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There is an art in how to use a rowing machine, and learning this is something that should be top of the priorities if you want to be able to row injury free. Many people that I see on a rowing machine in my local gym appear to have either never been on a rowing machine before, or have never been shown correct technique of indoor rowing. It is important to learn proper technique as this will not only be of benefit to your style, it will also go a long way to the prevention of injuries to your back and shoulders and in some cases your legs. By using an indoor rowing machine correctly you are sure to enjoy your workout far better and feel injury free when you climb off. To start off, before you actually climb onto your machine, make sure you have warmed up properly. It's important to first stretch the arms and legs to prevent any kind of muscle strain. If you have done any sort of sport before you will know what I mean here. If not all you need to do is to stretch the arms and legs for a couple of minutes so that the muscles are warmed up. This is a normal procedure for any type of sport. A few points to note:

Make sure you have it set up the rowing machine correctly for your needs. Make sure the rower is clean. Make sure the seat runs correctly and smoothly along the beam. Make sure the monitor works and that the batteries are not flat. Set the distance you want to row on the monitor. Set the resistance to the level you want to row at. Not to high if you are a beginner. Make sure that the foot pods are working and that your shoes will fit in ok. Make sure you have everything you need before you actually get going. By this I mean possibly a small towel to wipe yourself down with at the end of the row, and a good quality sports drink just in case you need to sip something whilst you are rowing. A drink is definitely recommended if you are thinking of doing more than 3000 metres. Make sure you have the right gear on as this can affect you quite a lot when rowing. Badly fitted shorts will cause chaffing around the top of the legs that could cause pain, and a badly fitted top can cause pain around the nipples, including men as it rubs against them. A good quality top will be light in weight and allow the material to breath giving you the feeling that all is going well, and not getting wet as the top soaks in the sweat.

I need music when I do any kind of sport. Make sure you have your favourite tracks set up on your iPod or phone, and ensure that the battery is charged enough to cover the time you are on the machine. There is nothing worse than getting half way through a row and your music stops. It is a real killer. Once you have completed all of the above you are ready to climb aboard the machine and begin your row. Get yourself seated correctly and slid your backside around until you get the feel right. Make sure the bones are not sitting badly. Put your feet in the pods and tighten the straps so that they do not slip out. You do not need to over tighten. Grab hold of the grips and test the settings by pulling the bar towards your chest. Do this for a number of strokes whilst you get a correct feel for the machine, and to ensure you are seated correctly. When you are ready and comfortable you can then begin your row. When you start your row, do not go off to quickly or you will be out of breath very quickly. You should get into a rhythm that feels good and not to difficult. Once you reach around the 500 meter mark you should know that you are rowing. It should feel fairly heavy on the breathing, and you should not be able to talk correctly should someone ask you a question. This is a good indicator that you are actually working the body. Try and keep a nice steady pace throughout your row. At the end of your row allow yourself time to relax before you get off. If you set the monitor up correctly to start with it will have recorded your time and distance as well as your average time for 500 metres. This is the most important value as it is the benchmark that you will try to improve on over the entire program, If you decide on a good quality rowing machine like a Concept 2 you will soon notice that the design is such that it gives you the same feeling as if you were rowing on water. This is perfect as the whole idea of rowing is that you are supposed to be rowing on a lake or a river, and that the feel would be the same. On the water you would sit in the boat on a small bench with your hands firmly gripping the oars. It is almost the same on a rowing machine, especially a concept 2 or a water rower. Try and get into the practise of writing down your times and distances and especially your average 500 meter times. You should follow some kind of program. It is best to either go onto the internet and follow someone else's design, or if you are a complete beginner write a small one of your own and follow that. Your program should be for around 8 to 12 weeks and should slowly get harder as the weeks go by. You should try and stick to what you have written, and make a record of what you have done in a notebook. Using A Heart Rate Monitor If you know how to use a heart rate monitor it will be of great help. You should be able to stick to a set pace and monitor this through the hrm. As the weeks go by your heart and lungs will get used to the exercise, and if you keep up the training they will actually grow and allow more air into the system, which allows you to breathe better. A good quality heart rate monitor like a Polar or Garmin will give you a boost when training. They give so much feedback and encouragement almost makes you want to do more. A top of the range monitor will also tell you when not to train. Read more about this in another article on my blog.

A professional rower, be it on water or indoors has very good lungs. You need a good volume of air to be able to row. If you are unfit before you start your rowing program you will have no or very little lung capacity. What this means is that you will get out of breath very quickly. You need to do some sort of physical exertion to be able to improve your lung capacity. Without the exercise your lungs will not grow. A rowing machine is a great piece of equipment to get you in shape or keep you in shape. They are designed to be used all year round and you will benefit immensely by following a rowing program suited to your needs. We have lots of information and ideas on rowing on our website. Be aware that if you are a smoker you may struggle to compete any sort of distance over 2000 metres on a rowing machine. Smoking affects the lungs quite badly and the lungs are very important when you want to take up rowing. This should be considered before taking up or entering a rowing challenge. This applies to almost any sport where you will be putting in a considerable effort as your breathing will be badly affected by smoking and most certainly will cause you to be out of breath very quickly. I hope this article has given you some thoughts and ideas on how to use a rowing machine. If you would like more information on rowing please take a look at the advice we offer on our blog.

I have a great interest in sports and keeping fit. I am now over 50 and have dropped from 87 kilos to 80 kilos in less than 8 months. That is 1 (just 1) kilo a month. Follow me at How to Lose Weight [] for ideas and advice on getting in shape... Or if you are interested more in rowing take a look at Rowing Machine Reviews for Rowing Machine advice.

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