I’ve been loving the rowing machine I bought last fall, but I’ve been waiting to use it six months before posting about it to make sure its value endured a reasonable time. I’m going to write about my experience with it, but if anyone has other experiences, please let me know because I’m still new to it and would love to learn more.
This is the one I bought (used, half price, on Craig’s List). I normally don’t endorse workouts or machines — I’ve never bought one before — but I am happy with this thing and the workout it gives. If your gym has one and you don’t use it, give it a shot. Even if you do something else to keep in shape, I can’t think of how using an erg could hurt that regiment.
For context, I’ve never gone for bulk. For a while I’ve been a distance runner, like marathons. I had occasion to try a rowing machine for the first time since university in the fall. I thought it might be a good alternative for cold months to running outside or on a treadmill. I tend to use it one to three times a week for about thirty minutes followed by about 35-40 pushups, which I’m increasing.
I didn’t expect I would like rowing so much, but it’s easy, calming, challenging, relaxing, and effective. I didn’t expect I would also get comments that I was getting more muscles, but I have been, which is a nice bonus. The thing works heart and lungs most, then legs, but it’s great for back and shoulders. I’ve been getting tips from friends who rowed crew about form, techniques, etc. So I know to do push ups after since it doesn’t work the chest.
Here’s why I’ve grown to love rowing
- Great workout — works the whole body. Can build strength if you increase resistance and do intervals. Can do long lower resistance for more cardio
- Easy to use — I don’t even wear shoes or strap in my feet (which improves form, a crew friend told me), which makes it easier than running.
- I’ve been progressing non-stop. My average speed continues to increase, so I’m always looking forward to progress. My variance is decreasing as my form improves.
- It’s right here. No worries about weather. No commute to a gym. I can go before my morning shower, when I get home, whenever. I’ve rowed drunk when I got home after eating too much junk food.
- It’s calming, almost meditative, except when I push hard.
- Builds muscle, fairly balanced. Like I said, I’ve never been big into bulk, so I’m building on a thin frame, but girls notice and comment on it.
- Variety — you can vary the resistance, your speed, cadence, intervals, time on it to build more muscle or more cardio or whatever
- Cheap — after the first outlay, no more costs — no dues, subscriptions, special food, clothes, shoes, or anything. The machine requires no maintenance. It seems built to last a lifetime.
So I recommend this thing. In all fairness, when I went with a friend to a gym recently, I realized I missed the variety of all sorts of different exercises, but since I don’t plan on buying lots of machines, in choosing this one, I made a great choice. And, of course, I miss ultimate frisbee — the best team sport — but I’m not that young anymore.
Next step: I want to get on the water with other rowers. My friend who rowed crew all say one of the most amazing feelings they’ve experienced is when a crew is in sync. So I want to check that out and experience it. If anyone knows how to get on a boat, especially in Manhattan, please let me know.