Power work-out with the rowing machine

In our fitness series, we introduce you to the best training equipment for at home. Do you want to go all out during your workout? A rowing machine combines endurance training and muscle building.

Bend your upper body forward, tense your arms, stomach and back and pull the oars backwards. Water rushes. Break. Exhale and start all over again. You don’t have to become a member of the rowing club to get this feeling. With a rowing machine, you can bring the power work-out straight to your home.

Why a rowing machine for home?

Rowing machines are perfect for endurance training, while the holistic rowing movement trains up to 85 percent of the total musculature. The back extensor and the back muscles in particular benefit from this training and can thus prevent postural damage and back pain. Rowing machines with water resistance bring you an authentic workout home – and there are no excuses such as “The way to the gym is too far” or “I don’t have time for an extensive workout”. Because: half an hour is enough! ( Read more about the best exercises for a strong back here )

Which muscles can I train with the rowing machine?

The muscle groups that benefit most from exercising on the rowing machine are the back, shoulder, leg, arm and abdominal muscles – almost all of them. Rowing is easy on the joints if the movements are carried out in a controlled and even manner. So you can prevent strains. This training method is therefore better suited for people with joint problems than high-impact sports such as jogging. Regular training, ideally three times a week, also improves endurance.


What does the training plan with the rowing machine look like?

Beginners should start with 20 minutes of training and 20 even strokes per minute. You can gradually increase the training time and the impact resistance and adapt them to your fitness level. To prevent injuries, you should warm up briefly before your workout: with jumping jacks, lunges or jumping rope. Also, circle your arms and shoulders.


The sequence of movements on the rowing machine

After the warm-up, you can start. The most important thing for exercising with the rowing machine is a healthy posture. This is especially true for the eternal problem child of the back. The feet are strapped to the stretcher. The seat is rolled back and your legs should be almost straight. The back remains straight during the entire training (no hunch, please!) And is slightly leaned back at the start. The knees are straight and shouldn’t fall outwards or inwards.

Now put your arms close to your body. You hold the handle of the rowing machine in front of your stomach, your hands form an extension of your forearm and are never kinked. You can grab the handles from above or below. The grip from below works the triceps, while the grip from above mainly works the biceps. ( You can find more exercises for biceps and triceps in our fitness series )


The rolling forward

Now straighten your arms and slowly roll forward. The upper body is bent slightly forward. The knees are bent. Rolling forward is the recovery phase. Here you breathe in calmly and in a controlled manner.

The pull phase

Now comes the pull phase. The legs are straight. At the same time pull the oar handle towards your body. The abdominal muscles should be tense and the back should be kept straight. Be careful not to pull your shoulders up. Exhale in a controlled manner during the pull phase. The arms should reach the breastbone during the pull phase. As a beginner, stretch your upper body at most up to the vertical. Advanced users can go up to hyperextension, i.e. overstretch the back extensor extra and thus train the back muscles even more specifically.

Important: Row slowly at the beginning and increase the intensity of the strokes as you train. Be careful not to tear or pull violently, or you may injure muscles and vision.

How many calories can I burn with the rowing machine?

Depending on the intensity, you can burn 500-800 calories per hour. In general, the following applies: if you train with little resistance and a low heart rate, you can lose weight and, above all, improve endurance. With a higher intensity and shorter training units, you promote muscle building. The best way to check your heart rate is with a fitness tracker. ( Read all about the best fitness trackers here )


What else do I have to consider when buying a rowing machine?

In general, a rowing machine is suitable for everyone who wants to strengthen endurance and muscles and who want a change from jogging. However, if you have knee problems, you should choose another joint-gentle endurance training, such as swimming . Because on the rowing machine, the knees are very sharply bent and therefore more stressed. Before buying, you should make sure that the seat slides into the seat rail without any resistance. Test whether you can completely perform all the rowing movements. Try different resistance systems. In addition to water resistance, there are rowing machines with magnetic and air resistance.

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