When you sit all day, how do you feel? Most people will get up, stretch their legs and keep walking. What happens, internally, is that your muscles stay in a constant position, your blood circulation is affected, and you’re muscles can be considered cold.
Now, if you were to go from your office job and immediately sit down to row, you’ll find that you’re:
- Working harder
- Not able to perform as well
Muscles that stay in a static position all day will become tight. A warm-up is how you loosen these muscles and prepare them for rowing. Warming up your muscles will:
- Increase joint flexibility
- Increase blood circulation
- Allow blood to flow into the muscles
- Loosen up the muscles
Muscles grow when muscle fibers are broken down and heal. Rowing with cold muscles will make these muscle fibers breakdown faster, and may lead to injury. Everyone equates this to a rubber band effect. Rubber bands that are cold and unused will often snap if you try stretching them far.
The same rubber band would not snap in warm conditions.
Your muscles are rubber bands. While they hopefully won’t tear, they will have a much harder time performing when they’re cold. Injuries are common when people don’t warm up, and this is the reason why everyone should dedicate just 5 – 10 minutes to a warm-up before jumping on their rowing machine.
Some people like to warm-up on their machine, while others will do a standard warm-up before rowing (we’ll cover the traditional warm-up next). Many models have their own warm-up cycle that will:
- Reduce the resistance to zero.
- Allow you to warm-up your muscles.
Since rowing machines work a variety of muscles, you can choose to do a mini-up warm-up right on your machine that will go something like this:
- 3 minutes of no resistance.
- 2 minutes of low resistance.
- 2 minutes of fast rowing with low resistance.
- 3 minutes of fast rowing with no resistance.
That’s all that is needed to warm-up your muscles effectively. Since rowing is easy on the joints, it’s the perfect machine for warming up. Even if you follow a standard warm-up, we recommend rowing with no resistance for a few minutes before proceeding into your normal rowing session.
Standard Warm-up Session
A terrific way to warm-up is off of any machines. The goal is to get your blood circulating and your muscles warmed up. A standard routine that is great for a 5 – 10 minute warmup is as follows:
- 5 – 10 pushups
- 20 – 50 jumping jacks
- 5 lunges
- 10 squats (air)
- 10 front kicks
- 10 hip extensions
- 10 shoulder rotations
- 10 arm swings
These are all simple exercises, and you can adjust the reps as needed. Shoulder rotations are performed by holding your arms out to the side and making small circles while keeping your arms complete straight.
Arm swings are performed by swinging your extended arms across your chest.
If you like to jog, or play basketball or soccer, you can also do this for 5 – 10 minutes to simply warm-up the muscles and get the blood pumping. It’s more about getting your body moving and loosened up than it is about having a strict warm-up routine to follow.