Great for weight loss, toning and building muscles, and increasing stamina, this machine is a fitness game changer. Rowers work out several major muscle groups and will help you develop both your upper and lower body. Most importantly, using a rowing machine gets your heart pumping and lungs working, providing a serious aerobic workout. Check out our top 10 benefits of using a rowing machine to see if a rower is the best way for you to get physical!
Rowing, often referred to as crew in the United States, is a sport whose origins reach back to Ancient Egyptian times. It involves propelling a boat (racing shell) on water using oars. By pushing against the water with an oar, a force is generated to move the boat. The sport can be either recreational for enjoyment or fitness, or competitive, when athletes race against each other in boats. There are a number of different boat classes in which athletes compete, ranging from an individual shell (called a single scull) to an eight-person shell with coxswain (called a coxed eight).
Water resistance models consist of a paddle revolving in an enclosed tank of water. The mass and drag of the moving water creates the resistance. Proponents claim that this approach results in a more realistic action than possible with air or magnetic type machines. "WaterRower" was the first company to manufacturer this type of rowing machine. The company was formed in the 1980's by John Duke, a US National Team rower, and inventor of the device (1989 US Patent US4884800A). At that time, in the patent record, there were a few prior art fluid resistance rowing machines, but they lacked the simplicity and elegance of the Duke design. From the 1989 patent Abstract: "... rowing machine features a hollow container that holds a supply of water. Pulling on a drive cord during a pulling segment of a stroke rotates a paddle or like mechanism within the container to provide a momentum effect."
It's been nearly 30 years since John Duke, a former Yale University and USA National Team oarsman, set up a small shop in Rhode Island, USA to begin fine-tuning his innovative water-resistant rowing machine. With its beautiful design and unmatched feel, the WaterRower quickly gained a cult-like following of both on-water rowers and fitness enthusiasts that had found their perfect piece of workout equipment. As word spread of the new product that simulated the feel of on-water rowing, WaterRower transitioned from simply a one-off product found within the occasional boathouse to an established brand in both the rowing and fitness world.
The coxswain (or simply the cox) is the member who sits in the boat facing the bow, steers the boat, and coordinates the power and rhythm of the rowers - by communicating to the crew through a device called a cox box and speakers. They usually sit in the stern of the boat, except in bowloaders where the coxswain lies in the bow. Bowloader are usually seen as the coxed four and coxed pair type of boat.
Row for 1 minute applying as much power and force as you can, then take 1 minute of very light strokes for rest. That’s one rep. Complete 5 reps and then take a short break, no more than a few minutes, before moving on to the next set. Similarly, the goal is to hold the lowest split possible in the hard pieces. The prescribed stroke rates are 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 for the first set; 20, 22, 24, 26, and 28 for the second; and 22, 24, 26, 28, and 30 for the third.
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.
Perhaps one of the best rowing machine benefits is the workout they give the lower body. In fact, rowing enthusiasts consider rowing primarily a lower-body workout. The main leg muscles involved are the quads in the upper front of the thighs, however the calves and glutes (buttocks) also feel the burn. Building strong legs and glutes will help you look amazing and working out the lower body actually burns calories at a faster rate. In addition to improved muscle strength and tone, resistance training on a row machine is a great way to maintain flexibility and balance.
Indoor rowers which utilize a pivoting handle or handles to simulate a sweep or sculling stroke (thus referred to as "rowing simulators"), can be of the above described "stationary" or "dynamically balanced" type of rowing ergometer. The Coffey rowing machine, designed by Olympic silver medalist rower, Calvin Coffey, can be configured to enable a sweep or a sculling stroke, in either a "stationary" or "dynamically balanced" mode. The flywheel is positioned horizontally at the rear of the device, under the seat rails (US patents: US4743011A 1988; US7862484B1; Inventor: Calvin Coffey).
Charlotte Hollings is a successful Masters rower with a deep commitment to the sport. Charlotte spent five years on the USRowing National Team (1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1994), during which she won a Silver Medal (World Championships, 1985) and a Gold Medal (1994), both in the lightweight four. She started rowing in 1978 at TC Williams High School (Alexandria, Virginia) and then rowed four years at the University of Virginia when it was a club program. She has coached at Stanford University, Boston University and Cornell University. In 2001, she started Calm Waters Rowing (a full-service sculling camp) with her husband, John. She will be rowing Bow #1 in the Women's Grand Master Singles (age 50+) at this year's Head Of The Charles Regatta Continue Reading ›
Rowing events use a systematic nomenclature for the naming of events, so that age, gender, ability and size of boat can all be expressed in a few numbers and letters. The first letter to be used is 'L' or 'Lt' for lightweight. If absent then the crew is open weight. This can be followed by either a 'J' or 'B' to signify junior (under 19 years) or under 23 years respectively. If absent the crew is open age (the letter 'O' is sometimes used). Next is either an 'M' or 'W' to signify if the crew are men or women. Then there is a number to show how many athletes are in the boat (1,2,4 or 8). An 'x' following the number indicates a sculling boat. Finally either a + or – is added to indicate whether the boat is coxed or coxswainless.
I don't know how this machine compares to others. I have no idea. Here's what I know: I've had treadmills and elliptical machines, weight benches and several exercise appliances from infomercials. They all work exactly like they should if you use the equipment on a consistent basis. That's where the problem comes in. I would always give up eventually and the machine would sit in the corner, covered with my laundry, laughing at me. I bought this rower without ever even trying one at the gym because I was desperate to do something (and I voted for Frank Underwood). This was the one machine I was not only able to stick with, but I now eagerly look forward to using. It started a chain reaction that changed everything. You know those incredible before/after transformation pictures you see on weight loss shows? I'm one of those guys now. Rowing is like a 'secret' in the fitness world in the way there is so little emphasis. However, in terms of results, it is so much more efficient. It works your upper and lower body at the same time, huge cardio/fat burner and builds muscle like crazy. I'm glad I'm in on the secret too.
Storage is also a plus point for the Waterrower series as they are all designed to stand upright with the tank acting as ballast for stability. In this position they only take up around two square feet. Again, great if you are planning on training in the living room. However, if you have small children, I would advise fixing the top to the wall with a hook and strap.