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    diene's Avatar
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    Rowing Machine Question

    Primal Fuel
    So I gave the rower a serious try yesterday. I got on it and rowed for 30 minutes. I tried to row as fast as I could, and, after a while, my shoulders got sore, and I developed a light sweat. When I was done, my heart rate was slightly elevated. However, I never got out of breath. I was unable to get to the point where I'm out of breath and couldn't really get my heart rate up very high. This has been my previous experience with the rower, but I thought that maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough. I really tried yesterday, but still.

    Mark and others have said that you could do HIIT on the rowing machine. I've done tabatas on the rowing machine before, but it didn't work at all because I couldn't get my heart rate up.

    Is it possible that my cardiovascular fitness greatly exceeds my capacity to row fast such that I'm unable to get a good cardio workout on the rower? Maybe my arms/shoulders just aren't strong enough? Or am I somehow doing it wrong?

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    RichMahogany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diene View Post
    am I somehow doing it wrong?
    Yes. Very, very wrong, from the sounds of it. Is it a Concept 2 rower? Are you using your lower body?

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    diene's Avatar
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    It's a Concept 2 rower. And I push with my legs first, and once my legs are extended, I pull on the handles. I lean back slightly and pull the handles to my lower chest/upper abs (bra line, basically).

    That appears to be how other people are using the rower. They do not appear to be out of breath or sweating profusely either. But it's possible that everyone else is doing it wrong too. That's the problem with globo gyms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMahogany View Post
    Yes. Very, very wrong, from the sounds of it. Is it a Concept 2 rower? Are you using your lower body?
    This. Anyone who thinks you can't get a puke-inducing workout on a rower is doing it wrong. Set the display to show your time per 500m, tweak your form to get that number down below 1:40, then update us.

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    check out youtube for rowing videos. Here's one I found from concept2:

    Correct Rowing Technique - YouTube

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    Resistance around 5-6 is what a natural resistance of water will feel like. You need to concentrate on a strong, fast pull, and increasing the flight of the rope with maybe a stronger lean back. That will increase the intensity and caloric count (>500 cals/hr) or the time for 500 min, whatever your display shows easier.
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    Note that the damper (resistance) setting is just part of the equation. Per the concept folks: "The more force you put into each stroke, the more resistance you will feel."

    More information here: http://www.concept2cts.com/commercia...IT_April07.pdf

    Set the damper at 6, stroke at a rate in the high 20's, and give serious effort with your your legs and arms for each stroke... If that doesn't get your heart rate up and producing sweat within 10 minutes, consider finding a crew team to join!
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    Thanks everyone. I'll incorporate your advice and give it another try next time I'm at the globo gym. I'll also have to wear glasses while I'm rowing, I guess, because the display is so small that I can hardly see it without glasses.

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    Here's another tip: Try to accelerate through the pulling-phase of your stroke. That will keep you from subconciously letting up in mid-stroke, which is common. And as stated above, make sure your stroke rate is in at least the mid 20's per minute.

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    As several have said above, you must be doing something wrong.

    Your description of what you are doing sounds about right from a form point of view, although if everyone else in the gym is doing the same I would be very surprised (in my experience the vast majority of gym-goers do not row properly).

    Step-by-step, from the start of the stroke:

    1) straighten legs with arms straight
    2) accelerate the hands to the chest and then push them away again without pause
    3) once hands have passed the knees, slowly and smoothly slide back to the start position
    4) repeat

    Try and keep the chest up and the back as straight as possible throughout.

    If you aren't getting a proper workout there are 2 potential issues:

    1) The resistance is not high enough. Assuming the rower is operating correctly, a 500m split time (the best way to gauge effort) of around 2:00 is a good start point for a 2-5k row.

    2) You are bum-pushing. What I mean by this is that when you straighten your legs your upper body leans forward so that the handle does not actually move as much as your legs have. You then finish the stroke predominantly using your arms, this would explain why your shoulders get sore.

    The slide on a rowing machine means that you can be moving around quite a lot, giving the impression of doing a lot, without actually doing much... the best way to see if this is the case is by looking at the 500m split

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