Rowing fitness provides high intensity workouts in a limited time

Fitness enthusiasts often face the challenge of balancing sufficient workout time with work and family obligations.  One potential option is rowing.  As one of the oldest competitive sports, rowing uses multiple large muscle groups to attain an excellent workout in a short period of time.

The Yale-Harvard rowing regatta was first held in 1852 and is the oldest intercollegiate sporting event in the United States.  On-water rowing consists of sweep rowing (both hands on one oar) and sculling (one oar in each hand).

In 1981, Concept 2 produced an indoor rowing machine that revolutionized training and helped many athletes gain the fitness benefits of rowing.

Workouts, both on and off water, consist of short intense sprints and longer, moderately paced sessions.  Due to the intense cyclic exercise of major muscle groups and the aerobic demands, rowing results in superior cardiovascular endurance.

Cardiac ultrasound studies of elite rowers demonstrate increased cardiac muscle mass.  These studies show the ability of a trained heart to pump more blood with less effort.

The rowing stroke starts with an explosive pushing-off motion by the legs, extending the back and pulling the oar through with the arms at the finish.

Rowing injuries most commonly affect the low back, upper and lower extremities.  The action of the low back moving from flexion to extension against resistance puts tremendous torque on the ligaments, muscles and discs.  This can result in sprain, strain and disc herniation.

Upper extremity injuries from rowing are a result of overuse.  Joints become inflamed causing bursitis and tendonitis.

The most common lower extremity joint injury affects the tendons holding the patella (knee cap) in place.  Rapid extension of the knee can cause the patella to divert from its usual track resulting in tendon pain.

Rowing is a sport worth exploring when looking for an intense workout in a limited period of time.

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