Rowing machines are a very effective home cardio machine that burn a large amount of calories, strengthen your core and provide you with a full body workout. However, when buying rowing machines, many people fail to look at the reasons why a rowing machine may not be the best piece of home cardio equipment for them. In this article I help you fully explore this area before parting with your cash and discuss three things you need to be bear in mind before buying a rowing machine.
1) Risk Of Lower Back Injury
One of the biggest risks when exercising with a rowing machine is injuring your lower back. The reason for this is that many people row with poor technique and as a result they place unnecessary pressure on their lower back and spine. The good news is that by learning the correct technique, you can slash your risk of lower back injury and even strengthen your lower back as you row.
If you’ve never used a rowing machine before, make sure you pay extra attention to your lower back the first few times you use one. In particular, make sure you look out for these common beginner mistakes in your own rowing technique:
Rounded Lower Back: Many beginners round their lower back as they row. However, doing this can loosen your lower back and make injury much more likely. Therefore, make sure your lower back is straight but not overarched as you row,
Over Leaning: Another mistake many beginners make is that they lean too far forward at the start of the rowing motion and lean too far back at the end. Doing this can overstretch your back and cause injury. To avoid over leaning, make sure you pull with your upper body and not your lower back. Also, focus on not leaning and keeping your back straight at the beginning and the end of the rowing motion.
Jerky Movements: One final mistake a lot of beginners make when using a rowing machine is jerky movements. Instead of pulling the cable towards them in one smooth, controlled rowing motion, they pull it too fast and jerk their lower back which very often results in a lower back injury. To avoid jerky movements, make sure you row very slowly the first few times you use the rowing machine and focus on pulling the cable towards you as you stretch out your legs in one smooth, controlled motion.
2) Risk Of Locking Your Knees
As well as injuring their lower back, many people injure their knees when they row by locking them out fully at the end of the rowing motion. The good news is that correcting this is very easy and you simply make sure you don’t fully lock your knees at any time during the motion. If you’ve never rowed before or you have and you find that you are locking your knees, slow down your rowing speed and practice ending the rowing motion before your knees lock. Learning or correcting this habit will take a bit of time but once you’ve mastered it, you won’t even have to think about it anymore and you’ll end the rowing motion naturally before your knees lock.
3) Difficult Technique To Master
One final problem many people have with rowing machines is that they find the overall technique difficult to master. Unlike an exercise bike, a treadmill or a stepper (which are all very natural motions) and the elliptical machine (which has a very simple motion), rowing machines are quite complex and require you to co-ordinate your upper and lower body in one smooth, flowing motion.
If you’re an athlete or a fitness enthusiast, then many of points covered in this article won’t be an issue for you as you’ll have mastered the proper rowing machine form. However, if you’re relatively new to exercise or have never used a rowing machine before, make sure you pay extra attention to the tips covered in this article when you buy a rowing machine, as the risk of injury is much higher than with other types of cardio machine. Mastering the proper form and technique will take time but this extra time is a worthwhile and necessary investment for preventing lower back and knee injuries.
If you’re looking for an effective cardio machine that also builds upper body strength, rowing machines are an excellent choice. A moderate session on the rowing machine burns 500+ calories an hour and also tones your arms and upper back. Unfortunately, with all the different types and brands of rowing machines on the market, choosing one to buy can be very difficult. In this article I aim to simplify the buying process and help you make your decision by providing you with three effective rowing machine buying tips.
1) Determine How Much You Can Afford To Spend
When you’re buying any type of exercise machine, the first thing you need to decide is how much you can afford to spend on it. Whether that amount is $100, $500 or $1,000 or more, it’s important that you get a specific figure in your head. This will ensure that you don’t spend lots of time looking for the perfect rowing machine, only to discover it’s out of your price range.
2) Choose The Type Of Rowing Machine Resistance
Another key thing to consider is the type of resistance you need for your rowing machine. There are four main types; air resistance, hydraulic resistance, magnetic resistance and water resistance.
With air resistance, a finned flywheel sucks air in as you row and uses this to provide you with resistance automatically. The benefit of air resistance rowing machines is that you don’t need to use any levers or clamps to change the resistance. Instead, you just get on with your workout and increase the resistance by rowing faster and harder or reduce the resistance by rowing slower and with less force. The drawback of air resistance rowing machines is that they are generally larger and more expensive than other rowing machines. Air resistance is also the noisiest type of rowing machine resistance.
With hydraulic resistance, hydraulic pistons provide the resistance and you can adjust the level of resistance using a clamp or lever. This benefit of hydraulic resistance rowing machines is that you can choose the level of resistance that’s right for you and change it during your workout. Rowing machines with hydraulic resistance are also generally cheaper and more compact than rowing machines with other types of resistance. The drawback of hydraulic resistance rowing machines is that it isn’t as smooth as the other types of rowing machine resistance, so you don’t get an authentic rowing experience. Hydraulic resistance also mainly targets your arms, so you don’t get a good a full body workout with this type of resistance.
With magnetic resistance, a combination of a flywheel and electromagnets are used to provide resistance. The benefit of magnetic resistance rowing machines is that they’re a lot quieter and smoother than most other rowing machines. The drawback of magnetic resistance rowing machines is that they are generally very large, so you need a reasonable amount of workout space to accommodate them.
With water resistance, a tank of water with spinning paddles is used to provide resistance. The benefit of water resistance rowing machines is that they provide you with an authentic rowing simulation that feels like you are rowing on real water. They also provide you with the same hands free, automatically adjusting resistance that is found on air rowing machines. The drawback of air resistance rowing machines is that they are large, heavy and expensive. They are also relatively noisy and the second noisiest type of rowing machine behind air resistance rowing machines.
The type of rowing machine resistance you choose will depend on a number of factors. If you’ve only got a small amount of workout space or you’re on a tight budget, then a hydraulic resistance rowing machine will probably be the best choice for you. If you’re worried about noise, you’ll probably prefer a magnetic resistance rowing machine. If you’re looking for a rowing machine that challenges you and provides a really intense workout, then an air resistance rowing machine or water resistance rowing machine are probably your best bets.
To make the final decision on which type of rowing machine resistance is best for you, write down the five most important things that you need from a rowing machine. Then choose the type of rowing machine resistance that matches most of these requirements.
3) Check Out Existing Customer Reviews
Once you’ve decided how much you can spend and the type of rowing machine resistance that’s right for you, you just need to choose a rowing machine. To do this, check out existing customer reviews on a number of different rowing machines. Start by looking at the rowing machines with the highest amount of positive feedback as these are much more likely to be quality rowing machines. Then look at these rowing machines in detail and write down what’s good and bad about each one. Make a shortlist, review it and then choose the rowing machine with the pros that are closest to your requirements.
I hope this article has given you a good overview of all the things you need to take into account when buying a rowing machine. If you consider all the tips on this list before making your final decision, you’ll be sure to find a rowing machine that helps you achieve your fitness goals, matches your budget and meets your individual requirements.
Rowing machines are one of the few home cardio machines that give you a solid upper body workout while still burning an impressive number of calories. When you add to this that they also place very little strain on your joints, strengthen your core and more, they can definitely be a valuable addition to your home workout collection. In this article I’m going to be focusing on rowing machines and discussing their main benefits in greater detail.
1) Effective Upper Body Workout
The main benefit of buying a rowing machine is that it focuses on your upper body. Most cardio machines such as exercise bikes, treadmills and steppers all focus on your lower body and leave your arms, back and chest with little to do. Elliptical machines are slightly better and do engage your upper body but they don’t challenge it significantly.
However, rowing machines are different and fully utilize your arms, back and chest with every stroke you take. Just a few weeks of regular rowing machine use can significantly improve the strength and tone of your upper body. This is particularly beneficial if you play sports that require good upper body strength, such as baseball or tennis, as the regular rowing will help you develop a stronger pitch, swing, serve or shot.
2) Effective Lower Body Workout
Although rowing machines are one of the only cardio machines to give you an effective upper body workout, that doesn’t mean they neglect your lower body. Every stroke requires you to push off from the platform with as much power as possible using your legs and this helps to develop strength, power and stamina in your lower body. If you’re looking for a cardio machine that will strengthen and tone your legs at the same time as working your upper body and improving your cardiovascular fitness, there are very few that do it better than a rowing machine.
3) Full Range Of Motion
Another great thing about rowing machines is that they allow you to move through a full range of motion as you exercise. Many cardio machines limit your range of motion and this can cause you to become inflexible or weak in certain areas of your body.
For example, elliptical machines don’t allow you to fully stretch your arms or legs when you use them. Over time this can cause your legs and arms to tighten up and also cause certain muscle groups to get neglected when you workout.
By using a rowing machine you can avoid these problems, as both your arms and legs fully bend and extend with every stroke. This ensures that they stay flexible and also ensures every single part of your arms and legs gets a full workout.
4) Core Conditioning
As well as giving you a challenging upper and lower body workout, rowing machines are also a great way to strengthen your core muscles. Very few other cardio machines engage your core muscles, so if you want six pack abs or a strong lower back when using these machines, you have to do separate core work. However, since there’s no lower back support on the seat of a rowing machine, your core muscles have to work constantly to keep your back straight and keep you in an upright position as you row.
The best part is that the core workout you get from rowing is much more effective than the core workout you get from doing specific abdominal or lower back work because instead of engaging the core muscles in short bursts, you engage them constantly. For example, if you do 100 sit-ups, you’ll probably engage your abdominal muscles for 2 minutes in total. However, if you do 30 minutes of rowing, you’ll be strengthening and toning your abdominal muscles and lower back muscles for the full 30 minutes.
5) Zero Impact Cardio
One final benefit of rowing machines is that they’re a zero impact cardio machine and place no pressure on your joints. If you have problems with your ankles, hips and knees and have found treadmill running too intensive, rowing are a gentle but effective alternative. Rowing will still burn the calories and boost your fitness but it won’t cause pain in your joints.
As you can see, rowing machines are a fantastic home workout option that challenge all areas of your body without placing any pressure on your joints. I hope these rowing machine benefits have helped you make your final decision as to whether this is the right piece of home workout equipment for you. Good luck and happy shopping.