Are Rowing Machines Good For Your Back?

If you are experiencing back pain, you can do a few things to alleviate the pain in your back. For instance, you can do some great stretches daily when you wake up to increase blood flow to the areas where you are experiencing said pain.

You can also do some back exercises to alleviate your pain. One exercise in question is rowing, but is it good for your back?

Rowing as a general exercise is terrific for not only building and stretching out your back muscles, but it can also be a great way to relieve back pain. This is because rowing, in general, uses and works out over 80% of the muscles in your body. Rowing includes your upper and some of your lower back muscles as well.

As you continue to read this article, it will go more in-depth about the benefits to your back that using a rowing machine will provide you, along with all of the other types of advantages you can expect to enjoy from this workout.

Finally, we will provide you with a few examples of how to properly use a rowing machine and different ways you can use them to work out other groups of muscles more.

Are Rowing Machines Really Good For Your Back?

© Self

Well, as previously stated, yes! Working out on a rowing machine is not only good for your back, but it is generally good for your entire body. Because of the natural movements, you perform on a rowing machine, you work out over 80% of your body. This includes a large portion of your back.

Working out any part of your body increases blood flow to your muscles. This allows those parts of your body to heal not only better but faster. Rowing machines are a great way to relieve pain and muscle stress that you might have to a large portion of your back. 

This is accomplished by the stretching and pulling that happens as you go through the rowing motion. You can expect to see improvements in your deltoids, rhomboids, teres muscle groups, and more when rowing. All of these muscles in your back can be locations of stress or pain, and rowing can help alleviate that pain.

That being said, there is a caveat to that. When you are a beginner at using a rowing machine, there can be an overload of extra stress and discomfort afterwards. However, this typically comes from improper form and technique.

The extra discomfort can be amplified in areas if you have soreness or pain in your back. But if you are using the proper rowing form and technique, this strain is almost entirely reduced.

How Can A Rowing Machine Help Prevent Back Pain?

Usually, when people suffer from back pain of any sort, it is not due to working out and straining those muscles. This stress and discomfort will generally come from regular day-to-day activities that you might enjoy or have to do. 

One major contributor to back pain in most aspects is sitting down for long periods. This can come from sitting down and relaxing at home or sitting at your desk job all day.

Sitting Down For Long Periods Daily

Sitting down for long periods can lead to bad posture and muscle wastage (which is caused by not using muscles, causing them to weaken and shrink in size) which both of these can lead to the increased chances of developing back pain.

Keeping that in mind, spending an hour or two a week on a rowing machine is proven to help prevent the build-up of back pain. 

Rowing Solves Two Issues

Because rowing works out many muscle groups in your back, it will build muscle and increase your overall back strength. Having a solid back is proven to help prevent any back injuries and is also proven to help reduce the likelihood of having back pain of any sort.

Using a rowing machine will essentially help you solve two problems at once:

  1. A weak back and bad posture.
  2. Fixing those issues in your life will lead to overall better back health and way less pain.

If rowing is a new experience for you, you will find that it will feel quite uncomfortable and can lead to exaggerating those back issues you might have. You can avoid this by learning the proper rowing technique, which we will be discussing below.

Do Not Push Yourself Too Hard

As previously stated, do not push yourself too hard on a rowing machine, especially if you experience back pain. If your back pain starts to flare up in any capacity, stop and take a break, as pushing yourself to continue through the pain can make that pain much worse and thus more challenging to get rid of.

How To Properly Use A Rowing Machine

One of the best parts about a rowing machine is how simple it is to use. The entire process is completed in 3 steps. These steps are as followed;

  • The Starting Position: The starting position is, of course, the beginning and the end of each row you will do. You will need to sit in the seat on the rail and lift your feet, and set them on the footpads.

    While you are doing this, keep your knees perpendicular to the floor. Then reach out and grab the handle, leaning forward, keeping your back as straight as possible while keeping your arms straight out in front of you as well. This position is also called “The Catch Position.”
  • The Drive: This is where 90% of the work outcomes come from when rowing, and it is essential to know how to keep your form to prevent injury.

    Once you are ready, engage the muscles in your body’s core and the muscles in your legs to push against the footpads until your legs are fully extended.

    When your legs fully stretch, you will then want to start leaning back and pulling the bar towards your chest, making it come close or touching your chest just below your ribs.
  • The Recovery: Once you have completed the drive, you will need to reverse the order of the movement to return to the starting or catch position.

    To do this, extend your arms out fully and lean forward. Then start to raise your knees back up until you return to the starting position.

That is it, and all you need to know is to complete an entire row on a rowing machine. It is suitable for you to slowly practice this movement for a few minutes before starting your training exercise.

This will engrain the movement into muscle memory, and eventually, you will be able to sit down and start rowing with no risk of injury.

The Benefits Of Using A Rowing Machine

rowing-machine-Consumer-Health-News-HealthDay
© Consumer Health News-HealthDay

There are quite a few benefits you will gain from working out and using a rowing machine.

Firstly, because the rowing machine uses and works out a vast majority of the muscles in your body, it is considered to be not only a full-body workout but is one of the best ways to warm your body up to do your whole workout routine.

Combined with a few pre-workout stretches, this will wake up your muscles and get you ready for the day.

Not to mention how cheap a rowing machine is, making it an excellent purchase for anyone who works at home or is constantly busy throughout the day—sitting around $250 to $300 for the cheaper ones that are still really good.

Just sitting down and getting in 30 minutes of rowing here and there throughout the week can cause all of these benefits we will talk about in this section.

Below we will be listing a few fantastic benefits to using a rowing machine as your primary workout or as an addition to your workout routine.

© Popsugar UK

1. Psychological Effects And Better Mindset

Working out, in general, is scientifically proven to help keep not only your body strong and healthy but your mind as well. As you work out, your brain will release endorphins, increasing your overall state of being and your mindset.

These endorphins that are released during your workout are proven to help fight against depression and stress. That being said, it will make you feel a lot better about yourself, allow you to be in a more positive mood, and make you feel much more motivated to do other things.

2. Rowing Machines Are One Of The Best Aerobic Workouts

There are a few different types of aerobic workouts. To name a few, you have swimming, running or walking, and cycling. Out of all of those, rowing is possibly the best form of aerobic workout. An anaerobic exercise means working on your cardiovascular system, which transports blood and oxygen all over your body. 

Because the other types of aerobic workouts usually only use either your legs or your arms and legs, their effectiveness cannot compare to rowing while still significant and healthy. 

As this article has previously stated, you use a considerable amount of your body to complete a single row when you row. This will help build some muscle mass all over your body but will increase the amount of stamina and energy you have. 

This will also allow you to take all of this newfound energy and stamina to perform better in other aerobic exercises. Along with this, the increased blood flow to the majority of your body will help you build up the muscle mass faster through lifting weights.

3. Rowing Machines Also Lower The Risk Of Diseases

The type of exercise rowing is and what it does to your body helps prevent multiple diseases. Because rowing is an aerobic exercise, it is designed to increase your heart rate and make you breathe in more oxygen, which will transfer blood and oxygen faster and more efficiently around your body.

This will drastically reduce the likelihood of developing diseases like heart disease and type 1 diabetes.

Because of the increased heart rate and blood flow, rowing will also increase the strength of your respiratory system.

The immune system and lower your blood pressure. Not only will this prevent the diseases mentioned above, but it will also drastically reduce your chance of having a stroke and becoming overweight as well.

© Men’s Health

4. Rowing Machines Are Amazing For Losing Weight

Coming back to the nature of rowing machines being an aerobic workout and what those workouts mainly do for your body, rowing is one of the best ways to burn calories and shred fat off of your body. 

Depending on the person’s weight and the intensity of the workout, an hour of rowing can make you burn from 500 to 800 calories, which is an insane amount compared to other exercises you can do in the gym.

Keep in mind that the number of calories you can burn can drastically change depending on your weight and the intensity of your workout. For instance, if you are overweight and are rowing at a decent pace, you can expect to burn closer to 800 calories per hour, perhaps even more.

5. Rowing Is An All In One Workout

As we have said before, the number of muscles you use in your body when you are rowing makes it one of the only machines in the gym that you can come in, sit down, row for an hour or two, and have gotten in a full-body workout.

Rowing makes use of your leg muscles, arms, the core of your body, shoulders, and a large portion of your back. This means that working in itself can increase muscle mass and strengthen stamina in these areas. Many people use this solely as their workout, and many more use it as the start of each workout session. 

Final Thoughts

Rowing on a rowing machine can be beneficial to many parts of your body, including your back. Being able to prevent and even help alleviate back pain by strengthening your back and increasing blood flow to stressed areas.

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