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How To Maximize Your Rowing Workout

How To Maximize Your Rowing Workout

November 8, 2018

Rowvember Is Here

Why To Row:

Rowing offers anyone the ability to get a complete, total body, aerobic workout that hits all the muscle groups and gets your heart rate up quicker.  Rowing forces you to push with your legs, activate and tone your core, and pull in with your arms.  This activates your glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower back, core, lats, shoulders, and arms all in one motion.  As all of these muscles are working at the same time, your heart rate will get up quicker and you’ll get a better workout.

How To Row:

Proper technique is very important with rowing, so ensure proper form to get the most out of the motion and to prevent injury.  Start with your legs all the way back, leaning back in your torso, and the handle pulled into your sternum.  This is called the “finish” of the stroke.  First, extend your arms forward.  Then, pivot forward from your hips to reach forward and keep your back strong and supported.  Then, slide up by using your hamstring to pull yourself towards the fan.  This is called the “catch” because if you were in a boat, you’d put your oar in the water to get ready to take the next stroke.  Then, push from your legs to get the momentum going.  Once your legs are extended, then swing your torso, and finish off the stroke by pulling into your sternum.  To review, from the “finish,” pull yourself forward with arms, back, legs.  From the “catch” to take the next stroke, push back with the legs, back, arms.

When you get on the rowing machine, set the resistance to a 3 out of 10.  This might seem light, but a 3 best mimics the resistance that you’d feel on the water.  Even Olympic-level rowers do all of their training with the resistance on 3!  Adjust the shoe straps so that when you are at the “catch” of the stroke, the strap is over the ball of your foot so you can push off strongly to activate your legs.  Focus on being as long as you can per stroke, really try to reach forward and touch the machine with the rowing handle to get the most length per stroke, “ass to ankles” as the coxswain might say.  Try to keep your strokes per minute fairly low to focus on getting full length, somewhere between 22-30 strokes per minute.

Row Variations:

Rowing offers you the ability to do lots of different kinds of workouts, from long steady state, all the way leg-busting to 100-meter sprints.  

For a good steady-state workout, try doing 3 x 7 minutes, with 4 minutes at 24 strokes per minute, focusing on pushing hard with your legs and getting full length per stroke.  Then two minutes at 26 strokes per minute, and 1 minute at 28 strokes per minute.  Rest for 4 minutes in between.  

For a hard sprint workout, try a “Tabata” workout.  Try 8 sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off at full gas, making sure you stay long and get the most out of each stroke.

Next time you’re at Catalyst, give the row machine a shot! After all, Rowvember only happens once a year but this is a sport you can grow with constantly.


Catalyst Fitness member James Thompson is a 4-time National Championship- winning rower who competed for the Canisius High School, West Side Rowing Club, and Cornell University teams. He currently competes as an elite level cyclist with the Shickluna Bikes/Catalyst Fitness cycling team.

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Sports Bras For Every Budget

November 8, 2018

Sports Bras for Every Budget

Whether it’s tucked under a tank or out in all its strappy-backed glory, the sports bra is one of the most fundamental pieces of your workout wear. Just like no two bodies are the same, neither are the sports bras, so the search for the perfect fit can be overwhelming. We sorted through the racerbacks, molded cups and elastic bands to compile a list of our top five favorites to fit every budget.

$: Old Navy Lattice-Back Bra, $18

The most baseline of the bras, this one will hold up to your standard gym workout. The fabric is a little thicker and not as performance-based, so it’s not ideal for your heavy cardio days, but the support level will withstand all your circuit and strength training.

$$: Gymshark Flex Sports Bra, $35

Gymshark is known for its comfortable seamless knits, and this bra is no exception. The fit is more compressive, with a thick elastic band to ensure everything stays in place. This bra runs tighter than most other brands, so size up if you’re ordering online.

$$$: lululemon Mind Over Miles Bra, $68

Designed for running and higher-intensity workouts, this bra has a great blend of details that will keep you reaching for it again and again. The flat, laser-cut straps stay in place without leaving those annoying red marks on your shoulders, and the slightly longer length smooths out the ribcage without leaving lumps under your tank.

$$$$: P.E. Nation The Chariot Crop Bra, $90

Winning all the retro-gym-rat style points, P.E. Nation’s bra is designed for lower intensity workouts, due to the skinnier (yet adjustable!) straps. The higher cut ensures you’ll stay covered during your deadlifts, and the discreet elastic around the bottom prevents chafing or slippage.

$$$$$: Michi Midnight Bra, $130

We said sports bras were an investment, and Michi proves why: this bra is the ultimate blend of fashion and function. The Midnight Bra checks all the boxes: a high cut to keep you covered, flat straps that stay in place, a center mesh panel to eliminate that inner-boob sweat, a wide racerback to smooth out between your shoulder blades and overall elasticity to snap back to its original shape, even after countless washings.

So whether you’re a baller on a budget or in the mood to treat yo’self, try one of our top five- then let us know what you think! Sound off in the comments below or drop us an email: info@catalystfitnessbuffalo.com

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