How to Use a Rowing Machine
Most people see the rowing machine in the gym and run the other way. We understand that it can seem like a daunting piece of equipment, but once you get on and start moving, you’ll find it’s a great piece of equipment with the ability to give you an incredible calorie-burning workout. With the right form, you can work your legs and core; but you do need to make sure you’re using the machine properly from the start to avoid back injuries.
Setting Up the Machine
While it may be tempting to set the resistance on the rowing machine to a high number, there’s really no need. Even those who are experience and train for rowing events don’t use the max setting on a normal workout. Start at a 2 or 3 and you can always adjust up as you advance.
Proper Body Form
Proper body form is key to making sure you do not get injured while using the rowing machine. The first thing you need to do is make sure your feet are secure on the foot panels. Pull the straps tight so that your feet can’t move around. If your feet are moving around too much, you won’t be able to keep proper form.
Grab the handle before you slide the seat back. You should go far enough back that your legs are straight but your knees are not locked out. Keep your back straight and lean back only slightly as you pull the handle towards your chest, around the base of your sternum, elbows in and down.
From this starting position, extend your arms and allow your body to lean slightly forward as you slide on the seat back towards the front of the machine. Your arms will now be straight in front you with your knees bent. Push off with your feet to straighten your legs, wait until your legs are extended again, and then pull the handle to your chest as you did in the beginning.
Make sure you are keeping your back straight at all times. Slumping your back causes extra strain and will eventually cause injury. Start your rowing strokes slowly until you get the hang of using the rowing machine. Once you’re comfortable with the proper form, you can start experimenting with different workout programs, speeds, and intervals.