Following a training programme on a rowing machine can help you workout your whole body but let’s go deeper into each group of muscles to understand how they’re affected.
- Your core
As for any sport, or even in your daily life, your core plays a major role to keep you steady and balanced. Abs help with maintaining a good posture and prevent injuries.
Unlike regular crunches, training on a rowing machine means you’ll work all the muscles in your abdominal area (front and back):
→ The erector spinae muscles: These muscles, in your lower back, are very important to help with your dorsal balance. Oftentimes, if these muscles aren’t worked on, they’re more easily prone to injuries.
→ The oblique muscles: Located on the side of your abdomen and help with overall body balance. They’re essential to standing upright.
→ The rectus abdominus: The most visible muscles in your abs, and those that most people want to build up to attain a 6-pack.
Beyond the aesthetic point of view, all these muscles are allies for your body. It’s important for them to be strong and looked after to avoid any chronic pain.
- Your upper body
Your back, shoulders, arms and forearms will definitely get a workout!
Whenever you pull the handle bar towards you on the rower, you’ll be working the following back muscles:
→ Lattisimus dorsi: The biggest muscle in your back. It goes all the way from the trapezius area to the middle/lower back.
→ Trapezius: Responsible for stabilizing and controlling your neck and shoulder blades movements.
→ Rhomboids: Located between your spine and shoulder blades. They work as a support system to the trapezius when your shoulders are pulled backwards.
Like in your back, your arm muscles will also be engaged while you pull and release the handlebar:
→ Deltoids: These are located in your shoulders and are key to fulfilling a rowing movement (especially when you’re releasing the handle).
→ Triceps: They come into play when you release your shoulders and stretch your arms forward.
→ Biceps: Located between your shoulder and your elbow, they contract when you bend your arms inwards.
- Your lower body
When you look at someone on a rowing machine, you first notice their arms working out. But your legs are not spared during a rower training!
They assist you while you’re pulling, help to slow down the movement when you’re releasing and support your upper body while you’re seated. While you don’t have any weight on your legs, you can increase your muscle mass and give your lower body muscles a good workout:
→ Glutes: They’re working the hardest when you’re pulling back on the handlebar
→ Hamstrings: They’re located on the back of your thighs, and work the hardest when your knees are bent and you return to the starting position
→ Quads: The largest muscles in your lower body. They’re solicited most when you push backwards.
- Your heart
Since your heart is constantly working while using a rowing machine, rowing machines are largely considered as part of cardio training equipment. While you’re rowing, your heart rate will increase, your body temperature will go up and you will start sweating. You are bound to burn a lot of calories by using your cardiovascular system during your workouts!
Incorporating a rowing machine routine into your workout plan will help you improve your endurance, making it easier to perform better at sports with bursts of high-intensity activity: football, rugby, tennis, running, surfing or sailing.
In time, you’ll improve your breathing (respiratory capacity) and your heart (cardiovascular) capacities.