Home > Uncategorized > Know Before You Row: 4 Beginner Mistakes To Avoid

Know Before You Row: 4 Beginner Mistakes To Avoid

February 7, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

from the folks at Self

1. Crankin’ to a 10. We mean the lever with the numbers 1 to 10 on the round flywheel at the front of the machine. It controls how much air enters the cage, creating resistance. Setting it on 10 won’t give you a better workout or necessarily help you burn more cals. You’ll just go slower and peter out quicker, or get injured. You want the damper at a 3 or 4. Promise.

2. Turtling. Yep, that’s 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, and you hear the chain start to clack. Just like your momma always told you, you want good posture–shoulders back, abs engaged. Use this visual: 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.

3. Letting the seat hit your heels. Your seat should never glide so far forward that it touches your sneaks (you’ll lose major power and momentum). To start and end your stroke, keep 8 to 12 inches of space between the seat and your heels.

4. Ah! You’re stuck in the foot straps! Oh, the mortification. But you’ll never be that person if you just remember to first loosen the foot strap buckles, then slide your feet up to get out of the pedals. Total pro.



  1. This is the amount of time you’ve been rowing. (Or, the digits you’ll be obsessively staring at during high-intensity intervals in a bootcamp class.)
  2. This is how long it would take you to row for 500 meters, or about a third of a mile.
  3. This is the distance you’ve gone so far. (And yes, in meters, because your high school math teacher wasn’t lying when he said everyone uses the metric system).
  4. This is your strokes per minute. You want to keep that number in the low 20s. If you’re looking to push it during intervals, aim for the high 20s.
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