Our signature strength classes are all centred around the revolutionary WaterRower – with good reason!
Rowing is a highly effective workout that can help you to burn fat (it can torch up to 1,000 calories per hour!) and improve your body composition, which is one of the primary motivations to work out. This effect is heightened when rowing is combined with weighted and/or bodyweight exercise circuits, like in our strength sessions.
Rowing is far kinder on your joints than other forms of cardio, like running – however, the intensity is not compromised, meaning you can burn just as many calories, without putting your joints under excess strain. When executed properly (check out our blog on rowing form here), rowing is a safe exercise, that moves the joints through a complete range of motion with minimal impact. Because rowing removes our body weight from our ankle, hip and knee joints, we can protect them from injury and wear and tear.
The biggest misconception about rowing is that it is an upper body workout – you may be surprised to learn that it’s actually one of the most effective full body workouts you can do. During the rowing stroke (check out our blog here for more detail on this), 60% of the power comes from your legs. The rest comes from your core and arms (25% and 15%, respectively). Almost every single muscle contributes to the movement, from your fingers gripping the handle, to the balls of your feet pushing against the footboard.
As you push away from the footboard, your quads, hamstrings and glutes all contract to create the explosive power needed to extend your knees and hips. As this power transfers to your torso and you move backwards, your abdominals, obliques and lower spine all engage to keep your body stable. As you reach the Finish position and pull your elbows in tight, your arm muscles, traps and lats all get a workout. Throughout the sequence of movements, your core is also continually engaged to keep your back in a neutral, straight position. So, as you can see, rowing really does work the whole body – in fact, it recruits an impressive 84% of total muscle mass.
Rowing has been proven to improve your cardiovascular fitness much more effectively than other exercise machines. In fact, Lawton (2012) found that regular rowing can dramatically boost heart function and structure, helping to drive athletic performance. His study showed that after just 10 weeks, people who combined high intensity rowing with strength training developed thicker and stronger heart walls, helping to increase efficiency of blood distribution around the body.
Improving your cardiovascular fitness in this way is critical to enhance your immune system, lower your risk of developing heart disease and avoid conditions associated with inactivity (such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure). What’s more, weighted movements help to keep your joints healthy, to avoid the risk of developing conditions that affect your mobility, such as arthritis, later on in life.
Rowing isn’t just good for our body – it also has a lot to offer for our mental and emotional well-being, too. Exercise has been shown to release mood-enhancing hormones called endorphins, which can fight against the effects of stress.
There are lots of options open to you if you want to do more cardio, but rowing arguably offers the most benefits in terms of busting stress. The smooth, flowing action is soothing and calming – if you’ve had a hectic day, it can be therapeutic to clear your mind and focus only on the rhythm of the strokes. Working out on the Water Rower is especially soothing as you can actually hear the sound of the water.
Find out for yourself why everyone is saying “rowing is the new spinning”. High Intensity, Low Impact. Try Grow now.