By using a rowing workout rig, you can improve the core muscles in your body, undoubtedly. But, the right method requires correct posture and balanced strength to master it. Above all, your body movement is of significance for better results. If you cannot keep up with a good posture, then this exercise can result in severe injuries.

That is why you must follow our prudent guide in order to use this gym machine correctly. Follow the steps in the guide below and understand the right technique for using this fantastic machine.

How to Use A Rowing Machine

1.     Prepare Your Body Posture For The Rowing Motion

As mentioned earlier, your body posture should be flawless while sitting on the rowing machine. The following steps will help you figure out a good posture for operating a rowing machine.

Place both feet firmly on each footplate of the unit. For this, sit on the bench facing the weights. Place your feet on each of the plates present on both sides of the bench. The plates will have straps on them meant for clutching your feet firmly. Just slide your feet in the strap loops and tighten them on your feet so that they stay firmly in place.

2.     Get Ready For The “Catch” Position

The catch position is also referred to as the starting position. To get in this posture, grab the handles in front of the bench. You may need to bend your knees to grab them. Ensure that you have a secure and firm grip on its handles. Do not forget to keep your back straight when you are gripping the handles.

For a practical approach, you may want to use gym gloves so that your grip is firm on the handles. If your hands slip from the handles, then it can lead to unwanted injuries. Plus, to maintain a straight back, hinge towards the front using only your hip joint instead of bending your spine. It will be needed to keep the upper body firm.

3.     Use Your Leg Muscles To Apply Pressure On The Foot Plates

  1. When you row, all parts of your body move individually. This comes from the legs first. Applying pressure with the muscles on your legs on the machine’s plate causes your bent knees to extend. This develops all the muscles in your legs, such as glutes, quads, etc. 

  2. Do not try to use your complete body while performing this exercise. The science behind perfect rowing motion involves a progressive movement initiating from the leg muscles, moving to the core, and continuing to the arms. Thus, you are isolating each of the muscles in the body and utilizing the power of the muscles exclusively.

  3. A rowing machine requires an individual to divide his/her muscles in the following partition generally: shoulder/arms muscles, muscles in the core, and muscles in the legs. 

  4. While applying force on the plates with the help of your legs, try not to use your torso and arm muscles.

4.     Get In A Backward Leaning Position

Once you have extended your legs fully, use your leg muscles (hamstrings) and core muscles to lean backwards at a preferable 45 degrees angle. While doing so, ensure that your back remains straight.

With the help of your core, you need to maintain a firm pelvis whole rowing. This is necessary to keep your back stable. An unstable spine could lead to unnecessary injuries.

5.     Isolate The Muscles In Your Arms For Better Movement

While your back is tilted at the preferred angle, and you have straightened your legs, pull the handle with your arms without using other body muscles just below your chest. For this, you will need to apply pressure with your core muscles, maintaining the same angle.

  • You will also need to bend your elbows to pull the handle towards you.
  • Pull the rowing machine handles inward just beneath the chest. In this situation, a muscle known as Latissimus Dorsi starts contracting to keep the shoulder plates stable. Plus, other upper body muscles, like triceps, deltoids, etc., also start contracting to help the elbow move backwards.

6.     Get Your Arms In An Extended Position To Reach The Torso

In this step, you will come back to the initial position. And, the motion involving this step is in reverse order of motion. So, you need to start from the arms to the core and finish at the legs.

  • Let your arms lose to extend them back in an extended position. After that, move your torso in a forward position reducing the extended angle.
  • Make sure that you extend the arms before tilting your torso forward to perform it correctly.

7.     Bend Knees To Get Back To Initial Position

Until you are back in your initial position, keep the knees bent. While keeping the knees in a bent position, ensure that the body is close to the machine and the handles have been gripped firmly. After the initial position, you can start again and repeat the steps as above.

Do note that rowing motion involves three exclusive movements instead of two. So, the pattern of driving power involves extending the legs, tilting the back, and pulling the elbows, and then moving back to the initial position.


If you have followed the steps on how to use a rowing machine as mentioned above correctly, then you should not have a problem at performing this workout routine.

About the Author James S

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