Arguably the most underutilised piece of fitness equipment, rowing machines are a fantastic training tool. The rowing action uses every large muscle group in the body (84% of total muscle mass) to build lean muscle and kick start the metabolic system. No other gym equipment rivals the rower at providing a calorie burning, total body workout. New to rowing? Help is at hand. Powerhouse have teamed up with Team GB Olympic Champion and WaterRower brand ambassador Will Satch to get your rowing stroke up to speed! For ease of instruction Will has broken the rowing action down into the key positions require at each phase of the stroke.

The Finish

Team GB Olympic Champion and WaterRower brand ambassador Will Satch

Confusingly, the finish is the first position to get into when starting the rowing stoke. Sit with flat legs, good posture, and leaning back just past vertical. Draw the handle into the bottom of your rib cage, elbows tucked behind the body.


The Rock-Over

Team GB Olympic Champion and WaterRower brand ambassador Will Satch

From the finish position, first push arms out. As the arms are almost straight, pivot from the hips maintaining good posture – a slight stretch should be felt in the hamstring. Be sure that the handle is clear of the knees.


The Recovery

Team GB Olympic Champion and WaterRower brand ambassador Will Satch

From the rock over, maintaining body position and holding the core strong, release the knees and allow the seat to roll forward.


The Catch

WaterRower brand ambassador Will Satch

The recovery ends at the catch when shins reach vertical, and the seat is close to the heels.


The Drive

This is the hard part of the stroke! The drive is where power is applied and dictates how fast you are going. This is basically all the previous steps in reverse. The legs work first…

WaterRower brand ambassador Will Satch

followed by the trunk…

WaterRower brand ambassador Will Satch

and then finally the arms draw the handle back to the finish position…

WaterRower brand ambassador Will Satch

The temptation when you first get on a rowing machine is to take as many strokes as possible, as quickly as possible. The number of strokes taken each minute is known as SPM (strokes per minute) or Rate and is displayed on the performance monitor of all good rowing machines. Commonly rate is mistaken as an indication of how fast you are rowing. In fact, rowing machines measure intensity in several different units including watts, calories, and average 500m time. Always remember, an effective stroke is long and powerful, not short and quick.

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