You head into the gym and usually see the rowing machines standing alone, away from the other equipment. Exercise bikes, treadmills and elliptical trainers are usually the most popular cardio machines in the gym: However the humble rowing machine offers fantastic benefits to health, fitness and the weight loss you may desire.
Every gym seems to have a rowing machine and it can give you a great workout. Benefiting all major muscles groups. Particularly the heart, the arms and legs, back and abdominal muscles.
Row Your Way To Better Fitness
Rowing a large selection of your major muscle groups. It will you to develop both your upper (Back, Arms and Abdominals) and lower body (Legs and Glutes). Rowing can provide a serious workout to get your heart pumping and provide great cardiovascular health benefits too.
It’s time to get rowing- the video below will provide an introduction to developing a good rowing technique so the benefits of rowing machines can follow.
Make Sure Your Practice Proper Rowing Technique
Benefit 1: Rowing Machines Provide A Fantastic Cardiovascular Workout
If you’re looking for an effective, full body aerobic workout then rowing could be just the ticket.
Rowing will help to raise your heart rate and breathing frequency in reaction to the increased oxygen demands for your body to provide you a great aerobic workout.
Many gym-based rowing machines have the option of controlling their resistance levels. A good example is the Concept 2 indoor rower which has a selection of 10 different resistance levels to choose from.
A workout of 20 minutes or more is all it takes to gain cardiovascular fitness and rowing endurance. From there you can start to take your rowing workouts to higher levels for improved cardiovascular fitness.
If you have a heart rate monitor use it to monitor your effective exercise workload. Aim to keep between 60-80% of your max heart rate. (How to calculate your max heart rate)
Benefit 2: Rowing Is A Low Impact Activity So Limits Injury Risk
Rowing is a low impact injury and therefore puts your body at less of a risk when compared to hitting the treadmill. Using a rowing machine benefits your body by putting minimal stresses and strains on your working joints when you row with the right technique.
Rowing Benefit 3- Calorie Burning (And Lots Of Them!)
Rowing is a great way to lose weight and can be easily integrated into your gym workouts to assist your weight loss program. A typical 20 minute steady workout session can burn around 200 calories and if you were to row for an hour everyday you could burn over a pound of fat in a week.
The vigorous whole body workout that rowing provides can also give you the benefit of an increased metabolism in the same way that a weights workout can be a longer term stimulus for calorie burning. Rowing workouts can boost your metabolism for increased weight loss.
Benefit 4: A Fantastic Upper Body Workout
Rowing Machines help you to really target your back and shoulders: Particularly targeting your rhomboids (shoulders) trapezius (upper back) and latissimus dorsi muscles in the lower back. Your biceps muscles also do some work as you pull the oar in towards your body with each stroke.
You’re pulling against a force every stroke for around 20 strokes per minute so your upper body is getting a fantastic muscular endurance workout.
5. Rowing Gives You A Great Lower Body Workout Too
It’s no surprise that Olympic and Paralympic Rowers like Sarah Storey and Rebecca Romero have moved from being successful rowers over to becoming great cyclists.
To many enthusiasts rowing machine workouts are primarily a lower body workout as the leg muscles are the real drivers of the stroke. (Particularly the quadraceps and glutes as part of the push action). It’s the upper body that then finishes the work when in synergy with the lower body.
It’s a myth among many in the gym environment that the strength within the rowing stroke pattern lies within the back muscles.