Is getting fit your New Years Resolution for 2022? To do so, you might join a gym or take up running, but if you're like many people, you worry about finding time to make it to the gym or about the risk of contracting Covid-19.
For you and many others, purchasing fitness equipment is a good option, and a rowing machine is the perfect addition to any home gym or studio.
What is a rowing machine?
A rowing machine is a piece of indoor workout equipment that is used to simulate the way people move when they are rowing some type of water equipment, for example, using oars in a rowboat. The machines are used for exercise or for rowing training. Indoor rowing has become a sport in it's own right, and many modern machines measure the amount of work performed by the rower and are called ergometers.
Rowing machines aren't really a new thing. They existed as far back as 1892, when a hydraulic-based design was first patented. More modern machines use linear pneumatic resistance and friction brakes. The first stationary stationary rowing machine that used air resistance was developed in 1981. In 1995, the first dynamically balanced rowing simulator was developed. Most modern types of rowing machines use these two types of design.
How a rowing machine works
Resistance in modern rowing machines is provided by a flywheel, and rowing machines that utilise this can be divided into two types of motion. In both types, the movements of the user causes the footrests to move closer or farther apart depending on the user's stroke. The difference in the two types is the movement or lack of movement of the footrests relative to the ground.
The Dreissigacker/Williams model characterises the first type of design. A stationary frame supports the flywheel and footrests, allowing the to seat to slide back and forth on the rails. In other words, the seat scoots closer to the footrests and the ground. The flywheel and footrests don't move at all.
The second type is based on Rekers' 1995 design. This type of rowing machine features both movable seats and footrests. Both of them can slide back and forth on a stationary frame. The seat and the footrests can get be moved closer to each other and to the ground.
Some rowers use slides underneath their machines to simulate the feel of water underneath. It creates a smooth surface so the machine can move back and forth. In a competition, the slides can be connected together so that rowers can match speeds and rhythms, just as they would in a boat.
How to lose weight using a rowing machine
When used correctly, a rowing machine is an awesome tool to help you lose weight. Weight loss comes about when you use more calories than you take in. This can be achieved through dieting to consume less calories or through exercise to burn off the calories you take in. The best type of exercise is one that maximizes the amount of energy used in a workout, but it needs to be easy enough to maintain the intensity throughout the whole workout. A rowing machine can be used at slow speeds, but this is still enough to offer a large amount of calorie burn.
Shorter, frequent training sessions with a rowing machine have been proven to be more beneficial to most people than harder, longer, less frequent sessions. Try to do four to five short workouts a week instead of two to three longer ones. Be sure to allow yourself a warm up period before your workout and a cool down after.
A rowing machine used at high intensity has been proven to help reduce body fat levels. It is a cardio workout, and in order to achieve maximum effect, you should maintain 70 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 20 minutes. You want to be hot and sweaty when you finish, but not at the point of collapsing in a heap.
Cardio workouts can be divided into two kinds: steady and interval. Interval training, where you mix times of low and high intensity during your workout, has proven to be the most effective way to improve cardio health and lose weight. An example of interval workouts is working for 30 seconds at a slow pace, followed by 20 seconds at medium speed, and then a full sprint for 10 seconds. This would be repeated 20 times.
How to build muscle using a rowing machine
Not only is a rowing machine good for losing weight due to its intensity, it is also a wonderful way to build muscle. It works on multiple groups of body muscles, as one stroke hits nine separate muscle groups. These groups include 86 percent of the body's muscles.
A rowing stroke works the quadriceps, glutes, deltoids, and lats, and abdominal muscles all at once. The best kind of movement is called the stroke and starts with the seat all the way forward with you positioned near the front of the machine. Keep your knees up close to your chest and your shins vertical to the ground. The triceps, the legs, and the back muscles will all be strengthened by this movement. This movement is known as the catch.
A workout with the rowing machine offers both strength training and a cardio workout at the same time, cutting down on the need for separate machines or workouts. It's also good for those who have arthritis or other joint problems, as it is nearly zero-impact and non-weight bearing. Anyone dealing with pain would find this a great way to increase their heart rate and build muscle.
Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine
The best benefit of a rowing machine is that it provides both a way to improve cardiovascular health and strengthen muscles at the same time. It's also good for beginners and doesn't require you to be a competitive rower to advantage of all the benefits the rowing machine offers. It's also a full body workout, working the quadriceps, glutes, calves, pecs, arms, obliques, and your abdominal muscles. With a rowing machine, you won't have any need for sit ups or crunches.
Meditation can be achieved through rowing. Although it's best when rowing on water, a machine can simulate the calming benefits of being on the water. The smooth, gliding motion creates this sensation and allows you to drift away and move away without thought. Endorphins, the good-feeling hormone, is released during the workout and helps reduce stress.
A rowing machine also builds power and endurance. Power is defined as how you are able to use maximum force in a short period of time and includes jumping, moving a sprint, or hitting a baseball. Endurance is how long you can sustain an activity, such as rowing. A rowing machine is also efficient workout if you are short on time. It also maximizes space, as many rowing machines are foldable.
Types of Rowing Machines
Not all rowing machines are equal, and not all rowing machines are the same. In this section we'll diving into the three main types of rowing machines and cover the benefits of each.
Air rowing machines
One type of rowing machine is the air rowing machine. The most popular type of rowing machine, it produces resistance by using air flow over an internal flywheel. The rowing handle is connected to the wheel with a chain. If you pull the handle, this spins the flywheel. The speed of the flywheel depends on how fast you row: the faster you go, the faster the flywheel turns. More expensive, better made rowing machines use other dampers to change the flow of air to alter the feel of the stroke.
One advantage of air rowing machines is the array of resistance available can make it feel as though you are rowing on water. Another is that it adjusts to your stroke rate with a smooth action. Using it creates little wear and tear on the machine.
It can be a little noisy for use inside, but don't let that stop you from acquiring one. Most serious and competitive rowers prefer this type of machine, especially for off season training. This is because it feels more like rowing on the water.
Magnetic rowing machines
Another popular type of rowing machine is the magnetic ones. Many people prefer these for home use due to being very quiet. The resistance mechanism uses strong magnets positioned at various distances from a spinning flywheel. The flywheel is attached to the rowing handle with a chain. Mechanical sliders or digital consoles are used to adjust the resistance levels.
Magnetic rowing machines offer a wide array of resistance levels. They are also smaller than other types of rowing machines, making them a good choice for a home gym. Another reason they are good for a home gym is that they require very little maintenance.
They don't simulate rowing on the water, but many models are foldable. This makes them easy to store if not in use. Also, be sure to check out the weight of the flywheel, as a heavier flywheel usually creates a smoother ride.
Water rowing machines
One of the newer forms of technology in the rowing machine world is the water rowing machines. Resistance is created using water and paddles. A water flywheel in the form of paddles is placed in a tank of water, which is connected to a chain and handles. Pulling back on the handle causes the paddles to spin in the water.
The moving water creates a drag against the paddles, which produces resistance, and the faster you row, the more resistance you create. Those who love water rowers say they recreate the feel of water rowing and is much smoother as the resistance stays constant through the whole stroke.
Very quiet in operation, water rowing machines require very little maintenance. All that's usually needed is changing the water. Most of them are larger than the other types of machines and are usually more expensive. However, they are usually made very stylish and can coordinate with a lot of decors if they can't be stored away.
Features to Consider When Buying a Rowing Machine
So What should you look for when buying a rowing machine? With so many models and types on the market, at a wide range of prices, how do you know what features are essential, which are important for you, and which are just 'nice-to-have's'.
The three main resistance types are the air, magnetic, and water rowing as described above. All have their advantages and disadvantages, but all of them provide a very good workout. Remember, rowing machines offer a full body workout.
If you live in an apartment, opting for one of the quieter models might be the best for you. The most noisy, the air rowing machine can be a little too loud to be used indoors. The magnetic rowing machine is very quiet and is more suitable for a home environment. While the water rowing machine is quiet, you can sometimes hear the water sloshing on the inside of the tank.
How much room do you have in your home for workout equipment? If you live in a small space, a foldable rowing machine is your best bet, because it can be stored away easily when not in use. The water rowing machines are usually bigger and aren't foldable, so they are good for a bigger space or if you have a designated workout room in your home.
The drive mechanism creates the power in a stroke. The resistance type contributes to the drive mechanism. Again, all three have their pros and cons, and other aspects should also be taken into consideration when purchasing a rowing machine.
The console on a rowing machine is an important component. The amount of resistance can be set with the console. Some of them feature a fitness meter and can keep track of your workouts. They can provide information about time, distance, and speed which can help motivate you to work harder.
Small homes without a designated workout space need rowing machines that can be stored away easily. Look for foldability and portability to ensure you hide your machine when needed. Being able to fold the machine down will make it more portable.
It's important to look at the warranty of a rowing machine. Even the less expensive ones can be costly to replace, and if some feature were to go out, you would be glad to have a warranty to cover it. This is especially important for rowing machines that feature a console.
How to Choose the Best Rowing Machine For You
Rowing machines come in a wide variety of prices depending on the features. Water rowing machines are the most expensive. Less expensive ones may not come with a console, but for some people, this might not be an important feature. All rowing machines offer a good workout, regardless of price.
What type of workout are you looking for?
All rowing machines offer both a cardio workout and strength training. A rowing machine that offers greater resistance will be a tougher workout. Less resistance means an easier workout. If you want a workout that feels like rowing on the water, the water rowing machine would be great for that.
Which features do you want/need?
It's important to weigh the features you want and need in relation to the cost, size, and other aspects of the rowing machine. If size is important, go for a smaller one or one that folds up. If keeping track of your workouts is important, purchase a machine that has a console. If you want to feel like you are rowing on water, go for a water rowing machine. Decide which feature is the most important to you and go from there.
How much space do you have?
If you don't have much room, it's important to go with a smaller machine, such as the air resistance type. These often can fold down, making them easy to store away. They can often slide under a bed out of sight. If you have a dedicated workout space, one that is larger or doesn't fold down, such as the water resistance type, would be a good fit for you. These often feature stylish frames and can be matched to the décor in your workout room.