One of the most underestimated pieces of fitness equipment would be the rowing machine, also known as the ergometer (or erg). Not many people respect this underwhelming machine until they have to do 500 meters in a specific amount of time on high resistance. Suddenly, the rowing machine is your new favorite for building up a sweat and getting strong.
But for those need some extra convincing, here are 5 amazing benefits of rowing machines:
- Explosive Power
When you break down the movements of the rowing machine, you will see that there is a tremendous amount of explosive muscular power being applied to the final part of the row. The legs move through a series of squats as the core contracts and the arms and back work in unison to pull the handlebar close to the chest. You are, in short, utilizing not only muscular strength and endurance, but bursts of plyometric energy as well.
- Melt Fat
You can do a rowing machine workout one of two ways: as a high intensity interval or as steady state cardio. Either way you choose, a rowing machine workout at home is more effective than one done on a complete home gym. In fact, an ergometer workout burns about 500-600 calories per hour (depending on various fitness and workout factors). Compare that to a cycling workout, which requires around 80 minutes to reach the same number of calories burned. Pair a rowing machine with a decent diet and active lifestyle, and you’ll be blowing past your weight loss goals in no time.
- Total Body Workout
Rowing utilizes almost every single muscle group in the body—a whopping 84 percent of the musculature. 60% of all movement comes from the legs, and the arms are merely there for back-up. The main muscles involved are the quadriceps, but the glutes and calves are also activated, especially at the peak of the stroke. Additionally, rowing works on the rhomboids, trapezii, and the lats, giving you an overall stronger back. You also develop stronger hands and wrists while gripping the handlebar.
- Low Impact
Rowing is one of the lowest impact exercises out there. Rehabilitation centers use rowing as a way to treat athletes who have been injured and need to keep their fitness levels up. For those who are overweight or obese, the sliding seat will displace the weight, allowing the individual to actually perform the exercise without hurting their knees. The one thing the rower has to do is maintain proper rowing posture to avoid back strain.
Like all good workouts, rowing is the perfect form of stress relief. There are no distractions on the machine itself. It’s you and the ergometer, you and the movement. As you get further into the workout, you will notice that you are connected to the breath and the movement. Though it’s not quite moving meditation, rowing is a great way to increase your focus and allow your body to build up some feel-good endorphins along the way.
Though the rowing machine is nothing flashy and looks simple, the benefits of the workout are amazing. When you are ready to break away from the monotony of your gym routine, consider giving a hard row a try. You will be shocked by how much effort the machine requires and how much fat melts off your body when you persist at perfecting your rowing technique.