Looking to Mix It Up: Try Rowing Machines


Want to get a great all over body workout in one spot? Tired of the same ole’, same ole cardio machines? Consider the advantages of using a rowing machine traditionally known as the ergometer.


Traditionally rowing machines were used to train rowers (particularly sculling) indoors. However, recently their popularity in gyms and home gyms is growing. This is because of the diversity of the training and the benefit of the total body workout you get from a rowing machine.


Basically you sit in a seat, place your feet in pedals, grip handlebars and row! This is simulating the activity of rowing a boat. The seat slides back and forth to allow for the free flowing, fluid movement.


This piece of fitness equipment combines both cardio exercise and strength training working all of the major muscle groups all at once. Although it is considered to be a low impact machine there are cautions for users, particularly the novice rower.



Watch Your Back!


One of the most common beginner mistakes when using rowing machines is using the back rather than the leg or arm muscles. The lower back is at risk when you use the machine improperly or have the wrong form.


Be sure to not jerk the handles rather move smoothly. Don’t lean too forward or too much backward as you ‘row.’ Be sure to keep your abs tight and emphasize using the legs and arms, not the lower back. Start off slow if you’ve never used a rowing machine before. It’s recommended the beginner start off with just 10 minutes and gradually increase.


In addition to the back improper or overuse of this product can negatively impact the knees, hips, shoulders, hand areas, and elbows. If you already have existing problems in any of these areas (especially the back) you may want to re-consider the rowing machine.


Although these machines can be costly, the higher quality ones are usually well built and can last for years. Let’s look at a few of the more popular rowing machines.



3 Popular Rowing Machines


Concept 2 Rowing Machine


Often found in gyms this model sets the standard for the machines that soon followed. Retailing for $900 it’s an investment to consider but this rowing machine is viewed as one of the best on the market.


It measures 95 x 24 x 14 inches, weighs 57lbs, and has a 500lb weight capacity.

This rowing machine features a quiet flywheel for noise reduction, a tracker that displays distance, speed, pace, calories, and watts. There are preset workouts as well as FISH games. It also comes with free online support.


Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine


A more basic type of rowing machine this retails for $150 and folds up. It measures 23.5 x 46 (w x l) and weighs 38.8lbs.  It tracks time, calories, and stroke count. This rowing machine accommodates a user up to 250lbs.


Stamina 15-9003 Deluxe Conversion 11 Recumbent Rower


This rowing machine retails for around $600 and can double as a recumbent bike and leg press machine. It measures 74.5 x 25.5 x 10 (w x h x d.) It tracks speed, distance, time, calories, and pulse displayed on the monitor. It weighs 102lbs and has wheels to aid in mobility.


One of the most important considerations with this kind of home exercise machine besides the health of your back is the room you have. Although there are the fold up versions it pays to invest a bit more money (if you have the room that is) on a better rowing machine. Yes, it’s more expensive but well worth it to get a high quality machine that prevents injuries and keeps you motivated.



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