I stated in my New Years goals that I wanted to incorporate rowing into my exercise routine. I wanted to share with the reasons why as well as things to look out for if you decide to jump on a rower for the first time.
In High School I was lucky enough to be part of a rowing team. It only lasted a year because it can be a costly sport. My mother was the one funding my hobby, but when she got sick I chose to leave the team. I didn't want to put the added financial strain on my father, I mean two teenage girls are already expensive enough. Looking back I was obviously sad about the whole thing, but the end result was that I got to spend more time with my mother before she passed away before my senior year.
Whenever I am working out I always think about how I was in such better shape in high school, we all were right? Well while I was on the rowing team there were some points that the team was working out six days a week. Now I don't have the stamina like I did, but I do have the ability and resources to use a stationary rower again.
So why row?
This is a highly effective aerobic exercise. While using the rower you are activating more muscles than you would on an elliptical, treadmill, or even a bicycle. The rower activates a full body workout, it works both upper and lower body to complete the stroke. Since this activates a full body workout, with majority of the muscles being used, the heart rate increases. This rate increase puts you into a fat burning stage, and if you have a target heart rate as a goal, this will bring you close to cardiovascular efficiency. Meaning that when you walk up stairs the closer your heart is to your resting heart rate the better, creating better cardiovascular efficiency.
A few months ago I took a test on my cardiovascular efficiency... and man oh man was it not ideal. So I was given the advice from a personal trainer to increase my cardiovascular training. As much as I work out I thought that I would have done well in that category, but the opposite happened. So my goal, is to improve my overall cardio and heart rate goals, and the rower is going to help me. This exercise regimen will help increase my endurance, stamina, and my cardiovascular efficiency. Now I will tell you that it has taken me a few weeks to get going. It's tough. It's a full body cardio workout and going for 30 minutes at a time can be extremely tough. AND I know I have said this many many many times but... I love aaptiv. They just added a ton of rowing classes and without those I don't know how well I would have done on the rower by myself. Sometimes you just need that added motivation in your ear to keep going. Kind of like having a coxswain pushing you harder through each stroke or power of 10.
Now if you want to buy a rower, first see what type would be better for you. Yes, there are different types of rowers. That topic is for another time, but take the time to test some out. Now when you do so the first thing you want to do, is check the resistance level on the side of the rower. Usually this ranges from 1-10. If it is your first time bring the resistance down. Don't put yourself in a position of discouragement, a level of 10 may be too hard the first time and will have you quitting sooner, or in pain if you were too stubborn to quit. Also, rowing isn't just for your arms, like previously stated it is for your full body, so don't just pull the handle without also using the strength of your legs. Just using your arms to get that time down on a 500 meter will be tiring. Also, don't hunch, you're just going to hurt your back, learn the proper form. It just takes a few minutes to watch a video on YouTube about the correct form, do yourself a favor, watch the videos, your body will thank you later.
Now it wasn't like jumping back on a bike to get back into rhythm of rowing, it took me a few classes. In all honesty I cut my first few classes short, but what's important is that I kept going. Despite feeling defeated at the beginning I still sat my happy butt on that seat.