Indoor Rowing is a Great Cardio Workout
A major benefit of joining a health club is having access to a wide variety of cardio machines that can help improve health and exercise variety. How many times do members show up at their health club for a workout, only to see that all their favorite cardio machines are busy? And let’s be perfectly honest, while they can burn a lot of calories in a relatively short period of time, many cardio machines, like the treadmill, elliptical runner or stationary bike, are simply boring to use for more than a few minutes at a time.
Encouraging your members on how to use different cardio machines can give them more options for their workout. For people who don’t necessarily enjoy running in place for extended periods of time, my advice is to pick 3 or 4 machines and have them do 10 minutes on each one. This can keep their workout more interesting and reduce the risk of burnout.
The rowing machine is sometimes one piece of cardio equipment that is often sitting all alone just waiting for some attention, which is unfortunate because it can really be one of the most beneficial and effective pieces of equipment in a health club.
Teaching members how to use the rowing machine can provide some important benefits. Unless they grew up on a body of water they probably don’t have much experience rowing, but rowing is a great form of exercise that can give them a really good cardio workout in a relatively short period of time.
Here are 5 reasons why your members should row:
Rowing burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time. The body burns 5 calories of energy to consume one liter of oxygen. Any exercise that uses a large amount of muscle mass will increase the amount of oxygen consumed in the body. Because the muscles of the upper and lower body are working together, rowing is one of the most efficient ways to burn the most calories.
Rowing improves coordination between the upper and lower body. The rowing motion begins with the legs and finishes with the arms and back which means that most of the muscles in the body are being used with one relatively simply movement. Pushing with the legs and pulling with the upper body helps coordinate the actions of the muscles which can improve overall movement efficiency.
Rowing can help lower blood pressure and improve cardio respiratory efficiency – the ability to move oxygen around the body. While it is often associated with weight loss, it is easy to forget that the purpose of cardio exercise is to improve the efficiency of the cardiovascular system responsible for moving oxygenated blood to the working muscles of the body. Because so many muscles are involved, rowing is an excellent way to increase the strength of the cardiac muscle responsible for keeping the blood circulating efficiently.
Rowing is more joint friendly than most other pieces of equipment and this can be particularly beneficial for some if not all members. Rowing is done in a seated position which reduces stress on the knees, hips and back. Gravity accelerates you into the ground so when you jog, you can feel a lot of pressure radiate through your body. But sitting in a rowing machine means that you’re not placing downward pressure on the body, allowing the muscles to work without the effects gravity-caused impact.
Rowing allows you to measure each individual workout and overall progress with specific metrics. Rowing machines have an ergometer which measures distance, time, calories and power. Any one of these can be used to monitor your member’s training intensity and measure their progress. Encourage members to change it up: see how far they can row in five or ten minutes or time how long it takes them to burn a certain amount of calories. Challenge them to sustain a certain work-rate (wattage) for a specific amount of time. Setting quantifiable goals (and achieving them) is a sure-fire method to help establish long-term adherence to an exercise program.
If you want to add rowing to your members’ workout routine, or if you want to consider starting rowing group classes, check out the budget-friendly Total Gym Row Trainer – a new spin on rowing because you are rowing on an incline. Adding rowing to your members’ workout program can help them reach their fitness goals without placing too much stress on the body. Call 858-764-0078 for more information on the Row Trainer.
About the Author
Pete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise. www.petemccallfitness.com