The first time I bought a rowing machine, it was a complete waste of time. It took up a lot of space in my bathroom and was used, well, not nearly as often as it should have been if I had wanted to see some effect. When I think back on the time I wasted, it really makes me feel bad.
Then several years later I met a personal trainer. Martin wasn’t one of these muscle bound types that look down on ordinary mortals. I could tell that he couldn’t understand how anyone could let themselves get into (or rather out of) shape like I was, but Martin was interesting to meet and fun to talk to. He really wanted to make a difference. His studio had all the basics, including a rowing machine and I was anxious that my son would make exercise a regular part of his life, so we began to travel to see Martin on a regular basis.
Martin’s studio was (and still is) a converted studio in a village which rejoices in the name of ‘Marlow Bottom’. This is the heart of England’s rowing country, a leafy landscape of hedges, thatched cottages and country pubs along the meandering waters of the Thames. Henley with it’s famous regatta is only a few miles away and to the South, in the shadow of Windsor Castle, is Dorney Lake, training ground of the UK’s gold medal winning rowing teams.
Marlow Bottom’s most famous resident is Sir Steve Redgrave, 5 times Olympic gold medal winner for rowing and 9 times winner of the world rowing championships. It’s pretty impossible not to be inspired by Steve Redgrave, and Martin would tell us about his training and his exploits while my son toiled on the rowing machine. The old rowing machine was still in the garage, and was still in working order. We dusted it off and soon it was in regular use.
Rowing machines were first introduced to provide out of water practice for rowers and have been known since the early 20th century. The first machines were very heavy and pretty unpopular with their users, but there are now many designs to chose from, including a number which can stored vertically, where they take up very little space. One of the best aspects of the machine is that it is possible to record the time taken to ‘row’ a specific distance, This is ideal if you have a competitive streak, it becomes a target to beat, something to work towards. There are even places on the internet where people post their speeds and compete ‘virtually’.
Rowing uses many muscles throughout the body, so it doesn’t just provide a cardiac workout and it doesn’t just improve strength, but increases endurance and is an intense calorie burner. The variable resistance available on virtually all machines means the whole family can use the same piece of equipment.
So when we prepared to make our move to the USA and said a tearful farewell to Martin, who by now seemed like another member of the family, he sent us with instructions not to undo all ‘his’ hard work. Our first action on arrival was to buy – yes, you guessed it, a rowing machine.
You’ll find lot’s of different models of rowing machine in our online store, and if you need advice on which to choose, just ask.