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Rowing Machine Do's and Don'ts

Rowing Machine Do's and Don'ts

You've seen it laying on the floor at the gym and you've also seen others get on and go, so should you workout on the rowing machine too? You may be a little intimidated by the rowing machine, but did you know that it is a great aerobic workout that targets the upper and lower body muscles?

Here are the DO's and DON'Ts of using a rowing machine to get you started:

  • DO: Make sure that your heel is resting comfortably against the base of the foot pedal and that the strap is secured.
    DON'T: Row barefoot.
  • DO: Set the resistance at low if you're a beginner.
    DON'T: Row on high resistance until you've got form figured out.
  • DO: Sit up straight (your back should have a slight natural arch) and bend forward at the hips.
    DON'T: Arch your back or hunch over your shoulders.
  • DO: Keep your elbows tucked close to your side.
    DON'T: Allow your elbows to raise up as high as your shoulders.
  • DO: Alternate between overhand or underhand to decrease arm fatigue.
    DON'T: Use one arm at any time.
  • DO: Push with your legs to minimize back strain.
    DON'T: Use your back to pull the bar.
  • DO: Bend your arms as you pull on the bar until your elbows pass behind your torso and the handles are about an inch from your stomach.
    DON'T: Bring your legs or arms to full extension.
  • DO: Use the rowing machine if your back is completely healthy.
    DON'T: Use the rowing machine if you have a history of back problems.


firesnatcher firesnatcher 6 years
I rowed in high school and part of college, so seeing people use the rowing machine incorrectly makes me cringe.... Push off with the legs first, then the back and then pull back with the arms. Once the body's fully extended, follow the steps in reverse order (extend arms, then back, and finally bring the legs up). Too many people try to pull with their arms before their legs and end up doing this crazy up and down motion to get the bar over their knees that looks like it could hurt them.
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 10 years
I'll give it a go today!!!
sammyof2 sammyof2 10 years
thanks for the tips. ive always been scared of rowing but maybe now ill give it a shot.
justanotherjane justanotherjane 10 years
Rowing machines are also a great piece of home exercise equipment to have. They're fairly quiet (if you live in an apartment), don't take up much space, don't need to be plugged in to a wall, and are relatively affordable for a top of the line one compared to other cardio equipment.
PrissyLilBadAss PrissyLilBadAss 10 years
Thanks so much for answering my email so quickly, Fit! I'll definitely be keeping these pointers in mind!
vintagecitystars vintagecitystars 10 years
I'm on the crew team at my college, the rowing machine is my friend :) I always feel awkward when I see people rowing the wrong way at the gym...I don't know whether to help them or not! Thanks for putting this up!
br0wneyed9irl00 br0wneyed9irl00 10 years
changing your hand grip sounds funky-- if your arms are tired your not pushing enough with your legs. its all legs, the back and arms just follow through on the machine. but it's much more fun in an actual boat!
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
The rower is the stepchild at my gym, too. I use it on occasion, but not as much as I should. It makes me dizzy!
CT23 CT23 10 years
what kind of rowing machine is this? the only one i know of is the concept 2 which is very good. my gym doesn't have one....more people should learn to row so supply will meet demand! rowing is awesome!
blackjade blackjade 10 years
I really like the rowing machine, largely because even if there are people waiting for the treadmills, the rower is rarely ever taken. I tend to switch up the hand grip to keep things interesting.
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