How To Avoid 6 Common Rowing Machine Mistakes

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By Natalie Martin

Rowing machines can provide you with a low impact cardio workout. These exercise machines will effectively work your muscles from your head to your toes, and are safe for almost anyone to use.

During an hour long workout you can burn up to 800 calories on a rower, and they are also versatile. Depending on your workout program, you can focus on building strength and power or improve your overall fitness with a top-rated rowing machine.

While rowing machines can be effective, this is only true if you are using it properly. If you are just starting out with a rower or thinking about incorporating one into your daily workout routine, here are 6 mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.


Avoid These 6 Mistakes on a Rowing Machine


  1. Not checking the damper setting before working out.

Most rowing machines come with a damper that can be adjusted so increase or decrease the intensity of the workout. Higher settings mean that the handles will be harder to pull. If you start off with the intensity level that is too high, it can result in serious injuries.

If you are just starting out, most experienced trainers recommend having the damper set between three and five. This will provide enough resistance to simulate rowing on the water, while minimizing the risk for injuries.

  1. Using only your arms during the workout. Body Gear Guide

Even if you are working out on a rower to increase upper body strength, it is still important to use muscles in your legs and core. Using only your shoulders and arms can cause painful injuries.

According to experienced trainers, 60 percent of the power you use on a rowing machine should be generated by pushing your legs. The other 40 percent should be divided between your core and arms. You want to use your core muscles to brace yourself in an upright position, and your arms to pull back on the handles. Not only will this help prevent injuries, it also ensures that you are getting a complete full body workout.

  1. Not following the “rowing process”.

A common mistake that anyone can make is to sit down at a rowing machine, and immediately start working their arms and legs simultaneously. Not only is this an ineffective way to work out, it can also cause muscles to strain and tear.

Rowing is a 3-step process, and it is important that you go in order. The first step is to start pushing with your legs, and then lay slightly back. Your shoulders should be just past your pelvis. The third step is to pull the handles back with your arms. Next reverse the order of the steps to return to the starting position.

  1. Keeping your back hunched over. Body Gear Guide

If you try to use a rower with your backed hunched over, you won’t get a complete workout. To get maximum benefits, you want to keep your spine in a neutral position. Your shoulders should be pulled back, slightly past your pelvis. This will ensure that you are working your core muscles, along with the ones in your arms and legs.

Having proper posture on a rower will also reduce feelings of muscle fatigue, and can eliminate any back pain you might feel on the exercise machine.

  1. Rushing through the strokes.

Sometimes it’s easy to get in a rhythm on a rowing machine, when this happens attention and focus can wander. When you stop paying attention to your workout, you can lose control of your strokes.

If you get “lost in the zone”, there is a simple way to regain control of your rowing. By using the “one, two count” you can get the timing of your strokes back under control. Your arms and legs should expend the most energy at the start of the stroke, while the return should be slow and smooth. This will allow you to regain control, and stop sliding around in the rower.

  1. Jerking your upper body back.

If you aren’t using your abs on a rowing machine, you could be putting yourself at risk for an injury. Depending solely on your arms to hold your body in place during the forward and reverse motion of a stroke can result in injuries that are easily prevented.

Using your core muscles is vital to ensure your safety, and the effectiveness of the workout. You should be able to stop moving at any point in the stroke, if you want to get an effective workout on a rowing machine.

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Get An Effective Work Out with a Rower


Rowing machines are continuing to gain in popularity, and there are several reasons why. These top rated exercise machines can provide you with a full body workout, easy to operate, and they are also surprisingly versatile.

Whether you want to lose weight, build strength and endurance or get a low impact cardio workout in, rowing machines can give you the results you are looking for. You just have to be able to avoid the common mistakes, and now you have the information you need to get an effective and safe workout in on a rower.

Before you incorporate any new workout machine into your exercise routine, it is always best to speak with a licensed physician or experienced trainer to ensure that it is safe for you.






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