Friday, 24 July 2009

Is rowing a good way to lose weight?

Rowing is a fantastic all-round exercise. In fact, rowing can burn up calories quicker than something like biking and most row machines are now easier to store than an equivalent indoor bike.

The good thing about rowing is that done correctly it is a smooth movement which burns the fat without giving damaging impact to your joints. This is a particular problem for some other forms of exercise and is especially important if you are suffering from any knee problems.

Of course you will find that rowing will even help to trim those bottom muscles and since it works both the back and abs muscles at the same time, it can be a particularly good way to lose those love handles and get a flatter tummy while still balancing the counteracting back muscles.

What exercise does rowing provide?

Rowing is a great aerobic exercise. You will find that the range of upper body movement quickly gets your heart and lungs working hard and this will help to increase your stamina over time.

In fact rowing can be so strenuous that you should not be tempted to aim for higher work-rates when you start out. It is not necessary to pull with the most resistance or the fastest split-times for you to get a good workout.

In fact, many rowers will advise you that in order to use your row machine correctly, you should set it at something like 7 out of 10 for resistance, as this will get closest to the work needed for rowing on real water.

Once you have built up your fitness and stamina a bit, you can then move to trying for faster split times and if done correctly, this will help to build up your strength in both your legs and arms.

Try to set a stroke rate of around 30 per minute and gradually bring down your time for a fixed distance. Then see if you can make fewer strokes while keeping the time the same (down to around 23-25 per minute) - this will increase your arm strength. Now, if you switch back to 30 strokes per minute, you should see your time drop even further.

As with all exercise, build up to this and listen to your body and your doctor - especially if you have back problems. This is a great way to start helping those muscles but don't dive straight in at the top!

What muscles can I expect to workout on my row machine?

The beauty of rowing is that it makes you use a much larger range of movements with your body than some other exercises.

You will stretch muscles and rotate joints as the seat moves back on your row machine in order to carry out the task. In the process you will find that you tone muscles in your arms, legs, back and stomach simultaneously.

Obviously the legs and arm muscles are used during the stroke movement but both the back and abs are called into play as well. As a result of this, rowing is an exercise that is extremely good for all-round fitness and it works most of the muscles that people are looking to improve in tone. In particular, your abs and butt will both see marked improvement over time.