Ever wonder what the thing is on the side of the rowing machine and what the numbers mean?
I have seen post after post on Facebook groups of people asking what setting to use. And what annoys me is that the first response is always...look at the buffer setting...the damper doesn't matter. Well, what the heck is a buffer setting? I am trying to figure out what the thing on the side is...(damper setting). What annoys me about it is that as a healthcare professional, I am used to explaining things really simply for people. Not only that, but to be completely honest, I don't have an amazing vocabulary. Granted, I know what these two words mean, but most people don't. It's like learning a new language....
One day someone was trying to teach me some words in Spanish. They tried to teach me, "who", "what", "when", "where", "why", "the bathroom", and some others...well, you know what I walked away with?
"Que, el bano"...translates into..."what, the bathroom". If you teach people too much at once, sometimes we get confused. So rowing is a new language. Slide, damper, buffer, catch, drive, recovery, SPM, split, etc... Why do people assume that when someone asks a question, they want a more complicated answer? Sometimes we need to learn the basics, get an understanding, and then learn the more complicated version of it.
So, since I tend to explain movement patterns, and body mechanics, and injuries really simply to patients, I think I am pretty good at explaining things to those trying to learn. So, I put together a video explaining the damper setting. It can be complicated, or we can start simple. So here is the simple... hope it helps!
Are you sick of feeling...
out of breath?
a lack of confidence?
I am too!
So... I have made it my personal goal to row longer periods of time, and along the way, found that a lot of my clients have similar goals, but they don't know how to get there in terms of rowing.
Some can't row more than 10 minutes, without being out of breath, but they want to row for 30 minutes, so they can start losing weight, staying active, and not get older and be disabled and lose their independence. No one wants to get sick, but when you see your older parents getting sick, having walkers, going to more and more doctors, it really makes us kick ourselves into gear so that it doesn't happen to us.
If you want help being able to row longer, without having to stop, so you can row 30 minutes a day, or more, check out my free checklist to getting you to row longer!
Grab your copy here! It even has a bonus video explaining everything in the checklist, so you can see what I mean, instead of just reading it!
Do you have thicker thighs?
So, instead of hurting myself by compensating with my form, learn how to still row well, so that you don't get injured. Here's my tricks for rowing as an "obese" woman with thicker thighs!
Warming up...to do it or not to do it... that is the question.. 😬
Lets face it. Most of us know that maybe we should warmup before working out...but do we actually take the time to do it? I'm not going to lie, I often don't. I know I should, but I'd rather spend time doing the workout and stretching afterwards. What I did find is that if the warm-up takes more effort than the workout, I will skip it. I want that energy to be put into building my strength and into my planned workout. So, if I make the warmup manageable, I am more likely to do it.
Here is an 8 minutes warm-up that you can follow along with and not feel drained. It's more about getting the body moving through it's range of motion and waking it up as opposed to feeling like you are dying during the warm-up. Sometimes I start with the circles/swings and then do some other stuff, but something is better than nothing. I never jump straight in anymore, my body isn't like it was when I was 18. Now I do something!
Check it out, follow along, do part of it, all of it, whatever works. Do something else. I don't care, but do something to wake your body up.
I had the honor of chatting with a group of people who are in a Facebook support group for people who have gone through or are going to have a Total Knee Replacement (TKR). A question was posed about how to use the rowing machine after a TKR. The group administrator asked me to do a chat on it, so I jumped on and did a LIVE video with some tips to try for rowing after a TKR. It was a great chat, and I answered some questions. Sorry for the quality not being great, I lived a learned, so in the future hopefully it will be better. Here is the video, so check it out.
Additionally, Tony is great at modifying things differently than I think of to do it and he created a video that is similar but discusses different options. Here is the link to his video.
Here is the one I put together.
Join the free facebook group here.
EdThis is definitely one of those questions that people ask a lot. You are growing your home gym, or you want a new piece of workout equipment, or you just like rowing and want that at home. The concept 2 is so expensive...do I really need it?
This is not an extensive review of indoor rowing machines as I have not had the honor of trying them all out. However I have been on a few, so I am just putting some of the basics down for you and sharing my thoughts.
First off, here are the common indoor rowing machines.
Concept 2 - They make a few models, A, B, C, D, E, and Dynamic. This brand is considered the "gold standard" for rowing as it is designed to mimic rowing on the water and the numbers on the machine match water rowing most accurately compared to other models. However, people don't always want to spend $1000 on it, so lower price point options are usually a question. Concept 2 doesn't really go on sale, but they keep their value VERY well. When someone sells them secondhand, they tend to go quick, so if you are looking, $650 is usually the lower price point, but you need to search for them.
Velocity - The velocity magnetic rower is at a lower price point of roughly $539, making it more affordable for a home gym. However, I have used this one in some hotel gyms, and I am not a fan. It doesn't feel like rowing on the water at all, the seat felt clunky, and the control machine is very low, making me want to look down while I row, which is not ideal. I am also short, so the handle felt like it was too high, but it could also be that I am not used to that machine.
Water Rower - This is another big one that people often get. It is known for being in Orange Theory Fitness gyms and they have numerous models for gym owners and home owners. My mom actually has one of these in her bedroom, so I have had the privilege of trying this one out in a few models. First off, I am short, 5'3", my mom is 4'11". So we are both short but we have different views on the machine. I find that the cord hits the bottom of its area sometimes and it worries me that it might fray over time. My mom says she only notices it sometimes. The other part about this machine is that if you have wider hips or shoulders, it may not be ideal. This is because the foot holders are actually closer together than on other machines, so it can force your feet and hips into a non optimal position that could end up causing injuries and imbalances. They do make something you can switch out to make it more wide, but not many people do this. The positive to this machine is the water sound. A lot of people like the whoosh sound and find it more appealing than a machine/flywheel sound. So this is a high contender, but also a little more pricey. I believe you can try it out and return it if you don't like it, but look into it and don't take my word for it. This machine also goes off water resistance as opposed to air resistance, so it gives a different feel to it.
Edit: After speaking with Waterrower - if your band hits, it might be that the recoil belt needs to be adjusted. Contact them and they can help. Good to know!
Stamina - Conversion II - This is a recumbent rower/bike. It gives some back support which is great for people who might need that extra support. It also works as a bike, so that's pretty neat. This one goes for roughly $799, so also a higher price tag, but its multiuse makes it have an added bonus. If you are looking to do water rowing, on the water, this one isn't ideal since it limits your movement that you would need on the water unless you are using adaptive equipment in a boat too.
Sunnyhealth and Lifestyle also make magnetic resistance machines. I have tried one of each and found them very bulky, not smooth, and didn't feel like rowing on the water at all. Maybe it's the magnetic resistance, but I am not a fan. The cord is higher, the feet are lower compared to the seat height, and that all changes your mobility and flexibility requirements and changes how the rowing form feels. However, I'd say try it and see if you like it.
NordicTrack - They make three models I believe. The RW200, RW500, and RW900. The 500 and 900 come with a screen and workouts. However the price tag on the 900 is is roughly $1600 USD and the 500 is roughly $999 USD. The 200 doesn't have a screen and is about $799. At that price point, I would search for a used Concept 2. To be honest, I haven't tried this machine, so I can't give you much info, but I would search and see if you can try one. If you want workouts right there in front of you to motivate you, it's probably worth it. If you do other workouts and don't need tht motivation or want to watch a movie or something when rowing, than I'd try another machine.
Hydrow - This is another common machine that people are starting to get as it also includes workout routines. There workouts are designed more to show you someone rowing on the water in order to give you that feel as opposed to a workout gym type routine like the NordicTrack. Unfortunately this one is currently sold out as it just launched, but worth looking further into after people have tried it and written reviews.
Hope this helps a little, but it's just my views. I haven't been able to try them all, but if I do try a new one, I will give an update and more info.
Here is a link to someone who actually reviewed some of the machines.
Feel free to share your thoughts and your favorite machine!
We hear these words being thrown around a lot in relation to movement. Well, what the heck is the difference?
Mobility is usually in relation to the joint being able to move or having movement. Flexibility is in regards to your muscle movement like a hamstring stretch or so forth. People often group the two together.
Here is a video showing some hip mobility you can do to help. Stay tuned for a flexibility video coming soon.
Someone asked this question, and I thought it was a great point.
The setting on the side of the rowing machine is called a damper setting. Sometimes people put it all the way to the top, sometimes to the bottom, but what the heck do the numbers mean and where should I put it?
The damper setting can actually get pretty complicated. So to keep it easy, think of it like gears on a bike. When you go uphill, you go to a lower gear. The gear isn't actually changing the difficulty or the resistance or anything about the hill, just how it feels to go up the hill. Well the damper setting is similar. Here is an article by Concept 2 explaining it a little bit.
Check out the video to learn more and my thoughts on where to put it as a beginner.
I got a great question recently about how to breathe when rowing.
My take on breathing and rowing is simply put, don't overthink it. Have you ever tried to think about your breathing? What happens? Your breathing changes. If we focus too much on it, it becomes the main focus. So with rowing, as your body increases its workload or effort, your breathing will naturally change. The biggest part to think about your rowing, is when you are pushing through your legs on the drive, is when you breathe out. The recovery is when most of your breathing occurs. Check out the video for further explanation.
Thanks for the question! If anyone else has questions, please feel free to reach out and ask.
Ever wonder what to do before you row?
Don't worry, I got you covered. Here is a video I made that is a simple warm-up you can do, takes about ten minutes, and is all things to do off the water or off the machine, before rowing.
Get your body primed to help you perform at your best and stay injury free!
If anything hurts, back off. Pinching, pains, etc, just stop and feel free to comment and let me know and we can change it up.
Amanda Painter is the Rowing Doc. She is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and is here to help people stay active and rowing without aches and pains so they can keep doing what they love!