How To Use An Indoor Rowing Machine

How to row with an indoor rowing machine

by Savannah Brija, SPT

Rowing is a highly physical activity that engages many muscles. It is a high intensity, low impact activity, beneficial for strengthening the back and legs, and enhancing balance and stability. Knowing how to use an indoor rowing machine correctly is important for realizing the maximum benefits from this workout.

Before starting:

  • Set the fan level between 3-5
  • Place the feet plates at a level so that the strap goes right below the base of your toes
  • Make sure you aren’t wearing loose clothing that could get caught
  • Tip- stroke rate alone does not determine the effectiveness of a workout; the split is more important. For lower intensity workouts, aim for a stroke rate of 18-22. For higher intensity shorter workouts, aim for a stroke rate of 24-34. With a higher stroke rate, aim for a lower split.

1. Start at the catch:

  • Knees bent so that shins are perpendicular to floor, heels may be slightly lifted
  • Upper body is leaning forward from the hips with the shoulders in front of the hips
  • Arms are straight
  • Shoulders are level and not hunched
  • Head is neutral
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2. The drive:

  • Start the drive by pressing with your legs; move the handle as you move your body
  • Once the legs are mostly down, start to swing the back
  • Add the arm pull last
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3. The finish:

  • Legs are extended (but not locked)
  • Upper body is leaned back slightly, but still sitting up tall
  • Shoulders are relaxed
  • The handle is pulled in towards the bottom of your sternum, wrists are flat
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4. The recovery:

  • Start the recovery by straightening your arms
  • Next, tilt your upper body forward from your hips
  • Once your arms are straight and your body is forward, begin to allow your knees to bend gradually to slide up towards the catch
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At Capital Area Physical Therapy, we offer patients a thorough physical assessment and strategies to help reduce pain as quickly as possible to get you back to enjoying the activities you love. Contact us at one of our PT clinics in Latham, Malta/Saratoga, or Queensbury/Glens Falls at 518-289-5242 for more information.