Tips for using a rowing machine

If you’ve never tried using a rowing machine, you’re missing the benefits of a full-body, cardiovascular workout that is also kind to your joints.

Donavan Haugstad, Personal Training manager at the Burnsville Y suggests rowing a few times a week, for 30 minutes each cardiovascular- and strength-endurance session.

Rowing helps your whole body

Rowing can help your body’s functional movement, improve your posture, and work your:

  • Arms
  • Back
  • Calves
  • Core
  • Legs

Tips for proper form and technique

Before jumping on a rowing machine, it’s important to learn the proper technique. Using incorrect form on a rowing machine can lead to back pain. 

Here are Donavan’s tips for rowing:

  • The order of events is important—first push with your legs, next lean back slightly, then pull your arms into your chest. Reverse the order for the second-half of the movement.
  • Throughout the movement, be sure to sit up straight and don’t round your back. 
  • Each time you pull with your arms (or “row”), stretch your chest muscles and engage your upper/middle back muscles. 
  • During the pushing phase of the row (also known as the “drive”), use the power and strength from your legs to push against the desired resistance.
  • Once you’re rowing, pay attention to the timing of your strokes—strive for 22-26 per minute.

Watch this video tutorial on using a rowing machine with correct form.