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How to row a rowing machine

If you are looking for a full body workout, rowing may be the choice for you! Rowing machines work with your cores, legs, arms and back muscles at the same time. While rowing machines may seem tricky at first, they are fairly easy to use. When you use the machine, your “device” to extend your legs to push away from the base and slide backwards to start is called “recovery”.


[[[[Edit]Enter the starting position

  1. Sit on the seat and bend your knees. Make sure the bottom feels comfortable on the seat and adjust if necessary. Bend your knees so that you can get closer to the base of the machine. Look for a flat surface near the bottom of the base where your feet will go, which is called the footplate. Then locate the handle attached to the cord of the machine.[1]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 1 version 9.jpg
    • The handle will be in the middle of the base or near the top of the base.
    • Be careful when sitting down as the seat slides.
  2. Attach the footplate strap around the top of your shoelaces. The footballs are the only area that will maintain constant contact with the footplate, as you will likely need to lift the heel when the knees are bent. Pull the straps over the top of the foot until your feet feel secure. Make sure your feet do not slip around on the footplate.[2]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 2 version 6.jpg
    • It is best to wear rubber-soled shoes such as sneakers, running shoes or cross-trainers while using a rowing machine. This makes your feet less likely to slip.
    • Do not tighten the strap so hard that it hurts. If your feet feel uncomfortable, loosen the straps and try again.
  3. Hold the handle with an upper handle. The cord on the rowing machine has a handle that you pull to work with your arms. Grab the handle and pull it towards you. Adjust your hands on the handle so that they have an overhand grip, which means that your palms are facing down.[3]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 3 version 9.jpg
    • Using a handle rotates your arms and increases the risk of injury, so it is best to avoid placing your palms.
  4. Engage your core and straighten out your posture. With the handle in your hand, check your posture to make sure your back and shoulders are straight. Tighten your core muscles so that they work when you row.[4]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 4 version 9.jpg
    • An engaged core also helps keep your posture straight. You do not want to sink forward or lean too far when rowing.
  5. Extend your arms and bend your knees to get into the “catch”. When rowing, the starting position is called the “catch”. Although it may sound complicated, it is a really natural pose to start rowing. Pull the handle to extend the cord towards you, but keep your arms outstretched away from your body. Then bend your knees so that your chair is as close to the bottom of the machine as possible.[5]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 5 version 7.jpg
    • When in captivity, make sure that your torso is articulated forward in your hips, that your arms are straight out in front of you and that your splints are no more than perpendicular to the floor. Do not push your chair as close to your feet as possible, as this may cause you to lean back. If you start your stroke with the shoulders behind your hips, use your back in your push-off, which weakens your stroke and increases the risk of injury.
    • Remember to keep your core engaged.

[[[[Edit]Perform a device

  1. Slide off the footplate with your leg muscles. Your legs will do most of the work during your runs. Use the force of the leg muscles to push yourself. Keep your arms and upper body neutral at this time.[6]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 6 version 9.jpg
    • Your legs should do 60% of the work while rowing.
  2. Extend your legs until they are straight. Roll your feet down on the footplate so that they are flat when your legs are fully extended. Float directly into the upper body displacement just before your legs are fully extended.[7]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 7 version 9.jpg
  3. Bend at the hips to push the upper body slightly backwards. Be very careful with this step because you do not want to bend your spine. Instead, walk at the waist so that your entire upper body leans back with your spine straight and your core engaged. As soon as you lean back, start pulling your arms.[8]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 8 version 5.jpg
    • Your core will do about 20% of the work during your run.
  4. Pull the grip against your lower rib. The arm movement is the last part of a rowing sequence. Bend your elbows to bring the handle towards you. Keep your wrists straight to protect them from personal injury.[9]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 9 version 5.jpg
    • Your arms should give the last 20% power to complete your device.
  5. Take your elbows back behind you as you pull on the grip. It is really important to follow through when you do the arm movement so that you get training in the whole upper body. When the handle is down at the chest, make sure that the elbows are angled behind you and not at your sides. Keep them close to your body.[10]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 10 version 5.jpg
    • This position is called the “target” because it is the end of the device. Check that your legs are extended, that your core is extended, that your upper body is leaning slightly backwards and that your handle is just below your ribs.

[[[[Edit]Complete the reset

  1. Extend your arms in front of you. During your recovery, you will change the order of the device. Start by straightening your elbows to push the handle back in front of you. When the arms are extended, go directly into the upper body.[11]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 11 version 5.jpg
    • Remember to keep your wrists straight when doing this.
    • Do not release the handle as the machine cord may snap back.
  2. Hinge forward at the waist until you sit straight again. Keep your core engaged as you lean upward. Remember to hinge forward at the waist without bending the spine.[12]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 12 version 3.jpg
    • Your legs remain fully extended until you sit back.
  3. Bend your knees to slide back to begin. You’re almost there! Release the tension in the legs to slide back towards the base of the machine. Bend your legs as far as you can comfortably to return to the “catch” position.[13]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 13 version 2.jpg
    • This completes 1 stroke.
  4. Go straight to the next stroke if your training is not finished. A single stroke on a rowing machine has a drive and a recovery. First, you can focus on mastering your shape without worrying about how many strokes you do or how long you row. Later, you set a time limit for your workout or set a goal for how many meters you should row. You can also use a preset rowing machine workout.[14]
    Row on a rowing machine Step 14 Version 2.jpg
    • First, you can set a goal to row for 10 minutes in a row. When training becomes easier for you, try to increase your goal by 10 minutes at a time until you can train 30 to 40 minutes on the rowing machine.
    • For an interval workout, you can have fun for 1 minute and then rest for 1 minute. Do this for 30 to 40 minutes to train the whole body.
    • You can also set a goal to row 1000 meters. When this is easy for you, try to increase the distance or do several laps of 1000 meters with rests in between.



  • Practice using only your legs so that you do not overwork your upper body. Do several repetitions where you just shoot off with your legs and leave your arms outstretched.
  • Touch your legs and then the upper body of your device. Do not move both at the same time or first move your upper body.[15]
  • Try to keep your movement afloat.


  • Practice the right technique until you master it. Improper use of the machine can cause personal injury.
  • Be aware of your physical boundaries. Stop if you feel pain or discomfort.


[[[[Edit]Quick summary


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