How to use rowing machines

You only benefit from exercise if it's done the right way. Rowing machines can provide a great all over workout, but they are often used incorrectly. In particular, many people engage the wrong muscles during the rowing machine movements. Follow these tips for a great rowing machine workout that works the correct muscles...

How to use rowing machines correctly

  • Always wear sports shoes when working out on your row machine. The base of your foot will be under pressure during this exercise, so it's important that it is well supported.
  • Ensure your heels are resting comfortably against the foot pedals, and firmly secure your feet with the straps.
  • Start with a few warm up exercises. Do a few stretches then start rowing at a low level - this will help to avoid strains and pulled muscles.
  • You can use overhand or underhand grip, and hold firmly without squeezing.
  • When you come forward, keep your head up and don't hunch your back. Bend your knees against your chest and lean forward slightly.
  • Push against the foot pedals and extend your legs while bringing your hand to the upper abdominal area. Lean back a little, but avoid overarching.
  • The correct technique uses the thigh muscles to drive most of the stroke. Many first time rowers will overuse the muscles in the upper body, which can cause pain in the lower back - so try to engage your thigh muscles from the beginning.
  • Keep your elbows in tight to the body throughout.
  • If you suffer from back pain, consult your doctor before you start rowing.

What to look for when shopping for rowing machines

  • Money back guarantee
  • A good range of variable resistance settings
  • The weight restrictions are suitable
  • The seat and foot plates are comfortable
  • If noise is a consideration, opt for a magnetic rowing machine
  • If space is an issue, opt for a hydraulic rowing machine

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