The Rowing Machine: How to Use It, Benefits and Right Form 

Get a full-body workout by using a rowing machine. (Image by Andres Ayrton / Pexels)
Get a full-body workout by using a rowing machine. (Image by Andres Ayrton / Pexels)

It's about time that rowing machines get the attention they deserve. All the other gym equipments such as treadmills, ellipticals & stair climbers are jam-packed with people hopping onto it one after the other.

But we still haven't realized the true potential of rowing machines. They are often overlooked, even though they provide you with abundant benefits once you incorporate them into your daily routine.

If you are someone who hates treadmills but loves to do cardio in your daily workout -- then this is your jam.

How to Use a Rowing Machine: The Right Form & Technique

The motion you apply in a rowing exercise isn't always intuitive, but once you get it down, it's actually rather straightforward.

Remember: Legs, core, arms (on the way out) and arms, core, legs (on the way back) are a good approach to remember on how to row (on the way in).

Understanding these movements and the various postures is crucial. From start to finish, a rowing "stroke" can be divided down into four separate phases: catch, drive, finish, and recover.


• Start with your arms extended, knees bent, and weight on the balls of your feet, grip the oar firmly. This is the first phase known as 'the catch.'

• Keep your core engaged & simply push back with your legs.

• Practice arm isolation after you've gotten used to pushing with your lower body. Pull the oar toward your chest with your legs straight.

• Push back with your lower body first, then use your upper back to bring hands toward your chest, keeping your back straight, core engaged, and balls of your feet firmly in the straps.

• Return to beginning position by releasing your arms toward the base and bending your knees.

Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine

You will burn a lot of calories:

Rowing is the best way to burn calories because it combines strength and aerobic conditioning. This exercise can burn between 400 and 500 calories each hour, depending on your body weight and how aggressively you row.

Gives you a full-body workout

The benefit of a rowing machine is that it can be used for a variety of exercises. It will work on various body parts, including legs, arms and quads.

Helps in improving posture

You're hunched on your laptop right now to read this, which will eventually lead to poor posture in the long term. Rowing requires you to be upright while you pull if done correctly without slouching or over-compressing.

It strengthens your core and glutes

Rowing hits your core and glutes in one fell swoop. As you go along the machine, your core crunches and relaxes, effectively performing a continuous small sit-up.

Improves your physical fitness

Even 15 minutes of rowing is considered a "strong cardiovascular workout." Rowing on a daily basis can help you build stamina and endurance.

Workout with lesser risk of injury

Because a rower machine is low-impact, you have a lesser risk of injury. You can work at a high level without causing your joints to wear out.

A beginner-friendly workout

One of the extra advantages is that it is simple for beginners to try. It's wonderful for beginners since you can see and feel benefits rapidly. Stick it out for 10 to 20 minutes to notice a difference in your form and to get your heart racing.

How to Incorporate Rowing in Your Daily Workout Routine

  1. As a warm-up


If you want to warm-up with some cardio before your workout but you are dreading to use the treadmill, then try the rowing machine. Even five minutes of exercise will pump-up your heart rate.

2. As a Workout


Complete one minute of slower strokes focusing on form and strength (about 16 to 18 strokes per minute), then alternate between faster and slower strokes until your time is up.

3. Use it for an active recovery session


The rowing machine can also help you recover after a tough workout by allowing you to do some functional repairs. Do a few minutes of more relaxed strokes instead of going all out as you would during a sweat session.

Bottom Line

No matter how you choose to incorporate the rowing machine in your workout routine, it is important that you keep engaging your core and abdominal muscles to prevent lower back pain and always maintain an upright position.

Unlike other exercise machines like stationary bikes and treadmills, there will be no pressure on your joints.

Rowing can be your go-to workout if you're short on time, want to avoid damaging your joints, and still want to get some aerobic exercise. You'll also be guaranteed to get a full-body exercise.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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