6 Rowing Machine Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)
The efficiency and effectiveness of providing a low-impact cardio workout make the rowing machine popular in gyms and fitness clubs. In fact, rowing machines can build your endurance, power, and strength. Also, rowing machines are great for pumping your heart and burning calories. Moreover, people of all ages and body sizes can use it to get full-body workout. But, if you work out with all the wrong techniques, you will gain nothing. Rather you will hurt or injure yourself. So, we are presenting 6 common rowing machine mistakes along with tips on how to avoid them.
How to Row with Good Form
First, you should know how to properly row a rowing machine.
Before you start rowing, first start with a proper set-up and body position. So, keep your arms straight, with your head in a neutral position, and both shoulders at the same level. Next, lean the upper body (from the hips and above) forward, engage the core, and fully stretch the legs. Furthermore, shins should be placed vertically, and lift the heels as needed. By the way, this position will help you push the machine with full power and initiate the drive phase to start the stroke.
The Drive Phase
Once your back is vertical, and your legs are fully stretched, pull the handle towards your torso. Applying force through the legs, push off from the machine and hinge the hip backward about 45°. Look out for the proper sequencing of body movements like legs, arms, shoulders, hips, and core.
The Finish Phase
The "Finish" is the resetting position that is the converse of the catch position. Don’t rest here too long. Keep your legs stretched, leaning the back and shoulders away from the legs. Also, your hands should be gripping the handle, with elbows tucked toward the torso.
The Recovery Phase
At this stage, do the drive movements in reverse order so that you can return to the catch position. To bring the torso over the legs, just extend the arms and hinge forward the hips. After that, bend your knees.
6 Rowing Machine Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)
1. Forgetting to Check the Damper Setting
One of the first rowing machine mistakes many make is when they sit down without adjusting the rowing machine's damper setting. The damper setting is adjusted by a lever placed on the air resistant flywheel’s side. With the lever at the higher-setting, the machine will behave more like a rowboat. This setting can exhaust your body muscles even before getting in a solid cardio workout.
The Fix: A higher damper setting will make it harder on your body. So, if you are new to rowing, it is best to start with a setting between three to five.
2. Rowing with only Using Arms
Rowing using only the arms puts too much pressure on the arms, back, and shoulder. This can cause serious body injury.
The Fix: With a rowing machine, 60 percent of the power should be generated by pushing the legs. Another 40 percent comes from engaging the core and pulling the handle with your arms. So, for each stroke, you have to use leg power to push off the foot.
3. Mixing up the Operation Order
Firing the legs and arms simultaneously may feel like the right process while rowing. But, by doing this, you will put unnecessary stress or strain on the upper body.
The Fix: For rowing stroke, follow these three processes. First, push off the foot with your legs. Then, lean slightly back at the hips and pull the arms toward your chest. Incidentally, the correct place to pull your hands is below the ribs. Once the handle is pulled, go back to the starting position. Repeat this over and over.
4. Hunching Your Back During the Stroke
During the stroke, many people bend or hunch their back rather than sitting straight up or tall.
The Fix: You should focus on sitting tall with a straight posture. To do that, engage your core or turn on the abdominal muscles. Relax your shoulder and make a neutral position of the spine.
5. Banging the Butt Into Your Heels
If your strokes are too fast, your body will jerk forward uncontrollably. As the seat keeps slamming into the rower’s front side, the body starts jerking.
The Fix: Pay attention to the stroke timing to regain control. The ratio of the stroke should be a 1:2 count. At the time of the stroke’s second-half, your body should be relaxed and controlled. With a calm and collected recovery, you can easily prevent the seat from smashing.
6. Shooting the Butt Out and Jerking the Upper Body Back
When your legs push quickly and cause you to shoot out the rear ahead, your upper body will awkwardly try to catch up. If this extra work causes your top half to jerk, then the stroke will be less effective. Also, it can increase the risk of injury.
The Fix: Engage your abs and keep the hands or feet connected. The engaged core can smoothly connect the upper and lower body movement. For efficient rowing, your body should have a controlled and deliberate posture with muscles activated.
With a rowing machine, you can effectively increase your strength and endurance and get a full-body workout. This machine works out not only your lower body muscles but also all major muscle groups. By using this amazing equipment, you can maintain an active and fit lifestyle.
A rowing machine is the ideal choice to burn extra fat and get a good low-impact cardio workout. Having proper form while rowing will decrease the risk of injury and speed up your fitness journey.
There is no question, rowing is a great cardio workout that uses muscles in the upper and lower body. However , because it uses so much of your upper body and lower body muscles to give you a cardio workout, it is an exhausting workout to undertake. In fact, if you go to your local gym regularly, it is a rare occasion that you ever see the rowing machines being used. This is because the usual clientele in the gym are those with regular jobs, housewives, students, and others who want an "easy" cardio or muscle workouts. Having said that, rowing workouts are great for athletes in schools, colleges, other professional sports who need to be on top of their game.