How to use a Rowing Machine

how-use-rowing-machineA rowing machine is one of the best types of workout equipment that money can buy, and you will begin to learn that using them can be extremely fun. It is a workout that pays off quickly as it is great for losing weight, improving your fitness and giving you a full body workout. They will work your cardiovascular system and help you to become fitter as you are able to push yourself simply by increasing your resistance.


Body Areas to Target

When you begin using a rowing machine, it is important to know which parts and muscles of your body you are wanting to focus on. This is important, because depending on the type of machine that is purchased, and how it is set up, you will be able to focus on different areas.

The Upper Body

Rowing machines are a great option if you are wanting to work on several muscle groups that are located in the upper body. It is one of the best workout options that you can do regularly with your hands and wrists, which in turn is helpful in a number of vocations as well as sports. Although the areas that you will be focusing on are parts of your back, which includes your shoulders. It is also a great workout for your biceps, abs, and pectoral muscles, so you are covering a lot of areas.

The Lower Body

You may see that you have gained more in your lower body, which is quite a surprise for many. You may not actually think it, but most of the hard work during rowing is actually done by your legs, buttocks, quads and calves. If you are able to have a sliding, mobile seat setting it allows the movement to increase, and the overall focus on your lower body while keep it locked in a stationary position. This will direct the energy to your upper body.

Proper Positioning and Form

rowing-feetOne of the most important things that you should know is how to understand your position so that the rowing machine feels as if it is a smooth extension of your energy that your body is releasing. Having a bad position can cause lower results and possibly strains and muscle cramps, so you need to focus on having the right position.

The first thing that you would need to do with any rower is to be certain that you have the right level of resistance or weight, in order to not overdo anything and strain yourself. A great way to ensure this is to start out at a low resistance until you are comfortable, and then begin to increase your resistance level slowly until you feel as if you are being challenged.

Please be sure that your feet are secured when you are using a rowing machine. If your feet are moving a lot or sliding around, it will cause inconsistent results or you may end up with cramps in your feet trying to hold the right position. Tighten your foot straps enough that your feet will not move around as your are rowing.

Common Mistakes that you Should Avoid

When you are beginning and learning, you will want to keep these tips in mind. There are only a few things that may go wrong if an individual does not have any type of help getting started, but you can certainly avoid these if you are able to know what to look for.

Keep things simple and slow

When you begin, you can ensure that you’re not making any mistakes by simply not rushing yourself as you are rowing, instead focus on getting to know your rowing machine and the way that your body moves with the machine. As time goes on, you will not only be able to increase the resistance or weight level of the rower, but you will be able to increase the speed that you are able to complete each stroke. You may want to keep the rowing sessions short when you start out, stopping before your muscles have become tired. That way you are able to continue later on.

Position Mistakes

These are easy to spot, so be sure to remind yourself not to do the following as you are learning.

Lack of Fluidity

This is a very important step and why you should begin to row slowly, because having erratic and jerky movements are harsh on your body, and is not meant to gain an optimal workout. You want to keep things smooth and nice.

Pushing with your back

You certainly do not want your back muscles to be doing most of the work when you are pushing off your drives, similar to the reason why you do not lift a heavy box with your back muscles. You want to use your legs for most of the heavy lifting.


There are two ways that people often make mistakes when it comes to leaning the upper body. The most common, and first mistake is tilting back during the finishing stroke. The other one is leaning forward, when you notice yourself leaning forward in the catch position.

Simply avoid these mistakes, follow the tips that are above and you will gain great results out of your rowing experience.

  1. Reply rowing machine September 11, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Hello all, here every person is sharing such familiarity, so it’s good to
    read this website, and I used to go to see
    this blog every day.

  2. Reply Steve October 3, 2016 at 11:58 am

    “There are two ways that people often make mistakes when it comes to leaning the upper body. The most common, and first mistake is tilting back during the finishing stroke. The other one is leaning forward, when you notice yourself leaning forward in the catch position.”

    There should be *up to* 15 degree lean back at the finish. There should be a 15 degree body swing (lean) forward before you bend your legs, then maintain that same angle while sliding all the way up the slide to the start of the stroke (the catch).

    to say that tilting back and forward is a mistake would be incorrect but the tilting should be very controlled and not too much – working the core in the process ;-).

    • Reply Cesar Beltran October 5, 2016 at 4:05 am

      Steve, Thank you very much for the update on How to Use a Rowing Machine properly–we welcome your input, and would love to hear more from other readers. I have been fortunate to learn from the best, and my exercise routines are very good. I have achieved my goals and hope we are helping others achieve great results as well!

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