Five Seasons Family Sports Club Blog

Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Rowing Machine

Posted by Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 6/1/17 9:30 AM

The rowing machine has made quite a comeback in gyms and fitness clubs all across the country, and for good reason: When performed correctly, it's one of the best ways to get a highly effective full-body workout. If you're ready to try your hand at this classic piece of exercise equipment, keep the following tips in mind to help you get the most out of your rowing machine workout.

1. Row with your entire body, not just your arms.

Although rowing exercises are performed in a seated position, don't make the mistake of thinking that it's an "upper body only" affair. Seasoned rowers understand that a large percentage of the power to perform your strokes should come from your legs and core, not just your arms. In fact, if your arms, shoulders, and back are doing the majority of the work, you're setting yourself up for eventual injury. Be sure to put some leg power in each repetition by pushing against the pedal caps with your feet as you pull your arms back. 

2. Keep your back straight throughout the exercise.

Posture is a vital element of maintaining good form when performing rowing exercises. Try not to hunch over or round out your back, but instead sit tall, keeping your spine in a neutral position and your back nice and straight. 

3. Avoid jerky movements.

It's natural to want to give the handlebar a little "heave-ho" while you're performing the exercise, but try not to get carried away by rushing through your repetitions using jerky or jarring movements. A good example of this is when you see someone smashing their rear end into their heels while performing excessively fast strokes with poor form. It's much better to execute your strokes using a smooth and controlled motion, even if it means that you have to slow down a little bit to do it. 

4. Practice a proper drive-to-recovery ratio.

A rowing stroke is comprised of two main parts: The drive and the recovery. The drive part of the stroke happens when you're pushing with your legs and pulling with your arms, while the recovery part of the movement happens when you're returning to the starting position. Most experienced rowers recommend a 1:2 drive-to-recovery ratio, which means that the drive portion of the stroke should take about half the time that the recovery portion takes. 

5. Proper technique is king.

Proper rowing technique entails executing both the drive and recovery portions of the stroke in one smooth, continuous motion, without any pauses or stationary periods. As mentioned earlier, remember to keep your back straight, but also be sure to look straight ahead throughout your rowing session--if you catch yourself looking down or off to the side, be sure to quickly correct it. In addition, only move at the pace that enables you to execute your strokes with the smoothest motion possible. It is far better to smoothly perform 15 strokes per minute than to crank out 45 strokes per minute with terrible form. 

If you've never tried a rowing machine workout, consider stopping by Five Seasons Family Sports Club to give it a shot. Not only does our fitness club feature several state-of-the-art rowing machines, but we also have a wide range of other exercise machines that can accommodate practically any workout you might want to try. Just be sure to remember the tips outlined above when using the rowing machine, so that you can maximize the effectiveness of your workout and row that body into shape!

Take the challenge for a fitter, healthier you!

Topics: Fitness