How to Use the Rower to Transform Your Back Workout

Sep 11, 2023


With all the equipment available in the gym, it can be hard to choose what to use to help you break a sweat. But at least one piece of equipment is great for getting your heart rate up and defining your muscles - the rower!

The rowing machine is pretty easy to use once you learn how to use it properly. In this blog, we're giving you all the information you need to know to master your rowing form, avoid common mistakes, and start reaping all the cardio and strengthening benefits the rower provides!

How to Use The Rowing Machine

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  1. Strap In. Sit down on the sliding seat and secure your feet in the straps. The straps should be firm, but not too restrictive.
  2. Grab the Handle. Grab the handlebar with both hands, palms down. Your hands should be a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Check Your Posture. Keep your back straight by engaging your core. Find the starting position with your knees bent, shins vertical, and your body leaning slightly forward at the hips.
  4. The "Catch" Position. Start the motion by pushing through your legs with your arms extended. 
  5. The "Drive." Once your legs are almost fully extended, pull the handlebar back towards your ribs, leading with your elbows.
  6. The Finish. Pull the handlebar to your lower ribs, lean back slightly, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Your legs should be straight, and your body should lean back to make an 11 o'clock position.


Mistakes to Avoid on The Rower

Pulling Hard From Your Arms FIRST.

Pulling from your arms first will greatly decrease your stroke's power. You'll want to focus on keeping your arms straight and wait until the handle passes your knees BEFORE you bend your arms.

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Leaning Too Far Back.

Leaning too far back during rowing puts strain on your lower back and messes up your rowing groove. Engage your core and think about leaning back to 10 or 11 o'clock to keep yourself upright!


Bending Your Knees Too Early.

You'll know if you make this mistake if you have to lift the handle up and over your knees. Instead, wait for the handle to PASS your knees before fully bending your legs.



Top Benefits of Using the Rower

We know now that the rower is great because it's versatile and provides a low-impact option for cardio, but let's dig into some of the awesome benefits of using the rowing machine! This will give you a better idea of just how the rower can completely transform your workouts and your body.

Improved Strength and Definition of Back and Arm Muscles.

Once you start using the rowing machine regularly, you'll likely notice changes in your back, shoulders, and arms. Although rowing is a cardio exercise and won't help build larger muscles, the light resistance with high repetition will help you start to see more muscular definition than before!

Increased Core Strength.

The rowing motion starts with your legs, but as you lean back and pull, your core becomes engaged to help you transfer the momentum from your legs up to your arms. This core engagement is what makes the rower considered a full-body workout. 

Improved Posture (and even less back pain!)

Perfecting and practicing your rowing machine form could be just what you need. By practicing keeping your body aligned for maintaining proper rowing form, you're training your back and neck muscles that keep you upright during everyday activities.

Enhanced Endurance.

If you want to keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy (along with improving your overall fitness), endurance activities are the way to go! Rowing is an amazing, low-impact activity that improves your endurance and strengthens your cardio health by keeping your heart rate up and training it to pump harder.

More Mental Energy.

Along with improving your physical fitness, you'll notice some mental benefits too. Regular workouts, including ones on the rowing machine, can positively impact your mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. At the same time, the boost in blood flow can help increase your energy levels!


Leave a comment below if you learned something new about the rower or want to add this awesome piece of equipment to your workouts!

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