A rowing machine is part of a rower’s training regiment when rowing outside is not possible. I spent a lot of time rowing on a machine because of weather, shorter winter days, or physical performance testing.
Over the years I have used two rowing machines the most. In the end, I fell in love with the Waterrower. To be absolutely crystal clear with you, the Waterrower is not the machine of choice for people who want to compete internationally. What makes the Waterrower special to me is the water weight that is useful for different standing workouts, the wooden frame which feels so natural, and the soothing sound as the water swishes every time you finish a stroke.
Today, rowing machines have gotten a lot more popular among people for many different reasons.
Let’s dive into the different subjects I enumerated in the post.
- Ease of use: Moving the handle back and forth can be done with the flick of the wrist. This is no joke. Of course, learning the rowing technique properly requires more drilling, but with my help, you will learn quickly and row as easily as walking or riding a bike. I run workouts online every week and all workouts are stored for on-demand use. My goal is to row until I am 300 years young.
- The water weight comes in handy for doing exercises without sitting on the seat of the rower. Most other rowing machines have air resistance, but air does not have the same mass as a bunch of water and therefore you can’t do standing exercises without moving the entire rower around.
- Adjusting the resistance on the rowing machine can be done mechanically. In the case of the Waterrower, you choose how much water to add to the tank. My personal opinion is that people add too little water. When I added water, I stood the rower upright and filled the drum right below the axle of the paddle wheel. Even with water to the max, anyone can row with that load. It all depends on how much one accelerates the stroke. When you row slowly, your resistance is negligible, barely noticeable. However, if you want more resistance, simply accelerate the stroke and voila. During all my workouts I explain how to modify the intensity and make everyone feel welcome 🙂
- Full body workout: When you row you engage your entire body repeatedly. This is different from walking, running, cycling etc. The upper body gets involved constantly. You can break the stroke down to mix in variety and focus on certain muscle groups. I do this constantly for most of my workouts. Being able to do standing exercises targets even more muscles than just by practicing the rowing stroke.
- Light on the joints: I was not born a runner. Walking, I am pretty good at it, but running, NO THANK YOU. This is why rowing is great. I am a seated athlete 😆. Your weight is supported and you get to use your entire body. Getting fitter and more flexible on the rowing machine is a segue to becoming more mobile vertically as well.
- Stretching with a rowing machine: Pilates anyone? You can use the sliding seat for different stretches for the legs as well as the upper body. I have videos explaining it.
- The Waterrower is beautifully quiet. I mentioned earlier that I used to row with wind resistance rowers and switched to the Waterrower. The Waterrower is simply far more enjoyable to hear than a fan wheel. It makes rowing and watching TV or having a conversation with someone while rowing much easier.
- Easy to store: You row with the machine flat on the ground. Once you are done, you lift the light end up and it stands on its side. You can wheel it away like that.
- Good for rehab: Since you row on tracks, this makes the movement very predictable to say the least. You can row one leg at a time, leaving a sore joint out. You can row with ankles set at 90 degrees if ankle mobility is limited. If you have a sore shoulder, leave that arm hanging and just row one arm at a time, so on and so forth.
- Calming the nerves is meditative: Listening to the rhythmic sound of the water and letting your mind quiet down with the smooth repetitive strokes is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness.
- Improve breathing muscles and keep the lungs soft and elastic: Exercise in general will help relax your lungs and keep your breathing muscles strong and healthy. During our workouts I consistently remind the rowers how to breathe. Proper breathing does not fall under common sense. It is far more important to breathe with the bottom three quarters of the lungs than with the top ¾. Lots more on this during the workouts.
- Workouts to follow: My Signature Machine comes with 3 months of workout access. You can then choose to keep rowing with me and meet every week with others or create your own rowing routines inspired by my workouts.
- A rowing machine is used by high school students to get recruited to college rowing programs. I provide private online elite coaching to individuals who need to reach their absolute best to be the fastest boat movers and attain a top recruitable erg score.