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Rowing Machine Fans?

SuzySunshine99SuzySunshine99 Posts: 1,161Member Member Posts: 1,161Member Member
My husband convinced me that we needed to buy a rowing machine. He claims it's the best full-body workout you can get from a single piece of equipment and that I'll absolutely love it. At least that's what he told me so I'd go along with this plan. :)

I've never used one, so I'm planning on watching some videos and getting pointers from my husband to make sure I have proper form. It will likely replace the cardio part of my workout that I normally do on an elliptical.

Do any of you use a rowing machine as part of your regular workout? Is it really the best-kept secret at the gym? Any tips for me?
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  • SuzySunshine99SuzySunshine99 Posts: 1,161Member Member Posts: 1,161Member Member
    I use mine more for x-training and recovery (it may sound counter-intuitive but it's great the day after a hard run).

    I try to row 3 x weekly , if you're going to buy one get a Concept2. They're the gold standard, used by Olympic athletes and university teams etc for their off season training. They're built like tanks, in the 5+ years I've owned mine the only maintenance has been cleaning the rail and lubing the chain/.

    Definitely your first focus should be on developing good form. Concept2 has a very active on-line community and great on-line log book etc. They also offer "workout of the day" e-mails with workouts suitable for every level.

    I would suggest though before buying one try one at a local gym fr a few sessions. I love rowing but it's not everyone's cup of tea.....

    Thanks! It is already purchased and in a box in the basement waiting to be assembled in a few days. It is a Concept2. Thank you for the tip about their online community, I'll definitely check that out.
  • MarcyMavinMarcyMavin Posts: 90Member Member Posts: 90Member Member
    I use mine more for x-training and recovery (it may sound counter-intuitive but it's great the day after a hard run).

    I try to row 3 x weekly , if you're going to buy one get a Concept2. They're the gold standard, used by Olympic athletes and university teams etc for their off season training. They're built like tanks, in the 5+ years I've owned mine the only maintenance has been cleaning the rail and lubing the chain/.

    Definitely your first focus should be on developing good form. Concept2 has a very active on-line community and great on-line log book etc. They also offer "workout of the day" e-mails with workouts suitable for every level.

    I would suggest though before buying one try one at a local gym fr a few sessions. I love rowing but it's not everyone's cup of tea.....



    Amen

    Edit to add a Concept2 was THE best decision I’ve made in my life. Best of luck to you and your husband.
    edited October 8
  • SilentpadnaSilentpadna Posts: 1,288Member Member Posts: 1,288Member Member
    I use the Concept 2 we have at our company gym. We have one and there is virtually no wait. I use it both for Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio about once per week and for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) - also once per week. It's great for both. You can set up your workout however you want. Either start rowing for a set time or program your HIIT interval/rest periods.

    An example HIIT program might be 25 sec sprint / 1:35 rest x 7-9 intervals. It's perfect for HIIT because unlike the treadmill, you don't have to wait for it to reach speed.

    I second the part about their online community too.
  • TerythaTerytha Posts: 1,149Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,149Member, Premium Member
    It's part of my gym schedule. I don't love it, I find it hard on my back. But it is a solid full body burn.
  • britbuzzardbritbuzzard Posts: 3Member Member Posts: 3Member Member
    Yes, I've had a Concept 2 for over 20 years (since before they had an online website). We used to mail/fax in our times to be included in the world rankings :) This machine gives a great workout, but start slowly and for a short duration. You'll use muscles you didn't know you had. I have the Model C, which is not as quiet or pretty as the newer models, but it's practically indestructible, I've rowed several million meters on it and only had to replace the batteries in the monitor a couple of times. The website is a must for help with correct form, but also good for motivation with different challenges at different times of the year. If you're competitive you can see how your times stack up against others in the same age group. I've been doing more treadmill walking lately but you've motivated me to get back on the erg!
  • Machka9Machka9 Posts: 15,020Member Member Posts: 15,020Member Member
    I recently purchased a Concept 2 Rower and use it a 2-3 times a week. It is good! I especially like it for a 15-20 minute workout when I don't have time for a longer bicycle ride or walk/run. Or in addition to a longer bicycle ride or walk/run.
  • cheriej2042cheriej2042 Posts: 158Member Member Posts: 158Member Member
    Agree you won’t go wrong with a Concept 2! And it was also recommended by a Gold /silver Olympian!
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 3,137Member Member Posts: 3,137Member Member
    Agree you won’t go wrong with a Concept 2! And it was also recommended by a Gold /silver Olympian!

    I suspect there are very few olympic rowers who are still alive who haven't spent significant amounts of time on a Concept 2. From what I can tell, their primary competitor is the company that makes the RP3 Dynamic rowing machines (which are very expensive and not really appropriate for most people here). The juniors rowing club that my club shares a space with has 6 or 8 of them compared to probably 30+ concept 2s.
    edited October 9
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,517Member Member Posts: 12,517Member Member
    I own one, but it sits idle all summer because it's not a boat. ;) I use it in the Winter, when the river gets too crunchy, but it's still not a boat. ;)

    It's a good workout, once you learn proper technique, and you've gotten good advice already about how to do that. Learning to use the monitor (to do intervals and such) and learning different kinds of workouts (stroke rating (spm) pyramids, hard/easy intervals, etc.) can help make the workout less tedious vs. just rowing for an extended period at the same intensity and spm. The Concept 2 website has a database of possible workouts, and various blog/podcast pointers as well.

    One thing to be aware of, especially if you do a lot of it: It's inherently unbalanced. Yes, it's full body, but it's all lower body push and upper body pull. For injury avoidance, it's a good idea to find ways to work the other (opposing) muscle groups.
    Terytha wrote: »
    It's part of my gym schedule. I don't love it, I find it hard on my back. But it is a solid full body burn.

    Some people do have that problem no matter what, but it's good to take care that you're not curving/uncurving your spine as part of the stroke, a common way to aggravate back problems. The upper body swing is from the hip joint, with a relaxed but neutral spine that stays the same shape throughout the stroke (some people sit pretty straight when relaxed, others have a bit more rounded upper back, either can work; but on the drive your hips should start behind your body, not curved under, then it's about pivoting from the hips with a solid core to do the body swing that comes between the leg push and the arms' pull-through).

    It's unfortunately not that unusual for gym trainers not to be very astute about stroke mechanics, so I wouldn t count on all of them picking up on this sort of thing. :(
  • jsparks4000jsparks4000 Posts: 10Member Member Posts: 10Member Member
    I was a collegiate rower. I still occasionally have erg stress dreams.

    Recently started sculling again but you will not catch me on an erg.
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Posts: 3,264Member Member Posts: 3,264Member Member
    I've owned a C2 tower for over 3 yrs and currently row 5km daily on it for general fitness.

    It is IMO the best piece of home exercise equipment that you can buy for an overall body workout that will work more muscles than any other, except perhaps for an arm lever elliptical or Airdyne, but it is not a substitute for weight lifting, which is still necessary to avoid the loss of muscle mass.

    At least this has been my experience, having lost 9# of LBM and gained 5.5# of fat while losing 3.5# of wt overall in 18 months based on my last DEXA scan during which time I rowed but did not do any wt lifting at all.
    edited October 10
  • BrianSharpeBrianSharpe Posts: 8,800Member Member Posts: 8,800Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I own one, but it sits idle all summer because it's not a boat. ;) I use it in the Winter, when the river gets too crunchy, but it's still not a boat. ;) (

    There's a rowing club not far from my office and every year that I try to sign up for the beginner program it's sold out (this year was messed up due to the sever flooding in the spring), I'd love to give real rowing a try.
    It's unfortunately not that unusual for gym trainers not to be very astute about stroke mechanics, so I wouldn t count on all of them picking up on this sort of thing.

    I cringe when I watch some crossfit videos......

    edited October 10
  • BeYou4UBeYou4U Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    Not much else to add...

    Rowing (indoor or out) can be part of a good overall plan. Having your Concept2 can be part of your plan! With 6+ million meters rowed, it has been and continues to be part of mine. I do find other activities - especially weight lifting) is also beneficial for overall health.

    Learn proper technique so you are not injured. Yearly maintenance and the thing will last you many, many years.
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 3,137Member Member Posts: 3,137Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I own one, but it sits idle all summer because it's not a boat. ;) I use it in the Winter, when the river gets too crunchy, but it's still not a boat. ;) (

    There's a rowing club not far from my office and every year that I try to sign up for the beginner program it's sold out (this year was messed up due to the sever flooding in the spring), I'd love to give real rowing a try.
    It's unfortunately not that unusual for gym trainers not to be very astute about stroke mechanics, so I wouldn t count on all of them picking up on this sort of thing.

    I cringe when I watch some crossfit videos......

    It might be worth sending an email to your local rowing club asking when they'll put the signups up next year and explaining that you keep missing it. Masters rowing clubs that teach adults tend to be very excited when someone wants to learn (ok - adults who row tend to be excited when someone wants to learn) so I'd imagine you'd get a positive response.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,517Member Member Posts: 12,517Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I own one, but it sits idle all summer because it's not a boat. ;) I use it in the Winter, when the river gets too crunchy, but it's still not a boat. ;) (

    There's a rowing club not far from my office and every year that I try to sign up for the beginner program it's sold out (this year was messed up due to the sever flooding in the spring), I'd love to give real rowing a try.
    It's unfortunately not that unusual for gym trainers not to be very astute about stroke mechanics, so I wouldn t count on all of them picking up on this sort of thing.

    I cringe when I watch some crossfit videos......

    Definitely find a way to take that class: So much fun. I like Aokoye's idea of getting a jump on when the class gets opened.

    To the bolded:

    I went to a community fitness event (for "young professionals" - heh (I'm 63)), where Orange Theory and Code Red both had booths with rowing machines set up (I remember one having waterrower vs. C2, can't remember if both did).

    Before I went to one of those - they were giving out freebies if you tried stuff - I saw one booth's female trainer on the rowing machine. She was fit and strong for sure, very buff, and I couldn't see the monitor to know how she was doing, but the technique . . . oh. my. goodness. No, for pity's sake, no: Do not let that woman teach anyone how to row, please. :grimace:

    I've seen both good and bad cross-fitters on video, and lots of things in between. I get that some machine-rowing-only people like to use techniques that on-water rowers wouldn't: They can squeeze out a little faster split on a machine, but are a way to turn rowing into swimming if attempted on water, or at least slow down the boat, so on-water folks normally avoid the risk of grooving poor habits into muscle memory. I don't criticize those things as poor technique in a machine-only rower, but in some cases there's still, uh, room for improvement.

    Anyone who needs to go to a super high stroke rating to get an adequate split, or whose hands need to hop up to go over their knees - just to name a couple of obvious things - has easy options to speed up (and get a better workout) via improved technique.

    One of my favorite "you don't have to erg at 30+ spm" is the video of Sofia Asoumanaki breaking the U18 women's world record in 2015. She does a ridiculous amount of the piece in what looks like the 20s, looking super relaxed. And before anyone thinks "teenage girl, who cares?", she pulled a 6:28.2 2k, so a 1:37 split: Strong AF teenager. ;)

  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 3,137Member Member Posts: 3,137Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Anyone who needs to go to a super high stroke rating to get an adequate split, or whose hands need to hop up to go over their knees - just to name a couple of obvious things - has easy options to speed up (and get a better workout) via improved technique.

    Cut for brevity. One of my favorite, "well, that's interesting" stories in relation to erging was one that one of my clubs old coaches who ran the erg sessions all of last winter relayed. She also was coaching for (and still coaches for) the juniors club that we share space with and told a story about a 7th grader who had just joined. He'd been out on the water maybe once and had never erged before. They were playing erg games (doing various things to make erging less awful...er more fun ;) ) and this kid apparently found the secret to the fish game. It's all arms! Needless to say, the coaches who were there put an end to that "technique".
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Posts: 3,264Member Member Posts: 3,264Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I own one, but it sits idle all summer because it's not a boat. ;) I use it in the Winter, when the river gets too crunchy, but it's still not a boat. ;)

    I thought about rowing a REAL boat at Lake Merritt in Oakland but you have to take a swim test to join the club (which I could pass but I hate swimming) and they row really early in the morning (which would require me to drive during rush hr to get there over 40 miles from my house). Besides that the sir and water are really cold at time in the morning.

    So, that idea died a quick death. Nothing better than just hoping onto the C2 tower in the comfort of my home any time day or night whenever I feel like using it.

    Yeah, it's not a REAL boat but it's a hella more convenient which is why they've sold so many of them. LOL! ;)

    edited October 11
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 3,137Member Member Posts: 3,137Member Member
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I own one, but it sits idle all summer because it's not a boat. ;) I use it in the Winter, when the river gets too crunchy, but it's still not a boat. ;)

    I thought about rowing a REAL boat at Lake Merritt in Oakland but you have to take a swim test to join the club (which I could pass but I hate swimming) and they row really early in the morning (which would require me to drive during rush hr to get there over 40 miles from my house). Besides that the sir and water are really cold at time in the morning.

    So, that idea died a quick death. Nothing better than just hoping onto the C2 tower in the comfort of my home any time day or night whenever I feel like using it.

    Yeah, it's not a REAL boat but it's a hella more convenient which is why they've sold so many of them. LOL! ;)

    I will say, the likelihood that you'd end up in the water in most cases is pretty slim. Even in the case of crashing into something (depending on just how catastrophic the boat damage was) or rowing (or more likely, competing) in conditions that are bad enough that your boat gets swamped. Yes my lizard brain is afraid of flipping depending on the situation, but I've only ever flipped intentionally.

    That said, really I'm just jealous that Lake Merritt Rowing Club would be your rowing club (as much as I love mine).
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,517Member Member Posts: 12,517Member Member
    sgt1372 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I own one, but it sits idle all summer because it's not a boat. ;) I use it in the Winter, when the river gets too crunchy, but it's still not a boat. ;)

    I thought about rowing a REAL boat at Lake Merritt in Oakland but you have to take a swim test to join the club (which I could pass but I hate swimming) and they row really early in the morning (which would require me to drive during rush hr to get there over 40 miles from my house). Besides that the sir and water are really cold at time in the morning.

    So, that idea died a quick death. Nothing better than just hoping onto the C2 tower in the comfort of my home any time day or night whenever I feel like using it.

    Yeah, it's not a REAL boat but it's a hella more convenient which is why they've sold so many of them. LOL! ;)

    Everyone has different preferences. Every day I row on water - 4 days a week in season, normally - I walk right by my C2 on the way out the door.
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