Rowing Machines

Concept 2 Rowing Machine - Model DConcept 2 Rowing Machine - Model D
There's nothing like being out on the open water, but a rowing machine offers a close simulation while providing one of the best total body workouts of all fitness equipment. The stroke is primarily leg-driven but it also engages and strengthens the back, shoulders and arms while improving stamina, heart/lung function and endurance.

Whether you're on the water or on a rowing machine, the stroke is a natural, fluid, three-phased motion. It begins in the "drive phase," with straight arms and legs bent in to the body. You then begin to straighten the legs at a constant speed, engaging the torso as the body rocks back. As the legs straighten out more, the arms are brought into action like your pulling the oars. At the "finish," the legs are straight, the arms are drawn to the chest and the shoulders lean behind the pelvis. In the "recovery phase," the arms begin to straighten, the legs begin to bend and the pelvis rocks forward as the body weight shifts onto the feet.

Ranging from a few hundred dollars to a thousand and more, rowing machines operate with hydraulic resistance or a flywheel mechanism. For home use, look for one that has roller wheels and can stand on its end for storage. Here are some other rowing machine features to bear in mind:

Adjustable resistance: You'll want to be able to vary the intensity of your workout as you progress. Some rowing machines' resistance increases as speed increases.

Sturdy frame/rail: The rowing machine should not rock or skip forward during the stroke. The rails should be durable and be long enough to accommodate your height.

Seat: Look for a comfortable seat that slides smoothly across the rail.

Foot rests: These take the brunt of the stroke so they should be sturdy with a non-slip surface and a safety strap. They should pivot slightly so you can maintain correct form throughout the stroke.

Easy-to-read display: Monitor your performance on the rowing machine by gauging information like time, speed, energy consumption, total distance, number of strokes, stroke frequency etc.
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