What is the proper form when using a rower, or rowing machine?

Rowing on a rowing machine is actually a leg-driven sport, so the correct form is to use your legs first, then follow with your back and finally your arms with each stroke. Keep the following form tips in mind while rowing:
  • Move at your hip joint to lean forward, keeping your back straight and your core tight.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and your arms straight and level.
  • Don’t round your back.
Indoor rowing machines are a great way to build cardiovascular and total-body strength while burning a lot of calories. However, it can also put a lot of stress on the lower back if your form is not correct. One of the first things you must do when using a rowing machine is to adjust the foot straps. Make sure that your heel is resting comfortably against the base of the foot pedal and that the strap has been secured. For a beginner, the resistance on your rower should be set at a low level. Setting too high of a resistance will cause your upper-body muscles to fatigue quickly. A proper rowing grip is one that is firm, but relaxed. A grip that is too tight will cause your forearms and hands to fatigue. Your grip can be either overhand or underhand, and alternating between the two during a long workout will decrease arm fatigue. To avoid straining your back, use primarily your leg and hip muscles. Don't over arch your back as you finish each stroke. Sit up straight and bend forward at the hips.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.