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How to use rowing machine for training a healthier body?

How to use rowing machine?

The rowing machine is an indoor cardio-training machine that reproduces the movements practiced in rowing. But how to use rowing machine?

Impossible to miss this device. It is found in almost all fitness and weight rooms, as well as in rehabilitation centers. You can also equip yourself for a few hundred dollars, in order to train at home. Depending on the space available you will find foldable rowers that are easy to use and store. You will thus be able to benefit from the many advantages offered by this fitness device.



By using the rowing machine, you put all of your muscles into play. Your arms pull, your legs push, your abs balance and your back keeps pace. In short, no place for the lazy, everyone is involved. Moreover, it is this poly-articular movement that allows you to burn a maximum of calories, even more if you do it with a minimum of intensity.


No need to have large spaces to rower. The foldable version is a fitness tool for everyone, due to the small amount of space it requires. Some models are thus designed to be used in apartments.

Whether you use it at home or in the weight room, just sit on the machine to start your workout. After a learning phase in order to acquire the technique of performing the movement, using the rower becomes child’s play. Both beginners and experienced can therefore benefit from it.


Whether you want to lose weight, tone, warm up, work on your explosiveness, endurance or simply decompress, the rower is multifunctional. Depending on your goal, you will simply have to adapt your duration and intensity of effort.

How to choose a good rowing machine?

Usually we always have a lot of questions before and after buying a rower: What are the different types of rowers? Is rowing a cardio sport? How to properly use the rower? This last question is essential because while this device seems very easy to use, using it wisely and achieving optimal results is quite another thing.

To approach the practice of the rower, it may be interesting to opt for a small device. An easy-to-use model that will allow you to easily progress, to eventually start using more professional devices.

That’s why we recommend our selection of 3 rowers that are perfect for beginners. Small, inexpensive models that you can quickly get to grips with:

How to use rowing machine for training a healthier body?How to use rowing machine?

Warm-ups and stretching, preliminary steps

Many gestures and positions define the correct use of the rower. But before adopting them, we must not neglect an essential preliminary step: the warm-up. In fact, before starting strength training and cardio training exercises, which often last between 30 and 90 minutes, the body must be fully prepared. To do this, you have to warm up and stretch, and this for 15 minutes.

The warm-up not only allows the body to prepare for exercise, it also ensures a more successful workout and results that meet your expectations. It must be done correctly, respecting the aforementioned duration. There are many risks of a bad warm-up or lack of it. For example, you could injure your muscles or joints, your training will not give you the desired results, and you will tire more quickly and easily during your workout.

Gestures and positions to adopt

Once the body is well prepared, you can start your weight training or cardio training session. The first thing you will do will be sit on the rower. But before taking a stand, first know that by using the rower you will be simulating paddling movements. You will need to prepare for two phases: a draw phase and a return phase. The pulling phase is the most intense and requires the deployment of all your strength. On the other hand, the return is more relaxed.

Let’s come back to the right position to adopt. You need to keep your back straight, without bending or staggering, from the start to the end of your exercise. Righteousness of the back is essential, it leads to the proper course of the exercise and determines the results. At the same time, your shoulders should be above your pelvis throughout the session. A rowing machine has straps, you will place your feet there, making sure to keep your legs and knees parallel, even during movements involving bending.

The course of the training session

The session will be done as follows: you will push on your legs so that your arms will flex. During this time, your legs will be bent slightly so as not to strain or damage the knee joints. This flexion of the legs should remain constant during the pull-up and return. The back will remain straight, as indicated above, and should not be pulled back as it is the arms that perform the movements and not him.

It is important to pace your training sessions gradually. Thus, you will improve them and, at the same time, improve your cardiac system or your musculature. Each session should be spaced a few breaks to avoid muscle irritation and fatigue. The session will be divided into practice time and break time, and the duration of both must be the same.

Mistakes to avoid

The use of a rower involves being aware of and avoiding many false movements. If you do them inadvertently, you could be physically deformed or your exercise will not bear the expected fruits. First of all, you should not leave your arms bent while rowing, during the pulling phase. To start the pull-up phase, you will first need to pull with your arms, not push with your legs. Then you will be using your legs to push and your back will be locked as your arms extend and stretch forward. However, they should not remain tense during the return.

Elbows should not be wide apart. To avoid it, you will pull your grip towards your body and your wrists will have to stretch forward while your elbows will be pulled back. While pulling requires a lot of power, you just don’t want to pull too far or risk pulling your back back. To avoid it, your grip should be brought back against the body and your torso should remain vertical once the pulling phase is over.

There are really many positions to avoid. In the batch, we find the fact of preventing the knees from rising too early. Indeed, during the return, we notice a sliding of the rower forward before allowing the handle to pass over the knees. Two scenarios then arise: either the hands touch the knees, or they avoid them by standing up. Since this movement is harmful, it is best to allow the body to slide forward, making sure to preserve the intact and unchanged position of the arms of the body, after the arms have been extended.

Some mistakes to avoid is over stretching the body forward. This position has the fault of causing the shoulders and head to bend towards the feet. It is avoided by resting the body on the legs so that the verticality of the bust is preserved. Finally, you should avoid bringing your body towards the handle. This position becomes automatic when the stroke is completed, if we are not careful enough. Rather, it should be the handle you bring to your body. You will do this by gently tilting back and pulling the handle back towards you, making sure your legs keep pushing down.

Top 10 best quality/price rowing machine

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Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5 Performance Monitor, Black

MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine Folding Exercise Rower 16-Level Tension Resistance Precise Display Panel with Storage Box Quite for Home Use

Sunny Health & Fitness Compact Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine with LCD Monitor, Bottle Holder

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 12 Adjustable Resistance Rowing Machine Rower w/Digital Monitor

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine

MaxKare Water Rowing Machine Water Rower with Water Resistance & Large LCD Monitor for Home Use

NordicTrack RW900 Rower Includes 1-Year iFit Membership

ShareVgo Smart Rower Folding Magnetic Rowing Machine with Free APP for Indoor Full Body Workout Log and Performance Track

Marcy Pro Water Resistance Rower Rowing Machine for Home Gym LCD Monitor Tracks Time Distance Strokes and Calories 

HouseFit Water Rower Rowing Machine 330Lbs Weight Capacity for Home use Water Resistance Row Machine Exercise Equipment with iPad and Phone Support LCD Digital Monitor

How to do a good rower?

On the downside, learning the correct technique seems to be the main obstacle for novice users. If you want to benefit from all the benefits that the rower can bring to you, and especially to avoid injuring yourself, take the time to acquire optimal technique! We still see too many practitioners hurting their backs by misusing this device.


  1. Always start your training at low intensity and then gradually increase the pace.
  2. Always have a straight back and shoulders above the pelvis. Don’t round your back!
  3. At the start of the movement, your shoulders are slightly in front of your pelvis: at 1 p.m. relative to the vertical axis of your hips.
  4. Keep your abs and back tight during the push-up phase.
  5. Never straighten your legs completely. At the end of the extension, your knees must be slightly bent.
  6. Use your legs first. The arms are extended during the push with the legs. The pull with the arms simply finalizes the movement.
  7. At the end of the propulsion, pull the handle above the navel, forearm horizontal, wrists straight.
  8. Do not tilt your trunk excessively backwards. Stop when your shoulders are at 11 a.m.
  9. Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed throughout the movement.
  10. Be dynamic during the propulsion phase (1 stroke) and flexible during the return phase (2 stroke).
  11. In order to acquire an irreproachable execution technique, do not hesitate to seek advice from a professional sports coach. Find a coach near you

The commandments of a good rower

> Your legs, you will use
You should avoid rowing with your arms bent at all times. A good pull-up position should use the arms, but not exclusively. By mobilizing the legs during the pull-up, you will distribute the effort and protect your back.

> Your back, you will gain weight
So, let’s recap: when pulling, be sure to contract your back (as if to block it) while relaxing your arms forward.

> Elbows towards you, you will bring back
In the return movement of the traction, we do not set aside the elbows (yes, like at the table!). We are careful to keep the arms bent in line with the bust, as if we wanted to stick the shoulder blades.

> The wrists, you will not relax
They should remain stretched forward with the elbows pulled back, beyond the body. The forearms remain in a horizontal position.

> Too far, you will not shoot
The rower handle should not be pulled too high. Stop the movement under the chin!

> Backwards, you won’t lean
The handle should be brought back against the body while keeping the torso vertical at the end of the pull. The more sheathed you are, the better it will go. And as the rower helps tone your bust, your movement will quickly gain in efficiency.

>Your knees, you will control

During the return movement, the knees should not interfere with the movement of the arms. So we bring back the arms first, the knees follow.

>The body towards the handle, you will bring

In fact, it’s your body that comes back, and not the handle that you pull towards you, nuance!
A nuance which is very important since you should only tilt backwards very moderately, and, while keeping your legs stretched, bring the handle towards you. Does that sound confusing to you? Try it, you will understand!
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

5 rowing exercises for a dream body

Exercise 1 to start gently

Do interval training for 3 sets of 3 to 5 minutes, row at a regular and moderate pace.
1 min break between each series.

Exercise 2 for cardio

Perform a series of 22 rowing movements / min (i.e. 1 rowing movement every 3 seconds).
For beginners, this exercise can be split into 2x 4 minutes.
For the others, do 2x 8 minutes.

Exercise 3: 10 min to work on your speed

Start with 3 minutes at a moderate pace (in rowing, we will talk about 20 strokes / min, but on a device, you will do a distance, write it down, it will serve as a reference).
Go to 3 minutes more sustained (with about 22 strokes / min, or try to go a little further so a little faster than during the previous 3 min).
Then at 3 minutes even more sustained (24 strokes of the oar / min, that is to say again a slight acceleration compared to the previous 3 min).
1 minute cool down between sets.

Exercise 4 to progress

On the same basis as exercise 3, we reduce the time of each series but with the same number of strokes. That is to say, on a device that will tell you the distance, we will try to do the same distance in less time.
In a room, do not hesitate to seek advice from a coach to adjust the resistance of your rower, and monitoring. It is worth it to better assess your progress (and motivate yourself).

The rower, my ally for a muscular workout

Thanks to the practice of the rower, you can achieve a progressive training and vary the intensity, the working time as well as the cadence. Remember to drink in small sips, hydration during exercise is important.

Exercise 5, the champion!

For 2x 10 minutes, row at an average pace (20 to 22 strokes per minute).
Recovery: 3 minute break between sets.
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

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