Rowing machine training – your effective workout within your own four walls

Rowing is mostly reduced to an arm-heavy sport. The rowing machine training is the ideal balance to everyday life and a very effective method of doing sports at home.

It is suitable to improve your endurance, but also to lose weight. And what is the best point from my point of view, you strengthen your muscles (especially your back).

What is the advantage of rowing machine training over other endurance sports?

There are many points in favor of rowing. You improve your endurance, it helps against high blood pressure and is good training for your cardiovascular system. But other sports also have these advantages. In this section I have listed what makes rowing special.

Rowing is a full body workout

Most conventional endurance sports neglect the upper body. I am thinking of running or cycling in particular.

Rowing, on the other hand, uses more than 85% of the entire body muscles.

The back is particularly stressed and strengthened when rowing. In everyday life we ​​work very forward. Most of the time we sit forward and work or sit at the computer.

This unhealthy bent over posture will shorten your front muscles (pecs, front deltoids, etc.) and pull your shoulders forward.

At the same time, the rarely used back muscles have too little strength to compensate for the bent posture. The consequences are back pain and a hunched back.

Through rowing you strengthen your back muscles (rear deltoids, trapezius muscles, latissimus), which straighten your posture again and help or prevent your back pain.

High energy consumption during rowing machine training

Another consequence of the high number of muscles used when rowing is above-average energy consumption. Every single muscle that is used requires energy during the rowing movement.

As a guideline, you can take 800 kcal for an hour of intensive training, which corresponds to a full meal. For this reason, rowing is particularly interesting for losing weight .

Rowing machine training is easy on the joints and has a low risk of injury

Jogging is the most common way to keep fit. Which is understandable as it has many advantages. However, there are also a few disadvantages.

The ligaments, tendons and joints are stressed by resilient and abrupt movements. These movements occur in most endurance sports, including jogging. Inflamed ligaments or sore joints often follow.

Rowing is an exception. The rowing movement is even and fluid. You don’t have to make abrupt movements or absorb bumps. This means that the risk of injury when rowing is extremely low.

This is how you learn the right rowing technique

The fact that you can hardly injure yourself while rowing is only true if you have mastered the correct execution of the movement.

The first thing I want to do is clear up one of the most common mistakes related to rowing movement. Many people think that most of the power comes from the arms when rowing.

60% of the strength comes from the legs, 30% from the upper body and only 10% from the arms. This distribution makes perfect sense because you have a lot more strength in your legs than in your arms.

The best way to learn the rowing technique is to watch the video and then imitate the movement on your rowing machine at home. Take enough time for it. I recommend beginners to row several units of 30 minutes each and to concentrate solely on the rowing technique. Once you have internalized the execution, you start with the right training.

How often and for how long should I row?

As a beginner, you start with two to three times a week. The individual units should not last longer than 40 minutes. Then you start to increase, preferably the intensity of the training.

But more important than my recommendation is that the training frequency suits you and your life.

Think about how many training units you have time for in your everyday life at the moment. There’s no point starting with five sessions when you only have two. The most important thing is that you do the training not just for a month, but over the long term. And you can only do that if you can integrate it into your everyday life. This is the only way to achieve your sporting goals.

Of course, you can adjust the training frequency later.

You can find a detailed training plan here: Rowing training Training plan

How hard should I row?

The right rowing technique always comes first! You can improve as far as your execution stays clean.

I recommend beginners to start at an easy intensity to learn the movement and get a feel for the row.

As soon as you have mastered this, you are welcome to incorporate more intensive units into your training. Interval training with short sprints is also a very good method to improve your endurance. In addition, different training units make your training varied and exciting, which keeps your motivation high.

One possibility for a varied workout is to increase the intensity a little every 10 minutes or alternate the intensity between high and medium every 10 minutes.

An example of interval training with short sprints are eight sprints of 30 seconds each with a break of 2 minutes to 2:30 minutes.


Maintain motivation

Your motivation is the key to long-term success. There are several methods to keep your motivation up. A simple and very effective one, which not only works when rowing, is to measure your performance and continuously improve.

The best thing to do is to create a notebook in which you write down the performance you achieved during the last training session. Next to it you write whether you found it easy, medium or difficult. If you found the training easy or medium, you can improve next time. If it was difficult, you repeat the training as usual and only increase yourself when it is easier for you.

The advantage of this method is that you make sure to improve, which is important for your athletic goals. You can also see in your exercise book how you are getting better and better, which also motivates you.

You can apply this method to all sports. I discovered it while doing strength training and have been using it for several years now.

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