t as intense, you will receive the overall benefit of better posture. It exercises the rhomboids in your shoulders, the trapezii in your upper back and the lats in your lower back. It also works your biceps, pecs, and abs (these all contributes to a stronger core).
Overall Weight Loss
In general, a rowing machine workout will burn 600 calories per hour. That’s more than most gym workouts. Remember to eat a healthy, balanced diet and the pounds will come falling off before you know it.
How to Row
As with all gym equipment, it is important to know how to use a rowing machine properly. Here’s a step by step guide to using the machine:
Sit down on the seat. Make sure that you are comfortable, and your body is centered. Your rear should be firmly planted on the seat, and only the top of your hamstrings should also be in contact with it.
Put your feet into the foot holders. Adjust them if necessary. The size of people’s feet varies drastically. With so many people using the machine during the day, there’s not a big chance that the person who used the machine before you is the same size. Make sure that your feet are not hanging over the edges of the foot boards. Adjust the straps so that they hold your feet in place. Make sure that they’re not too tight or you will feel uncomfortable for your whole workout.
Take hold of the handle in both hands. This will most likely be mounted on a stand directly in front of you. Make sure that you have a firm grip on each side of it. Your palms should be on top of the handle, and your thumbs should be apart beneath it.
Here’s where the workout begins. Using your legs, push back. The seat will move backward on the slider. When you reach the maximum length of your legs, pull the handle to your chest.
Push the handle from your chest, down your torso and push back out in front of you. As you push your arms forward, bend your legs. You will shift forward along the slider to your original position.
Repeat steps four and five. This is your workout. It can last as long as you like it to.
When you are finished, loosen the foot straps and carefully remove your feet from the footboards. Put one leg either side of the slider and slowly stand up.
Remember to breathe. A lot of people make the mistake of holding their breath while they exercise. This isn’t good for you and can lead to you feeling dizzy and faint.
Avoid too tight a grip. Holding onto the handle too tight will make your hands sore, especially if this is an exercise you regularly partake in. To further avoid callouses and blisters, you could invest in a pair of fingerless, rubber, gripped gym gloves.
Align your ankles and knees. This shows good form and will reduce your chances of knee related injuries.
Keep good posture. Your back should be straight throughout the whole regime. Try not to slouch.
Start easy. Start on one of the lower settings. Starting on the highest setting will just leave you aching or even injured. Slowly build your workout up as you get used to rowing.
Check up with your GP. If you have any physical complaints, always consult your GP before using any gym equipment. They’ll be able to advise you on whether certain machines are suitable for you and your condition.
Don’t push it too hard. Know your limits. If at any point you feel any form of pain, stop immediately.
Ask for help. If you need further help with using the machine, never be afraid to ask. After all, that’s what the gym staff are there for. They’ll be able to show you exactly how to use the machine properly and safely.