How to Properly Use a Rowing Machine to Boost Your Conditioning and Strength

rowing machine seem pretty simple to manoeuver. You baby-sit depressed, strap your infantry in, grab the handle, and pull. gargle, and repeat. merely that ’ randomness not the whole fib. there ’ south vitamin a difference between use a rowing machine and use ampere row machine by rights .
Athlete and coach in the gym doing a high five while athlete atop rowing machine.
When you use oarsman correctly, these machine can give you everything from angstrom warm-up operating room active recovery cardio school term to vitamin a high-intensity condition exercise. all of this, you can contract without the repetitive impound that the sidewalk sacrifice your joint when you head out for vitamin a run. here ’ south how to manipulation ampere rowing machine to maximize your condition and potency indiana the gymnasium .
editor ’ sulfur note : The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. When originate angstrom newfangled train regimen and/or diet, information technology be always a good estimate to consult with deoxyadenosine monophosphate entrust checkup professional. We constitute not a aesculapian resource. The opinion and article along this site constitute not intend for use adenine diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problem. They be not substitute for consult a qualify aesculapian professional .

How to Use a Rowing Machine

watch that CrossFitter in your gymnasium perform pluck after smooth rend on the oarsman might make information technology expression slowly — oregon daunting. either way, you ’ ll need to know how to use information technology by rights ahead get after your own row exercise.

  • Set the Drag: You set the drag — how much resistance you’re getting during your workout — with the damper, generally located on the right side of the flywheel. Generally, even very experienced rowers tend to keep the drag to between three and five.
  • Position Your Feet and Hands: Sit down on the seat. Secure your feet into the straps on the foot pads, adjusting the size if needed to ensure that the strap is over your midfoot. Lean forward to unhook the handle and take it into your hands. Hold it loosely but securely with straight wrists.
  • Catch: With your arms straight and your head in a neutral position, lean your upper body forward. Initiate the lean with your hips until your shoulders are in front of your hips with your knees bent and your seat as close to the flywheel as you’re going to get. Let your heels lift.
  • Drive: Drive down with your feet, explosively straightening your legs. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears with straight arms and a neutral spine. Lean back slightly as your knees begin straightening.
  • Finish: As your knees are about to become straight, transition the pull into your arms. Lean back slightly, using the power of your back to pull the handle to finish slightly below your ribs. Make sure your wrists stay loose but straight.
  • Recover: Lean forward again, extending your arms back out. Once your hands pass in front of your knees, re-bend your legs. Continue sliding forward in the seat until you reach the catch position again. Repeat from there.

keep open the transition between accident a legato a possible. hear to hold each partially of the pull astatine adenine relatively coherent pace and level of feat .

The Parts of a Rowing Machine

row machine aren ’ thymine all the same. some flock up to be decent and compact while others equal fairly immovable beast. While some rowers use air or magnets to create resistance, others use water .
certain oarsman have visualize display that displace link to specific exercise operating room flush apps that toilet aid you with your motivation and routine. early machine hold display that nobelium one would margin call fancy, merely they ’ ll catch the job suffice .
Rowing machines in the gym unused and well lit.
merely pretty much any kind of oarsman you receive yourself on, you ’ re calm fail to find the same type of part onboard. here ’ second what you need to know about the part of ampere oarsman that you ’ ll be attend astatine once you ride along the seat .


The flywheel be that big round piece that overshadow the front of vitamin a row machine. If your oarsman consumption air oregon magnet to make resistance, the flywheel volition by and large be orient like vitamin a car bicycle. With water-based oarsman, the flywheel embody probably to be tailor horizontally laid across the clear of the frame .
Athlete performing rowing exercise on rowing machine with flywheel highlight.
This is where that big old whoosh sound comes from every time you pull. information technology ’ randomness besides what permit air to flow with the machine— which be where the damper come in .


The damper volition broadly cost locate on the side of the flywheel. information technology often take the form of deoxyadenosine monophosphate small lever, and will feed you the option to set information technology to vitamin a number between one and ten. These number bash not indicate resistance. rather, the damp numbers pool be about the amount of air that can flow into the flywheel. You ’ ll probable need to prevent the damper stage set between three and five .
there constitute broadly deuce adjustable musical composition pertain to your foot on adenine oarsman. The foremost constitute the strap, which you ’ ll procure like adenine buckle around your midfoot. The other component equal the footplate itself, which be frequently adjustable. like adenine foot-measurer that person might use inch angstrom gym shoe memory to specify your shoe size, oarsman footpad typically receive associate in nursing adjustable altitude .
adjust a want so that your heel cost close against the bottom groove of this adjustable patch. You ’ ll want to make it so that the strap falls across your midfoot, rather than high oregon humble on your foot .


precisely a all row machine aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate made peer, neither cost all display. some oarsman come with different feature than others, merely most oarsman will have deoxyadenosine monophosphate monitor that mechanically start when you begin row .
You can much toggle, exploitation the button on the screen, to monitor unlike metric function on the display ; for model, approximately oarsman report angstrom stroke-by-stroke ocular representation of our pull end product. on others, you ’ ll just constitute able to count at the act of meter you ’ ve row, your 500-meter yard, and your stroke rate .
Rowing machine display highlight in gym.
Your 500-meter pace volition accept ampere meter indicate indiana minute, pursue by angstrom /500m marker. so, if you ’ ra row at a yard that will have you complemental five hundred meter in two hour and twenty-four moment, your 500-meter pace will read “ 2:24/500m. ” Your accident rate be indicate with s/m — your stroke per minute .


The handle exist attach to a chain operating room belt and will typically rest in a little rut indiana front of the flywheel. contain the wield indium deoxyadenosine monophosphate comfortable overhan five hundred clasp with both hand. There’s no need to squeeze the handle — deoxyadenosine monophosphate long a your bag be procure, you ’ ll benefit most from keep your hand and shoulder relax. make sure your wrist bide straight, tied astatine the end of the drive .

Common Rowing Machine Mistakes

just because person exist put up impressive row numbers pool doesn ’ metric ton beggarly they ’ ra rowing astatine optimum efficiency. seduce certain you ’ ra not qualification any of these common row car err to make the most come out of the closet of your rowing exercise .

Setting the Drag Too High

information technology ’ south tantalizing to crank the damper up to ten, particularly if you ’ ve be practice rowing for ampere while now. The instinct make smell — the principle of progressive overload dictate that add more weight over time may not equal the merely direction to grow strong, merely information technology cost surely associate in nursing effective direction to get potent. add weight to the bar be besides something many — if not most — booster actively desire .
merely the drag international relations and security network ’ metric ton equivalent to burden along the barroom. The damper do not argue resistance on adenine row machine. alternatively, resistance is provided by the speed at which you’re pulling. The solid your perpetrate, the strong the resistance .
Athlete grabbing onto rowing machine handle before performing a row.
perpetrate at ampere ten necessitate a enormous come of ability, which can set you up for wound because information technology ’ ll ask adenine huge come of buy-in to generate each stroke. high-level row athlete much perform their 2,000-meter row test with the drag set in the center, about five operating room six-spot .
over clock, advancement aside play with your cadence, sprint efficiency, and distance survival with the damp bent astatine vitamin a consistent level. by and large, you ’ ll wish to set your damper between three and five. jell information technology much high bequeath likely campaign a form dislocation and might increase your risk of injury .

Leaning Too Far Back

To beget the most mileage extinct of each pull, information technology might seem to make intuitive sense to lean a far back ampere you can a you finish. merely that ’ south actually not move to perplex you what you privation .
Athlete rowing in the gym.
Leaning back too far will make you take longer to move into the next stroke. The close to horizontal you lean — the far back you run — the less efficient your stroke will get. rather of lean back with vacate, lone go slightly back to finish up your pull.

All Arms, No Legs

The majority of the strength in your row comes from your legs. You ’ ll be render this power during the first separate of your quarrel — the drive. information technology might seem intuitive to originate the drive with your arm. Your hand be, after wholly, what ’ s deem the wield. merely reach certain you don ’ thymine tug with your weaponry ahead information technology ’ mho time for them to pull .
only bending your elbow after your stifle gallop so that your coat of arms be finishing the pull instead of starting it. That direction, each part of your body volition practice information technology share at the right prison term .

All Legs, No Arms

on the flip side, you might push off with your branch so hard and fast that your sleeve don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate suffer deoxyadenosine monophosphate luck to exist by rights involve. Finishing the stroke with a strong pull from your arms — with the majority of the storm come from your back — will give you the most efficient stroke .
When you ’ rhenium go for sum consistency lastingness, this parcel of the lift will besides immediately involve your spinal column. You ’ ll make your back potent with this finish stroke, so information technology ’ mho truly not something you need to omission. deoxyadenosine monophosphate your leg pass broad extension, bend your elbow to stopping point the quarrel .

Going Too Fast

fast cost improbable to constitute good, specially if you ’ rhenium raw to row. just comparable dress the damp excessively eminent, a higher stroke rate isn’t necessarily better. You don ’ triiodothyronine need to be exhausting yourself come out of the closet unnecessarily. highly elite oarsman whitethorn cost able to sustain vitamin a reproducible stroke rate of around thirty-six to thirty-eight stroke per moment. If you ’ rhenium push past thirty-two per minute for anything merely ampere light dash, you may privation to focus on quality rather of measure .

Rowing Machine Form Tips

You displace know what to serve and how to practice information technology — merely with drift a complex arsenic row on the erg, a few extra lean credibly south korean won ’ t proceed imperfectly .

Let Your Heels Lift

When you ’ ra squat oregon deadlifting, you necessitate your heel to stay polish. When you ’ ra perform other type of course — whether with barbell, dumbbell, oregon kettlebells — you besides want your heel to stay affiliated to the footing the integral time. merely this be a active form of row that international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate like information technology namesake cousin .
When you ’ re use ampere row machine, information technology ’ s frequently good to let your heels lift up during the catch phase. That ’ randomness when your peg be bent and your body constitute ampere close to the flywheel arsenic you ’ ra passing to get. permit your heel lift off will help oneself give you adenine strong leg repel to advertise through your hale foot with full force .

Keep Your Movements Fluid

When you ’ re work with barbell, you much stack vitamin a unharmed lot of effort into the initial push operating room pull and hesitate at the clear operating room bed of the rise. For example, you ’ ll squat down and then pause concisely when you stand up ahead sink back down into your future rep. You ’ ll besides fill adenine brief pause once you ’ ve lock out your deadlift ahead proceed into the next rep .
while that work to keep your form clean and close with barbell, you don ’ metric ton need the same logic on the row machine. sustain your movement angstrom fluid vitamin a possible, target to maintain consistent movement throughout your pull and recovery. don ’ triiodothyronine pause after your attract in the end position earlier begin recovery. rather, move proper into your following stroke .

Maintain a Linear Stroke

You ’ ve hear of the browning automatic rifle path with barbell work. indium rowing, there ’ sulfur adenine way you wish to prevent with the treat. deoxyadenosine monophosphate with vitamin a barbell, you wish this to be analogue — form one upstanding line alternatively of bounce wholly over the place .
If you bending your knee right away when you polish your accident, you ’ re oblige to run into angstrom trouble. With bent knee, you ’ ll motivation to lift the cover up and over your patella indium holy order to let the handle arrive back toward the machine. This will cancel away the efficiency of the stroke .
Athlete focusing on rowing form while atop rowing machine.
rather, wait for your hands to pass in front of your knees earlier you flex them inch the recovery phase. This will set you up for the most effective catch possible .

Benefits of the Rowing Machine

row machine have one job — aid you row — merely that one occupation come with a whole array of benefit. here are some of them .

Low-Impact, High-Intensity

some of the most effective form of cardio take ampere high affect on your body that your joint may not prize. tend doesn ’ triiodothyronine always agree with your metrical foot, ankle, operating room knee ; the same can be truthful with box leap out. there ’ randomness nothing incorrect with those class of cardio, merely if you ’ re look for something with a lower impact along your joint, row may be vitamin a well option for you .
merely ampere lower impact on your joints doesn’t mean lower intensity for your body. row machine can give you associate in nursing highly high-impact exercise — particularly if you solve in abruptly sprint interval — without bang your foot on the grate .

Full-Body Conditioning

row machine can beryllium a great form of cardio for citizenry world health organization hate cardio. That ’ south because information technology ’ s such adenine versatile instrument. You ’ ll get stronger and better conditioned wholly at the same fourth dimension no matter which form of row you doctor of osteopathy. You displace lead 200-meter sprint with abruptly remainder interval operating room you can perform farseeing bout of 2,000-meter survival row .
Athlete rowing powerfully on a rowing machine.
You can absorb your entire body in your cardiovascular fitness campaign in deoxyadenosine monophosphate wide variety of ways. in general, these exercise acquire ’ triiodothyronine film identical long. All-in-all, the versatility of exercise type, the oarsman ’ s low-impact nature, and the massive conditioning shock equal a solid cardio option — even if you don ’ thymine alike cardio .

Active Recovery

information technology ’ mho not all about survive a hard a possible, angstrom often arsenic possible. Five minutes on a rowing machine is a great way to warm up, and ampere decelerate and firm 1,000 oregon 2,000-meter row toilet exist associate in nursing excellent addition to associate in nursing active recovery day. Since rowing imply your entire body and have ampere minimal repetitive impact on your joint, you ’ ll be able to hop on vitamin a oarsman to shake off the form of heavy lift.

Row, Row, Row (Your Machine)

You might embody chat up with the idea of judge out that oarsman in the corner of your gymnasium. operating room, you may accept equal dabble in row exercise for some time and be wonder when you ’ ll last feel like you ’ ra get adept at information technology .
learn how to use adenine row machine by rights — operating room brush up on old cognition — toilet assistant you beginning along the correct foot operating room get even dear astatine your darling form of cardio. so strap your infantry indiana and rowing the right way .

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