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A rowing machine is a type of exercise equipment that is designed to mimic the action of rowing a real boat in the water. You can target large muscle groups of the back, shoulder, leg and abdomen with the rowing exercise machine. It also puts very little impact on your joints making it suitable for all ages. Avoid maintaining a tense posture as it might lay stress on the lower back and knees.
Rowing machine comprises a metal slide with a seat fixed on it, Foot plates with attached straps, handles, wheels, monitor and a damper setting to adjust the resistance level.
How to exercise on the rowing machine
Rowing exercise machine can challenge any fitness level. Ensure that you are well warmed up before you begin your rowing machine workout.
Seat yourself on the sliding seat and bend forward a little. Rest your feet comfortably on the base of the foot pedal and secure the strap tightly.
Hold the 'catch' tightly keeping your arms straight and lower parts of the legs vertical.
Complete the pulling action by moving the elbows backward and gradually bringing the legs to a horizontal level.
At the end of the stroke, rowing handle should touch your abdomen and lower arms should stay parallel to your thighs.
To start another stroke, again lean forward keeping your arms straight and slide the seat by bending your knees.
Rowing machine benefits
Rowing machine exercise works on the entire body. It provides exercise for all the major muscle groups and burns up to 800 calories per hour. Tone up your thighs and butt and firm up your arms. Workouts on rowing machine are low impact exercises. So they are easy on joints and suitable for young, fit, experienced or old or those suffering knee problems.
Since the rowing machine works on the lower and upper body, the heart rate increases providing excellent cardiovascular benefits. When the heart rate is increased, the metabolic rate of the body also increases leading to a gradual weight loss.
Those who are overweight benefit the most by adopting rowing exercises. You can burn more calories in lesser time. In fact you continue to burn calories even after the session ends due to increased metabolic rate.
Rowing exercise is excellent for strength training. Regular workout on a rowing machine adds strength to muscles in the chest, forearms and shoulders.
Tips on rowing exercise
Start slow and gradually increase the intensity as you progress.
Do not hunch your back. Bend forward at the hip joints.
Keep your elbows straight and close to your body.
Look up straight and do not drop your chin.
Do not jerk the handle back with the arms.
Get your breathing right while exercising on a rower, inhale while pulling and exhale while coming back to the original position.
There are many types of rowing machines available in the market such as air resistant, water resistant, piston resistant and magnetic resistant rowing machines. Those with back problems are advised to avoid air resistant rowing machines.
How to select a rowing machine?
Based on the resistance provided by rowing machines, they are divided into four categories - air resistant, water resistant, piston resistant and magnetic resistant rowing machines. Price, size, space occupation, level of resistance required, noise and most importantly, the fitness goals you aim to achieve are some of the factors that have to be considered before purchasing the rowing machine.
Look for rowing machine with various difficulty settings. This way you can train that little extra harder for more gains. Today rowing exercise machines come with digital displays showing heart rate, distance travelled and calories burnt.
A hydraulic rowing machine makes use of hydraulic pistons to provide resistance. Resistance can be adjusted manually, but they do not simulate the actual rowing action. They are priced low and also take up less space compared to other models. They score low on smoothness and fluidity.
Magnetic rowers use electro magnets to provide resistance. These rowers do not produce any noise and resistance level can be adjusted according to requirement. On the flip side, these rowers too do not simulate the actual rowing on water and they occupy huge space.
Both water and air rowers perfectly mimic the boat rowing and the resistance depends upon the pace adopted. Faster rowing produces higher resistance and vice versa and hence you can plan your workouts according to your needs. But they are highly priced, occupy large amount of space and are also quite noisy.