It seems like there is always a new fitness gimmick advertisement just begging for your attention. This is especially true with the explosion of new artificial intelligence (AI) equipment and big-name brands creating updated versions of existing equipment. If getting to the gym is a hassle and you want to step up your home exercise game (or if you just want a comprehensive workout on a single machine), I’d suggest you check out the rowing machine.
Now, a workout with a rowing machine is not for everyone. You might even have some strong feelings about it. Or maybe you’re shopping for a piece of home gym equipment and are unsure what to buy. Hear me out, crunchy mama. This single piece of exercise equipment is nothing short of incredible.
8 Benefits of a Workout with a Rowing Machine
Total Body Workout – First and foremost, the rowing machine provides you with a full-body workout. At first glance, it may seem like you’re just pulling your arms to your chest, but you’re actually activating your entire core, leg muscles, glutes, chest, back, and arms with each rep. Rowing is a cardiovascular and strength exercise. That’s right, two benefits for the price of one.
Low Impact on Joints – Rowing machines also offer a low-impact exercise, putting far less stress on your joints than running, stair climbing, or even walking. Most rowing machines come with an adjustable flywheel, allowing you to set the level of resistance you feel when you pull the handles to your chest. So, you can start easy and work your way up to a more challenging resistance when you are ready. Also, rowers offer a great cardio alternative if you are rehabbing after an injury. Talk to your doctor before you hop on the rower if you are pregnant, but generally, rowing is safe to do while pregnant until your baby bump hinders proper form.
Quick Calorie Burner – Depending on your overall body composition and exercise intensity, you could burn nearly 100 calories more on a rowing machine than cycling for the same amount of time. Not only that, but you can build strength in your arms, legs, and upper back while engaging your core. Rowing can even help strengthen the pelvis, and we all know what that means, mamas. By the way, if you want to work specifically on strengthening your pelvic floor, check out these exercises as well.
Excellent Aerobic Exercise – Since rowing exercises can quickly bring your heart rate up, it makes for a fantastic cardiovascular workout, keeping your heart healthy and strong. Aerobic exercises can help boost your immune system, reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and even improve your cholesterol levels.
Sit and Stand Taller – Rowing exercises can also help improve your posture, as the exercise requires a proper form. This muscle memory translates off the machine and into your chair, helping you keep your spine straight, and your shoulders relaxed.
Quick Hit for Strong Gains – Another benefit of a workout with a rowing machine is that you can accomplish a lot in very little time. So, a short workout can still pack a good fitness punch for busy moms on the go. This is because you can vary the speed you row (how many strokes per minute you do) and the power you put into each stroke (and the resistance you’ll feel as you pull). Combined, you can burn plenty of calories in as little as 15 minutes and work up a healthy sweat.
Self-Care in a Pinch – I know it can sometimes be hard to prioritize yourself. But for you to take care of others, you also must take care of yourself. We’re all guilty of skimping on self-care, but exercise is not just great for your physical health; it also can improve your mental health. You know, helping you feel calm during some of your more chaotic days.
Never Boring – A workout with a rowing machine will get you rowing to the beat of the music, imagining you’re on open water in a cutthroat race, or put you in a meditative trance with each movement. In other words, I’d say a rowing workout is never dull.
Getting Started with Rowing Exercises
If you haven’t tried this exercise before, the best thing you can do before hopping on the rower is to seek a trainer to help you establish proper form. From there, rowing is easy to get started. Each time you pull the handle toward your chest, it is called a stroke. The bottom of a stroke occurs when your legs and arms are extended. As you row the handle toward your chest, you hinge your core and bend your legs. This is the top of a stroke.
Many people think rowing is all about the arms, but most of the power comes from your legs. Think of the arm movement as more of a push, even though technically you are pulling. You should feel a slight resistance with each pull, but the swift motion should be pretty easy to execute. Start slow until you find your rhythm.
As you get started, you may overextend your reach or rely too heavily on your arms. Do a quick body scan and really think about the muscle movement going on. Not only will this help ground you in the present moment (hello mindfulness), but it will also ensure you’re using the right muscles to get the job done so you don’t get injured.
Rowing Machine Results
If you decide you want to do a workout with a rowing machine, your go-to workout, go for it, mama! The results you see and the benefits you will reap will also depend on your nutritional profile and consistency. Remember, every single body is different. But if you eat whole, nutritional foods, manage your stress levels, and exercise regularly, you will undoubtedly see muscle toning, improved cardiovascular endurance, and increased strength.
If you don’t want to use the rowing machine at the gym, maybe consider adding one to your home if you have the space. I personally have the Hyrdow rowing machine and LOVE it. It was a gift to myself after I had my fifth child, so I could work out from home with all of the kids. No time for the gym anymore! If you want to give one a try, THIS LINK will save you 10%!