Think about when you last performed some aerobic exercises in the gym. Well, whenever it was and whatever your purpose- a long and slow session to work on your endurance or a high-intensity workout to burn some body fat- the odds are that you used a treadmill. And if you found that they were all being used, which is often the case with treadmills, then you probably headed over to the nearest stationary bike.
Why is it, though, that bikes and treadmills are the ones that the majority of gym-goers flock to?
It isn’t as though you can’t simply put on a t-shirt and a pair of jogging bottoms and go for a run outside rather than head for the treadmill. Similarly, you could buy an inexpensive bike and take it out on the road rather than pedal aimlessly while watching your favourite music videos in the gym.
Whole body workout
It’s next to impossible, however, to recreate the feeling of being on a rowing machine when outdoors. That is unless you happen to own your own boat, of course. In addition, the multiple physique and performance benefits that a rower offers (it’s the one cardio machine that truly gives your upper body muscles a workout) means that it’s very definitely one machine that shouldn’t be ignored.
Now, that doesn’t mean that the rower is easy. It isn’t. Unlike other cardio machines, you can’t simply turn down the speed or resistance and go through the motions. It really is an all-or-nothing option. By putting everything into it, however, you have the opportunity to make some significant improvements to your aerobic fitness, as well as your body composition, by burning fat and building muscle.
The benefits of a rowing machine
The very best way to improve your health and fitness is to address your weaknesses. For the majority of people, this means correcting form and then spending more time on the rowing machine.
There are some wonderful cross-over benefits with other activities. For example, to improve at lifting weights, you need good triple extension of the hip, knee, and ankle joints, which you’ll work with each stroke of the rowing machine. Further, it can vastly improve your cardio fitness to help with endurance, as well as your anaerobic fitness for increased speed. And due to the fact that 85 per cent of your muscles are being worked when on the rower, you can build power, strength, and size.
Perhaps the number one benefit of the rower, however, is the continual performance feedback that comes with every stroke. The display details on the machine show all the information needed to ensure that you’re staying on track in your session, so you know that you’re continually edging closer to your fitness goals. In Part two of this article, we’ll be looking at how to use the rower with correct form, as well as some of the best rowing sessions that can help you reach your fitness goals.