Not feeling the burn from rowing?

I tried the rowing machine for the for the first time and didn't know how to adjust the intensity the employee told me to get use to the motion first. I changed it to 10 on the concept 2 rowing fan but feel nothing. Is it suppose to be like this? Is there another way to add intensity? There seems to be a lot of extra cord when pulling. I don't feel any resistance in my legs. Any tips?


  • James_Bergin
    James_Bergin Posts: 84 Member
    Disclaimer, I'm far from a fitness expert, but I hit the gym regularly, and once in a while use the exact rowing machine you mentioned.

    To the point, I found the same thing when I first started. The main things I found were that form, stroke timing, and duration of the row were key to getting a good burn.

    Breaking it down:

    1) Form - Form, as I have found with all other exercises, it absolutely critical. I don't know if the employee demonstrated the technique or showed you how to operate the equipment, but maybe next time you could ask one of them too. Although you will feel a bit of burn in your legs, this is actually not one of the primary muscle groups targeted by this machine. The rowing machine will mostly exercise your core area (upper, mid, and lower abdominals), and also many of the muscles on your back (deltoids, lower back). In other words, the exercise will give your legs a bit of a work out, but will mainly help you develop a strong core and back.

    2) Stroke Timing - For some reason this doesn't get much attention when people describe rowing, but I've found it important. You have to get into a reasonably stable rhythm to get the most out of the rowing machine. If you're all over the place and varying the time between the pull and return (I am not saying the return should take as long as the pull, that should be shorter), the exercise won't do you as much good and could possible injure you; as with any improperly executed exercise.

    3) Duration - This is a bit more subjective so take this with a particularly big grain of salt. I have personally found the rowing machine doesn't really get me going until at least ten minutes into the row. But then... BAM, its like I'm rowing for my life.

    Anyway, I don't know how much, if at all, this helped but I hope it did. Again, I just want to reiterate I am no expert and I really suggest you ask one of the employees at your gym, who works in the fitness department, to give you a good once-over on how to operate the machine. Good luck!
  • PatheticNoetic
    PatheticNoetic Posts: 905 Member
    If you're doing it right.. you feel it everywhere and after a short time ... it hurts.

    Although she's a bit upright at the finish for me.
  • takumaku
    takumaku Posts: 352 Member
    Let me try to explain. As a former sculler and crew (bow pair since I was always the smallest guy), I can understand your frustration.

    There are many type of exercises you can do on the rower. I'll try to explain the most common ... the one that sym being in a sculler.

    Start off sitting straight up, chest out, abdomin tight, legs straight and knees locked. The bar should be grasped with both hands and touching your abdomin. Now, keeping the legs locked, and back straight, let the bar retrack. Arms should be locked at this point. It will appear like you are bending over to touch your toes. Once the bar clears the knees, spread those legs (we aren't at Catholic school, so the nuns won't slap you ^_^) and bend the knees until you get into a squat position. Arms are still straight and lock. This is call the catch phase. Now you will be transition to the drive phase. It basically the catch phase done in reverse. Keep the arms locked, "drive"/thrust with your legs until the legs are fully locked. The motion pull the bar past your knees. Once the bars crosses the knees and comes close to the abs, lean back at about a 15 degrees. Pull the bar up to your chest and smack them. Congrats, you have finished the drive phase. Once, rinse, and repeat.
  • ihateroses
    ihateroses Posts: 893 Member
    Definitely ask someone to check your form. Also, how long do you usually go for and at what speed?
  • osuzorba
    osuzorba Posts: 35 Member
    My wife had the same issue when she stated rowing, once I got her to use the proper form, she never complained about not feeling it again.

    Concept has some good videos on YouTube on form.
  • lindssaurus
    lindssaurus Posts: 98 Member
    Thanks. I have a consult with their workout team so maybe they will check out my form. It just doesn't seem right to me.
  • ashlando
    ashlando Posts: 125 Member
    Rowing is one of the best total body workouts. Your form could be off or the damper setting is not correct. 1 = rowing on water with the wind and current, 5 = rowing on water, no wind, 10 = rowing on water against current and wind. Depending on the length of the row, I suggest keeping the damper between 4-5.

    Start with 1000m. You probably won't "feel" anything for the first 500m but then fatigue will set in and you will definitely be feeling it for the next 500m! This is of course dependent on how rigorously you are rowing. Aim for a split time of 2:00 - 2:10 min (this is the average time it would take you to row 500m and is on the display) and see how you feel.

    I generally do sprints of 500m or 1000m which take between 1:45 - 4:00min. Sometimes I will do 2000m which takes about 8 min. If I am feeling really spicy, I'll do 5000m but that is not for the faint of heart. Somewhere around the 3000m mark everything starts to hurt but damn, it feels good when I'm done!

    Get on that rower - you won't regret it! (Especially your arms and back :)
  • PatheticNoetic
    PatheticNoetic Posts: 905 Member
    Soon you'll be tripping on lactic acid!
  • lindssaurus
    lindssaurus Posts: 98 Member
    So I've been viewing videos and looking at others at the gym and can feel the tension and the burn in the legs! Thanks!