The MH Guide To Rowing Machines

You might be missing out on a great muscle-building workout.
Rowing Machine

While we might have spotted these, not many of us really know how to use the rowing machines that we see in our gyms. What are the body parts that it hits or the muscles that it works on? If you have been wondering how to incorporate these in your workout, this one’s for you. Avik De, head trainer at Anatomy Gym, answers all our questions about rowing machines and their functionality.

“Rowing machines, also known as ergometers, are not among the most popular cardio machines in most health clubs. In fact, you will rarely find more than 3 or 4 at any given facility, leading many to believe that rowing  is not a good workout but that is far from the case,” says De.

What Are The Different Body Parts That A Rowing Machine Effects?

There is no muscle that this machine doesn’t hit. De says, “In reality, rowing simply recruits all muscle groups and can provide a total body cardiovascular, muscle building workout that you should consider adding to your weekly exercise routine. The major benefit is that it is impact free and non-weight-bearing, so you can work intensely without putting stress on your joints.”

What Is The Right Technique For The Machine?

De says, “There are four phases to the rowing stroke. Catch, drive, finish and recovery. Together all four phases blend into a powerful rowing stroke that targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, shoulder, arms, upper back and your core muscles as well. What else could you ask for?

Step 1. Catch Or The Beginning

Glide the seat forward and strap the feet into the platform while holding onto the handlebar. Keep your arms straight and upper body leaning forward from the hips.

Step 2. Drive Or The Work

Drive energy through your heels and press against the platform with your legs. Move your upper body into a vertical position and pull your arm back. The arm should move in a straight line, towards and away from the flywheel.

Step 3. The finish or Stabilise

Continue moving your upper body back slightly, engaging the core muscles to stabilise your body. Your legs should be fully extended and the handlebar should be placed below the ribs.

Step 4. The Recovery Or Rest

Extend your arms over your  legs before leaning from the hips toward the flywheel. Once your hands are in position, bend your knees and gradually slide the seat forward, returning to the catch position.




What Are The Various Workouts That Can Be Done On A Rowing Machine?

De says, “There are quite a few exercises that can be done on this machine but the workout that I prefer and usually recommend to my clients is the pyramid. In this, you perform a series of exercises followed by an easy recovery phase. Each work phase increases in meters, time and strokes until you meet your maximum, at which point you reverse the work phase back to the beginning. I recommend starting each rowing workout with 5 minutes of easy rowing and finish with 3-5 minutes of easy row to cool down, focusing on slowing down your breathing and heart rate.”

He adds, “Rowing workouts can be measured in terms of meters, time or number of strokes and have a setting between 1-10. Begin with a setting between 3-5.”

Pyramid workout 1:

By Meters

Strive for 24-28 strokes per minutes (spm) during the work phase.

Interval 1: 200 meters work, 1.30 minutes easy

Interval 2: 300 meters work, 2 minutes easy

Interval 3: 400 meters work, 2.30 minutes easy

Interval 4: 500 meters work, 3 minutes easy

Interval 5: 400 meters work, 2.30 minutes easy

Pyramid workout 2:

By Time (24-28 spm)

Interval 1: 1 minutes work, 1 minutes easy

Interval 2: 2 minutes work, 2 minutes easy

Interval 3: 3 minutes work, 3 minutes easy

Interval 4: 4 minutes work, 4 minutes easy

Interval 5: 3 minutes work, 3 minutes easy

Pyramid workout 3:

By Strokes

Interval 1: 30 strokes work, 20 strokes easy

Interval 2: 50 strokes work, 30 strokes easy

Interval 3: 75 strokes work, 40 strokes easy

Interval 4: 100 strokes work, 50 strokes easy

Interval 5: 75 strokes work,40 strokes easy

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