Did you know that a rowing machine provides one of the best all-body workouts around? Not only that, but it’s affordable and also provides a good cardio workout. That means it’s a great all-around fitness machine that works both upper and lower body muscles and also helps you lose weight and improve heart health. There’s a reason it’s one of the few pieces of equipment you can actually get an all-around workout on, and that’s why they’re so popular.
But what if you don’t know how to use one? Maybe you’ve just moved to a new gym and haven’t been inducted properly, or maybe you’ve made the wise decision to actually buy your own machine but aren’t actually sure what to do next. While your new machine could come with instructions, this is exactly the sort of thing people buy second hand from places like Craigslist and eBay. So what if you simply don’t have any? This guide is for you. In it, we’re going to look at a few key tips to help you get started so you can make the most out of your new rowing machine. Let’s have a look…
How to set up a rowing machine
If you do have instructions, then start with them. They’ll have the specific information for screwing your rowing machine in place and setting it up safely, Obviously, if you’re not actually using your own rowing machine and are visiting a gym, then you won’t really need to know about this step. Make sure everything is secured tightly in place and no screws are missing if you’re using a second-hand machine. The seat should glide freely and not be obstructed. All safety straps should be in place. Do not use your rowing machine if you think it is not safe or secure. Make sure it can support your weight as well.
Warming up before rowing machine use
Some people prefer to stretch a lot before using their rowing machine. This is a good idea, as it will prevent muscle tears and other injuries. Remember, the rowing machine uses more than just your arms. It uses your legs, back and most other muscle groups as well. So a full stretching routine should do the job.
How to use a rowing machine
Once you’ve prepared both you and the machine, you’ll want to start rowing next. Simply follow these instructions for the next few steps…
Adjust the rowing machine to the right size setting
Rowing machines are built for lots of different shapes and sizes. That means they you need to make sure the seat is in the right place and that you can get onto the machine comfortably and row without any issues.
Sit in the rowing machine and secure yourself
When you first get onto the machine, slide the seat backwards and forwards to make sure it’s working properly. Then strap yourself in. Most machines will let you sit freely (but securely) on the seat, but will have ties or straps to secure your feet in place. Adjust the strap so that your feet won’t move and you are comfortable. You don’t need to make it too tight, just so you can row rigorously without them getting displaced.
Choosing the right settings on the rowing computer
Some machines will weight you automatically so that they can calculate how many calories you burn. However, if that’s not the case for your rowing machine then you’ll have to enter these details yourself. Some really old or lower-cost rowing machines won’t even have an onboard computer so you will just row freely, but assuming you have got a computer—it’ll be able to display a range of useful information.
You can adjust the settings to show you different virtual routes or different displays relating to your activity. If you’d rather see distance, time or calories more prominently you can adjust the settings to do so.
Some really advanced rowing machines will have their own screens. These can either be to watch regular TV or to compete virtually against other rowers. Either those sitting near you, or remotely. You can even row in virtual lakes and rivers to add another layer of fun to your workout. These might need to be set up separately, so pay close attention to WiFi settings and any other setup you might need to do.
How to actually row
Once you’ve set everything up, you can start rowing! To do this, Hold the rowing bar and pull it back as you push with your legs against the base (end) of the machine). You should do this in one full action so that your legs are almost completely extended when you pull the bar closest to you. Keep repeating this in a smooth rowing motion and get up to the desired speed.
Settle on a speed and routine you’re comfortable with. Don’t overdo it. A steady rowing workout could take half an hour, so you don’t want to go too hard, too early.
Benefits of a rowing machine
As we already touched on, rowing machines have tons of benefits compared to many other pieces of workout equipment. One key difference to many workouts is that they’re actually good for both building muscles AND a good weight-loss cardio workout. You can burn roughly as many calories as when running with a rowing workout, as well as get a full-body muscle workout. Rowing is much safer than running as it doesn’t hurt your joints and cause injuries over the long-term (as long as you do it properly).
It’s also more convenient and doesn’t rely on the weather. Rowing machines themselves might seem expensive, but they’re a great value workout when compared to practically any other individual piece of gym equipment. There’s a reason more and more people are turning to rowing machine workouts every day, and you should be next.