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Strength Meets Cardio on the Rowing Machine

June 25, 2015

Though many gym-goers have a tendency to pass it by on their way to its more popular counterparts, the treadmill and the elliptical, the rowing machine (or the ergometer) is steadily gaining popularity. With the undeniable fitness benefits, including its ability to deliver a full body workout, it’s about time this effective cardio fitness tool reclaimed its place in the spotlight.

“It provides a cardiovascular benefit, but it also increases core strength as well as strength to the latissimus dorsi muscles,” said Stella Volpe, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences. “Since rowing uses the legs more than the arms, it is excellent for leg strength, too.” Although resistance training will increase muscle strength and mass the most, the rowing ergometer provides opportunities for users to increase the resistance and reap comparable benefits.

Convinced you should give it a try? Keep your form in check to maximize the impact. “A lot of people get on the erg and think that it is just for their arms, so they barely move on the seat. To get the most benefit from the rowing machine, people need to get trained on how to use it first,” said Volpe. To make training interesting and impactful, learn how to use the computer attached to the erg, as well. “It is a great device to use for timed or distance intervals. It can show your 500 meter split times, your watts, calories burned, et cetera,” Volpe added.

Drexel’s Recreation Center not only has several rowing ergometers, but fitness floor staff are trained teach proper use of the equipment, from form to functions.