How to Use a Rowing Machine Using the Best Technique

Do you know the proper rowing machine technique? If you’ve ever read a health and fitness magazine or book, you know that there is always a lot of emphasis on form. Form is so important because it ensures you:

  • Reduce the risk of injury.
  • Work the proper muscles.

We’ve all seen people at the gym rowing like maniacs with the rowing machine practically falling over. This isn’t what you want to do when rowing – unless you follow proper form. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to use a rowing machine properly, but you will after reading these tips.


How to Use a Rowing Machine 101

Rowing is a simple process, but you must always begin at the “catch position.” You can get into this position by:

  1. Securing your feet to the straps, allowing for no wiggle room.
  2. Setting the resistance level of the machine to low.
  3. Bending your knees and grasping the handle with an overhand grip with your arms straight out in front, your shines should be perpendicular to the floor (should look like you are hugging your legs).
  4. Your knees should be just beneath your arms.

This is how you will always want to begin each “row.”

Mastering the Drive

It is now time to perform the “drive.” This is the movement where you pull the handlebar performs the row. So, how do you perform a drive?

  1. Firstly you start by push with the legs.
  2. Once the handlebar is over your shins you start to lean back from your hips.
  3. Once your legs are straight use your arms to pull the handlebar into your chest.

The drive will be done in a fluid motion and should be practiced until it is fully mastered.

Finished Position

You should now be in the finished position which you are leaning backwards slightly with the handlebar touching your chest, elbows pointing outwards and your legs straight

Body’s Over

This is now the phase when you return to the catch position. You basically do the drive but in reverse. So you straighten your arms while slowly leaning forward with your torso. Once the handlebar is back over your shins begin to bend your knees until you are back in the catch position.

This is the right way to use a rowing machine and will require some practice. While we broke the technique down into parts, you’ll want to keep practicing until it is performed in one fluid motion. Eventually, you will be able to add resistance and perform faster rows.

Note: Never allow your knees to lock when rowing. Rowing is meant to be a low-impact exercise and locking your knees will cause damage to your knee joint.

Here is a great video of how correctly to help you visualise the motion.