Have you hopped onto a rowing machine, but were never quite sure how to row with proper technique?  If you have back problems, do you worry that rowing may exacerbate the pain?  It turns out that NO, rowing will NOT hurt your back, provided you maintain good posture throughout.  But how to know what defines good posture

It turns out that there are three factors to consider while rowing: 

Order, Power & Timing



Rowing recruits muscles of the legs, arms and core.  Many think that you should activate them all at one time, since rowing is a full-body exercise.  But actually, these muscles should be recruited in a linear progression. 

            Pulling Back Phase:              Recruit legs then core then arms.

            Sliding Forward Phase:             Recruit arms then core then legs (opposite).



Legs, arms and core cannot power your movement equally.  Since legs are the considerably larger and more powerful muscle group, they should provide the majority (but not all) of your power.  Think of distributing your power with this approximate ratio:

            Legs:            60%

            Core:            20%

            Arms:            20%



A common mistake is to pull back powerfully, but then rush forward to begin the next pulling phase.  This would be reflected in a count of 1:1.

But in fact, you need to prolong the sliding forward phase (recovery), so that you can more powerfully pull back again.  This would be reflected in a count of 1:2. 

(1 count pulling back, 2 counts sliding forward). 


If this detail is interesting, but too “wordy” for you, then load this free app onto your iphone.  It is called Rowmate and has a wonderful sequence of videos which clearly demonstrate these 3 factors of rowing technique.  It also has a training progression for beginners, reviews proper posture for those with back pain and even includes a series of workouts to try with your rower.  (Note on the Rowmate App:  It currently works on the iphone, but not on droids.  It also is not yet fully functional with ipads).


If you haven’t tried a rowing machine in a while, then come by our stores and practice on either a Matrix Rowing Machine or WaterRower Machine.  But hurry in if you are seriously shopping – all rowers are on sale during the Presidents' Day Fitness Sale at BGI Fitness through Monday, January 24th.

BGI Fitness has two locations to serve you.  BGI Fitness North (82nd and Dean Rd.) and BGI Fitness Greenwood (just west of I65 on County Line Road).