Why Rowing Needs To Be Part Of Your Workout Routine

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Few cardiovascular exercises use the upper body to do the same extent that rowing does. Rowing burns 600-1000 calories per hour, making it one of the most effective exercises for burning calories and losing weight! Here’s how to use the rowing machine properly.

Proper Technique For The Rowing Machine

Hold the handle in front of your body and with your arms in front of the rowing chains. Your lower back must be in a flexed position. Initiate the movement by pushing your legs forward. Take your arms with you as you straighten your legs.

As the legs straighten, pull the handles towards your lower chest and abdomen. Pause for one second and return to your starting position. Check your stroke rate which will change depending if you are doing speed work intervals or long-distance endurance. Aim for 25 – 35 strokes per minute.

Your breathing also needs to be correct as a large numbers have to be utilised and worked efficiently. Breathe in as you return to the coils and exhale as you initiate the rowing movement.

Some of the common rowing technique faults are:

  • Leaning too forward as you reach towards the coils.
  • Bent arms in the pull phase.
  • Leaning too far back when pulling back.
  • Gripping the bar too tight.

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How Is Rowing Biomechanically Analysed?

Rowing is a movement of the whole body that takes place in a frontal plane and chiefly utilises the muscles of the upper back and legs. In the upper quarter the actions are concerned with three joints the shoulder, scapula and elbow (multi-joint).

During the inward motion of the row, the shoulder (which is a ball and socket joint) is formed by the humerus as well as the shoulder girdle. There is extension that is brought about by the latissimus dorsi and posterior deltoid muscles.

At the scapula, there is retraction which is caused by the trapezius muscles. At the elbow, a hinge joint formed by the humerus, ulna as well as radius. There is flexion, which is brought about principally by the action of the biceps brachii. The inward movement is a concentric muscle contraction.

During the outward phase, at the shoulder the latissimus dorsi and posterior deltoid muscles cause flexion of the shoulders. At the scapula, protraction is caused by the trapezius as well as the rhomboid muscles. At the elbow, the biceps brachii cause extension. The outward movement is an eccentric muscle contraction.

In the lower quarter (namely the legs) the actions are concerned using multiple joints. These are the hip, knee and ankle. During the inward phase, at the hip a ball and socket joint (which is formed by the femurs and hip girdle, gluteus maximus and medius) causes flexion.

At the knee, bicep femoris, Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus muscles causes flexion. At the ankle, there is dorsi flexion that is brought about principally by the action of the gastrocnemius, soleus and tibialis anterior muscles. The downward movement is described as an eccentric muscle contraction.

During the outward phase of row, there is an extension that is brought about by the gluteus maximus and medius muscles. The knee is a hinge joint formed from the tibia and femur, rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and vastus intermedialis muscles. This causes extension. The ankle (which is a hinge joint) is formed by the tibia and calcaneus. There is plantar flexion which is brought about principally by the action of the gastrocnemius and soleus. The outward movement is a concentric muscle contraction.

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