If you feel like your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went, chances are you may not be getting enough physical activity. Rowing machine workouts may feel exhausting at first, but the long-term benefits of regular exercise will increase your endurance and give you more energy. Because rowing exercise is cardiovascular and works out all your major muscle groups, it’s a step above many other types of workout equipment. With repeated use, you will gain increased stamina and boost your metabolism. More energy means more drive to do the things you love!
Of all the cardio machines gaining attention lately, the rowing machine sits atop the list. The low-to-the-ground machine, also known as the ergometer, torches calories while engaging your arms, core, legs, and back. Not to mention, working out on a rowing machine is easier on your knees and joints than most other options, so it’s a low-impact option for everyone. Thus, it comes as no surprise that it’s a staple in every gym—and should be in every workout routine.
From a fitness perspective, the WaterRower Classic 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.
Variability between machines is of small importance if one machine is used consistently for fitness and training, such as in a home gym. It will still provide a sufficiently reliable measure of one's progress. In a competition setting however, equivalence between machines is essential. An example will clarify: Consider the entirely reasonable possibility that the elastic cord of one machine requires 7 pounds of force to stretch, and the elastic cord of another machine requires 6 1/2 pounds of force to stretch. Now suppose that two competitors, one on each of these machines, complete a 2000M race in 8 minutes at an average stroke rate of 30 strokes per minute. The competitor on the machine with the elastic cord tensioned to 7 pounds will need to pull with 1/2 pound more force for the duration of each stroke than the other competitor in order to obtain the same monitored results (since, as explained, only the energy expended to spin the flywheel is measured, not the energy to stretch the elastic cord). If each stroke averages 5 feet in length, and it takes 240 strokes (8X30) to complete the race, the extra work done by the one competitor is equivalent to lifting a 1/2 pound weight through a vertical distance of 1200 feet (5X240), or put another way, the extra work required by this competitor is equivalent to lifting a 10 pound weight through a vertical distance of 60 feet. However, in this example, despite the difference in energy output by the competitors, the monitor displays are the same.
Included within the "dynamically balanced" category are indoor rowers in which the footrests and flywheel are fixed to a moveable carriage, and also those in which the footrests alone are fixed to the moveable carriage, the carriage in both cases being free to slide fore and aft on a rail or rails integral to the stationary frame. The described device in which the flywheel is fixed to and moves with the carriage and footrests (the Rekers design) is sometimes referred to as a "floating head" rowing ergometer.
Assembly was challenging. One of the rails could not be attached because the embedded screw in the cross-beam was too crooked to fit into the hole on the rail. I had to place a nut on it to protect the screws and tap until it was true enough cap nut to be attached. The foot board is slightly wider than the top board. I will sand this to match when I reapply the finish. This will need to be done because the wood has a dry, ashy appearance. The wood is beautiful and mostly uniform. This rowing machine is a nice product, but the build quality of the unit I received was disappointing. I felt lucky that the gashes in the carton did not damage the product as the packaging was optimistic. The leading competitor I use at the gym seems to provide slightly more resistance. It is beautiful and useful, but with room for improvement.
Indoor rowing primarily works the cardiovascular systems with typical workouts consisting of steady pieces of 20–40 minutes, although the standard trial distance for record attempts is 2000 m, which can take from five and a half minutes (best elite rowers) to nine minutes or more. Like other forms of cardio focused exercise, interval training is also commonly used in indoor rowing. While cardio-focused, rowing also stresses many muscle groups throughout the body anaerobically, thus rowing is often referred to as a strength-endurance sport.
Air resistance models use vanes on the flywheel to provide the flywheel braking needed to generate resistance. As the flywheel is spun faster, the air resistance increases. An adjustable vent can be used to control the volume of air moved by the vanes of the rotating flywheel, therefore a larger vent opening results in a higher resistance, and a smaller vent opening results in a lower resistance. The energy dissipated can be accurately calculated given the known moment of inertia of the flywheel and a tachometer to measure the deceleration of the flywheel. Air resistance rowing machines are most often used by sport rowers (particularly during the off season and inclement weather) and competitive indoor rowers. RowPerfect, Oartec, and Concept 2, are three manufacturers of this type of rowing machine.
The “drive” describes the basic sequence of the rowing stroke, which is legs first, then back, and finally arms. A few common mistakes to avoid are pulling with your arms first or opening up with your shoulders before you’ve driven the legs down. “I always liken the movement to a power clean and stress the importance of holding a strong body angle while pushing the legs down and then accelerating through with the body and then arms,” says Frandsen.
The distinction between rowing and other forms of water transport, such as canoeing or kayaking, is that in rowing the oars are held in place at a pivot point that is in a fixed position relative to the boat, this point is the load point for the oar to act as a second class lever (the blade fixed in the water is the fulcrum). In flatwater rowing, the boat (also called a shell or fine boat) is narrow to avoid drag, and the oars are attached to oarlocks ( also called gates ) at the end of outriggers extending from the sides of the boat. Racing boats also have sliding seats to allow the use of the legs in addition to the body to apply power to the oar.
In a 1988 US patent (US4772013A), Elliot Tarlow discloses another non-elastic chain/cable take-up and handle return strategy. Described and depicted is a continuous chain/cable loop that passes around the flywheel sprocket and around and between fixed pulleys and sprockets positioned fore and aft on the device. The handle is secured in the middle of the exposed upper horizontal section of the chain/cable loop. Although somewhat lacking in aesthetics, the Tarlow device does eliminate the stated disadvantages and defects of the ubiquitous elastic cord handle return. Tarlow further argues that the disclosed method provides an improved replication of rowing because in actual rowing the rower is not assisted by the contraction of a spring or elastic cord during the "recovery" portion of the stroke. The rower must push the oar handle forward against wind and oarlock resistance in preparation for the next stroke. Tarlow asserts that the invention replicates that resistance.
One of the underrated advantages of treadmills and bikes is that they attempt to replicate something with which most people are already familiar—walking, running, or biking. The barriers to entry are low, and the task of planning and completing a workout is a little more intuitive, since most people know what those activities feel like. Those heuristics are out the door with a rowing machine, though. Do you just... pull? How far? How hard? And why does it insist on measuring distance in meters? We asked Caley Crawford, the Director of Education at Row House, for tips on getting started so that, hopefully, your experience doesn't end with you throwing your hands up in frustration and crawling back to the elliptical room.