Are Rowing Machines Good For Your Back? Find Out Here!

Rowing Machines For The Back

There are always different points of view when it comes to health and fitness right? So what do you believe when it comes to rowing machines?

Do they put pressure on your back and can they cause harm or are they good for your back in terms of strengthening it?

Let’s delve a little deeper.

Research shows that rowers have improved users posture as well as offered a reduction in back pain. Rowers exercise the rhomboids in the shoulders, trapezii in the upper back and the lats in the lower back. However, a weak core (abdominal muscles) can cause rowers to over compensate in the lower spine which can lead to lower back pain and problems.

One rowing session with the wrong technique could be all it takes to cause pain and damage so make sure you are educated and rower ready! Become an educated rower and understand your own body as well as its needs and limits.

Firstly, I would suggest it is about the individual user and what state their own body is in. Do you suffer with lower back pain for example? Are you strong in the core? Do you have Sciatica? (FYI – rowing can actually strengthen muscles around the sciatic nerve helping to reduce pain levels).

Secondly, when it comes to a rower you need to know how to use one. Are you pulling correctly in an uprighted position for example? Or are you slouching and slumping your shoulders and putting pressure on your back?

It’s like anything – if used correctly it can work for you. We are all unique and are all built differently so understanding it from your own bodies perspective is
key.

It comes down to education.

Your own education. You know your own body and you have to listen to it (especially when it speaks directly to you). Ifsomething is painful for example, then this would obviously mean that it is not right for you or you are not using the machine correctly perhaps.

Or maybe it is just not for you at that moment in your life. Looking into other machinery that can be used initially to gain more core strength for example then coming back to the rower when more strength has been acquired. Listen and learn.

Two vital points here.

Gym inductions can be very insightful. Instructors will show you how to use equipment so that you understand the machines. They will even “test drive” them with you and help guide your body when using the equipment. It is a very useful way of understanding, not only the machinery, but also how your body copes with that particular machine.

Personally, I have found rowers very useful for myself as I lacked core and upper body strength. For me, it was about pulling right back with my arms so the t-bar came all the way to my chest (sitting straight not slouched) to get the results I was wanting from the rower.

I concentrated on the areas I wanted to work on and therefore did not put too much pressure on my (slightly weaker at the time) back. Hooray!

Velocity is key here also. The speed and direction needs to be understood by the user. What speed is best for you? In what direction are you pulling back? In a straight line? Up and over?

I have always found it useful to fully understand what is too much for my own body. I can put my body through its paces and know what my limit is (I guess similar to those of you who drink alcohol – you know your limits).

On a rower I think it is key to pace yourself.

Perhaps not going too hard initially and easing your body into the rower itself (almost developing and building trust with the rower if you like). You need to develop a great rapport with any kind of machinery where your body is being tested and pushed. For me, it was a matter of ‘slowly does it’! Win win!

How often? And for how long?

How often will come into the equation here. How many times a week is right (and safe) for you? It is advised three times a week for a beginner, allowing a rest day between each session to give your muscles chance to recover.

If your body is particularly sore after a session then more rest days would be suggested. Again, you know your own body and you must listen to it.

For how long?

Now, this will be different depending on what you are wanting to get out of using the rower. Are you trying to lose weight for example? If so, then setting longer time frame goals is key.

Recommendations come in around 15 minutes per session, but again for weight loss this would perhaps need looking into for longer sessions as roughly rowing 15 minutes a day will mean burning around 150-300 calories (depending on the intensity levels).

Another good low intensity exercise machine that you can use is the cross trainer.

Essentially, using any equipment where your body is being put through its paces is all about the individual. What feels right for you? What are you trying to achieve? Does it feel uncomfortable? Is it helping you?

Is it causing pain? It is an ongoing process and results take time. Give it a whirl and see if the rower is for you! Happy rowing!

Best Cross Trainers – Reviews 2018 – 2019

The Elliptical Cross Trainer – The Perfect Addition to the Home Gym

Creating a home gym can be quite a difficult process, mainly due to the sheer variety that you will find in gym equipment these days. There are so many different types of workout machines that you can buy and each of them offers different benefits.

The one machine that is versatile enough to meet the needs of everyone is the cross trainer. The elliptical cross trainer allows you to mimic walking, running and climbing at different levels of intensity and different inclines. It is the perfect machine for those who want to lose weight, those who are particularly unfit, or even those with peak fitness levels.

Choosing an elliptical cross trainer for your home is a little tricky because there are so many different models available. This is why we have tried and tested some of the best cross trainers on the market right now so that we could review them for you. Please read on below for our top three picks.

3. JTX Tri-Fit – Our Top Pick

JTX have been around for quite some time now and they have built themselves a solid customer base who has been very satisfied with their products. Whilst we were sure that this cross trainer would perform well; the Tri-Fit actually exceeded our expectations. Take a look below for our JTX fitness cross trainer review.

Features:

17kg Flywheel – 16 Levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance – 19 Workout Programs – Customisable Workout Program – 150Kg Max User Weight – Electromagnetic Resistance & Incline Control – Bluetooth

Pros:

  • Plenty of built in workout programs.
  • 16 levels of SMR for varying workout intensity.
  • Customisable workout program for maximising results.
  • Powerful 17kg flywheel.

Cons:

  • The frame is heavy.
  • It is a little more expensive.

The Review

Upon assembly, the one thing that we did notice is that the cross trainer frame is a little on the heavy side. This may be problematic for some people, but it actually has its plus points as well. For one, when we had fully assembled the cross trainer we immediately noticed how sturdy the frame feels. The frame of the JTX Tri-Fit actually comes with a lifetime warranty so you can rest assured that it is very well made.

The machine has a 17kg flywheel which makes it powerful enough for those of all fitness levels. This, combined with the adjustable stride length, makes this cross trainer perfect. It has a maximum user weight of 150kg which is more than sufficient and makes it suitable for most people.

The handlebars of the JTX Tri-Fit are very comfortable to hold. The LCD screen is large enough to see all of the features clearly and operating the machine itself is no trouble at all. Now that we have talked about the design, let’s talk about using the cross trainer to workout.

The first thing that is definitely worth pointing out is how quiet this cross trainer actually is. The silent magnetic resistance certainly works well. As well as this, there is no movement from the frame itself because of how sturdy it is. It doesn’t wobble or struggle during use.

The 19 built in programs of this cross trainer are fantastic and allow the user to really vary the intensity and style of their workout. It is an incredibly versatile machine. As well as this, there is the added bonus of a customisable workout program which is perfect for those who want to really push themselves.

There are several extra features with this cross trainer that make it stand out. The main one that we liked was the built in Bluetooth function which allows you to pair your cross trainer with the iConsolethe app. This is perfect for those who want to keep a close eye on their fitness progress.

Overall, the JTX Tri-Fit is a fantastic, versatile machine that is suitable for everyone, regardless of fitness level, age, or anything else. This is why it is our number one on this list.

2. Nordic Track Elliptical Cross Trainer E7.2

Nordic Track is another well-known fitness brand. They have a reputation for manufacturing mid-range to high-end fitness machines that are well designed and versatile. Having tested some of their fitness products before, we were fairly sure that this cross trainer would meet our expectations and we weren’t disappointed. Please read on for our Nordic Track Elliptical review for the E7.2.

Features:

9kg Flywheel – 20 Levels of Digital Resistance – 20 Built in Programs – 150kg Max User Weight – Adjustable Incline – Built in Speakers

Pros:

  • 10 performance programs and 10 weight loss programs.
  • Adjustable resistance allows you to vary your workout intensity.
  • Built in speakers allow you to listen to music while you train.

Cons:

  • The flywheel could be a little more powerful.
  • It is still on the expensive side.

The Review

The first thing that we immediately noticed during the assembly process of this elliptical cross trainer is how lightweight it feels. We were initially concerned that this would affect the sturdiness of the cross trainer itself, but fortunately this wasn’t the case.

The assembly process was actually really simple and we had the machine up and running within an hour. The handlebars are very comfortable and the Nordic cross trainer also has an adjustable stride length as well as a maximum user weight of 150kg so it is suitable for people of all heights and weights.

The LCD screen is clear and bright enough to see very clearly and operating the different settings is very easy thanks to the sensitive buttons which can be found alongside the screen. The one niggle that we did have with this cross trainer is that the flywheel at only 9kg could be a little more powerful.

However, what this machine lacks in power it certainly makes up for in other ways. For example, there are 20 built in programs; 10 for performance and 10 for weight loss so there is something for everyone. As well as this, there are 20 levels of digital resistance so varying the intensity of your workout is very easy.

This machine is a little noisier than our top pick, but not so much so that it would be distracting or cause any problems for people around you. There are a couple of extra features that we really like with this cross trainer.

The main feature that really impressed us was the built in speakers which allow you to connect your iPod or any other MP3 device, including your phone. This allows you to listen to music as you workout. We were really impressed with the sound quality of the speakers. There is no distortion and it masks any noise that the cross trainer makes.

There are also other features such as access to the iFit database of workouts which can be programmed into the cross trainer with compatible devices. Overall, this is a really impressive mid-range cross trainer.

3. Charles Bentley Fitness Elliptical Cross Trainer

Charles Bentley is not as well-known as a fitness brand as the previous two on our list, but they do have a good reputation for manufacturing affordable fitness equipment. We hadn’t actually heard much about the brand before, so we were curious to see what this machine had to offer. Read on below for our Charles Bentley Cross Trainer review.

Features:

4kg Flywheel – 8 Levels of Magnetic Resistance – 100kg Max User Weight – Adjustable Incline

Pros:

  • It is an affordable cross trainer.
  • It has a very lightweight frame.
  • The adjustable incline offers some variety.

Cons:

  • It is a fairly basic model so wouldn’t be suitable for professionals or fitness fanatics.
  • The flywheel isn’t very powerful.
  • There aren’t any built in programs.

The Review

There are a few things that we should definitely point out before we get into the review. First of all, this is a budget model so you shouldn’t expect anything too fancy. It is also important to remember that at only 4kg, the flywheel isn’t going to offer much power. Aside from this, the Charles Bentley Fitness Elliptical is a fantastic low-end cross trainer.

First of all, the assembly was incredibly simple. At only 28kg, the frame is very lightweight in comparison to the others on our list. This does make it feel a little less sturdy than some of the others, but again, this is a budget model and this should be kept in mind.

It doesn’t benefit from a large LCD screen like the others, but there is a small screen which will show your time and other things. In terms of resistance, this machine only offers 8 levels of magnetic resistance, but if you are a complete beginner then this is all you are really going to need until your fitness progresses significantly.

In terms of noise, there is a fair amount of noise that comes with using this machine. It certainly isn’t silent. However, it isn’t loud enough to cause any problems either. The 4kg flywheel certainly doesn’t offer much in the way of power, but as we have already mentioned, it is a budget model and it does what it needs to do.

Although there are no fancy extra features to note, this is a very good cross trainer for those who want something inexpensive that does the job. We definitely recommend it as a low end model.

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of the right elliptical cross trainer for you. There is something for each price range on this list, so there should be something that is suitable for you no matter what your needs are.