You're Probably Using The Rowing Machine Totally Wrong

Using a rowing machine is a great way to get in a quick full body workout at the gym. Rowing can work your core, tone your legs, and help you build upper body strength, but not everyone uses the machine correctly (via Insider). In fact, there are a handful of common rowing mistakes that gym-goers often make that can prevent them from fully reaping the benefits of indoor rowing.

For instance, many people often make the mistake of rowing in the wrong sequence when performing the recovery of the rowing stroke. "Remember, arms away from the body, then swing the shoulders and core forward, then let the knees come up as you slide toward the screen," Sera Moon Busse, a competitive rower and Hydrow athlete, told Insider. "The reason that sequence is so important is so that you end up in the strongest position possible once you reach the catch."

Another common misconception is that rowing is all about the arms. While it might seem more natural to pull the handle back with your arms, the bulk of your stroke should actually come from your legs and lower body. Relying too much on your upper body can cause unnecessary soreness. It's also important not to pull the handle back too low or high. These motions won't fully engage your core. The proper and more effective technique is to pull the handle straight back and bring it your sternum.

How to row the right way

It's not enough just to know what not to do, however. You also have to have the right form and technique, which consists of four phases: the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery (via Men's Health). The catch is the starting position of the rowing stroke and involves sitting with your feet in the stirrups and your legs bent at a 90 degree angle. While you're in this position, reach out and grab the handle, leaving your arms fully extended. Keeping your back flat and your core tight, you can transition into the drive phase by pulling your legs back until they're straight.

While leaning back with your torso, bring the handle to your core. In the finish position, your arms should be bent and your legs should still be straight as you keep pulling the handle to your torso. After this is completed, you can begin the recovery of the stroke by straightening your arms and bringing your torso forward again. As this happens, your knees should bend, leaving you in the first position you started in.