Fitness Tips from Fitness 2J2: Rowing for fitness, strength, and endurance
- Joel Pedersen | July 13, 2016
Welcome to summertime, being outside and enjoying the parks and outdoor activities. Challenging yourself to a personal best or enjoying some recreation, what ever it is summer offers us all a great opportunity to keep that connection with nature. Shout out’s: St.Mary’s School crew who completed their first Triathlon at the Kids of Steel series; Julez who completed her first half marathon in Saskatoon River Run; to all those who are competing in Estavan in the Saskatchewan Summer Games later this month, this is where future Olympians start. Looking forward to heading up to LaRonge for a couple weeks of training in August.
Last week I had one of our fitness crew ask me about indoor rowers as one of the workouts I posted talks about rowing. It’s easy to make mistakes when using a rower, the first couple of times. But you’d be crazy to avoid the machine because you think it’s bizarre. Rowing can burn up to 800 calories and is extremely effective in working your whole body from your nose to toe’s. Legs, back, abs, arms, shoulders are all used in the rowing stroke. Depending on how you train, you can increase your aerobic fitness or focus on building muscle strength and explosive power.
Rowing is effective and efficient, a low-impact workout for all ages and body types, it has become increasingly popular in gyms, programs that use the rower into WODs (Workout of the Day).
Learning to use the indoor rower does not have too complicated and intimidating, To simplify the exercise and help you learn the stroke here are some key points:
Check the setting
Lots of newbies will sit down and not adjust the damper setting, If the lever is set to a higher setting, the rowing machine will feel more like a heavy rowboat plowing through the lake. Practice your form before you set your sights high. Try starting somewhere between a three and a five, it’s most similar to the feel of being on water.
Not just the arms
Putting too much pressure on your arms, shoulders and back can cause serious injury to your body. 60% of your power should come from pushing with the legs, 20% from bracing the core, 20% from pulling with the arms. It’s important to use the power of your legs for each stroke by pushing against the panel (foot stretcher) where your feet are strapped in.
Three step process
Firing the arms and legs at the same time might feel like the right thing to do when you sit down, but if you’re all systems go, you’ll put unnecessary strain on your upper body. Here’s a three-step process to the rowing stroke: Focus on pushing with the legs first, next pivoting backward at the hips so your shoulders pass your pelvis (you should be in a slight lay back) and then pulling the arms into your chest. Once your hands are pulled into your chest, reverse the order to go back to starting position, and repeat.
Neutral spine during the stroke
If you’ve got a bad habit of rounding your back, odds are good that your body will naturally assume that same position when you sit down at a rower. Sit tall with a stacked posture focusing on “turning on” your abdominal muscles, or engaging your core, and relaxing your shoulders so they are pulled back and down. Your spine should always be in neutral, not rounded.
In the zone
Taking strokes as fast as possible towards your imaginary finish line. Problem is, your seat keeps slamming into the front of the rower and your body is jerking forward uncontrollably. Regain control, pay attention to timing of your strokes, the stroke’s ratio should be a 1:2 count, meaning that the body should expend lots of energy quickly at the drive, when the legs are pushing and arms are pulling, while the second half of the stroke should be more relaxed and controlled. If your legs are pushing quickly and causing your rear to shoot out ahead of the rest of you, your upper body will have to awkwardly catch up. Doing extra work to jerk your top half around will make your stroke less efficient, and can cause injury. Make sure your abs are turned on, so the hands and feet stay connected, engaging the core is key to smoothly connecting the movements of the upper and lower body.
More Fitness Tips from Fitness 2J2:
- Lifting & Leading
- Journey from cancer treatment to a healthy lifestyle
- Flexibility to stability to overall fitness
- Health & positive lifestyle for all levels of fitness & ability
Fitness 2J2 is a socially responsible community based health and wellness company. Contributing to the success and vitality of our communities, promoting healthy and positive lifestyles for Aboriginal people of all ages and abilities. STRONG HEALTHY PROUD.