Rowing Beginners Guide | Blogmas Day 7

Hello and welcome to Blogmas day 7. Today is cardio day! So I thought I’d post a guide on one of my favourite pieces of kit…the Rower.

So if like me, you enjoy trying different ways to make cardio a little more exciting, then try this out. Instead of attending your normal sweat fest at the treadmill, various bikes, stepper or the cross-trainer opt for a rower.

Why the Rower I hear you ask? Well first of all, the Rower is a great total body workout. You’ll notice that a lot of cardio equipment is based around the legs. With the rower you get a great upper and lower body; at the same time, benefitting your overall strength and endurance. Another benefit of the rower is the fact you don’t rely solely on what I call the ‘Hamster movement’. When sitting or standing on certain types of equipment you are lead by the machine without a conscious movement in mind. Rowing however is very different. Every body part contributes to the movement. People don’t realise that rowing can become a very natural movement with a little practise.


The technique can be broken up into 2 parts, ‘The Drive’ and ‘The Recovery’. Your starting position as know as ‘The Catch’ is as follows:

  • Arms out straight, head up a looking straight ahead, maintaining good posture.
  • Knees bent with upper body leaning slightly forward from the hips.
  • Shin should be as vertical as possible without discomfort, with heels lifted if necessary.

Next that follows is ‘The Drive’, the first phase of the movement:

  • Press with legs while sliding back with good posture and finish with an arm pull.
  • Be sure the chain connecting to the rower fly wheel maintains its level travelling in a straight line
  • Keep your shoulder and neck relaxed.

At the top of this movement we hit ‘The Finish’ Phase:

  • Finish with a slight lean back to 11 o’clock, using your core muscles to support you.
  • Legs are extended while handle finishes in the lower rib area
  • Shoulders should stay relaxed with wrists flat.

Returning to the start position is called ‘The Recovery’:

  • With control, extend your arms, leaning forward from the hips. Continue to maintain good posture
  • Once the arms have cleared the knees, allow the knees to bend in allowing you to slide forward
  • Return to the Catch position and repeat.

The Rower uses different forms of tracking for your workout, including, strokes per minute and calories burnt.

My suggestion as a start; will be to practise your technique using the strokes per minute (s/m). This is normally located in the top right corner of your display. Try and keep a rhythm at 20 s/m for 20 minutes. Set the units to Calories (Cal) and see how many calories you burn in that time. Next time your take to the rower, try to better your time keeping the same s/m.

Let me know how you get on.

Until next time,