Rowing As Exercise

What should you look for in a rowing machine?  There’s a lot to think about, and you should definitely investigate your options.  Here are some pointers:

If you’re looking for a good machine, expect to spend between $400 and $ 1,000. Rowing Machines Rowing machines give you a good aerobic workout and help strengthen the back, shoulders, stomach, legs, and arms. Of course, proper technique is very important. It takes a while to catch on to the coordination required to row properly. Improper technique can cause injuries, especially to the back. For this reason, people with back injuries should not use rowing machines without first checking with their doctors.

While rowing, it is extremely important that your back is straight and that you push with your legs and gradually bring your arms in, rather than push off with your arms and back. If you feel any back strain, choose another form of exercise. Because technique is so important, you’re better off having an exercise physiologist or some other exercise professional show you how to use a rowing machine properly before starting out.

There are three types of rowing machines. One type uses pistons that look like shock absorbers to provide resistance in the “oars.” These ate usually smaller and easier to store than other machines. Unfortunately, many piston-type machines do not have controls for adjusting the resistance.

Another type of rowing machine is an oarlock rower. The “oars” are attached to the side of the machine and the resistance is created from a hydraulic or friction device.

The most expensive rowers are flywheel rowers. These simulate actual rowing because they don’t stop when you do, like the other rowers. They simulate gliding along the water, because the flywheel keeps spinning, which also makes it possible for you to work up momentum as you row. You can change resistance on these machines by adjusting the gearing of the wheel.

In your search for a rowing machine, look again for sturdy construction. Make sure the frame doesn’t bow under your weight. Also, the frame should be heavy enough so that it doesn’t move or jump along the room as you row.

Make sure the rower fits you. You should be able to extend your legs fully when you stroke. And you should not have to lean too far to reach the handles. Having to lean too far puts unnecessary strain on your back.

Make sure the seat is comfortable and glides smoothly on the track while supporting your weight. Actually sit down and try the seat before buying.

Other features available on some rowers are timers and counters that record the number of rowing strokes.

For a good rowing machine, expect to pay between $250 and $850.

~Durak, Eric P. “Gearing up for fitness: if you’re shopping for an aerobic exercise machine, here are some facts to consider before you buy.” Diabetes Forecast Dec. 1989

 

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