Das 1x1 des Ruderns

The 1x1 of rowing

Rowing has a long tradition. In the past, various rowing techniques were used to cross bodies of water or cover longer distances on rivers. In the meantime, rowing boats in this country only have any real significance in the leisure sector. If you want to move particularly quickly and maybe even compete in competitions, you can choose racing rowing.

Rowing is easy to learn and works many muscle groups at the same time. Studies by health insurance companies have shown that rowing is one of the safest sports of all - at the same time, positive effects on the muscles and the cardiovascular system are undisputed.

With a rowing machine at home, you can develop your passion for rowing and work up a sweat in the comfort of your own home. Below we will explain the basics of rowing and what is really important in your training.

1. Which muscles are used when rowing?

As already mentioned, training on the rowing machine is holistic and trains up to 85% of all muscles in your body. All main muscles and many other areas are addressed:

  • shoulder muscles
  • Upper arm muscles (biceps & triceps)
  • Finger muscles (finger flexors)
  • Back muscles (latissimus)
  • Abs
  • glutes
  • thigh muscles
  • Knee muscles (squat flexors)
  • Calf muscles
  • Foot muscles (longitudinal and transverse arch)

Because so many muscles are activated at the same time when rowing, the calorie consumption is also quite high. Depending on your orientation and training intensity, you can achieve values ​​between 400 and 800 kcal per hour.

Training with the rowing machine is also very gentle on the joints, as ideally you perform very even movements. There are no sudden shocks or changes in direction that could put enormous forces on your joints.

2. The most important key figures of rowing training

There are basically three goals that you can pursue with rowing training:

  • Improve endurance
  • build muscles
  • lose weight

Depending on what goal you want to achieve, you have to adjust different parameters in your training. For example, if you want to build strength, you have to train with a higher load, while your endurance primarily benefits from high-frequency training.

When training on the rowing machine, there are a few metrics you should be aware of. The most important parameters for controlling your workout are:

  • Training duration
  • Beat frequency
  • Resistance
  • total stroke rate/distance
  • Heart rate (pulse)

The training duration is particularly relevant for people who want to lose weight with the rowing machine. Only after about 20-30 minutes does the fat burning really get going. So for a fat burning workout you should plan at least 40 minutes of moderate intensity training.

Another criterion is the beat frequency. It indicates how many strokes per minute you perform. Beginners can do around 20-30 beats per minute. However, this of course also depends heavily on the resistance level set.

The resistance in rowing machines is generated via a mechanical or electrical system. The higher the resistance, the more force must be used to perform the rowing strokes.

The total number of strokes indicates how many rowing strokes you have performed so far in your current training session. Some devices also indicate an approximate distance traveled.

Heart rate (i.e. pulse beats per minute) is also important for targeted training. If you want to train on your basic endurance, you should aim for around 60% of your maximum heart rate. For intensive cardio training, a load of around 80% of the maximum heart rate is necessary.

Tip: The maximum heart rate can be approximately determined using the formula “220 minus age”. A 35-year-old man has a maximum pulse of around 185 beats per minute.

3. The right technique for optimal results

As with any sport, incorrect execution can lead to injury. Fortunately, training on the rowing machine is very intuitive, so most people automatically assume the correct or unproblematic position.

However, there are always a few mistakes that occur when training on the rowing machine. Therefore, we will now explain the most important basics of rowing technique to you:

  • Make sure you maintain an upright posture and never bend your back too far forward or backward. You can support this by finding a fixed point on a wall at the level of your head.
  • In principle, you can grab the handles from above or from below - depending on whether you want to train the triceps or the biceps. But make sure that your hands don't buckle. The top handle is definitely better for beginners.
  • Your hips should also form a line with your knees . What this means is that your knees should not tip outwards or inwards. Otherwise incorrect loading will quickly occur.
  • Before you bend your legs, you should first move your arms forward. Otherwise the body parts will collide during training and a smooth training is not possible.
  • You should definitely make sure that the seat is adjusted correctly and the foot straps are tightened. This way you won't slip and everything stays safe.

The movement on the rowing machine can be divided into two phases: the recovery phase and the pulling phase. During the recovery phase you breathe in and during the pull phase you breathe out. The individual steps are as follows:

  • Training begins in the recovery phase. The seat is at the back, the legs are stretched, the arms are pulled up and the upper body must be leaned back slightly.
  • Now bring your arms forward and lean your upper body slightly forward. The legs are then pulled up and the seat automatically slides forward.
  • Now the pulling phase begins by straightening your legs and then leaning your upper body back again. Finally, you pull your arms up and are then back in the starting position.

4. How do I train correctly on the rowing machine?

The rowing machine is a very versatile training device that can be used for different purposes. It is also possible to train on the rowing machine several times a week, as the body is subjected to even strain. However, you should leave at least a day's break between training sessions.

Important! Be sure to listen to your body. Even though training on the rowing machine generally does not have a high potential for injury, overloading cannot be ruled out. It's better to stop a training session and try again after 1-2 days if you don't feel well.

Before the actual training, you should do a light warm-up. To do this, sit on the rowing machine and start with light strokes at low intensity. After about 5 minutes you are ready for your program. Even after the session, you should row for a few minutes at low intensity to bring your heart rate back to normal. This phase is called cool-down.

From the following table you can see how you need to control your training in order to achieve certain training goals:

Training goal Training control particularities
Basic endurance 30-40 minutes per session
20-25 beats / minute
low intensity

60-65% of maximum pulse
2-3 units per week
Make sure you don't get too out of breath while training.
It's a good sign if you can still talk to someone while exercising.
High performance endurance 40-60 minutes per session
20-30 beats / minute
medium intensity
70-80% of maximum pulse
2-3 units per week
With this cardio training you push yourself to your personal limits.
This is the only way training will achieve its desired effect.
You can vary the intensity during training to last longer.
But the phases of highest intensity are very important.
lose weight 40-60 minutes per session
20-23 beats / minute
low intensity
55-60% of maximum heart rate
2-3 units per week
The longer you train, the faster the pounds will fall.
The intensity is not that important.
It is important that you train for at least 40 minutes.
Build strength 5-10 minutes per session
15-20 beats / minute
high intensity
70-80% of maximum pulse
2-3 units per week
Choose an intensity that fully exhausts your muscles after about 5-10 minutes.
After a break you can then do another set.
However, you should not do any endurance training after strength training.
Because this reduces the effect of strength training.

Tip: If you would like even more detailed instructions for your training, you can find our specially developed training plans here to help you achieve your goals.

5. Which rowing machine is right for me?

There are different types of rowing machines that you can use in your home. At SportPlus you will find a representative of each type so that you can buy the model you prefer. If you would like to compare our rowing machines at a glance, the best way to do so is directly via our website Comparison page find out all the information. The following types must be distinguished:

  • Magnetic braking system
  • Air resistance
  • Water resistance

Rowing machines with a magnetic brake system allow the resistance to be adjusted using a rotary knob or a training computer. The latter devices are also known as rowing ergometers because the resistance can be precisely adjusted electronically and various training programs are usually available.

As a beginner, we can recommend our bestseller – the SportPlus rowing machine SP-MR-008 – which is available in black or white. It is a compact, foldable device that fits anywhere and provides the perfect start to rowing.

The air resistance provides a slightly more realistic rowing feeling and can also be used for training at different intensities. Every move is very fluid and allows everyone who competes to train under realistic conditions.

Realism is only surpassed by rowing machines with water resistance. Here it really feels like you're out there pulling your oars through the water. The resistance depends on the force applied.

By the way: The SportPlus chest strap is also an excellent addition. This means you can evaluate and control your training even more precisely.

6. Nutrition tips for leisure and competition

If you want to do an intensive rowing workout, you have to provide your body with the necessary “fuel”. Carbohydrates in particular are an important source of energy.

You shouldn't row on an empty stomach, even if your goal is to lose weight. The reason for this is that the body can only obtain energy from fat cells with great effort. If you workout on an empty stomach, your body will work on a slower burner and won't really get going. So if you want to row without eating beforehand, you have to slow down your pace. Then your body draws on your reserves.

If you also want to build muscle while rowing, you should eat something protein after training. You can control this through certain foods or by drinking a protein shake that gives you everything your muscles need to grow.

So that you don't get thirsty while rowing, you should drink plenty of fluids beforehand. A liter of water is always a good idea. This means your body functions are maintained and you can give your all during your workout.

7. Checklist for rowing: This equipment will help you!

You generally don't need any special equipment to row at home. Things look different on the lake. You have to wear weatherproof clothing and wear a life jacket - because a cramp on the water can have serious consequences.

But it's a little easier when rowing in your own four walls with a SportPlus rowing machine. We would recommend the following things to be well equipped:

  • comfortable sports clothing: Wear something short that won't get caught in the rowing machine and isn't too warm. When rowing indoors, there is no wind to blow your sweat away. Therefore, you should wear functional clothing.
  • sporty shoes: You should not sit on the rowing machine with your street shoes on. These are neither well ventilated nor can you ensure a secure hold. Instead, choose running shoes or similar sports shoes.
  • Activity Tracker: Ours SportPlus activity tracker measures a lot of data about your training and can be very helpful when evaluating your workout at the end. The handy device accompanies you throughout the day.
  • Chest strap: If you want to measure your pulse as accurately as possible, we recommend using one chest strap . This device can be worn comfortably and provides accurate results.
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