Rowing as an Aerobic & Anaerobic Workout

A rower can help you achieve a range of fitness goals.
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Rowing is an engaging and challenging way to get your daily exercise. It not only taxes your cardiovascular system but also works nearly every muscle in your body. When it comes to a rowing workout, there are two different approaches you can take -- aerobic or anaerobic. Both are very beneficial to your overall fitness and health. Which one is best for you, depends on your personal fitness goals.

Rowing Form

Sit on the seat of a rowing machine and adjust the resistance as needed. Position and strap your feet into the designated area and grasp the handle with an overhand grip. Begin with your knees bent and arms extended. Tighten your abdomen, straighten your back and slide the seat back by forcefully straightening your legs. As your knees straighten, powerfully flex your arms to pull the handle toward your chest and slightly bend your torso back. Bend your legs to return to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Training

Aerobic training requires the use of oxygen and, according to Jack H. Wilmore and David L. Costill, the authors of "Physiology of Sport and Exercise," improves central and peripheral blood flow and enhances the capacity of the muscle fibers to generate greater amounts of energy and improve muscular endurance. Anaerobic training, on the other hand, can be performed in the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic training helps improve muscular strength and power, increases metabolic energy stores and makes your body more efficient at using the energy stores.

Aerobic Rowing Workout

Aerobic rowing workouts consist of prolonged periods of rowing at low to moderate intensities. Rowing at submaximal levels will give your body ample time to take in oxygen, break down carbs and fat and produce energy to continuously fuel your workout. Submaximal aerobic workouts derive a large portion of energy from fats, gradually shifting to higher use of carbohydrates if your intensity increases.

Anaerobic Rowing Workout

Anaerobic rowing workouts consist of high-intensity, intermittent bouts of exercise; for example, rowing with maximum effort for one minute and then resting for three minutes, repeating the work-rest cycle several times. To keep it anaerobic, you have to keep the working time short and the recovery time longer to give your body ample time to replenish energy stores. Longer work periods and shorter rest times will create an environment for an aerobic workout. Anaerobic workouts depend almost entirely upon carbohydrates for energy and, because of the high intensity, burn a substantial amount of calories.

Combination Training

Performing both aerobic and anaerobic workouts can help you enjoy well-rounded fitness. Combining both types of exercise in a single workout is one option, or you can try alternating them every few workouts to prevent burnout and boredom.

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