Best Ways To Use A Rowing Machine

Rowing machines have been around for a while and have taken many different forms, all with the same basic principle in mind. They are designed to reenact the muscle movement of rowing, as the name suggests. As with any piece of workout equipment, however, there have been many different creative ways people have figured out to get the absolute most out of their rowing machine. Let’s discuss a few of the best rowing machine workouts to use if you are looking for maximum results.

Traditional Rowing

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” a time or two, as most people have. It also easily applies to rowing machines, in that the traditional rowing technique is a tried and true method of getting a full body workout in one easy, fluid motion. It’s simple as can be; you sit on the seat, place your feet in the stirrups, grab the handle bar, and pull. This action not only engages the arms and legs, but also the core and back muscles, giving you a true total body workout experience.

Upper Body Rowing

Upper body rowing is very similar to a traditional row, only focusing solely on the arms and back muscles. For this technique, you sit on the machine just as normal, only when you pull back on the handle bar, you only use your arms. Pull the arms all the way in until your elbows touch at your side, then slowly release, while being sure to keep your back from bending forward, and repeat. This is an upper body workout that will have those arms burning in a fairly quick fashion.

Underhand Strokes

Underhand strokes can be performed in conjunction with either traditional or upper body rowing techniques. The major difference for this is that instead of gripping the handle bar palms down, you grip it palms up. Simply turning your hand placement changes the focus to the tricep muscles, in the same manner that a curling bar will, only with less impact on the joints in your arms.


Most everyone is familiar with the standard crunch, laying down on your back and curling your head and feet in towards each other. While the standard crunch can be rather effective, crunches on a rowing machine have the same effectiveness without having to lay on the hard floor. Simply use a traditional overhand hold and keep your knees bent inwards, then lean back and use your core muscles to pull yourself into a crunch position.

Upright Rows

The upright rowing technique is a slight modification on the traditional row. Instead of pushing with your legs and laying back as you row, you instead keep your back straight and pull the handle bar up to your chin as you push with your feet. This technique focuses mainly on the back and shoulder muscles, and is sure to get some results.

Versatility In A Workout

With so many different ways to use a rowing machine to focus on the different muscle groups, there are near endless possibilities and combinations of varying grips and positions you can use to get the most out of your machine. It all depends on you and what muscle groups you feel need the most work. However, with a rowing machine and the many optional techniques, you should easily be able to find a way to maximize the gains in your specific target area. Of course, you could always get creative and come up with your own ways to utilize the machinery. Nobody knows how the workout feels better than you do.