To some people, the rowing machine is their absolute favourite workout machine, but to others, it just reminds them of the dreaded secondary school P.E lessons at aged 13.
However, the effectiveness of the rowing machine is what makes it popular in the gym; it’s fun, simple and in a 40 minute period you can burn up to 300 calories on a mild intensity.
Whether it is part of your workout regime, or it’s something you occasionally dabble in, and whether you’re a weekly gym-goer or a newbie, there are a number of easy mistakes to make that could cause some serious damage.
1) Rowing with only your arms.
Rowing with only your arms is the most common, and easy, mistake to make when on a rowing machine, especially if you are a beginner. When watching someone on a rowing machine, the main thing you notice is the pulling of the rowing bar. It’s easy to assume that all the work is being done with your arms. However, if you aren’t sitting correctly and only rowing with your arms it can result in a serious injury.
How to fix it: The rowing action may look like its all to do with your arms, and a minor part of the movement actually is, but the main power stems from your legs and the pushing. If you’re feet are secured correctly in the feet straps, and you push with each stroke, the chance of an injury will be significantly less.
2) Not sitting tall enough during the stroke.
If you’re used to sitting at a desk during your day job then hunching over will happen subconsciously. But bad posture is definitely not something you want, especially during exercise.
How to fix it: Whatever exercise you’re doing, whether it be squats, running on the treadmill, or running a 100m sprint, the key is to have a relaxed posture. Sitting up straight on a rowing machine is the best thing to do, but if you’re shoulders are tight, then an injury could happen. The perfect posture for a rowing machine is to sit up straight, and relax your shoulders, and not to hunch over at any point.
Also if you do find yourself sitting down a lot, especially at work, then try to remind yourself at least every hour to stretch your back out or simply sit up straight. This will help your posture and may help if you have a bad back (possibly from hunching over).
3) Rushing, or not controlling your strokes.
Some people think that the quicker the stroke, the more calories you burn. To make the most of the rowing machine, you have to be able to control your strokes, and you can’t do that whilst rushing.
How to fix it: Being able to control your strokes is paying attention to how quickly you are moving, and what the timing is between each stroke. The perfect time in between each one would be a count of “1, 2”, it should be a calm and medium paced action accompanied by a powerful push of the legs.
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