Rowing machines have been gaining in popularity in recent years and for good reason. They provide an excellent overall workout for the body because the rowing motion engages all the major muscle groups. Since rowing machines are designed to imitate the same motions necessary when rowing a boat through water, it can end up providing a terrific workout for the participant who really becomes engaged with the machine.
How a rowing machine works
Virtually all rowing machines come equipped with monitors that keep track of distance, power, speed, and the number of calories that have been burned during the session.
Rowing machines are typically built with a long frame situated close to the ground, a flywheel mounted toward the front end of the frame, and a handle attached to the flywheel by means of a chain, strap, or rope.
In operation, the user must pull the handle toward his or her body, while the the seat glides toward and away from the flywheel, thus engaging the lower body. The whole concept behind a rowing machine is to offer intense resistance created by the flywheel, thus making it difficult for the exerciser to pull on the handles. The harder the user pulls back on the handles, the greater is the generated resistance, thus creating an ideal exercise motion.
Improved cardiovascular fitness
One of the most significant benefits from a rowing-machine workout is that the sustained exercise increases your cardiovascular fitness. At the same time, wastes like lactic acid, carbon dioxide and other bodily by-products are removed. Your heart adapts itself to the exertion being forced on it, and tries to prepare itself for additional exertion.
Flexibility of workout sessions
Much like real rowing on the water, rowing machine workouts can be performed individually or in a group session. There are even group rowing classes all over the country, which are led by energetic instructors and accompanied by appropriate rowing music. For rowing enthusiasts who prefer not to work out alone, this may be an appealing option. Of course, if you do prefer to go solo, that's just as easy to arrange.
A rowing workout can be low-impact in nature, assuming that you're engaging the rowing motion correctly. Your feet always make contact with the foot pads, and your hands are always in close contact with handles, which means there is very little impact on your shoulders, knees, hips, ankles, or elbows.
Since those joints are the ones that typically sustain injuries during athletic workouts, it's fairly easy for you to avoid incurring any physical damage during the rowing machine workout. That also makes rowing an appropriate exercise for people attempting to recover from some kind of injury, or for people who want a cardiovascular alternative to jogging, hiking, or aerobics.
Rowing Increases Your Muscle Strength and Endurance
Your muscle strength refers to how much weight any particular muscle group in your body is capable of lifting, for example one repetition of a bench press. By contrast, muscle endurance refers to how much weight your muscles are capable of lifting in repetitive sessions, for instance a number of bench presses you might be capable of.
Rowing machine workouts increase both muscle strength and muscle endurance because the resistance offered by the machine forces your body to make physiological changes so as to continue exerting the necessary force over a period of time. This means that by increasing the level of resistance on your rowing workouts, you can also increase the development of your muscles.
When you're doing a rowing machine workout correctly, you engage all the major muscles in your legs, then those muscles in your core, and then the major muscle groups in the body and the upper back. This repeated motion quickly forces your muscles to develop in overall strength and endurance.
Ease of access
While you may not want to go walking or running outside when it is cold or rainy, you can definitely engage in rowing machine workouts at any time of year. You also don't need access to a lake or a river nearby, because virtually all gyms these days are equipped with rowing machines for your usage. Even better than rowing on the water, you don't need to know how to swim, and you're not required to wear any kind of life jacket. Just ease yourself into the machine, and start improving your overall fitness.
Your Own Machine
You can certainly find a quality rowing machine at most gyms, but you might consider purchasing your own rowing machine. Prices range from a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. The high-quality machines at most gyms are built to withstand constant use, so those high-priced machines may be overkill fr you. If you have your own machine--and actually use it--you have an easy workout at home that engages all major muscle groups and improves your cardiovascular fitness, without requiring substantial time each day.