Those Rowing Machines Are No Joke

Years and years ago, not terribly long after my wife and I started dating, we joined a health club together. My wife joined mostly for the included fitness classes while I joined for the various weight machines.

During our initial tour the trainer took us through a room up on the second floor. Inside this room were rows and rows of rowing machines. The trainer explained that one night per week a class would meet in this room for rowing. No need for us to be concerned, you went at your own pace and the group atmosphere was simply to offer motivation.

The room intrigued me but I’ve never been the group exercise type. I never stepped foot in that room again but rowing machines have always intrigued me. Last month, when I joined Anytime Fitness of Gilbertsville, the pair of rowing machines in the cardio section caught my eye.

Despite my interest, I avoided them. We’ve all seen the gym fail videos were people look like complete fools working out on equipment the wrong way. I had a general idea of how to row but I didn’t want to make myself look like a fool.

It wasn’t until about a week ago that I finally decided to give it a try. I sat down in the seat, buckled my feet in, grabbed hold of the handles, and pulled. This isn’t so bad, I thought. I pulled a few more times and found myself confused. I thought this was supposed to be a difficult total body workout?

I reached forward, cranked up the resistance, and pulled again. This was more like it but still, this seems pretty easy. Maybe I’m supposed to go faster? I began rowing with a purpose. The faster I went the easier it felt (less resistance as you move faster). Maybe I’ll just bang out a quick fifteen minutes on this contraption then move on to something else?

I pulled and pulled, working out with a purpose. It wasn’t long before I was huffing and puffing. Not only was I out of breath, I was exhausted. I glanced up at the timer and saw that I hadn’t even gone three minutes. I stopped, caught my breath, unbuckled my feet, and walked away nonchalantly.

The rowing machine kicked my ass that day. I felt pretty foolish only being able to row for three minutes but I was determined to make a better second showing. A few days later I sat back down on that same rowing machine and resolved to do better.

I played around with the controls and found a 2000 meter timed workout. I didn’t know how long that would take but it seemed like a good place to start. I set the resistance around 5 and got down to business. Slow and steady with purposeful strokes.

The first 500 meters were easy but it was an uphill climb after that. I reached 1000 meters and my body was groaning. I was breathing hard and I developed an ache in my lower back. I shifted myself in the seat and continued on. I went another 200 meters before needing another quick break.

The rower wasn’t going to win this time. I took a deep breath and pulled once again. Another 300 or so meters and I was hunched over, breathing hard.. There was no way I was going to let this contraption win. I locked my eyes on the screen and began pulling. With 100 meters to go I kicked it into high gear and made great strides.

When I finally hit the 2000 meter mark, I was spent. I managed to finish the workout in just over 13 minutes. I don’t know if that was good or bad but it felt great to complete the workout. I don’t know how often I’ll find myself on the rower but I can definitely see it being an addition to Cardio Day.

What is a good time to shoot for
as a beginner rowing 2000 meters?


Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - I’m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

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