IF you could only choose one form of cardiovascular exercise to perform for the rest of your life, what would you choose? What would get you the best possible results? Personally, I would choose to row. One problem… I don't own or have access to a boat!
Working within the fitness industry for all of my adult life however, I have never been far from a Concept 2 Rowing Machine. And over the years I have learned to love it and the varying benefits it offers.
So, I would like to share my views on why every single one of us should, or could, be achieving some fantastic results by rowing.
Rowing Promotes Better Posture - the triple extension movement (extending ankles, knees and hips) of rowing works the posterior-chain (lower, mid to upper-back, glutes, hamstrings, calves) in a low-impact fashion under sub-maximal loading. It's pretty well acknowledged that spending hours upon hours sitting at our desks, in our cars and our homes is slowly destroying our posture and creating poor movement habits. The strengthening of our posterior-chain can combat the debilitating side effects of this and improve posture.
Rowing Promotes Healthy Body Composition - rowing can help us maintain a healthy balance of fat mass and fat-free mass (lean/muscle tissue). When rowing we are using approximately 80% of the muscles of the body. So, we can GET A LOT OF WORK DONE across the entire body. If analysis of body composition indicates high body fat, rowing is a great way to reduce this as it is predominantly done aerobically (at low/moderate intensity using oxygen as our primary fuel). With so many muscles being used, the metabolic cost will be great. More energy expended, greater control of body-fat levels.
Rowing Can Minimise The Risk Of Injury - when using the rowing machine correctly, it can be such a valuable movement with a very low risk of injury. Rowing provides low-impact exercise with high results that people of various fitness levels can complete comfortably without the risk of serious injuries associated with higher impact sports and activities.
Rowing Makes You Stronger - the primary muscles used when rowing are the quadriceps, the large muscles in front of your thighs. These muscles are necessary for extending the knee, and they also serve as hip flexors, which allow us to make powerful leg movements. As the quadriceps become stronger, activities and exercises such as walking, jogging, lunges and squats can be done more efficiently and with greater strength.
Rowing Enhances Cardiovascular Endurance - rowing has the potential to enhance your cardiovascular endurance when done at the correct intensity. The all-out powerful efforts often seen on a rowing machine are far from the everyday activity of rowers. The rhythmical, smooth movement of the rowing stroke can provide a relaxing, almost hypnotic influence during the longer, steady paced efforts. This can actively be used as a form of stress reduction.
Rowing Provides Comprehensive Feedback - the Concept 2 rowing machine offers an incredible amount of feedback data such as TIME to completion, DISTANCE covered, AVERAGE PACE, POWER outputs, STROKE RATES and SPLIT TIMES to name but a few. If you are looking for a measurable, reliable & repeatable way to measure or test your fitness then the Concept 2 ticks all the boxes.
Rowing Improves Muscle and Joint Mobility - Rowing is superb at conditioning many different muscles across the body without straining them, making this an ideal exercise choice for those with arthritis or osteoporosis. Both muscles and joints are worked through a wide range of motion during the motion, which will eventually lead to increased mobility across the joints and aid to reduce stiffness. It's incredible to witness how 20-30 minutes of gentle rowing can completely transform someone's ability to move more freely especially through the trunk, hips and lower body.
So, there you have it, my reasons for why each and every one of us should be rowing our way to a stronger, healthier, more mobile physique. If anyone would like to spend some time working on rowing technique and/or workout scheduling then don't hesitate to get in touch.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.