Tips For Using Safety A Rowing Machine

Like any exercise, indoor rowing requires use of muscles, and when muscles are used quickly, there is always a chance of errors creeping into the procedure for using a rowing machine. For this reason, some wealthy folks hire personal trainers to guide them through the exercise routine. For the average person though, a personal trainer is too expensive, and the truth is, one doesn’t need a professional to guide him/her through the routine if one follows some basic safety precautions. Some manufacturers warn users against possible safety issues (for themselves or for the machine) but the list can only be completed by those with long experience in rowing. To save you the trouble of asking experienced users and searching endlessly on the internet, we have compiled for you a list of tips for using safety a rowing machine.
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Use Handle Carefully

The handle of the rowing machine is meant to work in a perfectly horizontal position, such that every part of it is parallel to the frame. Oftentimes however, difference in the muscular capacities of the two hands (in case of medical issues), improper body balance and incorrect hand positioning cause the handle to be held at an angle to the ground. This leads to greater resistance being experienced by one side of the body and lesser resistance by the other. It goes without saying that such a workout, whether on high end or the top cheap rowing machines, produces few benefits. On the other hand, such a body or hand position may cause serious injuries by placing unbalanced strain on some muscles and allowing others to enjoy a comparatively relaxed position.

Among the tips for using safety a rowing machine, we can include the need to hold the handle with both hands. This may seem obvious, but some users use one hand to answer a call, dispose of bugs that may be disturbing him/her or simply wipe the sweat. Whatever the reason, rowing with just one hand will produce unbearable stress on the hand as it tries to carry out the task of two hands. Worse, if you remove your hand mid-stroke, the doubling of demand on the remaining arm at such short notice can cause severe injuries. Further, the jerking motion caused by the body adjusting to the shift in strength requirement leads to further problems for the waist, hips and thighs. Repeated short-term shifts in the balance of the handle can even weaken the internal structure and the handle.

Use Level Surfaces, Preferably Carpets

As our rowing machine reviews indicate, while the rowing machine may be stored anywhere, the rowing machine in working mode must always be placed on a plain surface. A carpet, within minimal friction, is the best surface on which to use a rowing machine. If you are using one of the cheaper models, you may want to secure yourself against a possible jumping up by the machine at the time of starting by placing some weights near the front legs and/or resistance assembly.

Furthermore, if at any time the rower seems to be shifting on the ground or making odd noises, you should stop rowing immediately. Consult customer care for possible causes of the noise and if there is even a minor flaw, get it repaired.

Changing Oils And Water Regularly

As users of hydraulic piston rowing machines would be aware, the oil in the pistons tends to wear out over time. This causes the rowing procedure to become harder and more risky, since the body is not prepared to handle the often large variation in resistance caused by low oil, even if the resistance developed over a long time. Hence, it is advisable to consult a trained technician to oil the pistons after every 1.5-2 years of intensive work.

Another tip for safety using rowing machine relates to water rowers. Over time, water tends to develop algae and fungi, which not only make the water tank unhygienic, but can also make rowing harder by interfering with the paddles. It is advisable to put in a disinfectant tablet into each tank and change the water completely after every 6 months.

Proper Stroke Procedure

Rowing consists of two phases – the backward stroke and the forward stroke. Without protection or long experience, it is inadvisable to try out strokes in rapid succession just to achieve high rowing speed. During the forward motion, the knee ligaments are twisted (if the toes point outwards) while in the backward motion, there is a risk of “repetitive joint motion” developing on the arm of leg. To avoid these two risks –

  1. Row slowly and carefully, ensuring that the toes are aligned with the shin bones during the workout.
  2. Avoid moving your feet during the workout – if the footrest strap is too loose, you can buy a new one separately or by reduce the size of the strap before trying it on.
  3. Bend forward during the forward motion, but do not slouch on the seat in a manner that ruins the balance of the workout. If the rower has a movable seat, ensure that you are reaching the end of the rail (or as far as your body permits normally).

Never Begin Without Warming Up

Rowing is a heavy exercise that makes high demands from your body, so it is always great to try out some slow rowing or some aerobics for 5-10 minutes. After that, cool down for an equal amount of time so that your muscles are ready but your heart rate is steady and in the ideal exercise zone. If you avoid to do these, you may find that your muscles are not ready to take up the challenge, leading to sprains, strains, knots and worse, muscle and ligament tears.


While some of the above tips for using safety a rowing machine deal with easily detectable and correctable errors, others are not so easy to figure out. These errors occur over a long term, reducing the efficacy of the workout and causing health problems later. To avoid the latter then, you should check your posture and procedure at regular intervals, and in case any muscles or ligaments are causing issues, consult with your physician. Once he has isolated a problem, he will provide his own tips. That said, we have tried to provide a comprehensive list of precautions that you need to enjoy a fruitful workout for years, and we are sure that in a majority of cases, if you are facing an issue or apprehend facing one, tackling the above list will surely help improve, if not alleviate it, to a large extent.