How to get the effectiveness of Rowing Machine Workout

When one learns the methodology of proper rowing, it is natural to experience a feeling of intense joy and satisfaction. However, while the procedure may have been mastered, it is often found that users are not getting the most out of their rower. The reason behind this is that the guide to proper rowing offers just the steps – it does not add some impact maximizing suggestions that though important, would probably be difficult for a beginner to understand. Now that you have mastered the initial technique though, you may be wondering how to get the effectiveness of rowing machine workout. To help you get the maximum impact, we have compiled a list of simple points that you need to keep in mind when rowing.
Get The Effectiveness Of Rowing Machine Workout

Monitor The Statistics

As beginners, we are enamored by certain specific metrics eg split time or speed. Now there is nothing wrong in going for maximum speed or minimal split time, but these have to be combined with other metrics to ensure that the primary aims of rowing are achieved. In other words, the user must keep an eye on all the metrics, namely distance, time, speed, lap speed, stroke rate, split time and (if available) calorie count and heart rate.

By keeping all metrics in sight, the user knows when he/she is achieving the ideal combination. This ideal combination is usually available in health guide books (which the manufacturer may summarize in the user manual), and varies according to gender, age and health of the heart and muscles. You may be tempted to push the speed or split time, but this may take the heart rate beyond the ideal level and cause long term health complications.

Calm And Steady Wins The Race

We mentioned in the tips for using safety a rowing machine that if you find the rowing machine making creaking noises, you should stop immediately. One of the primary reasons for such creaking, it might be added, is erratic rowing speed. You may complete 500m in 2 minutes and the next 500m in 1:20 minutes before reverting to 2 minutes on the next lap. Though the procedure for each stroke may be perfect, such erratic trends harm both the body and the machine.

The body can’t adjust to any specific rhythm, and must constantly adjust, thereby creating additional strains on muscles. The machine too is also forced to adjust rapidly, thereby creating strains on the handle cord, the seat rails and the internal resistance system. If you are wondering how to get the effectiveness of rowing machine workout by avoiding this error, you can start by trying to keep two metrics from suffering sharp changes – stroke rate and split time.

  • Stroke rate: Stroke rate refers to the number of strokes completed in a minute, and is a measure of the speed of your rowing. For ideal results, start with a stroke rate of around 18 strokes per minute (spm) and proceed in steps of 2 minutes to 30 spm. Once you have relative control over the changes in your stroke rate, settle into a speed of between 24 and 30 spm (for healthy adults of either gender). Once you are satisfied of your performance in this range, move to 30 to 40 spm and monitor your performance. If the stroke rate count is steady in this range, you can assure yourself of having learned one answer to the question – “how to get maximum effectiveness from rowing machine.”
  • Split time: Split time measures the time it takes to reach the next lap milestone from the starting point or last lap milestone. It is a direct measure of the force applied on the resistance mechanism, and an erratic split time can reduce the efficacy of the rower. Further, the body tires out easily as it expends precious energy adjusting from one split time to another. To avoid such scenarios, start off with a high split time that taxes your muscles but prepares them for a rhythmic motion. An ideal split time to start off with is 2:00 minutes and once satisfied with the speed, moving gradually near the 1:00 minute mark. Be warned, raising the split time will raise your cardio workout as well, so if you find your heart rate shooting up rapidly, you should confine yourself to a longer split time and/or consult a medical professional.

Relax During The Recovery

The muscles of your body need to relax for a sufficient period after contracting. Regardless of whether you are using cheap rowing machines or high end ones, your muscles should receive sufficient relaxation during the “recovery” phase. Many who wonder how to get the effectiveness of rowing machine workout forget this rule, forcing muscles tired from the previous stroke to take up the next one. This produces excess fatigue in the muscles, leading to a fall in split time and an overall unsatisfactory workout. Relaxing during recovery allows adequate rest for the next stroke, and since the split time should ideally be the same, the amount of rest obtained is also the same. This helps create a rhythm necessary for a proper workout.

Varying The Strokes

We suggested that a constant stroke rate, and while this may be true in the case of those trying to correct erratic rowing speeds, it may yield limited results for those who have already mastered the art of maintaining constant stroke rate. For such individuals, the key to a good workout would be in mixing up the types of strokes. For instance, 10 minutes in a slow warm-up may be followed by intensive 30spm+ rowing, followed by a fall to say 24 spm and then back to 10 minutes of high intensity rowing. This would ensure that the workout rhythm is not disturbed yet the body can adjust to variation in stroke rates should the occasion demand it (for instance, during a rowing competition, or when there is a medical condition that asks for a slower rate).


As the above suggestions would have made clear, anyone who asks how to get effectiveness of rowing machine workout can be answered with one word – rhythm. Rhythm is difficult to achieve at first, but once the body has achieved a steady workout rhythm within the ideal exercise range, it becomes easy to row efficiently for long periods of time. This helps the machine and your body work in harmony to offer the maximum health benefits to you over the long term while minimizing health risks. Further, while rowing machine reviews may suggest features that one or more benefits that make it easier to achieve such rhythm, the points apply to all quality rowing machines. The key to getting the maximum effectiveness lies in the method of workout and the sooner you modify it according to the above points, the sooner you will be able to unlock the complete potential of your rower.