Row, Row, Row Away Calories, Gently Off the Waist!

August 16, 2011 - Posted by Sarah D-P

If you frequent an exercise facility, you’ve more than likely seen them. Sitting low to the ground with an often intimidating look, rowing machines commonly sit unused in the corner gathering dust. No more, my friends! After reading this article, there is no reason to fear the rower!

According to exercise professionals, rowing is an exercise that’s not only easy on the joints, but also packs a punch when it comes to burning calories – 700-750 per hour! That’s more than running or swimming! Instead of using your legs (like on an elliptical or when running), a rowing machine exercises all major muscle groups in the body in a slow and controlled manner.

So why are so few people using this wonderful machine?


Many think it’s because of the low altitude. Timothy Hosea of the American College of Sports Medicine hypothesizes, “When you’re rowing you’re sitting down, and everyone’s towering over you.” Not to mention form. “It takes months to learn proper technique,” he says. Well I’m here to say – GET OVER IT PEOPLE! With such an efficient workout tool at our fingertips, it’s time to stop being shy and start being ripped! I’ve found some information on how to make rowing less scary. has nice step-by-step instructions for getting the movements down:  


Step 1
Stretch all your muscle groups thoroughly for five minutes before seating yourself on your rowing machine. This will help you avoid strains and cramps. It’s best to do dynamic stretches – or stretches that are more movement based than the typical stretch and hold technique. This website shows some good dynamic stretches and examples of how to do them!

Step 2
Set the resistance on your rower to your preferred setting (LOW OR NONE TO START). This is typically done by a lever on the wheel part of the machine. 

Step 3
Seat yourself comfortably on the seat of the rowing machine. Grip the "oar" handles with both hands in a firm but relaxed manner.

Step 4
Lean forward slightly, with your arms straight and shins almost vertical to each other. This is called "the catch.

Step 5
Use your legs to push yourself back, lean backward slightly and pull back with your arms, making sure your elbows are close to your sides. Your legs should start moving well before your arms. The movement of your body pushing backward should naturally bring your arms back, so there should be little pulling involved in the arms at this point. This is known as "the drive."

Step 6
Straighten your legs, making your arms even with your upper body – this is where the arms pull. The handles of the rower should now be aligned with your abdomen. This is known as "the finish."

Step 7
Bend your knees slowly and move forward with straightened arms, leaning forward from the hips. This is referred to as "the recovery." Now you should be back at the catch phase of your rowing.

If you are more of a visual learner, this is a nice diagram showing the movements and timing. As with any new program, start out slow! Happy rowing!! 

Have you tried rowing? Would you? Why or Why Not? How did you master the correct form? I’d love to hear any tips! 
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Weight Loss Mistakes to Avoid
Exercises You Can do at Your Desk

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