A Quick Guide To Correct Rowing Form

Think of this as a PSA if you will. Read carefully and take good notes.

One of the best pieces of gym equipment around is and always will be the rowing machine. It’s one of the lesser bulkier machines in the gym and it delivers an amazing full body, calorie burning, muscle building workout, all at the same time.


Now, even though this is one of the best workouts around (a rower’s physique is a testament to this), I have seen many people try at this and fail… miserably. Hopping on the rowing machine and simply doing your own thing is what most often occurs in gyms around the country. The result is a sub par workout and in many cases, aches and pains from rowing in the wrong type of motion. So, for anyone that’s ever been on a rowing machine or would like to do so, follow the guide below and look like you’ve been there before when you hop on to the machine.

Most modern machines have a lever with the numbers 1 to 10 on the round flywheel at the front of the machine. This lever controls how much air enters the cage, creating more or less resistance depending on where the lever is placed. For a good workout, you typically want the lever around the 4 range.

Turtling is the scientific term for hunching your shoulders over, and only using your legs to power your stroke, so you end up having to lift the handle over bent knees. Correct form sees the shoulders back, and the abs engaged. At the beginning of your stroke, your torso should be at 11 o’clock (from the top of your head to your tailbone); after you drive with your legs and finish pulling the handle to your chest, it’s at 1 o’clock.

Your seat should never glide so far forward that it touches your feet. Doing this slows you down, and decreases power as you row. To start and end your stroke, always keep 8 to 12 inches of space between the seat and your heels.


Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of BenBradshaw

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.