Rowing for Weight Loss

So you’re trying to lose weight, and banking some major cardio time to get there. Don’t underestimate the extreme weight loss power of rowing–either on the water or on the machines at the gym. In 20 minutes of rowing, you could burn over 300 calories, while easily controlling your intervals and speed, and working your entire body better than any other cardio machine.

Learn the Basics

Learning to row is extremely easy. Grab the bar and push with your legs. That’s about it.  When you push back, pull the bar back to your belly button, leaning back to the 11 o’clock position on a clock. Leaning further back could cause unnecessary strain on your lower back, so keep within the 10 and 11 o’clock range.  Push the oar bar back over your knees, then bend knees forward to the start for the “catch”. Lean forward to the 1 o’clock position before pulling back again.  The most common mistake that you will see people make is leaning too far forward or too far back while rowing, or not rowing to their full potential!

Intervals: Row Harder!

Intensity is key to weight loss. You could row all day at an easy pace, and you’re likely to see minimal results. To really reap the calorie burn benefits, you have to sweat it out. The best way to do that is with high intensity intervals that leave you breathless. Warm up for a few minutes, then experiment with 25 rows at different levels of difficulty. The monitor has various options for you to watch your progress, so focus on one (calories burned, meters rowed, strokes per minute, etc) and power through those 25 at a difficult level, then rest for 10 rows at a slower pace. Pull at a high pace interval that allows you to maintain that pace for 15 minutes after your warm-up. Those intervals will help your body sizzle calories and burn fat at a rapid rate. 

Increase Your Workout Time

Whether you row for a certain length of time or for a target distance, try to lengthen it by 5% each week. Sound crazy? Not so! You’ll only have to add a minute or so each week, which translates to about 100 meters, or 2 interval rotations of 25 rows.  You’ll build such power by adding that time that you will rip through calories faster and faster as your muscle builds. 

Focus on Your Body

Be sure to focus on each body part during the workout. Switch it up for each interval and mentally focus on legs, then glutes, back then biceps to keep your whole body working hard the entire time. Make those body parts burn with each interval, and increase the number of rows to fatigue your muscles if necessary. That fatigue will make muscles break down and get stronger during your workout. This, in turn, will keep your body burning calories for a long time, even after you’ve hit the showers. 

Keep that focus when you hop off the machine or out of the water, and and hone in on that powerful body that you are working so hard for. Rowing is the total-body way to thank your body for all it does for you!

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  • Casey

    I don’t understand how you would lean forward to the 1 o’clock position…and leaning back to 10 or 11 o’clock isn’t really leaning back at all…it’s not even sitting up straight. Have the numbers been mixed up or am I just not understanding the article?