Beginner Techniques in Rowing

by Heather on January 4, 2014

The latest addition to my workout routine has been the rowing machine.

The first time I tried the rowing machine a few weeks ago, I was amazed at what a good workout it was!  It is a great cardio + strength combination and really works every muscle.  Rowing is an incredible low-impact workout and definitely keeps you entertained while you try to beat your own time, watts, speed, distance, etc

I have to admit my hands haven’t been faring well in the process…


But it has been worth the blisters. Winking smile

I’ve been doing about 2000 meters at a mid-level resistance…

500 meters
1-minute rest
500 meters
1-minute rest
500 meters
1-minute rest
500 meters

I’m currently working to shorten my time and increase my watts, and it definitely takes more strength than speed to do so!  

I’m quickly discovering that a crucial part of excelling as a rower is form. 

I’m still working on mine every day, but here are a few tips that have helped me out:

  1. Pull your shoulders back and down to lock them into place BEFORE you pull back on your movement.  This really stabilizes your body and give you more strength in your pull.  The yoga teacher in me thinks of this as how you would set up your back when you’re going into a chaturanga.
  2. Use your legs and feet!  If you only use the strength of your back and arms, you’re going to be extremely sore right away and possibly strain/pull something in your back.  Just trust me on that.  Using your entire body give you a lot more force and strength with what feels like even less effort.
  3. At the end of the pull, lean back just slightly to get the most out of your row and ease any strain in your back.
  4. Keep your wrists straight all the way through.  You have a lot more power when your wrists are straight as opposed to bent. 
  5. This video was extremely helpful to see how you can tweak your own method to get the most out of your rowing! 


Hope this helps you out and I absolutely recommend trying out the rowing machine if you haven’t already!

Do you use the rowing machine?  What are your best tips/tricks to being a successful rower?









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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca @ Strength and SunshineNo Gravatar January 4, 2014 at 5:31 am

Rowing is such a fun switch up to the normal cardio routines! I don’t think enough people know about it or how to use it and that is why it is so underrated. But if I had better access to one I would be on it all the time, haha! I have only tried it once but I was a fan :)


Megan (The Lyons' Share)No Gravatar January 6, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Hey Heather! Thanks for this post – my husband (who is a runner like me) recently had knee surgery and was confined to rowing and cycling – neither of which he had ever done before the surgery. Well, it turns out, he LOVED it! He thought rowing was the best “bang for your buck” workout he’s ever gotten, which made me want to try it! Unfortunately my gym doesn’t have rowers (that I’ve seen at least) but I’m going to try to find a way!


Christina @ the athletarianNo Gravatar January 7, 2014 at 9:55 am

This is the one machine that my gym does NOT have!! I love the rowing machine and would love to incorporate it into my training. Maybe I can make a special request for them to get one? Haha!!

Hope you are having a great day!


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