Rowing calls on both aerobic endurance and pure muscle. Height also helps because it enhances a rower’s leverage. Rowers spend about three-quarters of the season training aerobically and spend the rest of the time becoming more powerful. Rowers sit in seats that slide along a steel runner, allowing rowers to use the power of their legs during a stroke. This translates into a considerably faster speed than either canoeists or kayakers, who rely almost exclusively on upper body strength to power the craft. So if you are interesting in rowing and want to buy a good rowing machine then you have come to the right place.
Why Rowing is such a great exercise
Few sports call for the combination of power and endurance like rowing. Teams and individuals alike must travel 2,000 metres – whether piloting sculls (where each rower has two hinged oars) or racing shells (one oar). The first 500m is a sprint, with rowers paddling at a top rate of around 47 strokes a minute. Then comes the grueling 1,000m middle, when the pace steadies to between 36 and 40 strokes a minute, all to prepare for the finish, when the sprinting speed is resumed.
But power and endurance will only get you so far. Few sports require the kind of timing and teamwork of rowing, where one stroke out of step can finish a team’s medal hopes. That unspoken teamwork is essential since – like the backstroke – a rower can’t see the finish line. Only the sight of the coloured buoys on either side of the lane let the team know how close they are to the goal.
Catch, drive, finish and “up the slide”: The stroke
There are four basic elements to a rowing stroke: Catch, drive, finish and “up the slide.” As the stroke begins, a rower is crouched forward on the sliding seat with knees bent and arms outstretched and then drops the blade of the oar vertically into the water – this is the catch. The point of entry and depth of the blade in the water are crucial.
About the worst thing a rower can do in the catch is put the oar in too deep and “catch the crab,” says Canada’s Marnie McBean, four-time Olympic medallist. If the oar gets under too much water it can become impossible to fluidly remove it without the handle of the oar flying at you, says McBean. When that happens it often takes a few strokes to get back into rhythm.
During the beginning of the drive the rower extends the legs, which push off the foot supports and supply all of the power at this stage. As the upper body starts to uncoil, the arms pull the oar blades through the water, drawing the hands into the body.
The rower finishes the stroke by moving the oar handles down, while simultaneously turning it so that the oar turns from a vertical to a horizontal position as it exits the water.
Keeping the beat
Synchronicity is the critical issue in crew boat racing – the oar blades should enter and exit the water at the same time. In the eights, which is the fastest boat on the water, the goal is to make the momentum of eight bodies work together so that it translates into boat speed.
To that end everyone on the boat has a unique role. In the eights, steering is done by a coxswain – a non-rowing team member who “calls” the race, and communicates to the crew via a headset microphone to speakers in the boat.
Contrary to popular myth, the coxswain is not shouting “stroke, stroke,”. Instead the cox is in charge of implementing strategy and making sure everyone is keeping the same rate. In boats with no coxswain, the bowman at the front of the boat handles strategy. The stroke, who sits nearest the stern of the boat, does the steering with a foot pedal in coxless events and keeps the beat, like a drummer in a band.
Choosing the best rowing machine in 2018
As we have discussed about the benefits of rowing and how important it is for your fitness, now is the time to know how you can choose the best rowing machine.
I recently trained for The Dragon Boat festival with my husband in Vancouver, B.C. It was one of the most exciting Chinese holidays that continue to be celebrated to this present day in most parts of the world where Chinese communities thrive.
Said to have begun as an occasion to ward off disease and evil spirits and for finding their own peace, it has for its main highlight the Dragon boat races, where to the beat of pounding drums, teams compete rowing their boats forward with as much power as they can harness. To most revelers, this holiday serves as a colorful and thrilling reminder to keep themselves and their families fit and healthy.
The cardio training was incredibly intense and I must say my back was definitely sore, you would not believe! I am proud to say though, our team, despite being a newbie did very well. This whole thing has got me searching for some indoor rowing machines. My husband and I can then use the rowing machine in our workouts to keep our goals of being in the peek of health at all times.
There are tons of them in the market with different price tags. A quality rowing machine goes now in 2018 from $800 to $1,400. I will focus on some of the most important considerations needed to choose the best rowing machine. I will review one of the most reputable machines in the market today, the Concept 2 so you can have useful information to compare this brand with others and decide if this rower is in fact the best option for you.
- The space you have available for a rowing machine.It is important to contemplate the space for storage as well as for usage. Can the rowing be folded, how easy and fast is to set up to use. Remember, if it takes too much effort to unfold you might get discourage to use it on regular bases.
- Calculate your budget and what you can realistically afford.
As in most things that I buy, especially if it’s a big-ticket item, I want to make sure that the values I get are worth the price.Some of the basic features included by most rowing machines are rowing functions, speed, time, distance, and calories burned. Other modules offer more fancy functions and even the ability to do other exercises.
Do not buy into these extra features if you are not planning to use them, be realistic with your budget, your goal and the time you are considering to commit.
- A very important factor is the resistance in rower machines:
Standard models adopt one of the 4 types of resistance: Piston Resistance, Magnetic Resistance, Air Resistance and Water Resistance. Machines using piston, air and magnetic resistance are generally smoother, while machines that use water resistance are rougher which gets closer to the real motion of rowing a boat.
- Test-drive the machine.
Sit down on the rowing machine before you buy it. The seat should be comfortable and easy to adjust. The machine should feel sturdy no rocking or wobbling. Row the machine for a few minutes. The motion should be smooth and seamless, without a sudden jerking sensation when changing resistance.
If you are buying online, then check the reviews from people that have purchased the specific machine you are considering. And make sure they offer warrantee, so if you are not satisfied you can change it.
Rowing Machine Vs Elliptical Trainer
A rowing machine is very popular owing it numerous benefits and also they are cheaper compare to other fitness equipment like treadmill and elliptical trainer. But are they better in performance also? in this section we will compare between rowing machine and elliptical trainer. Rowing machines are great for doing cardio and an excellent way to lose weight, they are also pretty good for strength training. While quite underrated, rowing machines have been known to provide full-body workouts with particular emphasis on the most common problem areas of the body including the hips, waist, thighs and upper arms. Proper technique on a rowing machine, however, isn’t quite so intuitive. An elliptical burns slightly more calories per hour than a rowing machine, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Both the rowing machine and elliptical machine are great to improve your fitness at home. One of the main benefits of exercising on rowing machines is that they’re quite comfortable to use, which means that you’ll easily be able to put in more minutes with less discomfort.
You need at least one session with a competent trainer or good training video to learn proper stroke motion, instead of the scoot-back-and-forth technique most exercisers default to. A rowing machine, or ergometer, helps a 155-pound person burn approximately 520 calories per hour exercising at moderate intensity, and more than 630 calories per hour rowing at a vigorous speed. However, they do have their own pros and cons. Both a rowing machine and elliptical cross trainer work the upper and lower body. See Resources for a link to a training video on how to properly use a rowing machine.
An elliptical burns approximately 670 calories per hour for that person. But I also did enjoy the elliptical as it was low impact on my knees, and if I am carrying any extra weight I have a lot of pain when running and get shin splints, so it was good for me as an in between machine. A rower takes up less space and will fold away smaller for storage. A rowing machine is a machine that helps to perform a different type of exercise. The rowing machine, as there is more weight involved, can be dangerous in old age for some people. I could go on it for an hour and still feel good, but the rowing machine totally worked everything and 15 minutes was enough.
An elliptical trainer can take up to a lot of space, even the folding models require more room than a rower. The primary reason of these workouts is to strengthen the muscles that draw the rower’s arms towards the body. That doesn’t mean avoid rowing, it simply means that you should check with your doctor before jumping into such exercises. An elliptical trainer is relatively easy to use because there is not that much that can go wrong. Also, it uses muscles that use and support the legs. Just step on the pedals and start moving your feet in the pedals. In each case, lower back and abdominal muscles have to be used. After which, you can grab the handles and start moving your arms.