Ever feel like you’ve hit a bit of a rut when it comes to your gym routine? I was becoming bored, lacking motivation and frustrated with a lack of progress from my fitness regime and found myself ultimately in need of a routine refresh if you will. Your body will always respond better to change of movements, exercises and machines and your mind will benefit from a fresh outlook too.
Punishingly effective, rarely used and likely to always be vacant, the rowing machine is one of the most versatile pieces of cardiovascular equipment in the gym and I’ve often been guilty of avoiding the dreaded sweat and burn! Over the past few months my perception has completely shifted and I’ve never felt fitter and more energetic. There’s definitely something to be said for the way rowing works your full body whilst also getting the lungs going and with almost no impact involved, the recovery after workouts is much quicker than other cardio options.
Here’s a few reasons why you should consider hopping on that rower this summer:
No matter what kind of workout you’re going to do, rowing to warm up is a smart choice. Rowing really gets my blood flowing before a weights circuit, lighting up my arms, which in turn makes my dumbbell chest presses that much harder (and better).
In fact, according to British rowing, each stroke on the machine uses 85 per cent of your muscles — across the nine major muscle groups — meaning that a full-body smoking is guaranteed, as is a spiked heart-rate and a white-hot fat-burn, as 300 kcals are eviscerated in just 30 minutes of rowing.
Rowing is without a doubt the most time efficient total body workout out there and I’ve actually found myself working out for less time and getting better results! I discovered Milo & The Bull, a rowing focused HIIT circuit studio in Clapham back in June and it has completely changed the game for me when it comes to my workouts. With 40 minute classes combining short and sharp rowing sprints with functional circuits, all focused at strengthening that core, an area most of us neglect.
Because rowing exercise is cardiovascular and works out all your major muscle groups, it’s a step above many other types of workout equipment. With repeated use, you will gain increased stamina and boost your metabolism. More energy means more drive to do the things you love!
When it comes to working out with an injury, the rowing machine is particularly useful for rehabilitating an injury or even preparing for a surgery. As the machine lets you control the distance, speed and pacing, it’s well-suited to being scaled and regressed to the user’s needs. It encourages the use of the core and can help re-build cardio-vascular capacity and muscular strength. I’ve found any lower back issues have actually disappeared since adopting rowing, with a much more balanced core than before.
You might think you’re done with your workout—but you’re not done with your workout until you finish with the rowing machine and empty that tank! I always like to leave the gym knowing I’ve left everything out there and pushed myself to the max and it’s an amazing high to complete an already hard workout with a hard rowing finisher.
Here’s my favourite ‘finisher’ to empty that tank:
Set a timer for 5 minutes, row all out for 40 seconds, then rest for the remaining 20 seconds of the minute.
That’s 1 round. Repeat 5 times!
I highly recommend looking into classes in your area that use the rower as the starting point and if you live in London, why not give Milo & The Bull a go, you won’t be disappointed!