Is your workout worthy of your time? Many of us stall our sweat sessions by meandering around the fitness floor, waiting for equipment to open up, or evaluating which exercises to do next. These interruptions affect the effectiveness of your workout by decreasing your heart rate, motivation and calories burned.
The next time you’re at the gym, try building your program around a single, versatile piece of equipment such as the rowing machine. An often overlooked toning tool, the rower offers a total-body, low-impact strength-training session that fries fat faster than a treadmill or elliptical. And with a little creativity, you can use this device for so much more than rowing. Here’s how:
Rowing 101. Because the rowing machine can be intimidating and easily misused, it’s important to understand proper form.
You may be surprised to learn that rowers generate the majority of their force from their core and legs, rather than their arms. Being mindful of this will prevent you from pulling from your lower back or arms only, which can result in injury. Aim for strong, smooth strokes, not speed.
Avoid such mistakes as rolling your shoulders forward, hunching or bringing the oar too high. If you feel tension in your lower back, your form is off. For beginners, start on a lower resistance, such as a three or four. Consider consulting a personal trainer for a quick demonstration.
Shake a leg
Ham it up
By simplifying your session, you can trim hours from your workout.