Our fitness expert, The Colonel, gives his top tip for getting shipshape for the summer...
For cardio at the gym, images of the treadmill or stairmaster normally spring to mind, but it’s not just your mind that gets bored of repetitive cardio, so too does your body.
Exercise routines need variety to achieve the best results so next time you’re in the gym head to the often overlooked rowing machine. Here are five reasons why:
1) It’ll get your heart racing: The benefits of regular aerobic, or cardio, exercise are numerous and the rowing machine is a great tool to get your heart racing, and help increase your cardiovascular fitness. The adjustable resistance on most rowing machines lets you effectively work up to your target heart rate, and slow down to recover. Regular cardio exercise can provide benefits including weight loss, increased stamina, improved sleep and a reduction in stress.
2) You’ll work your upper body: Rowing machines are a great upper body workout and you’ll soon notice increased definition in your shoulders, upper and lower back. Not only will this make you more confident in summer outfits, strengthening these areas can also improve posture and alleviate any existing back pain. Working out with a rowing machine also provides a great workout for biceps and pectorials, as well as helping to develop a strong core.
3) And also your legs! If you’re keen to build powerful legs, the rowing machine should be your first stop when you hit the gym. Your quads, calves and glutes will be feeling the burn while you’re on the rower, and developing strength in these powerful muscle groups also helps your body burn calories at a faster rate even when you’re not working out.
4) It’s easy to use: Some gym equipment can be complicated and intimidating when you first try it out, but rowing machines are relatively simple to learn and suitable for all fitness levels, as you can easily scale the intensity. To make sure your technique is correct when you start, ensure your feet are securely fastened in the stirrups with your shins at a 90 degree angle to the floor. Keep your back straight, core engaged and row in a smooth, fluid motion – you can’t go wrong!
5) It gives your body a break: Despite giving you the opportunity for a tough workout, the rowing machine is a great solution for people who may be just starting out on their weight loss journey, or that have existing joint problems. Unlike pounding the treadmill which can be punishing on knee joints, rowing machines are a low impact form of cardio and put minimal stress on the joints.