• 1st step: Preparing your workout

First, make sure you have the right outfit for your workout. It may seem trivial, but having the right outfit is very important to feeling good while training. Using a rowing machine will make you sweat. It’s best if you choose a top and bottom that are light, breathable and can dry quickly. Make sure your outfit is also loose or stretchy enough so that it doesn’t hinder any of your movements.

Then, you need to adjust your rowing machine properly. Sit on the sliding seat and place your feet flat in the strapped pedals. Tighten the straps so your feet can’t slide up and down, or out of the pedals.

Next, you need to adjust the resistance level of the rowing machine. By increasing the level, you’re making it more difficult to pull on the handlebar. 

This will either be done via a programme on your display, manually on the machine or via a mechanical air system. In the case of the latter, the faster you row, the greater the resistance. If you’re a beginner, start at a slow speed and increase the frequency of your rows as you go.

In general, make sure you don’t set the resistance too high when you get started. You will need some time to get used to the machine and the movements before increasing the resistance. 

  • 2nd step: Trying that first rowing movement

The movement you need to make on a rowing machine can be broken down into 3 parts. At first, you’ll probably have to think about each part, but very soon it will become a single fluid movement. 

1. Put your hands over the handlebar (palms down). You should be seated at the front of the rail, feet strapped in, with your knees and shins vertical to the floor.

2. Push yourself backwards with your legs and go back as far as they’ll allow you to. At the same time, you will pull on the handlebar (keep it as straight as possible) and bring your elbows back until they are behind you. The cable linking the handlebar to the machine should always be parallel to the floor and should not be going up or down. Make sure you pull the handlebar towards your belly button and not your chin. Finally, avoid arching your back (this may cause injuries otherwise).

3. To finish the movement, release your arms and extend them back towards the front, keeping your elbows and the handlebar and chain parallel to the floor. Naturally, the handlebar will move towards the front, your legs will flex and you will find yourself in your initial position.

Here are some tips for you to make sure you don’t get injured:

  • Your whole body is working out, not only your arms pulling or legs pushing
  • Your core and back should always be engaged
  • Do not fully extend your knees and elbows, as this could damage your joints. Always keep a slight flexion 
  • Always start your workout with a warm up