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Why Rowing with Proper Form Is Important

Lily Hartman

READ TIME:1 min.

Rowing is a great exercise to include in any type of fitness class or individual workout. Performing the exercise consistently increases your cardiovascular endurance without putting too much pressure on your joints, which is a common issue with treadmill runners. This moderate-to-intense exercise is a full-body workout that benefits both muscle and heart strength, but it is also one of the most commonly misused pieces of equipment. Having good form will prevent common injuries, such as damage to the wrists, arms, back, and knees.

Before beginning the exercise, warm up and stretch prior to sitting on the machine, as this will loosen up your muscles and decrease your likelihood of getting injured. In order to succeed at performing this exercise, your body must move in a kinetic chain—or single movement—similar to rowing a boat. The backward movement is the driving phase, and the forward movement is the recovery phase. iFit Trainer Aifric Keogh’s Lake Inniscarra, Ireland Beginner workout on the iFit app will help you understand the concept of rowing as you work out!

To have proper form, start by tightening the straps around the middle of your shoelace, so you stay secure throughout the workout. When you pull the bar backward, drive with your legs and pull the bar into alignment with your midsection. To move in the kinetic chain, your arms should not bend until your legs are straightened out. Once you move into the recovery phase, straighten your arms before moving forward with your legs. iFit Trainer Christian Mazzilli’s Learn to Row workout will take you through these basic movements on the iFit app or on rowers that have iFit built into the console.

During the exercise, avoid rounding your back and keep your chest and core as tight as possible in order to maintain good posture. Your palms should face down, and your wrists should stay straight to avoid long-term damage, such as carpal tunnel. To prevent any strain to your lower back, try to keep your weight on your glutes. You can learn more about the fundamentals of rowing with iFit Trainer Alex Gregory on his Row at Home Series!

Start the rowing machine at a resistance you are comfortable with and move slowly until you get the momentum down. The key is to drive with your legs, specifically with your thigh muscles, in order to do the exercise correctly. Try not to grip the bar too hard, as this will make your body tense and potentially mess up your performance. Just focus on your breathing and remember that having good posture is important to reaching your goals!

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