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Rowing Benefits, Technique & Common Mistakes

Rowing Benefits, Technique & Common Mistakes

Benefits of Rowing Workout.

Rowing machines are slowly turning about to be a better workout alternative for many when compared to cycling or even cardio. This is because the rowing machines called ergometers or ergs use nearly 86 percent of your muscles during the process, unlike other indoor workouts. This near-complete workout not only helps in strengthening & toning up the muscles but also is beneficial in building a healthier heart & lungs. 

Some benefits of rowing are as follows:

A complete workout: Rowing is a complete body workout that uses up 86 percent of your body muscles, unlike the misbelief that it only benefits the arms & legs. Studies have shown that 65-75% of leg muscles & 25-35% of upper body muscles are at work with each rowing stroke. The main muscles at work with each rowing stroke are:

  • Upper Back
  • Pecs
  • Arms
  • Abdominal Muscles
  • Oblique Muscles

Rowing also helps strengthen leg muscles including:

See Also

  • Quadriceps
  • Calves
  • Glutes or Buttock Muscles
  1. Low Impact Exercise: Calories burnt in rowing is pretty high when compared to other indoor workouts & are less stressful on your joints. In some cases, rowing is even recommended to people who are in the early stages of osteoarthritis as it’s less stressful on joints. 
  2. The Mind-Body Connection: Rowing can be meditative due to the smooth, gliding motion when working out on the ergometer. The smooth repetitive motion is soothing to the mind & keeps you calm releasing feel-good hormones, endorphins, reducing stress.
  3. For a Healthier Heart & Lungs: Rowing helps strengthen the cardiovascular system similar to cardio exercise but with less stress on the joints. Rowing is an intense workout that makes the heart pump faster leading to a healthier & stronger heart. This not only improves the heart but also strengthens the blood vessels leading to a better blood supply.
  4. Replacing the Treadmill or the Elliptical MachineRowing is a much better exercise option when compared to exerting on the treadmill or elliptical. This is because rowing helps in providing a complete body workout whereas the treadmill’s focus is mainly on the lower body. The elliptical is a complete body workout as it works on both the upper body & the lower body similar to rowing. But misses out on working the abs that come with each stroke of rowing.
  5. Calories Burnt on the Ergometer: According to studies depending on body weight, elliptical exercises burn 6-10% more calories when compared to rowing. But rowing has less impact on the body joints making it the favored form of exercise to stay in shape.

Ergometer Using Technique

  • Shoulders have to be held straight when rowing on the ergometer. An incorrect form of rowing or holding a bad posture can lead to strained muscles or an injury.
  • Lower back pain is another common complaint reported when rowing. This happens mostly in men due to less use of abdominal muscles when rowing leading to more pressure on the lower spine leading to pain of the lower back. Another reason is due to people pushing their legs first then leaning back without relaxing the abdominal muscles when going up & down. 
  • If you undertake rowing as your regular form of exercise then do not take on other high-intensity exercises. Another high-intensity exercise along with rowing is not recommended.

The downside of the Ergometer

  • When on the ergometer start rowing slowly if not then face the wrath of your strained muscles or joints. Sit in the upright seated position during the rowing cycle which otherwise could lead to a sore back.
  • The rowing machine requires plenty of space making it difficult to fit into an apartment. 

Rowing is an excellent form of cardio workout that makes the maximum body muscles work including the heart. Preferably the guidance of a dietitian or a health consultant should be taken before taking up rowing on an ergometer.

10 Min Rowing Machine Drills for Beginners

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