How can I use the rowing machine correctly?

Skillrow is the indoor rowing machine belonging to the Skill Line, with which you will train frequently during Skillathletic classes. This indoor rowing machine simulates in water resistance as if you were an outdoor rower, whose performance is closely related, in addition to his strength and resistance, to his rowing technique.

Learning the right sequence of movements is the basis of every kind of training. However, in rowing the movement does not come naturally as for other cardio equipment of the Skill Line. Once you have learned how to use a rowing machine, you will feel that the gesture will be more fluid. Furthermore, you will be able to optimize your training and get better adaptations and results. In addition, you will avoid inflicting stabbing pains on the lumbar region, or falling from the seat in front of the whole class.

How to use the rowing machine – the rowing technique

With these indications, we will provide you with a useful guide to start using Skillrow correctly. First, we can consider that, to approach the rowing technique, it is useful to consider rowing as a sequence of movements that take you from a catch to a finish position.

Catch position

Catch position


Before you start, adjust the rowing ergometer’s foot support to your size and tighten the straps to have your feet firmly seated. Grab the rowing machine handle and move it from the stand so that the chain is horizontal. The legs are bent, so you have vertical shingles; the shoulders are slightly beyond the pelvis, but the back stays straight.

The arms are outstretched, the shoulders relaxed and the head in line. Always keep your eyes on the Skillrow display: your head will be aligned with the spine and at the same time, you can constantly monitor your rowing.


By positioning yourself on the ergometer as described, your body is in a position that allows you to express power by activating the muscles involved.

Drive phase

Drive phase


This part represents the real beginning of the rowing technique. We can further divide this movement into three small parts:

  • Legs. The key to the whole sequence on how to use a rower is represented by the thrust of the legs against the machine. It is not in fact the arms that “pull” the rowing machine handle. Rather, the foot in contact with the support allows you to activate all the extensor muscles of the lower limbs.
  • Trunk. Once you have finished pushing your legs, continue the movement with the opening of the pelvis, bringing your shoulders slightly backwards.
  • Arms. Until now, the arms have remained extended to allow the lower limbs to generate most of the strength and power of rowing. Only at this point, conclude the gesture with a pull of arms, bringing the handle of the rowing machine to the lower part of the ribcage.
Finish position

Finish position


Once you have completed the drive phase, you will find yourself in a position from which you can no longer generate more force. The legs are extended, the pelvis is open, the back is tilted backwards, the rowing machine’s handle is in contact with the abdomen and the core is active to control the attitude of the torso.

Recovery phase

Recovery phase


It’s the same sequence as the drive, but backwards. The aim is to return to the starting position in the most efficient way possible, to start again the movement from the beginning and to guarantee cyclical rowing. From the final position, stretch out your arms, bring your shoulders slightly forward by tilting your torso and flex your knees, until you return to the catch position.

This is a “passive” phase of recovery, in which you prepare your body for the next rowing. Upon reaching the initial phase, repeat everything from the beginning without sudden interruptions.


Learning to use the rowing machine correctly takes time and practice, as it requires the development of a new skill. To achieve a fluid and cyclical gesture, give your nervous system time to learn the correct sequence. Always ask a coach for advice on using the rowing machine, as you would for any other technical movement such as a snatch or push up. You will find that in a short time the rowing on Skillrow will become a spontaneous gesture such as running or pedalling.

The choice of resistance

While there are no differences in rowing technique, the technology behind Skillrow allows you to vary your workout and adapt it to your routine. You can adjust the strength of the rowing machine’s resistance by turning the yellow knob on Skillrow in “rowing” or “power” mode. With the use of Skillrow, you can develop mainly the pillars of Stamina and Power.

Rowing mode

Rowing mode


The rowing mode allows you to range between ten different degrees of resistance. Use the lowest numbers to get a workout more focused on the rowing frequency – number of rounds per minute – than the intensity of the rowing itself. This choice allows you to focus on the cardiovascular aspect and develop Stamina.

On the opposite side, you can get closer to the higher numbers if you prefer to involve your leg muscles more and slow down your rowing rhythm, focusing more on strong strength work. The choice is subjective, but the advice we give you is to adjust it according to the duration of the effort and the muscles involved within the work block with Skillrow.


During Boost classes, for example, the workout may include a few minutes on Skillrow preceded by exercises that have fatigued your lower limbs. In this case, select a low resistance and increase the rowing frequency. On the contrary, if your legs are rested, but thanks to your heart rate monitor, you notice that your beats are particularly fast, keep a more controlled rhythm on the ergometer, so to catch your breath and choose a higher resistance focusing on the power of the rowing.

Power mode

Power mode


It is common during Brave classes that the workout indicates to use one of the three power mode gradations on Skillrow. With this function, the training will be less focused on cardiovascular endurance, stimulating the development of power.

In contrast to rowing mode, this option increases the rowing machine’s resistance for each row, making the training particularly intense from a muscular point of view.


Just two or three rowing sessions are all it takes to immediately feel the difference between the two different Skillrow modes. So get ready to do a few, but decisive rowing to reach the goal of the daily workout, using the rowing machine with the best possible technique.

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