Today it is common to find a rowing machine in the cardio area of any gym. It is an activity that affects lung capacity and muscle endurance and does not involve any impact, as happens with “running”
It can be the perfect complement to a session of work with loads, doing a HIIT workout or for a whole session to strengthen aerobic capacity .
For some years, but still now, the activity of Indoor Cycle or better known as, Spinning, has exploded in all sports centers, introducing thus the concept of collective class.
It also provided a number of benefits such as: calorie expenditure in a short period of time, no joint impact, improved anaerobic capacity and, above all , a good dose of fun in each session.
Hence its success …
However, also the collective indoor Rowing sessions are gradually introduced and reach the same level as the spinning sessions.
Before continuing to explain the advantages of the rowing machine, we will explain some concepts to understand what it is based on
What is an ergometer?
An ergometer is a machine used to measure a person’s working capacity
So, we could give the following definition: an ergometer can perform a performance and level test fitness of the person.
In other words, using the necessary equipment you can monitor various constants, such as heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and get a report on the subject’s condition.
So, we get a more approximate result than reality.
In the case of the Rower , and unlike, for example, an exercise bike, if we go to measure the physical capacity of the person, in this case we will be able to test both the lower and upper body , given the involvement of the whole body at each stroke
What does a rower consist of?
A rowing machine simulates the action of rowing , ie it is a combination of a push / pull movement (“pull-push”), thanks to the resistance offered by the water (simulated in the machine), and to the friction that exists between the gears.
Then, using this tool, we will carry out an activity that combines Strength and Resistance in the horizontal plane.
Concept 2 Rower
- Sliding seat
- Fixed pedals with foot adjustment
- Chain-linked handle with gears
- Simulation or resistance system (it can be magnetic, with air…)
- LCD screen to show information about any current variable. It also allows you to browse and select the training program from the menus (depending on the model)
In most cases, the models sold resemble the one pictured above, which can be folded and archived, so that it is a perfect option for our home, and therefore replace the traditional exercise bike
Benefits of the Rower
The action of rowing is extremely easy to learn and of course, as long as someone with the necessary training follows you, it won’t take much longer than the first session to get the basics of the Rowing technique.
Anyone, regardless of their physical condition, or if they have just started their fitness training, can enjoy the benefits of the rowing machine
By recruiting a large number of muscles (about 85%, more than other types of cardiovascular exercise), both the lower and upper body, such as : quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, dorsal e, mid-abdominal area or “core”, triceps and biceps , and gradually producing muscle contractions, they will achieve excellent work, both muscular and cardiovascular , which involves the consumption of a good number of calories.
Muscles involved during the “Catch” phase
Muscles involved during the “Recovery” phase
Minimal risk of injury
Does not cause joint impact like other sports, in addition to if you are overweight, the way your knees have to hold the weight will be lighter.
In the rowing machine we move horizontal , so it is not necessary to support and produce the impact, as it would be in standing activities
Any medium intensity activity will create a series of benefits for our cardiovascular system, from the heart muscle itself, to the oxygen transport system, to the blood…
However, we will be able to run more intense sessions , such as series days…
As we have seen, a large muscle mass intervenes in the action of Rowing, which generates even more, a better stimulus, and therefore our body has to deal with it, needing to make an adaptation to be efficient in oxygenating the peripheral muscles
The rowing machine can offer “hours of fun” and a pleasant moment … In some cases may be the greatest torture, but in general, all the people who experience it, are convinced and choose it as “their cardio machine”.
Po they are connected to the Concept models, an accessory to contain our smartphone and the corresponding app…
It’s a perfect time to listen to a good podcast , we can row miles and miles…
The rowing machine is perfect to combine with any sport , both as an active element during the same session in combination with other movements or accessories, inside of guided sessions in a collective activity, both as a passive element, focused on muscle recovery, or active recovery.
Rowing technique, how to row?
Although at first glance it seems like a simple push and pull movement, it is not at all.
In the mechanics of the Rowing there must be the most precise and rhythmic sequencing of the phases of the entire cycle of movement to achieve good efficiency during exercise, regardless of whether we perform long sessions of 3 kilometers or more, short sets or intensity intervals.
Like any other exercise that requires an optimal execution technique, if this is not done correctly, the a What we will achieve is overloading the muscles involved , increasing the probability of injury and not reaching the proposed goal.
The rowing cycle can be divided into 3 phases:
Starting position: in which we will keep our legs flexed and our arms fully extended in front of us. It is important to take into account the position of the back both at the beginning and during it, so it should be straight without straining the curvatures of kyphosis and lordosis.
This starting position is of utmost importance as it will define the cadence quality in the stroke and therefore the efficiency in the movement of the cycle
Let’s start the movement by extending our legs and pushing back. Just at the same moment of maximum extension it will be when we pull the rower until we manage to place the handle under the chest.
The chest will tilt partially back
Return to the Catch or Recovery
In this phase we return to the starting position. First, we fully extend our arms, bringing them forward and then we allow them to flex our legs to bring us to the starting position.
It is important that the transition of these phases is performed without any pause between them . It will be something that we will improve with practice and experience
Rower Technique Video
Rowers and Psychological Training
Yes, you got it right, Rowers offer a challenge against ourselves
This is because at all times we have in front of us a screen with real-time information on calorie consumption, heart rate, speed, the meters we have traveled, those we have left, the active time … every variable it will be constantly updated with each stroke.
This means that we will have control of our movements and that we are training with a specific goal in the session, such as getting a total number of meters row in a set time, it will be an extra pressure (even now while reading you do not believe it, you will change your mind when you start rowing) and you will notice that your pulse will increase year quickly.
For this reason, it is necessary to remain calm, to control breathing and movement, to try to maintain a steady pace (rhythm), analyzing in each new line our muscle fatigue, in order to be able to achieve the goal prefixed
Probably, the vast majority of users have chosen to use the rower due to the great success of CrossFit. In this discipline, it is common to use some aerobic session machines , such as the “Assault Bike” or the “TrueForm” treadmill.
However, the rowing machine is probably the most used machine
An immediate use of the rowing machine, within a CrossFit routine, would be to merge metabolic circuits or MetCon , in which our power and our physical capacity are revealed, through combinations between these aerobic efforts (rowing) together with other anaerobic and powerful (lifting loads or variations of Olympic movements), gymnastics or with one’s own body weight .
Here we see a clear example of CrossFit’s MetCon in which both the rowing machine is used, the movement of the load and the gymnastic exercise, which is performed at maximum speed:
When we implement a training With the rower, we have several options, including the choice of the type of physical capacity we intend to train, as well as the energy substrate:
For the first case, we are making an almost exclusive use of the oxidative substrate, that is we use fats as fuel . In the second case, the energy path will come from glycolysis, that is, it will oxidize the glucose (which will be stored in the form of muscle and liver glycogen) and obtain the available energy.
We could further refine and incorporate the phosphagen substrate, where we should limit our training to ‘execution of sprint rounds at the highest possible speed and a short period of time
If we are looking for improvement in endurance and we favor the use of the fat substrate, we must perform a type of training within the time. In this, our task will be to maintain an equal pace over that distance. The intensity should be moderate.
For those who want to take risks, you can try a half marathon, that is 21 km…
In this type of training, we can work, according to our level, with distances of 3, 5 or 10 km
If, on the other hand, we want to improve our anaerobic capacity , as well as VO2 MAX, we will assign training to intervals or series. It’s a quality workout.
We can start by each set at the same pace and hurry up in the last few meters. Another option will be to switch from less to more in terms of intensity in each set
It is one of the most commonly seen models from the CrossFit Box , given the existing sponsorship agreement. However, in any other center, you can train with any rowing machine.
In the Concept models, the information that appears on the screen corresponds to our instant effort or a projection for 500 meters
This data will allow us to know what our pace is at any time and although, having set a distance, we will be able to reach it in the scheduled time.
Train for Calories
Another mode, which at least this model offers , is training based on calories or power variable:
- Each stroke generates a series of watts of power, which, translated and extrapolated, will be a Approximate calorie expenditure of our effort.
- In this way, it is common to observe in training sessions that the goal of each round , or over a period of time, is not measured from distance, but the amount of calories consumed
Where to buy rowing-machines?
You can perform pro-like workouts, as with any CrossFit Wod, or as a indoor conditioning element , and be able to enjoy this fabulous rowing machine in the same living room. Thanks to its characteristics, takes up very little space when folded in two parts.
Tip for Rowing
- Grip : do not hold your grip too tight if you intend to train long you will experience this fatigue in the forearm. Then, with each row, in the recovery phase, open the handle slightly to release the muscles.
- Direct with your legs: The legs play a fundamental role in rowing and because they are much stronger than the arms and torso, they will be the ones that will print the most power. If you do a power workout, your “quads” and glutes will suffer … Those people with longer lower extremities definitely have an advantage …
- Don’t just pull with your arms : as we have previously seen, it is the legs that give power to the movement.
- Remember the sequence : remember this order -> legs, hips, arms, arms, hips, legs. This is how the movement flows from Catch to Recovery
- Push Back : if you want to be efficient, the movement after the Catch will be in reverse, so the handle will be moved practically in the same horizontal plane
- Keep your elbows relaxed : maintain a natural position and angle, without straining them
- Do not contract too much trapezius muscles : it is not necessary to contract with each stroke, the shoulders must not reach the ears …
- The feet are also important : you must feel them for the entire trajectory , supporting them and pressing on the heels in the concentric part and releasing slightly when you pull
- Avoid moving the seat too much : a reference is to stop just when your shins are perpendicular to the floor. The hips must not exceed the heels.