Going to the gym to do some cardio usually equates to a jog on the treadmill, a bit of an exercise bike, or 20 minutes of an elliptical, but what about that forgotten machine in the corner?
That’s right, the rower! You know, probably everyone knows, the rowing machine is the least used machine in the gym … but why do we avoid it?
Don’t get me wrong, all machines have their benefits and are great for cardiovascular exercise, but I personally wonder why I run on the treadmill when I can do it anywhere?
First of all, the rowing machine allows us to train the whole body. Here are the major muscle groups involved:
- Back muscles: it is evident that this type of machine is optimal for training the whole back.
- Leg muscles: during the movement the legs are fully trained, working the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings.
- Arm muscles: the movement that involves the arms in the rowing machine is very effective for the shoulders and also for the biceps and triceps.
- Abdominal muscles: To coordinate the whole body during exercise with the rowing machine, the abdominal muscles play a key role and are consequently trained throughout the movement.
Obviously, it is not really easy and cheap to get on a canoe and start rowing, which is why I recommend using this machine in the gym.
Here are some great reasons to choose the rowing machine next time you hit the gym for some cardio …
1. It is a Full Body Workout
Hallelujah! A machine that trains the whole body (great if you’re short on time and don’t know what to train).
You could say that the arms, in a light way, are also trained while running or on the elliptical, but compared to the vast musculature of the upper body trained through the rowing machine, it becomes insignificant.
By combining the effort required by the upper body muscles during the initial explosive thrust, which engages all the muscles of the lower body, you can understand the benefits.
A rowing machine may seem like the simplest machine to use, you sit down and pull the bar, right?
Wrong, (as shown above) this cardiovascular exercise uses an incredible number of muscles to perform the back / forward movement, therefore correct execution is extremely important, not only for maximum results, but also to prevent serious injuries.
Follow these simple but effective tips to correct your technique:
1) Sit down and find a comfortable position that allows your body to align with the center of the machine, keep your lower back firm while tilting your hamstrings slightly out of the seat.
2) Before starting any movement, adjust the foot straps until you are comfortable and confident (it may sound silly but it makes a difference!).
3) Use a prone grip and both hands, keeping a distance between to be equal to shoulder distance. It is important to have a soft grip to allow us a better freedom of movement and to work the muscles to the maximum.
4) Perfect your posture: Extremely important! A little tip is to imagine a rope going straight down the middle of your back, from the head to the lower back, imagine it is taut. Straight back and soft shoulders for better flexibility.
5) When it’s time to pull, make sure you start by leaning forward with your legs bent and arms straight in front of you.
6) Remember to keep your back straight: lean back slightly, straighten your legs and bring your elbows closer to your body (without bending them inwards) and remember to stay slightly soft to allow for maximum flexibility.
2. Allows You To Burn Calories Effectively
Using the rowing machine allows you to burn a lot of calories, not to mention the fact that the muscles are used with their maximum range of motion, which is vital for keeping the body balanced.
Performing this type of workout can burn up to 600 calories per hour! I can think of several healthy snacks that I can eat if I burned all those calories …
Anyway, that’s not the point!
The point is that although the rowing machine is a slightly more difficult cardiovascular exercise than the treadmill or the stationary bike, in the end it is worth it and you will thank yourself after making a mistake with the diet …
The more calories you burn the better, right? So why not try some HIIT? I know, I know … you just learned the importance of the rowing machine but practicing HIIT on the rowing machine can give you some time to rest despite burning MORE calories … Try doing 30 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds of rest, 30 seconds of rowing vigorously and then 30 seconds at normal speed (to catch your breath).
Start with 5 or 10 minutes! Your body doesn’t expect it, so it will work hard!
3. It is effective aerobic exercise
Now you know that rowing training requires the use of different muscle groups, so it’s easier to understand why rowing is great aerobic exercise.
Using a variety of muscle groups as opposed to cardio workouts that target specific muscles results in an acceleration of the heart rate, consequently the amount of oxygen circulating within the body is greater. Don’t worry too much about it though, it will simply help you choose the right resistance on the rower.
4. Prevents Upper Body Imbalances
In modern life, we tend to overemphasize pushing movements, especially many of those who go to the gym to practice weightlifting.
Many men go to the gym and train their upper body exclusively, trying to get muscular arms and pectorals, without understanding the muscle imbalance that can result from this.
By not training the posterior antagonist muscles, as the pectoral muscles develop, our posture will curve forward.
The hunched posture brings the shoulders forward, away from the ideal center position. This unbalanced position leads to greater compression and a decrease in the range of motion of the shoulders, possible causes of injury. (Bullock et al, 2005), (Kolber et al, 2010).
As a result, incorporating correctly performed rows into your training not only improves endurance and cardiovascular health, but helps bring your shoulders back into their correct position by contracting your back muscles.
5. Rowing Prevents Joint Pain
Since I have several injuries to both my ankles and knees in my early 20s, I have learned the importance of not putting too much stress on the body with activities such as running and certain types of sports.
If you train simply to improve your body composition and cardiovascular endurance, using the rowing machine is a perfect choice.
Training the rowing machine, compared to other cardio machines, does not cause particular stress on the joints as happens in running.
If you suffer from these problems with your current training program, the rowing machine is worth a try!
I recommend that you visit a professional if you already feel joint pain , using the rowing machine can reduce inflammation compared to other machines, but this does not mean that it will cure existing problems.
Training with rowing machine
1. For Weight Loss and Anaerobic Capacity Improvement
- Heating = Continuous 500 m
- 500m Sprint with 1min Interval
- Repeat 5-10 times based on experience level
- Record time and try to improve workout after workout
2. For Cardiovascular Resistance
- Longest distance for 20-40 minutes
- Work aerobically just below the anaerobic threshold for optimal results.
As with anything, you have to work hard to get results!
3. To push your physique to the max while exercising, try one of these methods:
- Set a goal to achieve before starting, such as a specific time to complete a specific distance.
- Look for training partners to compete with.
- Create a cool playlist to keep your motivation alive.
Recovery should always be the priority in any type of exercise. Unfortunately, it’s the most underrated part of the process!
The hard part is done, you’ve been training hard in the gym and now it’s time to feed your poor muscles.
Among the key things for those who want to maintain muscle mass (men or women!) To increase strength over time, there are Impact Whey Protein and Instant Oats. Specific instant oats along with protein, as low GI carbohydrates release sustained energy for training but also to recharge your body, and they are both so convenient! Bringing a shaker with you is super easy!
Protein can be eaten at any time of the day as a snack, but I recommend protein and oats for breakfast or as a pre-workout meal, at least an hour before training (I wouldn’t want it to stay on your stomach during training!). Alternatively, it’s also a great post-workout meal to nourish your muscles!
Yes, the rowing machine can be a slightly more difficult option when it comes to cardio exercise, but remember, if you really want to tweak your training program for optimal results: (cliché) life begins at the end of your comfort zone! Good workout!