Why Rowing Machines?
The bustling of these modern times has brought about a change in the mindset of people. Many are now making that conscious effort to take good care of their health by starting the good habit of matching a balanced diet with proper exercise.
Many of today’s fitness exercises typically incorporate the use of rowing machines to get that much desired total body workout. These machines work by creating a true-to-life feel of the actual watercraft sport, enabling users to exercise, tone and train the different muscle groups of their body. The movements generated from using rowing machines guarantee an effective workout and training program.
Rowing Machines 101
Even before one gets on a rowing machine, it is advised that the user should first be familiar with how these fitness machines work in order to maximize its full potential. Here are some guidelines that should be considered:
- Construction is top priority. The best types have a well-finished, all-metal construction to give users the much-needed support during exercise. Make sure that you also try out the machine by putting your weight on the frame. There should be no flexing or any awkward movement once you sit on the machine.
- Check the brakes. The type of braking system usually depends on the specific kind that you are using. For example, electronic rowing machines are virtually soundless because they rely on magnetic brakes. On the other hand, air rowers may be accurate and allow for a lot of movement, but the noise level can be quite distracting. Then there’s also a water type of rowing fitness machine which uses water, giving off a smooth, swishing sound.
- Transmission is very important. Always check the chains and straps of your rowing exercise machines to ensure that you won’t get any jerky feel or motion once you start exercising. Make sure that the transmission is in good condition so look out for any stretches or gives that could cause problems.
- Get a feel of your movement. Your rowing strokes on the machine should be smooth and free from any jerky movement. Another thing to look out for is range. You won’t be able to achieve a full body workout with a machine that only allows for limited leg movements.
- Check for accuracy of display and information. The monitors attached serve as a guide for users. It should clearly display an accurate reading of your workout. There are also buttons on the easy-to-use screen that allow you to customize and create a workout program tailor fitted just for the user.
- Comfort is everything. Rowing machines provide users with comfortable seating to make sure that they’re able to concentrate on their workout. At the same time, the seat runner and rail should also be in good condition, enabling the user to roll freely from one end to the other without any glitches.
- Get a good grip. Since you’ll be stroking most of the time, the oar should be easy-to-hold and provide a good grip, especially in times when the palms get sweaty and weary. Some rowing exercise machines also have a grip in the middle for those interested in using only one hand.
- Footplate adjustability matters. Aside from your grip, the position of your feet is also important during exercise. Make sure that your feet are securely and comfortably rested in the footplates. Some also carry a helpful quick release option.
Structure and Design
A flywheel connected to the chain and handle is the basic design for most rowing machines. Here’s how it works: A rower uses his legs in order to move the body backwards. He then pivots his back and pulls on the handle, making the flywheel spin. The braking mechanism incorporated in the flywheel creates a simulated feel of an oar making its way through the water.
Some rowing fitness machines allow the rower to move back and forth while there are also some other types wherein it is the flywheel mechanism that moves while keeping the rower still and stationary.
The power generated from using these machines are measured by calculating the speed of the flywheel as one strokes, the recorded rate at which it decelerates during the recovery and the known moment of inertia of the flywheel.
A program installed in rowing machines is then able to provide an accurate reading of the movements done by the rower. An analysis of the data taken from these individual exercise sessions can be used to come up with a fitting training program.
Most fitness enthusiasts are able to achieve a total body workout of the cardiovascular system through the use of indoor rowing machines. The good thing about rowing fitness machines is that they are low-impact. While the exercise is very much cardio focused, these machines do not create unwanted stress and strain on the different muscle groups so users are able to avoid damaging the knees and connective tissues of the lower body. Caution, however, is advised to rowers because they are prone to lower back injuries.
To avoid these problems, rowers should always make sure that they develop a proper breathing technique during exercise. The trick here is to focus on mechanics and breathing. How does one do this? You’ll need to stabilize the force of the upper body by exhaling on the drive and inhaling on the recovery. At the same time, instead of putting too much emphasis on the upper body, rowing is all about using the large thigh muscles to drive much of the stroke. Lastly, make sure that the upper body maintains the right angle.