Avoiding Bad Workout Habits
A rowing machine is one of the best types of fitness equipment to get fit at home. A rigorous workout can burn up to 800 calories an hour, and work all your major muscle groups while boosting your cardio-vascular system. But if this is the case, why do so many rowers gather dust in the corner of rooms and are never used?
Check out the common mistakes and poor habits below that prevent users getting the best results from training with their rowing machines.
These aren't in any particular order, but read all of them to check you're not guilty of one of them.
1. Failing to Warm-Up
Okay, we've all done this. We're dying to try out our new bit of kit, or time is short and we just want to get on with it and row, run, cycle or play our sport. But any time we think we can save can be lost if we pull a muscle due to lack of a warm-up. It's important to get our blood flowing and muscles prepared for the demands we're about to place on them. For rowing, this can include a few gentle stretches of your hamstrings, lower and upper back, shoulders and arms. But don't bounce - keep the movements slow and deliberate. Then spend three minutes rowing at a relaxed and steady pace to warm your 'rowing muscles'.
2. Poor Technique & Coordination
Nothing will cause an injury and cut short your workout session than poor technique. Firing all your muscles at once by pulling too hard, and bending your back and not from the hips are the most common ways to hurt yourself. We have more on correct technique here, so we'll look more at the coordination required for an efficient and injury-preventing technique.
First you have to push with your legs, then lean back from your hips, before lastly pulling on the handle. Stay relaxed and let each of these movements to happen in this order will prevent over-use injuries - plus it will also help build your performance.
3. Doing The Same Workout
As the great man, Einstein said, "insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results." Smart or what! Yet this is what many people do. They'll sit on their rower and just row until they're tired, or have completed 2,000 meters etc. The most common outcome from this approach is boredom and little enthusiasm for rowing workouts. Even if they keep up, they'll get diminishing returns from doing to same workout.
To get fit, you need to place your body under a little stress (but with good technique - see above). Your body is then forced to adapt to the new challenges and that's how you get fit. There are also many different types of workout that can burn fat, build stamina, increase cardio-vascular fitness, and develop muscle. You can read about the types of workouts here. So remember - Keep it varied and keep it interesting!
Also see my article, 'Getting creative to spice up your training' here.
4. Getting Stuck on 10 (damper setting)
The damper setting determines the resistance on the handle and many think you can only get a good workout if it's on the highest setting - usually labelled as '10'. But this isn't true. Different workouts require different damper settings to help you get the most out of the session. Some are fast and furious, while others do need high settings. For more, please read my article, 'How to Use the Damper on a Rowing Machine here.'
5. Not Taking A Day Off
You want to get fit so you want to train. But training everyday can have a negative effect as your body doesn't get chance to recover and heal any muscle tears. I always make one day of the week a complete rest day. This doesn't mean doing absolutely nothing, I'll usually take the dog for a long walk or do some gardening. You may also choose to go for a bike ride, a swim, or kick a ball around the park. Constant training will wear you out and lead to workout fatigue - give yourself a break and return fresher for your next session.