How to row with multiple time world champion Matthew Tarrant MAIN

How to use a rowing machine – 5 things this Olympic athlete wants you to know

Ever wondered how to use a rowing machine in the gym? World Champion and Team GB rower Matthew Tarrant shows us exactly how to use a rowing machine to get the most out of your workout – A Healthista TV exclusive 

WIN a month’s membership at The Engine Room

The Engine Room are giving away one month memberships with unlimited classes to TWO lucky people. Head over to our Instagram page for your chance to win.

Engine room

For years it has been all about spin and group cycle classes, but now it’s time for spin classes to step aside and make room for the new trend of 2019 – indoor rowing.

In a bid to help British Rowing get 10,000 more women indoor rowing by 2021, they have created #SheRows, a national campaign targeting women who want to return to exercise after having had a break due to life or family commitments.

Indoor rowing is a highly effective and efficient workout

Indoor rowing has become increasingly popular, and is seen as a highly effective and efficient workout and over 100,000 British homes now own their own rowing machines.

What’s more, 2019 is the year that will see the rise of the dedicated – and super-glamourous – rowing studio. A wave of dedicated studios such as New York’s CITYROW and Sydney’s Club Row already exist outside Britain.

November 2018 saw the opening of the hotly anticipated Engine Room, Britain’s first dedicated rowing studio set up by personal trainer Chris Heron and backed by Olympic Rower Matthew Tarrant.

Set in a Grade II listed church, Matt’s new How To Row video (above) – exclusive to Healthista TV – has been shot at Engine Room’s incredible new rowing studio.

The world champion and Olympic hopeful Matthew Tarrant

Matthew Tarrant, 28, is a double World Champion rower who was named one of two reserves for the openweight men’s squad for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Tarrant has also progressed through the ranks of the GB Rowing Team, winning a host of medals.

At just 15 years old Matthew was competing at his first world championships

In 2017, Tarrant won two golds and a silver in the World Cup series of regattas in the men’s four, before going on to win a bronze medal at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton behind Australia and Italy.

Tarrant has been rowing for 14 years, and 12 of those include rowing at an international level for the Great Britain Rowing Team (Team GB). At just 15, Matthew was competing at his first world championships.

Tarrant is also the founder of Row Elite, and indoor rowing specialist facility, offering individually-tailored expert coaching, for all experience levels and sporting backgrounds.

How to use a rowing machine - 5 things this Olympic athlete wants you to know-Matthew Tarrant

Matthew Tarrant (Left) with teammate Kieren Emery at the under 23 World Rowing Championships – pic: Instagram

Rowing is seriously good for you

Rowing is seriously good for you. Not only an all over calorie-annihilating exercise, it’s also a low impact exercise that will have a positively huge impact on your health.

Not only does rowing promote weight loss and a healthy body composition (the proportion of fat and fat-free mass in your body) it also helps build healthy heart cardiorespiratory system.

Although it’s indeed seen as cardiovascular training, rowing is also great for building muscle strength. The primary muscles that rowing works are the quadriceps (the large muscles in front of your thighs). Other muscles worked during rowing include, the lower and middle back, glutes, hamstrings, calves, biceps and your core.

In fact rowing is one of the few non-weight bearing sports that exercises all the major muscle groups.

Rowing is an all over calorie-annihilating exercise and also a low impact exercise

Trouble is, most of us don’t know how to row correctly. For example, did you know that it’s really all about pushing on your legs rather than pulling on your handles with your hands (see video and below)? So, who better to show us how than a world champion Olympic rower.

Over to you, Matthew.

How to use a rowing machine: Step #1 Resistance

How to use a rowing machine - 5 things this Olympic athlete wants you to know-Resistance How to row with Matthew Tarrant

Hands up who usually puts the resistance up as high as it will go. That is usually the norm, because naturally we think that a higher resistance will mean a tougher workout, but according to Tarrant this will only increase chances of injury.

‘Never go into a gym, sit down on a rowing machine and put the resistance up as high as it will go. All this will do is greater your chances of injuring yourself. Around half resistance is a great place to start,’ says Tarrant.

How to use a rowing machine: Step #2 Foot Placement

How to use a rowing machine - 5 things this Olympic athlete wants you to know-Foot Placement How To Row with Matthew Tarrant

Look at where you are placing your feet. You need to adjust your foot straps so they sit around the toe joint, Tarrant advises.

By having your feet too high you may be limiting your stroke length and your overall technique could be compromised.

Similarly, if your feet are too low then your leg drive wont be as powerful. Often when a person has their feet too low, they tend to bounce back and forth as the elasticity of their leg ligaments and tendons responds to the over-compression of their legs.  As a result, you could also over-stretch you lower back, putting unwanted pressure on your lumbar spine and adding to your chances of possible injury.

How to use a rowing machine: Step #3 Push don’t pull

How to use a rowing machine - 5 things this Olympic athlete wants you to know-Push don't pull How To Row with Matthew Tarrant

Instead of just pulling with your arms, Tarrant explains that pushing off with the legs instead is what gives the body power during rowing.

‘What you don’t want to be doing is starting the stroke by pulling on the handle,’ explains Tarrant. ‘Leave your arms long and loose and enjoy pushing through your legs at the start of every stroke’.

How to use a rowing machine: Step #4 Rowing within your range

How to use a rowing machine - 5 things this Olympic athlete wants you to know-Rowing within your range How To Row with Matthew Tarrant

Don’t get too caught up in leaning back as far as you can and thinking this means you are hitting the correct posture. Leaning too far back will only make you feel uncomfortable and again could add to your chances of possible injury.

‘You don’t want to be rowing so long that when you finish the stroke, you’re almost horizontal,’ says Tarrant. ‘You want to be thinking that you’re sat in an armchair at the end of the stroke’.

Tarrant continues, ‘Never sit back too far asthat will put pressure through your hip joints and potentially overuse the quad muscles’.

How to use a rowing machine: Step #5 Stroke rate

The stroke rate is how many strokes you take every minute, and usually this can be seen on the screen that is attached to your rower.

‘It’s common to walk into a gym, where you sit on a machine and go as fast as you can and in your head you’re getting a good workout. Moving faster doesn’t necessarily mean you are working harder,’ explains Tarrant.

What I would always suggest is 18-20 strokes per minute

‘What I would always suggest is 18-20 strokes per minute, this will feel very low, but it will give you more time to relax between strokes.

‘If you want a higher intensity workout gradually start building the stroke rates, but I wouldn’t go any higher than 35 strokes per minute’.

How to use a rowing machine - 5 things this Olympic athlete wants you to know-Matthew Tarrant Pullmans wellbeing trends healthista engine room

Matthew Tarrant is a double World Champion rower and Olympian for TeamGB.  He also is the founder of Row Elite. They offer individually-tailored expert coaching by Matthew for all experience levels and sporting backgrounds.

More Healthista Content:

3 energy tips this TV doctor wants you to know

7 hottest Grammy bodies

Face yoga exercises for a natural facelift in 3 minutes

3 ways to lose weight without really trying

< Back

Also in this week’s magazine

9 best nutrients to take before or after exercise FEATURE
Expert Chat

From exhaustion to muscle aches – 9 supplements to help you recover from exercise faster

Whether you have aching muscles, exhaustion or joint pain, nutritionist Rick Hay says there is a targeted supplement that can help   

Olivia's transformation wk 9 FEATURE
Transformations

These are the best foods to eat if you want to lose weight – Body transformation Week 9

Olivia Hartland-Robbins is on week nine of her body transformation. Here are the nine foods that help keep her on track

Celebrity

4 Celebrities who love Pilates

If you want long, lean muscles and perfect posture, it could be time to take up Pilates, like these four Pilates-obsessed stars

PIP AND NUT INSTAGRAMMERS FEATURE
Celebrity

9 nut butter obsessed Instagram stars share their snack hacks

Because Instagram wouldn't be Instagram without nut butter all over everything, right?

swimwear FEATURE
Gear

10 flattering swimsuits that you can actually move in

It's hot...finally, and we've been testing flattering swimsuits that not only look great but also stay put when you want to move about

30 day yoga challenge

How to do Wild Thing pose – 30 Day Yoga Challenge – Day 20

Feeling wild? Express your wild side through today’s yoga pose in our 30 Day Yoga Challenge with Sarah Malcolm Welcome to day 20 of Healthista’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge, with leading London yoga teacher, Sarah Malcolm (@sarahmalcs), where you learn

Latest Video Series

Healthista-footer

Wellness Weekly

I agree to my personal data being stored and used to receive the Healthista newsletter.

Top