Safety Tips when Using a Rowing Machine

Like all exercise, do be careful not to over-exert or to exercise in the wrong technique.

Before you row, tick off from this checklist:

  • Check with your doctor if it is safe for you to undertake rowing
  • If possible, look at the manual for rowing and get a trainer for proper techniques
  • Start off with easy rowing to warm-up your muscles
  • Slowly build intensity and add time into your program. Start with a few minutes and add to it each day
  • A good target will be between 24 and 30 strokes per minute
  • There are a few positions/ techniques in general when it comes to rowing

1. Catch Position/ Starting position

  • Take a seat and strap your feet firmly onto the foot pads
  • Grab the handles, extend your arms straight while keeping your wrists flat
  • Slide forward on the seat but stop when your shins are vertical
  • Bend forward slightly at the hips Follow the starting position: extend your arms straight and keep your wrists flat

2. Drive Position

  • Extend your legs and push off from the foot pads
  • Keep your core tight, straighten your arms and keep a firm back to transfer the power to the handles
  • Bend your arms and lean your upper body back as you straighten your knee
  • The motion ends with a slightly backward lean

3. Finishing Position

  • To pull the handle into your abdomen, bend your elbows and extend your legs
  • Just lean ever so slightly to the back from your hips

4. Recovery Position

  • Straighten your elbows and your arms will extend automatically
  • Follow that by leaning forward from your upper body
  • Slowly bend your knees to slide forward, coming to the starting position

Now that you have learned the techniques, watch out for common mistakes:

  • Leaning too far back or leaning too far forward can cause back pain
  • If you keep your arms loose, that will jerk the handle back and will not let you strengthen your arms fully

So what’s the secret to rowing beautifully?

  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Don’t rush, take your time to improve. Geniuses aren’t made in a day
  • Don’t let your legs laze around. Get them rowing, not just with the arms!

As you can see from the above, it’s not about achieving the perfect technique in a minute or in a day. Start slowly, focusing on technique instead of brute strength. Don’t work-out intensely in your first session as your muscles may not have time to adapt. That might result in a backlash, with too sore muscles or strained muscles, which will be worse as you might have to put practicing rowing on hold for an even longer period of time.

All sports take time to learn but rowing is easy to progress once you have picked it up!

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