Indoor rowing machines are one of the most underrated pieces of gym equipment. Rowing causes muscle contractions through the entire body which makes it highly metabolically taxing.
Basically what we are saying is that rowing is an excellent way burn calories and build strength at the same time. Power is generated in the legs, goes through the torso and ends in the arms. Using the proper technique is very important when you are using a rowing machine for both efficiency and safety.
Your Lower Body
The quadriceps, located in the thigh is the main source of power and force when rowing. These four muscles are responsible for the extension in the knee joint. They activate when you start rowing stroke and continue working until you finish.
The hamstring muscles are located at the back of your thighs and make the knee flex. They are most active when you are pulling back up the slide during the recovery part of the rowing stroke.
The calves’ runs are located at the back of your lower leg and are responsible for plantar flexion of the foot, or pointing your toes. Your calves are active at the full extension in the rowing stroke when only your toes are still in contact with the foot boards.
Trunk and Core
Rectus abdominus is the largest of the muscles that run down the center of your abdomen. They are used throughout the rowing stroke for stabilizing the trunk and also during the recovery part to pull your torso back into compression.
Transverse abdominus is the deepest muscle in your abdomen. It is activated throughout the rowing stroke to stabilize your lower spine and also during the recovery part to assist with compression.
Obliques are the muscles on the side of your body. They are activated during the entire rowing stroke and help with trunk stabilization.
Erector spinae are the muscles that run the length of your spine. They are activated to keep a strong connection between your back and legs. These muscles are very important for force transfer from your legs to your upper body.
The Latissimus dorsi is the largest muscle of your back and provides the most force generation of your upper body during the rowing stroke. These muscles are initially activated to maintain the torso to leg connection and are then used to complete the stroke with the handle into the body.
The deltoids are the shoulder muscles and they stabilize the shoulder joint and maintain the handle height throughout the rowing movement. The rhomboids are upper back muscles and are used to pull your shoulder blades together at the end of the stroke.
The muscles of your upper arm are known as your biceps and are used in pulling the handle into your body at the finish of the stroke. Your triceps are located at the back of the arm and are the muscles that are activated when pushing the handle forward back into compression.