Deciding what home exercise equipment to spend your hard-earned money on can be really tricky. There is so much to chose from and all the advertisements make it seem like you absolutely must buy a whole bunch of different products. Because of space and cost, you may well find that you need to limit yourself to a single purchase; the last thing you want to do is waste your money on something that may ultimately become a clothes dryer or end up gathering dust in your garage. If you you are looking for a great all-round home exercise solution, try a rowing machine.
Muscles Used When Rowing
Unlike cycling and jogging, rowing uses just about every muscle in your body. In fact, it's easier to list the muscles you don't use than it is to list the ones you do use. The muscles that don't get much use in rowing are your pecs or chest muscles and your triceps on the back of your upper arm — but this is easily remedied by doing a few sets of pushups after each row. Rowing provides a good workout for all of your major arm and leg muscles and also works your core.
Low Impact Workout
Unlike jogging or jumping rope, rowing is a low-impact activity. This means that at no point are you landing with any force. This is good if you are overweight or suffer from ankle, knee or hip problems. Because of the low impact nature of rowing, many exercisers find they can work out longer and more often compared to higher impact forms of exercise.
Cardiovascular Fitness and Health
While working out with weights is great for your muscles, it doesn't do much for your cardiovascular fitness. Improved cardiovascular fitness is closely linked to improved health, and rowing is a very effective form of cardio exercise. The large number of muscles involved combined with the rhythmic action of rowing delivers a very good cardio workout.
Superior Calorie Burning
As rowing uses almost every muscle in your body, it burns a lot of calories per hour. A light rowing workout will burn approximately 320 calories per hour whereas a more strenuous workout can burn as many as 1,100 depending on your body weight. Rowing compares very favorably to running, cycling and using a cross trainer. When it comes to burning calories, the intensity of your workout will influence your burn rate so it pays to try and push the pace a little but always within the limits of your current fitness level.
As good a workout as rowing provides, there are a couple of points you need to consider before taking the plunge and buying a rowing machine. Firstly, to get the most from a rower, you need to row with good technique. Good rowing technique will make your rows more productive, enjoyable and safe. Make sure you spend some time mastering the techniques of rowing before making your workouts too intense. Secondly, rowing machines are usually quite long so make sure you have sufficient space for your new exercise machine. Finally, remember that a rower is only effective if you use it regularly, so make sure you can commit to at least three workouts a week to justify your investment.
- The Complete Guide to Indoor Rowing; Jim Flood and Charles Simpson
- NutriStrategy; Calories Burned During Exercise, Activities, Sports and Work
- Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better: A Guide to Moderate Exercise; D.P Ordway
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.