If you’re thinking of adding a piece of cardio equipment to your home gym, your choices are probably limited to treadmills and ellipticals. But other exercise machines can give you a full-body workout, toned muscles and more. Take an ergometer or erg, for example. It may not be a popular choice. But even non-rowers like you can gain great rewards when you buy a rowing machine. Here are some of them.
1. It works over 80% of your muscles.
To boost your cardio health, you need to work your legs more. This move then instructs your body to pump blood and make your heart rate go up. It’s probably also the reason why most people choose treadmills and ellipticals over indoor rowing machines.
However, in reality, rowing works out more than 60% of your leg muscles. Pushing off the foot stretcher of your machine engages your quads, calves and glutes. Each stroke also uses more than 20% of your upper body, particularly muscle groups of your arms, pecs, upper back, abdomen and obliques.
And so, aside from improved cardio health, you also get to build up your strength when you buy a rowing machine. It’s the best equipment for a full-body workout and balanced fitness routine!
2. It suits fitness enthusiasts of any type.
You don’t have to be a seasoned rower to use these machines, making them ideal even for users without rowing experience. Yes, you need to learn the proper rowing form to get optimum results, but this also rings true when you use any other equipment. Moreover, watching instructional videos or having a few sessions with a trainer will have you rowing like a pro in no time.
Once you get the hang of rowing, you can always adjust the machine’s resistance levels to improve your output. The intensity of your rowing strokes can be as slow or fast as you want, without putting your safety at risk. Based on the findings of a study in 2015, visually impaired people can safely use the machine. They even lost significant levels of body fat percentage within six weeks.
3. It burns calories with minimal joint strain.
People always associate the saying “no pain, no gain” with workouts and weight loss. But when you buy a rowing machine, you can gain that healthy weight minus the joint pain. Harvard Health findings showed that moderate rowing and bicycling burn equal numbers of calories. Moreover, vigorous rowing results in a higher caloric burn at almost the same level as a low-impact elliptical workout.
Combining rowing machine workouts with a balanced diet can then help you stay active and fit. For runners, rowing is a great option to get a cardio workout without working their legs too much. It’s also beneficial for people with early-stage osteoarthritis. And for beginners, you can keep working out with a rowing machine and forget about the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
4. It is meditative.
The rowing machine is perhaps one of the few exercise equipment that provides calming, Zen-like effects. The consistent push-and-pull motion on the ergometer can put you in trance mode, making you feel like you’re not working out at all.
Rowing makes the body and your mind healthy. Plus, like any other exercise, rowing releases the feel-good hormones endorphins, which drive stress away. When you buy a rowing machine, plan to position it right next to a garden view to double the relaxing benefits!
5. It strengthens the heart and lungs.
If you’re after endurance training, then a rowing machine is worth considering. Steady rowing makes your heart and lungs work. In turn, it helps train your body to withstand intense exercises or strenuous work activities.
People with or at risk of heart ailments will benefit from rowing as well. The best part is, gliding on the machine lets you do mini sit-ups. In every row, you get to shape up by working out your tummy and glutes, too.
6. It improves your posture.
Working on that perfect rowing form has one crucial advantage: it keeps you upright every time you pull. That means no hunching over or slouching. By strengthening your upper body with a rowing machine, you get to relieve stress, tension and pain from your back. In turn, your body posture improves. Women with weaker upper bodies or people spending long hours working on desk jobs will find rowing helpful for sure.
7. It is a great cardio exercise machine alternative.
Treadmills and ellipticals are great options for home use. But the rowing machine is just as excellent, if not better. For one thing, you don’t need to plug in a rowing machine to make it work. You can use it any time with your body energy and effort alone, and it won’t even add up to your utility bills. And in terms of costs, ergometers tend to be more affordable than treadmills. If you plan to buy a rowing machine, gym memberships are no longer necessary either.
Rowing machines are also more lightweight and space-efficient. You can fold it up after use or take it to a new workout spot when you feel like it. It’s easier to fit in smaller homes. And if you’re staying in an apartment, you can do your rowing machine workout without bothering the neighbours below you.
At-Home Rowing Routine
A rowing machine is an excellent addition to your gym. It’s versatile and provides several health benefits. However, if you have certain health conditions, make sure to consult your trainer or doctor first. Once you get the all-clear, this review of the best rowing machines can help kickstart your rowing routine!