The rowing machine can be a nice alternative from other cardio machines. While the primary purpose of the machine is to help athletes train for rowing competitions, this particular piece of equipment is special because it offers something that most cardio machines do not, a way to exercise the upper body while elevating the heart rate. The rowing machine can also be used as a quick break from the treadmill to give your legs a breather while keeping your heart rate up.
The rowing machine is performed from a seated position (similar to seated rows) often with a mobile seat set on a track. This mobile seat allows the legs to be used as if performing horizontal squats. There is generally not much resistance on the legs with this motion but the rowing machine is not ideal for building up leg muscles.
Along with this mobile seat is a bar that the user grips and performs the rowing motion with. This bar is attached via cable to the machine and that cable is attached to a resistance device. Varying rowing machines will offer different devices for resistance. Some are self contained in structures while others act like fans and with each rowing motion, the user is blasted by a wave of refreshing air.
To achieve the optimal level of usage from the rowing machine, remember to not overwork in the beginning if you don't feel yourself being physically challenged. Control your breathing and maintain a steady rowing motion while performing the exercise. If you recently performed back exercises, use of the rowing machine may seem overwhelming but it can be used as a way to greatly fatigue the back muscles even further.
Pros of the rowing machine:
- Incorporates upper body movements
- Extremely low impact
Cons of the rowing machine:
- Little emphasis on the lower body