How to Use a Rowing Machine

Ben Greenfield
1-minute read

In the episode, Which Exercise Machine Burns the Most Calories the rowing machine is listed as one of the top options, capable of burning over 1,000 calories per hour! Sadly, these contraptions are usually isolated and collecting dust in the cardio corner of the gym – possibly because they look intimidating. In fact, they’re easy to use. Here are 3 Quick & Dirty Tips to get you started:

Know The Machine

Most rowing machines have a hard flat seat (if your butt finds that uncomfortable, wear bicycling shorts). In front of that seat is (A) a handle, which is attached to a chain or cable, which is in turn attached to the actual resistance you pull against; and (B) a pad for each of your feet. You pull with your arms and push with your feet – it’s that simple!

Employ Good Form

During the backwards motion of the row, push with your legs while keeping your low back as straight as possible and your abdominals tightened. Pull with both your arms and the muscles of your upper back. During the forward motion of the row, return to your starting position and recover, but as you do so, continue to maintain an upright back with no slouch.

Use Sparingly

If you’re trying to build muscle or gain lean mass, engaging in high calorie burning activities is not going to help your efforts. So limit your rowing to several short, intense bouts of 60 seconds to 2 minutes. Furthermore, if you have low back pain or become bored easily, plan on a maximum of 20 minutes on the rowing machine.

Do you have a favorite rowing machine workout? If so, share it at the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page!

Rowing Machine image courtesy of Shutterstock

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.