If you step into your local fitness center, you might notice that there are plenty of weight machines, dumbbells, medicine balls, and yoga mats, but what about the cardio section? It can be overwhelming to decide which of the machines to use for your workout! Between treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and arc trainers, there is certainly something available for everyone – even a hidden gem like the rowing machine. Not exactly known for being the most popular piece of equipment in the gym (you might find anywhere from 1-3 in a typical fitness center), these ergometers come with a plethora of benefits, for both new and seasoned exercisers!
Why Choose the Rowing Machine?
In essence, a rowing machine is a full-body workout that has little to no impact on your joints – perfect if you’re recovering from an injury, and perfect if you’re looking to decrease impact while increasing intensity. Not only does the rowing machine work the cardiovascular side of your fitness regimen, but it also aids in strength building – a two for one workout!
So, one of the biggest questions out there regarding the rowing machine might be “Can this get me in shape?”, if that’s a question you’ve asked, the answer is yes! The rowing machine is a well-rounded piece of cardio equipment (although often overlooked) and when used appropriately, can be integrated into your workout routine for both strength and cardiovascular purposes.
What Muscles Are Used While Rowing?
While you row, your entire body is working! Since both the upper and lower body are worked while rowing, it’s easy to see how health benefits can be seen with this machine. Some of the main muscles used while rowing includes the lats, pectorals, deltoids, triceps, trapezius, glutes, quads, hamstrings, obliques, and abdominals, just to name a few!
Picking the Workout That is Right for You
Thankfully, the rower doesn’t have a resistance that is set in stone; actually, quite the opposite! The flywheel on the side of the machine easily adjusts (typically on a 1-10 scale) accordingly based on how much resistance you want for your workout. This is perfect for those days when you need to lower the resistance for a long haul aerobic row or bump up the resistance for high-intensity interval training or sprints!
7 Benefits of Rowing
- Performance can be measured in multiple ways (i.e. calories, meters, watts)
- Little to no impact on the joints
- Boosts endurance, strengthens muscles and is a full-body workout
- Perfect for beginners as well as those who are seasoned exercisers
- Good alternative if you’re looking to strengthen your cardiovascular system without using the treadmill or stationary bike
- Has a positive effect on emotional state, similar to if you were out rowing on a lake or river
- Can be used for weight loss, rehabilitation from injury, cross-training, competitions, building endurance, active rest days, and even added in as supplementation with strength days
Form and Safety While Using A Rowing Machine
As with all fitness equipment, having the knowledge to perform the exercise correctly is key – not only for injury prevention but to ensure that you’re working for the proper muscle groups and maintaining form throughout the movement. If you are concerned as to if you are rowing with proper technique, speak with a local fitness specialist or personal trainer who has experience with the rowing machine.
Not only will the rower help you stay in shape, but it can also help add some variety to your workout routine and give you another option if the beloved treadmill is full. And best of all, you don’t need to be out on the water to gain the benefits of rowing!