5 Common Rowing Machine Training Mistakes

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  1. You don’t warm up. Maybe you’re thinking, “Warm-ups aren’t that essential, it’s just a waste of time,” I’m sorry to inform you but skipping the warm-up session is a big no-no. You need prime your body to allow you to get the optimum merit of from your effort and prevent you from having injuries. Then, when you row, start with a few reverse lunges, hamstring stretches, pushups, and walkouts. You can help your hamstrings open up by adding a push-up when you’re doing a plank. This can also strengthen your abs and open up your chest and lower back.

  1. You only use your arms. Rowing with just your arms is not the right way to use your rowing machine. Maximize its use by using the proper form because if you do so, about 60% to 70% of your power will come from your legs. The rowing machine isn’t all about the arms.

  1. You sit in the back row during class. The front row is usually for regulars, so they say. But actually, if you’re a newbie, you should sit as close to the mirrors in the front row as possible. Sitting there will keep you updated of what the instructor is teaching. It’s also easier to ask questions if you’re in the front row of the class.

  1. You set the damper too high. See that lever on the side of the erg’s flywheel? It rules the flow of air into the cage. A lot of people set it to 10 because it seems more challenging and motivating. Obviously, since it’s on this list, that means it’s wrong. It’s a mistake because it will increase your chances of weakening your form and tiring your muscles even before you reach a solid exercise session.

Try to imagine riding a bicycle. You wouldn’t set the gear to the point where pedaling is almost impossible, right? The same goes with a rowing machine. Even competitive rowers don’t paddle a canoe that’s heavy for them. They drive a light and narrow vessel instead. Olympic rowers also set their dampers at around 3 to 5 when they compete.

If you’re aiming for something challenging, then speed up the flywheel where strength should be applied, like in a smooth, fast rowing shell.

  1. You value speed more than power. Rowing as fast as you can shouldn’t be your priority. If you’re not an experienced rower and you’re going rapidly, you might not be making a powerful stroke at all. It’s recommended to concentrate on making your core muscles and legs work so that every stroke is a solid and effective one.

If you feel that you’re going too fast that you’re no longer getting a full range of motion or your seat is thumping against the front of the slide with each stroke, you have to take it slow. Rowing 30 strokes a minute doesn’t mean more power is being produced. So what should you do to correct this mistake? Create a rhythm. The ratio of your stroke should be 1:2 when we talk about drive and recovery. You should use up maximum power, relax, then take another stroke.