“I always try to reinforce the need to swing over from the hips and not simply by curving you back. This is crucial to avoid injury and to get you into a stronger position to be ready for the next stroke,” says Frandsen. Even as you start to get tired or feel fatigued, don’t allow yourself to slouch or to collapse into the “catch”–swing over early in the stroke and then think about your chest rising up to the catch.
The rowing machine itself is unlike any other on the market with its patented water filled flywheel. It is hard to exactly copy the action of a scull on the water, but the mechanics of the flywheel spinning in water comes in a close second on dry land. The fact that the water is 800 times denser than air means that there is no need for any extra resistance or dampening that you will find in normal air rowers. The faster you pull, the more resistance is generated giving it infinite variability. However, if you want to be able to practice rowing with a faster stroke, you will have to reduce the amount of water in the tank unlike an air rower where you just have to adjust the baffle.
In the 1950s and 1960s, coaches in many countries began using specially made rowing machines for training and improved power measurement. One original design incorporated a large, heavy, solid iron flywheel with a mechanical friction brake, developed by John Harrison of Leichhardt Rowing Club in Sydney, later to become a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of New South Wales. Harrison, a dual Australian champion beach sprinter who went on to row in the coxless four at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, had been introduced to rowing after a chance meeting with one of the fathers of modern athletic physiological training and testing, and the coach of the Leichhardt Guinea Pigs, Professor Frank Cotton. Professor Cotton had produced a rudimentary friction-based machine for evaluating potential rowers by exhausting them, without any pretence of accurately measuring power output. Harrison realised the importance of using a small braking area with a non-absorbent braking material, combined with a large flywheel. The advantage of this design (produced by Ted Curtain Engineering, Curtain being a fellow Guinea Pig) was the virtual elimination of factors able to interfere with accurate results—for instance ambient humidity or temperature. The Harrison-Cotton machine represents the very first piece of equipment able to accurately quantify human power output; power calculation within an accuracy range as achieved by his machine of less than 1% remains an impressive result today. The friction brake was adjusted according to a rower's weight to give an accurate appraisal of boat-moving ability (drag on a boat is proportional to weight). Inferior copies of Harrison's machine were produced in several countries utilising a smaller flywheel and leather straps—unfortunately the leather straps were sensitive to humidity, and the relatively large braking area made results far less accurate than Harrison's machine. The weight correction factor tended to make them unpopular among rowers of the time. Harrison, arguably the father of modern athletic power evaluation, died in February 2012.
Just like with other cardio machines, it’s highly recommended that you start off slow, especially if you’ve never used a rowing machine before. While walking and cycling are natural movements, rowing definitely isn’t, so don’t look around at seasoned pros and think you need to keep up (cue breathless panting). The potential for injury and pain isn’t worth it. Start off at a low resistance, remaining at that level until you’ve perfected your form and rowing motion. Once you’ve got those down and are feeling comfortable, feel free to increase the resistance and vary your workout. This takes time, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t catch on after the first few strokes.
From a fitness perspective, the WaterRower Natural works 84 percent of your muscle mass, helping tone and strengthen your muscles while burning far more calories than most other aerobic machines. The exercise is also low impact, as it removes all the body weight from the ankles, knees, and hips, but still moves the limbs and joints through a full range of motion--from completely extended to completely contracted.
The WaterRower Classic is handcrafted from solid American Black Walnut wood, finished with danish oil. The WaterRower's patented WaterFlywheel has been specifically designed to emulate the dynamics of a boat moving though water and is unsurpassed in its simulation of the physical and physiological benefits of rowing. WaterRower will not provide support or documentation for any product transported outside of the original country of purchase
This is a company known for quality as well as stewardship for over 20 years. WaterRower hand-crafts their rowing machines to be more than just a workout machine, but also a work of art as well. Also, WaterRower is and has been on the cutting edge of environmental sustainability with their use of the best hardwoods coming from renewable forests. We’re in excellent hands here.
The weight adjustment calculator can be a helpful tool because it provides a way to compare indoor rowing performances between people of different weights. It shifts focus away from absolute power toward power to body weight ratio. If you have a large friend who always beats you indoor rowing, challenge them to a weight-adjusted race! Continue Reading ›