Those who row say that it's a great tool because rowing results in longer, leaner physique while promoting fat loss and increasing muscle mass. In addition to a good cardio workout, it also works your legs, back and arms, which is something you don't typically get from other similar cardio machines.
Rowing also increases flexibility and balance and can even be used in rehab for injured shoulder or back. Plus many athletes using rowing to enhance their performance in other sports because the machines can teach body discipline and help to build a strong core. In particular, rowing is growing among runners who are looking for an effective high-intensity replacement exercise.
If you're trying rowing out on your own and not at a specialized studio, its important to first be comfortable with proper rowing technique so that you avoid injury. The seat moves and your feet are tied to it, an rowing is a continuous motion.
1. Grab the handle while sitting in an upright position, slightly leaning back with your legs straight. The handle should be pulled back so the its just above your belly button. This is the "finish" position of a stroke.
2. To start the next stroke, extend your arms, pivot forward slightly (from the hips) and then bring your butt forward by bending your knees (move toward the machine.)
3. With you arms still extended, you will reach the "start" position when your chest is a couple of inches from your knees.
4. Start the next stroke by pushing back through your heels as hard as you can.
5. Just before your legs are fully extended, pivot from your hips to a slight lean (80 degrees) and then pull your arms back so that the handle is just above your belly button.
6. Transitions right away into the next stroke.
7. Remember each stroke starts with the legs, the back follows, then the arms. Legs, back arms.
The bottom line is that rowing may be more effective than cycling. Rowing is effective because it's low impact, full body, great for the core, lower body and upper body.