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5 Common Rowing Machine Mistakes People Make


(August 22, 2020)--Rowing is an effective workout to tone your muscles. You can step onto a rowing machine regardless of your fitness levels. Some people find it to be a meditative exercise too.

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If you’re a beginner, take a look at this selection of rowing machines from Home Rower, a site dedicated to rowing. You don’t have to be a pro-rower to experience all the benefits of rowing, but make sure you don’t make these 5 common mistakes.

  1. Rowing At A High Stroke Rate

A common myth among even those who've been rowing since ages is that a higher stroke rate implies more calorie burn. The key is to pull the pedals hard, but not fast. Rowing harder will generate more power than rowing faster.

The number of spins does not contribute much in toning your body.

Here's how you can break the bad habit of rowing at a higher stroke rate and improve your efficiency. Start rowing at a higher rate and reduce it by two beats every minute. Soon, at half of your starting rate, you would be able to generate the same power. 

  1. Bending Your Arms Too Early

The question is - when is it too early to bend your arms?

Before you pass your knees with the handle.

Until you finish that movement, avoid bending your back or bending your arms. 

When should you bend your arms, and how bent can they be?

Engage your upper back while pulling the oar. The oar should rest below your chest. At the end of it, your arms should bend more than 90 degrees.

  1. Doing Everything At The Same Time

Moving your arms and legs at the same time is a mistake you should avoid at all costs. It may seem fine for beginners, but don't be tempted. A few days into such bad movements, you might get stuck with aches in neck and shoulders.

Shooting every muscle at once strains your back and causes posture problems in the future.

The major power for the workout comes from the legs. Though rowing works your entire body, your arms shouldn't sweat out more than your legs.

Rowing is a workout done in sequences, usually in the order legs - hips - arms and arms - hips - legs. You can check it out from trainers online.

  1. Ignoring The Damper Setting

Forgetting to check the damper setting before you row and setting it to the wrong number is equally bad.

We've seen many indoor machines being rowed at 10. Probably people think rowing at a higher number is better, just as in the case of stroke rate. Rowing at a high number will put needless stress on your muscles and exhausts them quickly. Well, it is not bad if you're looking only for strength and ignoring your body's wellness.

The rule is to set your damper to 3-5. Check this for yourself by rowing at different damper settings. You're more likely to row at the best time in the damper range we've recommended.

  1. Hunching Your Back

This is a sure sign that you're working your shoulders in the wrong way. Hunching your back won't let you breathe deeply. Improper breathing is bad for any type of exercise out there.

To fix this, sit straight and engage your core by taking deep breaths. Your shoulders should be pushed back, and your neck should not feel heavy. If your shoulders are not down and drifting forward, reset your position and do the next rep.

It will take you a few days to get adjusted, but it will be worth it.


Avoid these common mistakes and follow proper rowing techniques to save yourself from terrible aches that make you say "Ouch!". We don't love sprains, do we?


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