Row, Row, Row Your Boat

How to use a rowing machine…properly!

Posted: 04.01.13

It’s time to get back into the gym routine, or if you’re a newbie, to start one. Being faced with a room full of sweaty people and equipment can be a bit daunting and while every gym should ensure you have an induction with a fitness expert to ensure you’re getting the most out of your sessions, it can be easy to forget exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. 
Re-gain your confidence in how to use a rowing machine with advice from Terry O’Neill a fitness consultant at Concept2.

Here are his top tips on rowing and how to adopt the correct technique to gain the best results from a rowing programme.

1. Introduction
•    Always warm up, cool down and stretch thoroughly before and after each training session
•    Take time to develop the correct technique before increasing training intensity
•    When beginning an exercise programme don’t overdo it; start slowly and build up gradually.
•    Drink plenty of water during and after exercise. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
•    Keep a training log to help set realistic goals and targets and plan future programmes of work.

2. Include stretching in your warm up
Stretching is an essential part of any workout. It promotes the elasticity of the muscles, ensuring they are capable of performing the training tasks you set them. However, before doing any stretching it is important to warm the muscles up.

3. Technique
The correct technique is essential for gaining the best results from your rowing programme. The effort that you put into refining your technique during the early stages will improve both your performance and enjoyment of the exercise.

There are two phases to using a rowing stroke – The Slide and The Drive, that blend together into one fluid movement.

The Slide
Position: Lean back slightly, legs flat, handle drawn to the body.
 Forearms horizontal. Arms extend, body rocks forward. The arms are relaxed and extended fully.
 The body rocks forward from the hips.
Technique: After the arms have fully extended and the body rocked forward, slide forward maintaining arm and body position

The Drive
Shins vertical with body pressed up to the legs.
The arms are straight and relaxed. 
The position should not feel uncomfortable.
The legs push down and the body begins to lever back.
The legs continue to push as the body levers back. 
The arms remain straight.
The body stops levering back
The arms draw the handle past the knees and then strongly to the body, returning to the Finish position. 
Legs flat. 
Forearms horizontal.
Lean back slightly, legs flat, handle drawn to the body. 
Forearms horizontal.
You are now ready to take the next stroke.

You can use the Concept 2 rowing machine at your gym, hire, or purchase one for home use. To find out more visit

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