Rowing to Reenergize Your Commitment to Fitness
By Khristine Clark Hammond, MS CSCS
It is always a good idea to find a new activity to reenergize your exercise commitment. To vary your cardiovascular routine, try rowing. You can do this on a machine or challenge yourself to find a park that perhaps rents boats. If you select the latter, be sure to go with a friend who can help. Rowing is not as easy as it looks and we want to be sure you get back to shore.
Benefits. The rowing machine engages more muscles than walking, running, biking, or even the elliptical machine. Rowing also puts all of your major muscle groups through a larger range of motion. This non-impact workout incorporates the legs, gluteals, abdominals, back, arms, and shoulders. Try mixing up your routine up by rowing 30 to 40 minutes, one to two days per week.
Proper Rowing Technique. Here is your step-by-step guide to get started.
Catch. With the feet strapped in, slide the seat forward until your shins are vertical. The arms are extended straight toward the flywheel. With the shoulders slightly retracted, the torso leans slightly forward with a straight back. The core is strong, but the back isn’t stiff.
Drive. Push with the legs while keeping the arms straight and the back firm. This allows you to transfer the power from the legs to the handle. Once the power is transferred, begin a gradual bend in the arms and swing back with the upper body until you reach a slight backward lean.
Finish. As the legs reach extension, finish the stroke with a powerful arm pull. As the handle is pulled toward the abdomen, the torso will lean back about 30 degrees from the vertical position.
Recover. Return to the catch position by allowing the handle to pull the torso forward. Flex forward at the hips, aligning the chest over the thighs, while sliding the seat toward the feet. This phase should take twice as long as the drive phase.
Check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program to be sure that it is appropriate for you.