The proficient people at Amazon have worked hard to deliver your rowing machine on time. You picked a spot in your house for it and can’t wait to start. After reading this study on the benefits of indoor rowing, such as better body composition and reduced body fat, you can’t contain yourself.
However, you are at your wits’ end on what to do with this amazing machine. “Now what?”, you ask. Here are some suggestions on how the rowing machine can help you burn more calories.
Before getting into specific techniques, let us look at the mechanics of burning calories. A calorie is the amount of energy required to increase the temperature of one gram of water by a degree. Generally, the number of calories burnt depends on your weight and the duration of the exercise and its intensity.
Now let’s see how you can burn more calories using a rowing machine.
How to Burn Calories on a Rowing Machine
1. Mix rowing techniques throughout the week
The body is always looking for the path of least resistance. If you keep doing the same exercises, no matter how intense they are, your body will reach a steady state. It will become more efficient and stop burning calories.
Therefore, you should strive to combine high-intensity sessions with slow endurance rowing. These can occur on different days so that the body is kept guessing.
2. Do endurance rowing
As I mentioned above, varying intensity levels helps in maintaining calorie-burning efficiency. In indoor rowing, you can do this through medium intensity strokes. Consider making 30 strokes every 10 minutes. This can continue for 45 minutes or so.
To some people, medium endurance varies. You can tell that your body is at a steady-state through your heart rate. If it is 120-150 beats/ minute, you are rowing at a steady state.
3. Do high-intensity interval training
This involves rowing at high intensity for about a minute then reducing this to medium level for 2 minutes.
The technique also involves resting for a minute by reducing the rowing speed substantially. These three steps should occur in the following order: medium level rowing, sprint rowing, and slow rowing. Repeat the interval for about 15 minutes.
4. Perfect your rowing technique
Many beginners don’t get the form right during rowing. This can prevent you from making the most of the machine.
When you get on the machine, place your knees above your ankles and ensure your back is straight. Then lean your body slightly as you drive down with your legs and drive with your arms. When pulling back maintain a straight arm posture.
Don’t mind if you feel your back reacting. Because you rarely engage these muscles, they are likely to feel tender. As a rule of thumb, your body should be moving like a clock’s needle between 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock marks.
5. Engage lower body muscles
A rowing machine is not intended for the arms alone. In fact, the bulk of the work should be down by the legs. You will burn more calories when the lower half of the body is engaged.
To achieve this, make sure your legs do most of the work as they push against the footrests. Overall, the legs do 60% of the work while the core does 30%. Leave the rest to the arms.
Think of the sequence of the workout as legs, hips, arms, hips then finally your legs. This will keep you burning calories long after you finished exercising.
6. Work with a partner
Rowing machines differ from real-life rowing because they do not involve teams or water. You can increase variety in your exercise routine by rowing with others.
Not only will this make the training more interesting, but it will make you last longer. In the end you are likely to burn more calories.
7. Stretch before starting
Since the rowing machine engages several muscles intensively, it is crucial to prepare them by stretching. This way, you will be in prime condition to work out dynamically.
Stretch your legs, feet, knees, hip, thighs and back. Use these dynamic stretches.
8. Avoid major posture pitfalls
Many rowers make the common mistake of hunching their back. This increases the risk of lower back pain and prevents you from burning many calories.
In this study, researchers found that bad posture is one of the leading causes of injury from indoor rowing.
When you hunch your back, you force your shoulders and biceps do most of the work while disengaging your core.
Additionally, if your knees point outward, you will not fully engage your quadriceps and hamstrings, so keep them in the same arch as your feet.
Some people throw their hands in a jerky motion as they pull or they place them too high. This is poor form.
Finally, make sure you are not gripping the oar (handles) too tightly as this will place more tension on your arms and prevent you from working other muscles.
9. Check the settings
Efficient calorie burning depends on how well your muscles can adjust to the workout without getting fatigued. You can reduce the chances of this happening by setting the damper at a medium level.
The damper is like a gear in the machine. High settings require too much exercise intensity and may not be sustainable. Low settings may not challenge you. You want to start with something that is easy to maintain but one that still pushes you.
10. Remember to breathe
How you breathe affects how long you’ll last in the session. You want to inhale when you are recovering and exhale when driving. Going back should involve one count and moving forward should involve two.
Most people do less inhaling and this makes it hard to breathe, concentrate and reap maximum benefits from rowing.
11. Smooth and steady does it
At no point in time should you have jerky movements. Picture yourself on real water. If your movements were jerky, you would splurge water around you and even make the boat capsize. Steady smooth movements are the key to finding efficiency from a rowing machine.
12. Train progressively
Training progressively will allow you to burn more calories and prevent boredom. If last week, you could do a medium resistance session for 20 minutes, change it to 25 minutes next week. Change your duration or intensity to get the most out of your workout.
A rowing machine can help you get in the best shape of your life because it activates all muscle groups. Unfortunately, you can’t use it outdoors or on the road.
If you want to stay in shape while traveling or you simply want to combine indoor rowing with bodyweight workouts, get the Fat Blaster Sequence.
I’ve designed this sequence to help you burn fat and build muscle in just 10 minutes a day without weights or any equipment.