Need evidence that indoor rowing is one the best forms of exercise? The machines you row on are called ergometers, a name they get from the Greek word for work. So yeah, it’s kind of intense. Or at least, it can be. With rowing, the more effort you put in, the more resistance you will feel, and the bigger the post-workout gains you’ll see. Pull with force, and a regular half-hour routine on the erg can become all you need to keep your physique trim and your stamina soaring.
To really master the machine, turn to rowing studios like Toronto’s Scullhouse (Crew Club Athletics in Calgary and Club Row Fitness in Vancouver are two other recent openings), which coach spinning-style group rowing classes designed to give you that extra hit of motivation. “The group camaraderie pushes you to row harder,” explains Scullhouse founder — and former Canadian National team rower — Kristin Jeffery, “but unlike rowing on the river, you’re still able to operate at your own level without getting dropped or left behind.” We asked Jeffery to break down the basics for someone looking to dip their toes into indoor rowing.
WHY TO ROW
The three key benefits:
Max out your muscle
Rowing works over 86% of the body’s muscles, with a particular emphasis on your legs, arms, and stomach. And it’s low-impact, so it’s also easy on the joints.
Correct your posture
Indoor cycling does little to counteract the hunched-over position we spend the majority of our desk jobs sitting in. Rowing, on the other hand, strengthens both your back and your core flexibility.
Kickstart your cardio
Apart from being a crazy efficient calorie burn, rowing also works to boost your VO2max — essentially, a measure of endurance. Work rowing into your fitness routine and you’ll likely improve your running or swimming times, too.
HOW TO ROW
A rowing stroke in four stages:
Your body should never be curved like a C here — that can cause serious back injury. Instead, position your back slanted forward at a 45-degree angle.