December 21, 2020 2 min read

Rowing machines are not as easy to jump on and learn to use as a treadmill or stationary bike, but don’t let intimidation or the fear of embarrassment scare you away from this machine. Rowing machines are great pieces of equipment that work out your entire body. So, to help you master this machine, here are the top mistakes to avoid on a rowing machine.

Rowing With Just Your Arms

A common trap that newcomers fall into with rowing machines is thinking that the rowing machine is meant to work out your arms. As a full-body workout machine, using only your upper body will put too much stress on your arms, shoulders, and back, which could result in serious injuries.

To prevent this, make sure you’re using your legs as well. Most of the power behind your workout should come from your legs, as the machine expects you to push against the panel that your feet are strapped to while pulling with your arms. This will distribute the stress throughout your body.

Forgetting Order of Operations

Once a newcomer does start using their legs, it can lead to a new problem. One of the top mistakes to avoid on a rowing machine is pushing with your legs and pulling with your arms at the same exact time. It might feel like the right thing to do, but this can also put undue stress on your upper body.

For proper form, focus first on pushing with your legs. When your legs are outstretched, pivot backward, so your shoulders pass your waist and you’re slightly leaning back. Finally, pull your arms all the way toward your chest.

Hunching Your Back

If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, it’s common to form the bad habit of hunching over as you focus on your work. This can also extend to your rowing workout, as your body will naturally hunch out of pure habit when you sit.

When you sit down, be self-aware of your body and posture. Sit tall and relax your shoulders—your spine will thank you later.

Neglecting Machine Maintenance

If you have a home gym rowing machine, it’s vital you stay on top of the maintenance and care of your machine. As rowing machines have a lot of separate parts, you’ll need to be conscious of loose screws and malfunctioning individual components. The elastic band of your rowing machine will eventually wear out and lose its elasticity, leading to ineffective workouts. At this point, you will need to replace it. If you have a flywheel rower, you should regularly clean and lubricate the chain. WaterRower fitness equipment needs to have its tanks regularly changed, cleaned, and purified to avoid fungal growth. Just keep your eyes open and give your rowing machine an inspection every so often.

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