Whilst the Henley Royal Regatta isn’t until the 1st of July, and on the off chance you’re not Sir Steve Redgrave, anyone can try this superb form of exercise at the local gym! The humble rowing machine mimics the real thing, and provides some exceptional hidden health benefits which will see you using almost every major muscle group in your body. I think it’s one of the best low impact, high intensity ways to push through the anaerobic threshold, and chomp through calories! We shot this outfit in the fabulous gym of Coworth Park during a recent blog trip, and in collaboration with my friends at Zalando. I styled this look because I really wanted to showcase that sublime British talent, Stella McCartney, who’s done so much to push the boundaries of fitness fashion into something really special!
Whilst I remain a big fan of running, it’s a high impact form of cardio; the repetitive landing jolt exerts serious pressure on the knees. In order to break things up and give the joints a bit of a break, rowing provides a full-body, low-impact cardio workout. The motion works your entire body; when you push off from the platform, you’re working all your major leg muscles including your hamstrings, quads and glutes. Thereafter, you’re especially working your upper body, strengthening the back, shoulders, arms and core muscles (which are working the whole time to stabilise the body throughout the movement, strengthening the back muscles as well as the abdominals). Sculpted and defined shoulders are, aesthetically speaking, a great way to help the waist appear proportionately smaller – a fab trick for both men and women. Rowing is also such a supreme way to toast unwanted fat, as the average person burns c. 350-400 calories during 30 minutes of intense rowing. It makes a regular appearance in my workout, and I’d recommend it to anyone of any fitness level, because you set the pace! Read below for the ‘how to do it’ part…
You can adjust most rowing machines to deliver higher resistance, rendering it a more challenging workout. Ultimately the intensity of the rowing is very much down to you, specifically around how much effort you put into each stroke. You want to pull away using your upper body strength simultaneously as you push off with your legs. Make each stroke count! It shouldn’t feel like a leisurely row in Regent’s Park just watching the ducks swim by. The rowing stroke is defined by a long drive phase and a relaxed and controlled recovery.
1. Make sure your feet are strapped in properly. Aim to have the strap over your mid-shoe laces. If you feel as though you’re lifting off the seat, it may be that your feet aren’t strapped in properly. Adjust accordingly, and then, holding the handle drive yourself back as you push from the legs, simultaneously and in equal measures, pulling the handle towards you.
2. At all times maintain a strong and engaged core (no slouching or hyperextending). At the end of the stroke, your legs should be completely extended, whilst you should be sat completely upright, engaging your core, whilst the back is in a vertical position.
3. The arms should start to pull the the handle towards the body, and finish circa half way up your body (neither at the chin, or at the pelvis). Keep the elbows somewhat ‘tucked in’, in line with the handle, keeping the wrist aligned with the forearm (i.e. not bent). Keep the shoulders down and squeeze the shoulder blades together at the end of the stroke.
4. Finally at this point the legs should be straight as should the back. That’s the cue to return to the starting position and kick off the motion all over again!
– The back should be kept in a ‘neutral position’ the whole time – straight back, pivoting from the hips, not from the spine. This means the force will be evenly distributed over the back, helping to decreasing the risk of injury.
– Remember to warm up before hand either with exercises that involve the muscles you’re about to use or on the actual rowing machine, via a far lower intensity.
I WAS WEARING:
Jacket: Adidas by Stella McCartney – Mesh Hoodie in dark violet
Top: Adidas Performance white t-shirt
Leggings: Adidas by Stella McCartney – Stu Perf Tights in Purple
Hat: Adidas by Stella McCartney – Hat in Indigo / Pop Purple
Shoes: Adidas by Stella McCartney – Dorifera Feather in Purple/Indigo