In my many years of coaching, one thing that always surprises me is when I see an experienced athlete hop on the rowing machine, and completely ruin their workout before it even starts. How does that happen? Because they don’t know (and have never been taught) how to actually set up the machine before they hit the ground running. Er, rowing.
And unless you’ve spent time with a dedicated rowing coach, there’s a chance that even your coach doesn’t know what to tell you when it comes to foot positioning, damper settings, or even why you should adjust your monitor. Sadly, being a rowing machine nerd isn’t covered by NASM curriculum or in the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar. So John Healy <link to bio?> and I have put together this quick checklist to use every time you get started on the rowing machine:
Adjust the foot plate so that the strap is over the widest part of your foot. Generally speaking, this means that the strap will sit just below your first shoelace.
2. The Monitor
Step One: Turn on the monitor. This may seem obvious, but a lot of people will sit down at the machine and just start moving in order to get the monitor to turn on. This is an okay approach if you know the settings are already set up the way you want them, and if you don’t mind potentially missing out on the data (distance, calories, etc.) from your first few strokes while the machine was booting up. However, we strongly recommend taking the time to turn the monitor on, make sure your units and workout are set, and get the monitor adjusted to your eye level (did you even know that thing was adjustable??) before you start your workout.
3. Damper Setting/Drag Factor
This topic can get pretty complex, and really it deserves its own post. Suffice to say that you are probably using the damper setting incorrectly, especially if you are just cranking the drag factor up all the way, or aren’t adjusting it at all from the last person who used the rower before you. If you aren’t sure what your drag factor should be, take 5 minutes and watch this video now.
4. Check Yourself
Before you wreck yourself.
But seriously. Bathroom breaks, hydration, proper clothing and shoe choices – all of these are crucial, especially for longer training sessions. But especially make sure that you’re in the right mindset to tackle the workout in front of you. In fact, this is so important, that we made an entire video dedicated to the Indoor Rower’s Mindset. Check it out here.
We believe preparation equals confidence. Even these small tips can change your rowing in ways you might not expect. Have more questions about monitor settings, handle types, foot plates… or anything else to ask your resident rowing machine nerds? Leave a comment and we’ll address them in a future video or blog post!
No products in the cart.