When it comes to at-home workouts, few machines will give you a better cardio workout than the indoor rowing machine. A good workout on a rowing machine can blast away calories, melt fat, and help you build muscle. But if you’re not using the right form, you may be sabotaging your workout results.
Here are four easy tips to help you master your rowing form.
1. Start with the Catch
Every row should start with the catch, and it’s important to get this move right because it serves as the foundation for the rest of the row.
Start by sitting with your legs bent, and placing your feet in the stirrups. Your shins should be about 90° to the floor.
Extend your arms forward to grab the handles. When you lean forward, don’t overextend. Your shoulder should come just ahead of your hips. Your back should be flat, be sure to engage your core muscles for added stability.
2. Master the Drive
Once you’ve mastered the catch, it’s time to move on to the drive. Start with a flat back, keeping your abdominals engaged, and lock your arms. Now, drive your legs back, pushing until they are almost straight. Hinge from your hips, leaning your torso backwards. Your torso should be 90° against the floor. Pull the handle with your arms, bending at your elbows.
It’s common for people to make the mistake of extending their legs, and nothing else. The handle and seat should be moving at the same time, so you maximize momentum and power.
Also, be sure not to over extend your torso past the 90° angle because this will put you back in a weaker position. Try to stay as close to 90° as possible.
3. Finish Strong
At this point, your legs should be straight and your elbows should be bent. Pull the handle towards your lower chest to push your arms slightly away from your rib cage (avoid flaring them out to the side). Keep your abdominals engaged here, and make sure that your back is straight.
Next, you’ll move on to the recovery stage. Let your arms straighten, and once they’re almost fully extended, hinge your torso forward from your hips. Keep your core tight and your back straight. Your knees should start to bend once the handle moves past them.
We really want to stress the importance of keeping your back straight while rowing. If your back is curved and your hips are pushed forward, you won’t see the results you’re looking for. Imagine that your torso is stacked directly on top of your hips, and practice rowing using just your torso. This will help you get a better feel of the seat moving under you. Remember, the key here is to hinge at your hips, not bend and curve your back. Use your torso to stabilize your upper body.
Rowing offers a great workout, but in order to maximize your results, you need to make sure that you perform each stage of the movement properly. Use these tips to correct your form and get the most out of each workout.