Learning how to use the rowing machine properly isn’t limited to pulling the handle correctly and learning the right starting position. If you are going to get the best from your rowing machine use, you need to make sure that you know how to warm up and cool down correctly.

When you have chosen the best rowing machine for you and are ready to get started, it can be tempting to get going right away. But, taking the extra minutes before and after your workout is essential.

You will be preparing your body for the full-body workout to come when you commit to a rowing machine warm-up and cool-down.

Warming up before your indoor rowing workout will gradually prepare your cardiovascular system and muscles by increasing blood flow and raising your body temperature.

And, once your workout is complete, a cool down will allow you to gradually recover your normal blood pressure and heart rate levels.

It is essential that you cool down correctly after using your indoor rowing machine to help you properly regulate your blood flow and body temperature.

Cooling down can also help you to minimise muscle soreness and stiffness following your workout.

Rowing Machine Session

Top 5 Rowing Machine Warm Ups

Below we will talk you through 5 key warm-up exercises to start doing before your row machine workouts. Each exercise should be repeated up to ten times depending on your fitness and comfort levels.


Squats will activate and warm up your glutes and quads as well as prepare your upper body for sitting upright on the machine.

To squat, you should place your arms straight overhead while squatting down and maintaining a straight neck and spine. Make sure to maintain your posture and balance and not rush your way through the movements.


Lunges will help to prepare various muscle groups as well as your hips, spine, and quads for the total body workout to come. They will also increase your body temperature and blood flow before you get started.

To begin the lunge, you should step forwards with your right leg and bend your left leg until your knee is about to touch the floor. If you are doing this correctly, you should feel a stretch across your hip flexor.

Hold the position and reach your arms up towards the sky. Then move back to a standing position and switch so that your left leg is moving forward.

Push Ups as warm up exercise before using the rowing machine

Push Ups

Push-ups will activate your upper chest muscles, shoulders, and arms and help to warm up your body overall. You can adapt this warm-up exercise according to your strength and fitness level to make sure you are comfortable.

Get down onto all fours, making sure to place your hands so they are in a slightly wider position than your shoulders. You can either support your weight on your toes or knee depending on your strength level.

Once you are in the right position, bend your elbows so that your upper body tips toward the floor. Then straighten your arms to push your body weight back up to your original position. Repeat the sequence.

Cross Extensions

Cross extensions will activate the muscles in your core and help you to strengthen and stabilize your core for future workouts. Your core muscles are very important in correct rowing machine use, so you must take the time to warm up this part of your body properly.

To begin this exercise, you should start on all fours. Then reach your right arm out so it is straight ahead of you. At the same time, you should raise and kick your left leg out behind you. Stretch so that both your fingertips and heel are extended as much as you can.

Activate your core muscles to make sure that each movement is balanced and controlled. Then slowly move your arm and leg back to an all-fours position. Then repeat on the other side.

Cat Position

It is important that you exercise your back as part of your rowing machine warm-up. Your back is going to be important in making sure you can maintain the right position during your rowing machine use.

To get into the cat position, you should begin on all fours. Then you should push your upper back up and out while rounding your lower back and dropping your head down.

Hold this position for two seconds and then arch your back so that your bottom is pushed upwards and move your head up so that you are looking towards the sky. Hold this new position for two seconds and then move back to the first pose.

Safety Tip: It is important that your rowing machine warm-up is not rushed, that you don’t strain your muscles, and that you take the time to make sure that you are positioned correctly.

If you are unfamiliar with any of these exercises or the correct positioning, you should be able to find some example videos on YouTube to give you some more tips.

Woman Doing Stretching Exercise

How to Cool Down After Your Rowing Machine Work Out

After your rowing machine use, you may be tired and tempted to skip your cool-down session so you can rest right away. But to ensure your body can recover properly you should take the time to run through these rowing machines’ cool-down poses.

Hamstring Cool Down

Stretching your hamstring will help to relieve any tightness you have in your legs or lower back.

To begin, you should stand with your right foot forward about two feet ahead of your left foot. Then rest back so your weight sits on your left leg and bends your foot so that your toes tip towards your heel.

You should feel the stretch in your right hamstring. Hold the position for about 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Hip Flex Stretches

You should stretch your hips after your row machine workouts to relieve any lower back tightness you may be feeling.

To begin with plant your right foot ahead of you at a 90-degree angle and your left knee bent on the ground. Your hips should face forward as you lean into the stretch. Hold the position for about 30 seconds and then switch to repeat the pose on the other side.

Lion Pose

The lion pose is a terrific way to stretch your spine, lats, and shoulders after your rowing machine use.

Position yourself on all fours and then place your arms straight in front of you on the floor and your forehead on the floor while pushing your hips up and backward.

Hold the position for 30 seconds before moving back into your starting position.

Lower Back Twist

This stretch will mobilize your whole spine and alleviate tightness after your rowing machine use.

Lie with your back on the ground and slowly bring your right knee to your chest. Ten with your left hand guide your knee across your chest and towards the ground as far as you can go comfortably.

Then stretch your right arm out to the side and turn your head to look at your right hand. Hold the position for 30 seconds and then repeat the pose on the other side.

Couple Practising Their Indoor Rowing Machine Technique

Conclusion – Best Warm-Ups and Cool Downs for a Rowing Machine

Making sure that you commit to rowing machine warm-ups and cool-downs is essential if you want to protect your body, be comfortable post-workout, and limit the chances of any injuries.

Take the time to run through the poses we have detailed above before your rowing machine use to make sure that your muscles and body are ready for the workouts to come.

How Long Should You Hold Warm-Up Poses?

Generally, you should be aiming for between 30 seconds to a minute to get the most benefit from each position. You should try to spend between five and ten minutes warming up and cooling down before and after each session.

Is the Rowing Machine a Good Warm-Up?

As well as being a great form of exercise in itself, starting your exercise session off with the rowing machine is a fantastic way to warm up for other forms of exercise. It will make sure that your body is warmed up and your blood is flowing before going for a run or working with weights.

How Long Should I Row as a Beginner?

To begin with, you should aim for your row machine use to last between a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum length of 30 minutes. Make sure not to overdo it when learning how to use the rowing machine and concentrate on getting your positioning and technique right first of all.