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I rowed a mile a day for two weeks here’s what happened to my body – Tom’s Guide

Aug 27th, 2022

When The Proclaimers sang about walking 500 miles it sounded like a pretty tough feat; my challenge of rowing a mile every day for two weeks, however, seemed slightly more achievable.

Why a mile every day? Well, why not? Rowing (on the machine) has been praised for its many body benefits not only is it a great way to work on your cardiovascular fitness, but it engages several muscles and well, you get to sit down as you work out! Whats not to love?

Rowing is a great full-body workout. Each stroke activates muscles in the lower body, as well as muscles in the core, upper body, and back. Essentially you drive with your legs, and use the muscles in your arms and back to pull the handle to your torso. Plus, rowing, like most exercises, is good for the mind thanks to the release of feel-good endorphins in the brain.

My gym has several rowers but my usual go-to is the Concept 2 rower. The units on the Concept 2 are set to meters, but a quick Google converted one mile to 1600 meters, so for two weeks, I set out to row 1600 meters every day. Read on to find out what happened.

Looking for more workout inspiration? Here's what happened when we tried the exact resistance band workout Chris Hemsworth used on the set of Thor: Love and Thunder, the best ab exercises to add to your routine, and what happened when our fitness editor did 100 dead bugs a day for a week.

At first glance, rowing looks like an upper body workout, but after about half a mile on day one, I realized how wrong Id been. I could feel my glutes firing up, and as I focused on my form, I could feel that I was working my lower body as I pushed away from the footplates.

Before this challenge, I was pretty new to rowing, so rowing a mile every day did feel odd at first, as I wasnt used to the movement. After a few of my daily miles, I got into the swing of things and actually, by the end of my two weeks, I was far speedier, hitting my mile at a casual 6 minutes 40 seconds.

Rowing is a great way to get fitter, plus if youre looking to lose weight, research (opens in new tab)has found that when incorporated into a training plan, over a period of six weeks, the total body fat percentage of participants dropped by a significant amount.

Unlike my usual blend of resistance training, Crossfit-style workouts, and running, rowing is a lovely, low-impact exercise that doesnt hammer the joints. Primarily, this is because youre sitting down in the rowing seat. In fact, Ill definitely be using rowing on my active recovery days in the future. Research (opens in new tab) has proved rowing to be an exercise suitable for seniors thanks to its low impact capabilities, and that rowing can also prevent sarcopenia; the loss of muscle mass and strength.

After two weeks of daily rows, I noticed I didnt feel sore and my body wasnt crying out for a good stretch. Albeit, this may have been very different had I rowed for longer.

When youre rowing, your form is important. As a personal trainer, I often see people in the gym pulling the handle of the rower to their knees, rather than all the way to their ribs, or yanking the handle to their body before driving back with their legs.

Keen to learn the correct way to row? There are four parts to each stroke on the rowing machine the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery. The drive is really the main portion of work, where, from leaning forwards from the hips, hands gripping the handle, you drive back with the legs before pulling the handle to just below the ribs. Then, extend the arms before bending the knees and sliding the seat back to the start position. When done properly, rowing can help with posture, and it really did force me to engage my core and back.

The biggest surprise for me was how strong I felt every morning after my time on the rower. Theres something about the full-body exercise that left me feeling ready to take on anything. As well as being important for physical strength, for me, exercise is as much about looking after my mental health. One study (opens in new tab)found that strength training can elicit a more positive body image, and I definitely left the gym with a buzz after my sessions on the rower.

Two weeks later, I think Ive found my new favorite gym machine. Rowing every day for a fortnight was a great accompaniment to my marathon training, as it really helped me get a sweat on, without putting any extra strain on my poor, battered knees.

Will I continue rowing? The answer is a definite yes. All hail the rowing machine; this piece of kit should be part of everyones workout repertoire.

Inspired? Here's more on how to lose weight using a rowing machine, and the best rowing machine workouts to try.

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I rowed a mile a day for two weeks here's what happened to my body - Tom's Guide

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