Since the COVID-19 pandemic first started, people are beginning to realise that physical fitness is extremely important. People that have never taken their fitness seriously before are starting to. One sport that people are becoming very interested in is rowing, because not only is it a lot of fun, it is also extremely good for one’s health. Rowing can be performed on rivers, in lakes, and even at sea. The best part about rowing is that you don’t necessarily even have to hit the water, thanks to rowing machines!

But how do you start rowing? Keep reading, because this article will offer a complete beginner’s guide:

Machine Rowing

One of the best tips that you can get with regard to rowing is to start out using a machine. Using a rowing machine allows you to strengthen your muscles, familiarize yourself, and learn proper techniques. Heading straight out onto the water without any formal practise or training is not advised. The reason for this is that, if you go out alone, you could end up stranded, lost, or capsized. All of these things can be disastrous under the wrong circumstances. Some people start machine rowing and keep at it, preferring it over actual rowing. It’s not hard to see why, since when you use a machine you get all of the benefits of rowing without having to brave the cold, wet, outdoors.

Taking Classes

If you do not want to use machines and do indeed want to physically get out on the water, then the best piece of advice that we can give you is to take classes. As mentioned previously, attempting to master rowing without professional help or formal training can be disastrous, not to mention it can put a lot of stress on your muscles if you aren’t used to working out. Training isn’t expensive, difficult, or particularly time-consuming, as long as you pick a time that you’re free. Rowing classes can be taken in the evening after work, or on weekends. Make sure that you research classes so that you can find the one that’s best suited to you.

Physical Fitness

One of the determining factors in rowing success is fitness. If you aren’t physically fit then there’s absolutely no chance that you will succeed at rowing, especially if you are rowing in turbulent conditions. It’s absolutely imperative that you are in good physical condition, particularly if you intend on rowing at sea or on fast-moving river systems. You can improve your physical fitness by training with rowing machines, callisthenics, or following a strict gym routine. Exercise should be complemented by a good diet.

Friendship Circle

A good way to get better at rowing, commit yourself, and have fun is to find friends that are also interested in rowing. There are a few ways that you can do this. The easiest is to convince friends you already have to practise rowing with you. Another method is to actively network with other beginners online, then meet up with them. Finally, you could consider joining a rowing club. The benefits of joining a rowing club are many. One of the main benefits is that you will receive training from senior members of the club, sometimes for free. With that said, many rowing clubs will expect you to already have some degree of experience before they let you join them.

Motivating Yourself

If you want to become a good rower, then you need to motivate yourself. Rowing isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. It is strenuous, taxing, and exhausting. In order to master it, you will have to spend hundreds of hours on the water, battling poor weather conditions, the cold, and your own body. If you want to become the best rower that you can possibly be, you need to brave all of this and overcome adversity when it comes your way, which it always tends to do. Motivate yourself, be strong, and persevere.

Quality Equipment

If you intend on solo rowing, then you need to invest in your own rowing equipment, which could also include a boat. Another advantage to joining a rowing club is that you can likely use the club’s equipment instead of your own. One downside to this is that if you damage anything, you may have to pay to replace it. Many clubs use very specialist, high-quality rowing equipment, which means if you have to replace or repair them, you could end up spending hundreds – or even thousands! Anyway, if you do want to row alone and don’t want to join a club, you need equipment.

Water Safety

It’s also imperative that you can swim. If you can’t swim, then make sure that you are always wearing a lifejacket whenever you get into your rowing boat. There have been many tragic incidents where amateur rowers capsize and drown. In order to avoid this, follow our advice. While lifejackets are very effective, some swimming experience is definitely recommended. You can take swimming classes in combination with rowing classes, where you will be supervised. Swimming classes will also help you to get in shape.

Health Insurance

Water sports like rowing come with a lot of risks, as we have already mentioned. It’s this risk that often leads to people exclusively using rowing machines. If you are concerned about your health, won’t use a rowing machine, but still want to get stuck in, then it’s definitely worth checking out health and life insurance. These policies will ensure that should anything happen to you on the water, you or your family will be compensated.

Water Sports

Finally, are you sure that you want to row? There are lots of other water sports worth checking out, like wakeboarding and surfing. Rowing is a lot of fun, and it is a great workout, but you can use machines instead, and take up another water sport for a very intense workout. The combination of machine rowing and other water exercises is a sure-fire way to improve your physical fitness.

If you want to take up rowing, then this guide is a great place to start. Each suggestion here requires serious thought so that you can approach rowing in a mature and methodical manner. You shouldn’t rush into it, just like you shouldn’t rush into anything else in life.

Photo via Unsplash




I've been writing since 2008 about a wide range of topics. I also love making furniture in my spare time, and birdwatching with my wife near our home in southern England.

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