After a while, the treadmill gets boring, the stair-master becomes tiresome and the elliptical grows dreadful. That's where the rowing machine comes in. This less-popular but dynamic machine is a great way to add some variety into you cardio routine, especially if you add a HIIT component.
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If you haven't used the rower before, though, you'll want to familiarize yourself with proper form before you hop on the machine. Take some time to practice several reps at a slower, more controlled pace, says Matt Cheng, CSCS. "Fortunately the rower is a low-impact machine that can still give you a great workout with a lower risk for injury."
How to Use the Rowing Machine
- First, strap your feet into the pedals, tightening the straps around the top of your foot. Grasp the handle over the top, keeping your shoulders in front of your hips.
- Give a strong push through your heels to send the seat and your hips backward.
- Simultaneously bring your back and upper body toward the back of the machine.
- Then, row the handle to your stomach.
- On the way back to the front of the machine, reverse the movement. Your arms should extend first, then the rest of your upper body will come forward and lastly, bend your legs back to the starting position.
Read more: How to Rock Your First Rowing Class
Now Try This HIIT Rowing Workout
Next time you're looking to bust out a high-intensity sweat session, try this rower HIIT workout, courtesy of Cheng.
Do: each of the following moves for 30 seconds, then rest for 10. Repeat this circuit for five rounds total (or three rounds total for beginners).
1. 200 Meter Row
2. Cycling Jump Lunge
- Start in a lunge, with your right leg forward, bent at 90 degrees, keeping your knees in line with your toes. Keep your left leg bent behind you, knee hovering above the ground.
- Explode off the front leg and jump into the air, swinging your arms above your head to help you gain momentum.
- Before you land, make a quick switch to your left leg, landing in another lunge with your left leg bent in front, right leg in back.
"Keep 70 percent of your body weight in the front leg with the whole foot on the ground," says Cheng. "Keep the back leg flat."
3. Alternating Lunge Press
- Begin in a lunge with your left leg bent at 90 degrees in front, right leg bent behind you, knee on the ground. Hold a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height.
- Press the dumbbells overhead, then bring them back to your shoulders.
- Stand up tall, bringing your legs together.
- Step back with your left leg, placing your knee on the floor and keep your right leg bent at 90 degrees in front of you.
- Again, press the dumbbells overhead, then back to your shoulders.
4. Alternating Skaters
- Begin balancing on your left leg, right leg in the air.
- Push off the ground with your right leg and jump several feet to your left, landing on your left leg.
- Rebound quickly and jump back to the right, landing on your right leg.
Cheng advises that you keep the knees slightly bent as you perform this exercise to emphasize your muscles and lessen tension on the joints.
5. Alternating Squat Curls
- Begin with your feet about shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand.
- Drop into a low squat, sending your hips back and bending your knees. Keep your back flat and chest out.
- Sit into the bottom of the position and curl the right dumbbell, keeping your right elbow close to your side.
- Bring the right dumbbell back down and curl the left.
Curl the pinky side of the dumbbell toward your chin as you perform the movement, Cheng says. This will help you get a better squeeze in your biceps.
6. Alternating High-Low Plank
- Begin in a high plank position, arms fully extended, keeping your body in one straight line from head to hips to toes.
- Maintaining a flat back, lower down to your forearms to low plank position.
- Pause for a moment and raise back to extended arms.
7. Alternating Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift to Row
- Start standing with your legs hip-distance apart, a pair of dumbbells in hand.
- Keeping your right leg planted, hinge at your hips and raise your left leg straight behind you, leaning your upper body forward. Keep your arms extended.
- Once your back leg and upper body form a line parallel to the ground. Row the dumbbells to chest height, squeezing your shoulder blades back and together. Extend the arms again.
- Using your right hamstring and glute, return to standing.
- Repeat the motion with the opposite leg.
"Imagine a straight line from your ear to your elevated heel and you’ll never be out of alignment," says Cheng.