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Can A Rowing Machine Replace All Your Workouts?

It is the World Wide Web as we know it and when it comes to the world of fitness, there are a billion and one articles out there touting the best way to super boost your workout. Be it a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or a hard pumping deadlifting session, there are plenty to pick from in the quest to hike up your metabolism level.

However, most of these exercise are esoteric and require some form of knowledge or assistance to work out — those are not as we call it natural or intuitive, like the use of a treadmill (walking) or spinning on a stationary bike (cycling) that simulates activities that humans are already comfortable with.


Row Your ‘Boats’

Believed to be one of the most underrated equipments at the gym, the rowing machine has been dismissed as it is not clear what rowing machines provide, unlike the building of strength in the use of free weights or the increase of cardiovascular fitness with treadmills. One of the reasons why the rowing machine is often favoured is for its complete workout of the entire body and the combination of both strength training and a head-to-toe cardio workout. Since this is not a common fact, that often means the rowing machine is barely touched at the gym.

How Should I Start?

Rowing is not a complicated exercise to pick up, as it only consists of three different positions. Before you start, ensure that you are all settled into the rower, with your feet securely strapped into the hold. Since it is a full-body workout, the exercise works on a push-pull movement. When your feet are pushing, your hands would be on the pulling movement and vice versa. To begin, hold the oar with your arms fully extended, knees bent and distributing your weight to the balls of your feet. A pro tip is to keep your back straight and your core engaged to prevent any back strains from emerging the next day. In one continuous motion, push back from the hold using only your legs till they are extended and at the same time, pull the oar towards your chest with your elbows bent out to the side. When done with perfect form, your entire body will glide with ease and you will find it easier over time.

Benefits of Rowing

If you have ever rowed a boat in the past, you would know that it can be quite the workout, since it actively works out the entire upper body in one single movement. Due to the sliding seat on the rowing machine, your lower body would be involved just the same, alongside almost every major and minor muscle group. In one time-efficient movement, you will realise your muscles, like your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, biceps and upper back are all fully engaged – that would mean less of a need for a dedicated strength training session and less time spent in the gym as well. In particular, most people appreciate the high-calorie burn that a simple 30-minute workout can bring. For a person with average body weight, 30 minutes on the rower burns around 316 calories — that would go a long way in cutting your daily calorie count and maintaining gradual weight loss. The best part about a rowing machine is that there is a lesser focus on speed, but on movement and power. Unlike running, where it is about your feet matching how fast the treadmill spins, how much you put into the workout is exactly how much you reap from the exercise. That could go both ways since you set the pace — on days when you are exhausted, there is no need to go hard with lung-busting movements and instead focus on rhythm.

Can You Row Every Day?

If you are getting into rowing for the first time, our take is that you should start slow with a rowing schedule of 3 to 4 days a week, and gradually dial up the intensity over time. As exciting a prospect it may be to kickstart your obsession with a row session everyday, rowing is not something that is advisable seven days a week. As your body and muscles might feel sore and tired after a workout routine, take a rest day for your body to recuperate and allow your muscles to repair. When fatigue kicks in, injuries are likely to follow, especially when you overtrain with back-to-back sessions. Most people start getting back pains when they pick up the sport too quickly, but these are signs that you should take note of as your body is in the midst of adjusting to a new routine.


Getting Into Rhythm

Unlike other sports, a workout on the rowing machine takes really little to master, since picking up the proper rowing technique can be easily done with YouTube videos. Hey, if it’s not your sport, you wouldn’t feel like the effort and time you have invested in it is worth having a row with yourself over.

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