Rowing 101: Beginners Guide for Rowing Workouts

rowing 101 - beginners guide indoor rowing workouts

If you’re looking to get a good workout in but don’t have a lot of time to work with, you’re probably looking for an activity that will cover multiple muscle groups all at once. Rowing workouts can provide you with a terrific workout that addresses your entire body, including the cardio aspect of your fitness routine. Rowing doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, but you’ll see results nonetheless. Each stroke that you complete activates multiple areas of your body to tone and shape your body how you want.

If you’re new to rowing as a workout activity, I want to talk to you about some of the basics. I’m going to cover what indoor rowing is, how it can help you with weight loss and why you should consider rowing as a workout option. Let’s get started!

Introduction to Rowing 101

When you’re looking for a new method of exercising, a full-body option is the way to go. It sounds intimidating at first, but making sure that you’re not neglecting any part of your body is ideal. Rowing isn’t something you’ll necessarily be able to do perfectly the first time, but perfecting your form and working at it will get you on track with this being your new primary form of exercise.

There is plenty of research that explains the importance of interval training (such as rowing) rather than a prolonged exercise session. Not to mention, rowing is fun, exciting and doesn’t require a lot of time. You can build up your intensity as you go along to customize your workouts.

What Is Indoor Rowing?

Indoor rowing utilizes a rowing machine to simulate the process of rowing a boat. It’s something you do need specialized equipment for, but rowers tend to be pretty affordable if you’re looking for a basic machine to start out with. There are more elaborate units that you can purchase later on when you become a pro.

When you row, you’re moving both your upper and lower body at the same time. You can pace yourself as needed, as you may find that working all these muscle groups at once is difficult at first. Luckily, this is a very low-impact exercise that protects your joints like other weight bearing exercises cannot.

Is It Good for Beginners?

You have to start somewhere, and rowing is completely doable for someone that has never rowed a boat before or used a rowing machine. You simply want to start with a shorter workout, building up your resistance as you go along.

Try starting with a three minute workout at 20 strokes per minute. Spend one minute resting and then try to increase your strokes per minute. Keep your time limit the same. Make sure you’re resting in between each set.

Can It Help With Weight Loss?

Rowing is a great weight loss activity. It involves your whole body, so you have the potential to burn a lot of calories all at once. An indoor rowing machine has the potential to burn up to 377 calories in a 30-minute workout. Most people these days lead very busy lives, and working out for an hour or more isn’t always in the cards. Rather than putting off your workout or doing minimal activity, rowing boosts your calorie burning efficiency so you can get back to doing what you want.

What Muscles Does Rowing Work The Most?

The best thing about rowing is that it engages 85% of your muscles, building lean muscle and endurance.

When you’re simulating the rowing motion, you’re working the rhomboid muscles in your shoulders. There are trapezius muscles in your upper back that also see activity, along with your lats in the middle and lower back.

Your hand grip strength on the handles of your rower will work your biceps, wrists and forearms. Your chest pectoral muscles and abdominals are used for core strength as you move forward and back. Not only will your upper body look more muscular, but this can improve your posture and improve back pain that you’re currently experiencing. In regard to the lower body, your quadriceps are targeted in the front of your thighs by rowing along with your glutes and calves.

You’ll be hard pressed to find muscle groups that aren’t worked during a rowing workout. It’s a much different experience than hopping on the treadmill or elliptical for a half hour or more.

What Does a Rowing Workout Look Like?

People often assume that you’re only using your arms when you’re rowing, but there is a lot of other movement that occurs. It’s about 75 percent legs and 25 percent upper body. You should feel the burn everywhere when you’re done. In order to maximize your workout, you need to pay close attention to how you’re holding your body on the rower.

Sit nice and tall, looking straight ahead in front of you. Hunching your back will put strain on your shoulders and back, which can lead to an injury. Square your shoulders up, straighten your spine and engage your core to begin your strokes.

A lot of people are inclined to pull back with their arms first. In fact, you want to dig your heels down, extend your legs and rotate your hips before finally pulling back the handles with your arms.

You might be tempted to go fast right away, but don’t rush this exercise at first. Establishing a good rhythm and paying attention to what your stroke rate is, is far more important. Build up your speed as you get better at rowing.

Who Should Consider Doing Rowing Workouts?

Because of the benefits of being a full body workout, rowing can be done by anyone that wants to engage all of their muscles and increase their heart health. If you’re in need of a low impact exercise that can burn a lot of fat in a short amount of time, what are you waiting for? Hop on that rowing machine and see how it feels.

Developing a good stroke pattern engages your mind in a way that doesn’t exist on most other workout equipment. This mind-body connection can be soothing and rhythmic. It’s also really great for people of all fitness levels. You can use this as a starting block if you’re just developing a workout routine, but this is also a great alternative to some of the more mundane exercises that you may be doing to get in shape.

The Importance of Using Proper Form

Whenever you’re working out, it’s important that you use proper form. If your body is moving in unnatural positions, this can lead to muscle strain, tears in the muscle and much worse. Rowing has the potential to cause injury, just like other workouts do. However, learning how the proper form of rowing can prevent injury and keep you feeling good.

Engage All Muscles

You don’t want to favor any one muscle group when you’re rowing. While you start with your legs and then end with the movement of your upper body, you should be engaging your muscles in the same pattern for the duration of your workout. This will provide you with the results that you’re look for without causing any kind of pain or strain.

Prevent Injury

A rowing machine is a low impact workout, so it reduces the strain that your muscles experience. However, you can still get injured if you’re not being careful with your form. Regulate your pace so you’re not overworking anything. Take time to catch your breath as needed, which is possible since you’re in control of your rowing workout. You also eliminate a lot of the safety risks that are in place when you’re using free weights or cable machines. You’re seated throughout the process of rowing, which keeps you relatively safe from injury.

Optimize Performance

If you’re looking to optimize your rowing performance, there are some different techniques you can incorporate into your workout.

-Make sure that you’re taking time to warm up. Before you even get on the rower, stretch your body. Your muscles will actually be ready to work harder.

-Pay close attention to your breath. Once you have your body movements in sync, make sure that you’re breathing in and out at the same rate with your movements.

-Hydrate adequately before your workout and spend some time rehydrating after your workout is over. You can also take sips of water during your rest periods.

-Work a cool down period into your routine. This can include an extra set or two where you move at a slower pace that will bring your heart rate down and cool down your muscles.

How Do I Use An Indoor Rowing Machine?

I’ve covered the basics of the rowing workout for you, but you might still be wondering how to get started with an indoor rowing machine. If you’ve tried a rower while working out at the gym and liked it and would like to invest in equipment of your own, I have some resources that you can utilize.

We invite you to join us even if you currently row somewhere else or have a rowing machine at home – see our rowing machine reviews, if you need advice on which rower may be a good fit for you. That said, here are some of the top indoor rowers on the market right now.

Hydrow

Hydrow brings interactive rowing workouts right to your home. You can simulate real time rowing by moving along with other athletes that are featured on-screen during your workout. Created by former USA rowing national team coach, Hydrow is a comfortable and convenient machine to invest in.

Ergatta

This game based connected rower is handcrafted in the U.S. and is designed to look like a piece of furniture rather than workout equipment. The best part is, it can be folded into a more compact form to be stored away when it’s not in use.

Aviron

The Aviron rower has a series of features that make it suitable for both new rowers and experienced rowers. It makes exercise more fun and effective so you get the results that you want without getting frustrated by the process of working out.

Echelon Row-s

This solid exercise machine is very affordable in comparison to other similar rowers. It’s a more basic machine that’s great if you’re just starting out. It comes with a 22” touch screen display that is easy to navigate through for fun and exciting workouts.

Concept2 Model D

A more basic rower that doesn’t have a lot of bells, whistles or technology, the Concept2 Model D is an air resistance rower that allows you to control the amount of air flowing through the machine to increase or decrease your workout. There is no maximum resistance.

Know This about Rowing Before You Start (Conclusion)

Starting any kind of new workout routine can be a challenge, but it’s important that you have some patience with yourself. Take the time to choose the right equipment, perfect your form and slowly increase your workout as it feels comfortable. You’re not using your rower to become a professional competitor, so have fun with your rowing experience so it becomes a long lasting exercise tool for you. It’s ok if you make mistakes along the way. Simply correct yourself and move on.

Tips for Success from the Coastal Rowing Studio Team

If you want to get better with your rowing, here are some helpful tips from the team at Coastal Rowing Studio.

  • Don’t grip the handles too hard. This can cause you to use too much of your upper body to propel yourself back and forth.
  • Don’t forget that rowing is mainly done with your legs. Drive that machine with your lower body.
  • Watch your posture so you’re not hunching over your equipment. If you’re not sitting upright, this can cause injury to your back.

Take a Rowing 101 Class

This is the class we recommend to all first-time guests.  It has been developed to introduce you to the proper rowing technique and help you discover the joys and benefits of group rowing classes.

Proper technique is critical both for safety and to get the most out of your workout.  When you row with the right form you are using about 85% of your muscles and getting the full body workout you expect.

Although rowing is not difficult, the correct form is opposite of how we naturally want to row.  That is why we spend time during the Rowing 101 class breaking down the stroke, going slowly through each of the four parts of the stroke and incorporating drills to help you learn the feel of each part of your stroke.

Aviron Impact Series Rower Review: Is It Worth It?

review of Aviron indoor rowing machine - featured image

This is my (honest) review of the Aviron Impact Series Rower. So, if you’re looking to see if it’s worth the money, you’ll love this post as I reveal everything there is to know about the brand, the rower, how much it costs, best alternatives, and if it’s legit.

Ever since we opened our indoor rowing studio (Coastal Rowing Studio), we have provided rowing classes with the ever-so-popular Concept2 Model D rower. The fitness and rowing enthusiasts, or better yet our students, love the Concept2, just like thousands of other positive reviews out there.

But our neighbors up North (Canada) have a pretty sweet company called Aviron, which makes two smart indoor rower models that people are going absolutely crazy about. Those two models are called:

  1. The Impact Series Rower – Home Fitness (check current sale)
  2. Tough Series Rower – Commercial Fitness (visit avironactive.com)

With all the buzz around smart indoor rowing machines, I wanted to see if Aviron’s rowers lived up to all the hype. In addition, I’m going to compare the Impact Series Rower in short, concise sentences to top competitors such as Hydrow, Ergatta and Concept2. Jump to the comparison table here.

Today, I bring you the hotly anticipated Aviron Impact Series rower and a review. So, just like the movie Top Gun, we’re about to “Take Flight” and see if it’s a legit indoor rowing machine and worth your money.

TLDR; Quick Rating of Aviron Rower Review

Aviron Impact Series Rowing Machine Review

Coastal Rowing Studio Team

Resistance System
Gaming Workouts
Rowing workout while watching Netflix
Instructor-led workouts
Pros vs Joes
Scenic Rows
Competition Races
Look and Feel
Quality of rower

Summary

Overall, the Aviron smart indoor rower is marvelous – providing peloton-like workouts and Concept2-type performance. It’s like having the best of both worlds, and, if you’re a beginner or a world-class athlete looking to train, Aviron’s rower is the perfect indoor rowing machine to help you reach your fitness goals.

The only prerequisite is, DO YOU WANT IT? Not do you need it, not can you have it… but, do you want it? Well, I did want it and all I have to say is two words: “No regrets.”

4.8

What Is The Aviron Impact Series Rower?

Aviron was put on this planet for one reason – to “End Boring Workouts!” After using it myself, I describe this indoor rower to my friends as powerful, fun, exciting, addicting and bad ass. The Aviron Impact Series Rower is equipped with a 22” HD Touchscreen that is completely vibrant and really goes a long way in making you feel like you’re part of both the cardio and strength training workouts.

Impact Series Rower by Aviron
“End Boring Workouts” is their slogan, and it’s totally true – strength training, cardio, games, pros vs joes, and so much more.

The best part about all of this? It’s rowing, which means you’ll work more muscles in less time than traditional workouts.

Shopping at Aviron's website and price of rower
It’s a nice looking website, which makes you feel secure.

When you order the rower on Aviron’s website, you’ll then be prompted to purchase their membership. The Impact Series Rower costs $2,299, but they are running a sale ($150 off), bringing the total down to $2,149. In addition to that promo, they have free shipping on a limited-time only basis.

Aviron’s Personal Membership is the next thing you’ll want to “add to cart,” costing only $29 per month, which is less than most connected home gym memberships. It’s a very simple process setting it up and you’ll need an email address and billing information.

One of the best things I loved was that the membership billing didn’t begin until I activated my membership with my machine (and it’s activated by logging in). That said, you won’t be paying the membership cost until you actually receive your rower.

personal membership on aviron's website
This is what you’ll need to get all the games, workouts, scenic rides and more. Also, the billing doesn’t start until you active at, which is real nice (#worthit)!

Aviron’s Impact Series Indoor Rower is made with high strength aluminum. It’s got almost a steel-like feel, which is nice if you want to do tricep dips on the machine. The rower is very compact and can fit in small spaces folded up. Otherwise you’re looking at the following specs (make sure it can fit in your apartment or workout area):

Aviron’s RowerInfo
Dimensions:97” L x 22” W x 43” H
Folded Dimensions:54” L x 22” W x 62” H
Weight:93 lbs / 42 kg
Max User Weight:397 lbs / 180 kg
Frame:High strength aluminum
Resistance:Dual air and magnetic (16 levels)
Belt:Whisper Poly-V
Seat:Extra rear support (Ergonomic)

Other awesome features and benefits I love:

TouchscreenInfo
Screen:22” 1080p touchscreen
Bluetooth:Yes (4.1)
Camera:Front-facing 2 megapixel camera
Speakers:2×2 watt stereo (the sound is really good)
Memory:4GB RAM
OS:Android

Comparison: Aviron vs Hydrow vs Ergatta vs Concept2

VSAvironHydrowErgattaConcept2
Gaming✔️✔️
Compete vs Community✔️✔️
Live Classes✔️✔️
Scenic Rides✔️✔️✔️
Pros vs Joes✔️
Resistance TypeFan & FlywheelMagneticWaterFan & Flywheel
Interactive Touchscreen Display✔️✔️✔️
Warranty2-Year Limited1-Year Home Use Warranty5-Year Warranty on Structural Frame, 3-Year Warranty on Parts, 1-Year Warranty on Tablet5-Year Limited Warranty on Frame Parts, 2-Year Limited Warranty on All Parts
Starting Price$2,149$2,520 (check lowest deal)$2,199$900 (PM5)
Monthly Membership Price$29/month$38/month$29/monthNone
WebsiteAvironHydrowErgattaConcept2

What types of workouts does Aviron’s Fitness Membership offer?

Remember when I said Aviron’s entire mission is to ‘End Boring Workouts?’ Well, my entire family, including two young kids and my husband have been obsessed (nearly addicted) to the Impact Series indoor rowing machine. But, here’s the secret – I am and they are obsessed with the types of workouts, A.K.A. the Aviron Personal Membership.

Here’s the deal, the membership gives you access to exciting games, competitive (fierce) races, strength programs and a cool feature that my husband loves – Pros vs. Joes. One of the pros is a CFL player named Fabion Foote. Well, he’s super strong and beats my hubby every time. But, he keeps coming back for more (I guess he’s trying prove something) 🤷.

There are 6 different ways to work out with Aviron’s smart indoor rower. Let’s take a look at those below:

Competition:

Compete within the community.This can be head-to-head matchups, 10 person race (Grand Prix), and a Lap Knockout.

Performance:

Learn the proper technique, tips and tricks, as well as improve your previous high records.

Games:

All games range from old school attare to new school graphics. It’s literally like a video game.

Pros vs. Joes:

Aviron’s stomping grounds is Canada, so most of the Pros are athletes that play in Canada. You’ll come across MMA fighters and Boxers, CFL stars, Hockey players, Baseball players, world-class sprinters, Olympic Snowboarders and Skiers and of course Olympic Rowers.

Programs:

Here, you can choose from a variety of guided workout programs designed by legit trainers and athletes.

Virtual Rows:

And finally, they have scenic rides through some of the coolest places on planet Earth.

Which Rowing Workouts Have I Tried?

So far, I’ve been toggling back and forth between Games and Competition.

My favorite games are “The Hunted,” where you work as a team with other rowers to outrun the wolves, and “Shark Bait,” where you try to escape the shark or you become the bait!

I pretty much have done all the Competition games, but I especially like “Grand Prix,” where you race vs 10 other rowers, and “Lightning Lap Knockout,” where the slowest person at the end of each lap gets knocked out until there’s one last rower remaining.

Technology and fitness is probably my saving grace when it comes to getting back into shape, looking and feeling my very best. It’s also been a blessing with my family. Thanks to Aviron, it’s brought us closer together, makes fitness fun and improves our competitive spirit.

Folks, I’ve tried Hydrow, I have Ergatta and the Concept2, and all I have to say is Aviron is without question the best smart indoor rower available right now. But, there’s something for everyone and that’s what makes life great – there are always options. That said, let’s see which rower is better head-to-head.

Alternatives to The Aviron Rower

There are three main alternatives to the Aviron rowing machine if you’re in the market for a smart, interactive indoor rower. Those three smart rowers are:

  1. Hydrow
  2. Ergatta
  3. Concept2

What I’ll do next is tell you, in my humble opinion, how Aviron stacks up against it and which is better – based on what you’re looking for. Let’s begin.

Which Is Better: Aviron or Hydrow?

Hydrow is the better option for those looking for fitness classes like Peloton, whereas Aviron would be the best choice for people who prefer competition rowing races, interactive games and a boost in strength training, as Aviron’s resistance can go up to 100 lbs (far superior than Hydrow’s resistance).

👉 Go to Aviron’s Official Website

👉 Go to Hydrow’s Official Website

what's better vote - aviron or hydrow
Our members tried each machine and voted on which rower they like better. Overall, 76% of our members preferred Aviron over Hydrow because of Aviron’s competition, games and 100 lbs of resistance features.

What’s The Better Rower: Ergatta vs Aviron

Both Ergatta and Aviron are gaming inspired indoor rowing machines that provide rowing races, interval workouts, and scenic rows. Aviron, though, offers even more than Ergatta with Aviron’s Pros vs. Joes, better gaming workouts with amazing graphics and just as good, if not better, racing competitions.

👉 Visit Aviron

👉 Go to Ergatta’s Official Website

Ergatta or Aviron the better choice for indoor rowing
Both aviron and ergatta are wicked awesome gaming and racing indoor rowers, but aviron has the Pros vs Joes feature and that’s what makes it better than Ergatta.

Is Aviron or Concept2 Better?

The Concept2 rower is the better option for those who prefer to just row for their workout without too many bells and whistles. The Aviron rowing machine is best for rowers who are looking to get more out of their workout experience through gaming, training programs and competition.

👉 Get Aviron

👉 Go to Rogue Fitness for Concept2

is aviron or concept2 the better rower?
Based on our members vote, more people say Aviron is better than Concept2 if you’re looking for more interactive workouts.

Is Aviron’s Rower Worth The Money?

The Aviron rowing machine is definitely worth the money if you can afford it. The rowing experience is totally unique and a step above many of the smart rowers out there. In addition, the membership gives you access to compete vs members of the Aviron community, as well as live classes, high-tech (and cool graphic) games, and their Pros vs. Joes match play.

Aviron Rower Reviews from Reddit and Trustpilot

This is a newer indoor rowing machine on the market and a very large purchase, but they have already sold a plethora of their rowers and they have a thriving facebook community with over 700+ members as I write this. After seeing that many loyal customers, I decided to read reddit and trustpilot and provide a detailed summary of the reviews right here.

Overall, customers are wicked excited about Aviron’s Impact Series Rower helping provide killer at-home workouts. In addition, many reviewers (especially on reddit) go on to say that the games, Pros vs. Joes, competition, scenic rides and training programs are an added bonus. People love how quiet the rower is, it looks good and it folds up to save space. So far, there aren’t any negative reviews out there. However, no smart indoor rower is perfect so be sure to keep that in mind when you hit that “add to cart” button.

View the verified buyers testimonials to get a good feel for how people like it so far. I took these screenshots from a Aviron rower review reddit thread, which are super genuine:

aviron rower reivews 2
aviron rower reivews 1
aviron rower reivews 4
aviron rower reivews 3

Read more reviews

Final Thoughts: Is The Aviron Rower a legit choice for an indoor rowing machine?

Wellness is the new craze these days and in order to keep our bodies healthy, we should strongly consider a workout program that can help us become physically fit. As any rowing instructor or fitness enthusiast would tell you, there is no such fitness equipment that is “magical.” In other words, you can’t purchase a smart rower, hit the easy button and expect that it works you out. You’ll still need to get on that rowing machine and row your heart out, watch the foods you eat and commit to better wellness.

That said, I believe that Aviron rowers are a legit choice for an indoor rowing machine and worth your money if you also commit to working out with it consistently, while also getting proper sleep and nutrition. That combination will absolutely help your overall fitness and wellness.

Think The Aviron Impact Series Rower Is A Good Fit For You?

Out of all the rowers I tried, it’s my favorite one too (by a long shot). So, go ahead and visit their official website and be sure to use our link for the lowest possible price.

Go to Aviron

Why Rowing Rocks!

Welcome back everyone! It’s been a long time off, but wow we are back and ready than ever before! We went from studio to blog in a very short time. However, we have a lot of information to be giving out here very, very soon.

Why Does Rowing Rock So Much?

It’s simple really – because you can get a full body workout in about half the time with any other type of workout. Did you know rowing incorporates (and stimulates) 86% of your muscles? That’s a huge stat that many of us rowing enthusiasts take seriously. Well, come back for more awesome tips on rowing machines, smart rowers and rowing on the water as we’re about to take the lid off and pour it all out!