If you’re a complete beginner, it will be very easy for you to make mistakes while working out with a rowing machine. This, of course, isn’t a reason to stop using it – this machine is an extremely effective thing, as it can help you develop your abdominals, shoulders, arms, quads, hamstrings and calves, while the process of rowing itself burns 800 calories per hour. Let’s see some things that you should avoid while rowing, and how to fix them.

1) Not checking the damper setting

A lot of beginners will just sit on their rowing machine without checking the damper setting, and if this thing is on a higher setting, rowing on your fitness machine could become really hard and tremendously exhausting. Never start with your workout session without checking out your damper setting first – if you’re a newbie, the experts are recommending putting it between 3 and 5, which will give you the feel like you’re actually rowing on the water.

2) Mixing up the workout order

This is a very common mistake – once they sit down on a rowing machine, many beginners will use both their arms and legs as effectively as they can. This is, actually, completely unnecessary, as it puts a big strain on your body. You should know that a rowing stroke consists of three steps – start by focusing on pushing with your legs, then lean backward at your hips so that the shoulders can pass your pelvis, and finally, finish by pulling the arms into your chest. This is a proper way to do it.

3) Using only your arms to row

Many beginners think that they should use only their arms to row, just because they saw rowers with strong hands on the TV. Doing this is, of course, completely incorrect, as it puts too much pressure on the user’s back, shoulders, and the arms, and can cause some serious damage to the whole body. Only 20% of your rowing power should come from the arms – other 80% go to the legs and the body core (60% to legs and 20% to the core, to be more precise).

Rowing on a machine

4) Hunching the back during each stroke

If you’re used to rounding your back while you’re sitting in front of the computer in the office, there’s a high possibility that your body will assume a similar position when you’re using a rower machine. It’s of crucial importance to avoid this, and we advise you to sit down with a tall, stacked posture, relaxing your shoulders, engaging your core during the rowing and allowing your spine to be left in a neutral position. With a little bit of practice, it will become only way you’ll ever use.

5) Shooting out the butt and jerking the upper body back

If you’re pushing with your legs real fast and thus causing your butt to shoot out forward before the rest of your body, the other body parts (the upper ones, to be more precise) will always have to catch up. Jerking your upper part of the body in this way is certainly going to make each of your strokes less efficient, and it could even cause injuries. The key is in engaging your core – this part smoothly connects the movements of both halves of your body.

6) Rushing with the rowing

Many novices will take strokes as fast as they can, rushing towards their imaginary finish line and putting an enormous pressure on all of their muscles. While they’re doing this, their seats will be slamming into the front of the machine, jerking their bodies forward in an uncontrollable way, which certainly isn’t the proper way to spend a workout session. Pay some attention to how you’re timing your strokes, and never be in a hurry – after all, you’re on a rowing machine, and not racing in a real boat.

Only by using it in a proper way, will the rowing machine help you gain muscles that you’ve always wanted. Try to avoid these common mistakes that we’ve mentioned, and we can guarantee you that each of your workout sessions will be much more productive and satisfying.