Proper Form on a Rowing Machine

side view of a man exercising in a gymnasium

Though the rowing machine isn’t as sought after as the treadmill or elliptical in most gyms, it is a highly effective calorie-burning and muscle-building form of exercise. Every muscle group in your body is engaged during the rowing process, which can provide a challenging cardiovascular workout. Proper form can help you to maximize your results.

Starting Position

Sit in the seat and strap your feet into the foot pads. Place both hands on the rowing bar, using an overhand grip. Extend your arms out straight in front of you at stomach height. Your knees should be bent and your shins vertical. Engage your abdominal muscles, elongate your spine, slightly lift your chest and push your shoulder blades down your back.

Start Rowing

Press through your feet to slide the seat back and extend your legs. Avoid locking your knees. Pull the handle in toward your stomach while maintaining a straight back and continuing to press the shoulders down. Again extend the arms as you lean slightly forward. Bend your knees as the seat slides forward to the starting position. Strive for a continuous, fluid movement as you row.