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Get a total body workout with a rower.
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Exercise machines offer a convenient way to get fit, lose weight or simply improve your overall health. Keep in mind, however, that not all machines were created equal. Take, for instance, rowers and recumbent bikes -- one works nearly every muscle in your body while the other one targets only your lower body. Which machine is best for you is based on your fitness goals and personal preferences.
Recumbent Bike Use
To get the most out of a recumbent bike, you've got to know how to properly use it. Sit on the seat of the bike and place your feet on the pedals. Then, adjust your seat by moving it forward or back so that your you knees are just short of being fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Choose a program of press "Quick Start" and begin pedaling.
Proper Rowing Technique
Proper rowing technique is slightly more difficult to master than using a recumbent bike but the effectiveness of the workout makes up for it. Adjust the resistance on the rower to the desired setting then sit on the seat and secure your feet onto the foot pads. Bend your knees so that your butt is close to the back of your ankles. Grasp the handle with an overhand grip. Bend forward slightly and extend your arms. From here, straighten your legs to press yourself backward. As your knees extend, straighten your torso and bend your elbows to pull the handle toward your chest. Extent your arms and bend your knees to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement continuously throughout your workout.
Rowers require the use of several muscle groups, which makes them one of the most effective exercise machines. Your calf and shin muscles work to move your ankles while your hamstrings and quadriceps bend and straighten your knees, respectively. Your hamstrings also assist your glutes in hip extension. Your back and core muscles remain activated throughout the duration of your workout to support and stabilize your torso. Your biceps bend your elbows while your shoulders and several back muscles pull your arms back at the end of the row. The triceps then extend your arms to return to the staring position.
While riding a recumbent bike, the lower muscles of your lower body do all of the work. Thanks to the back rest on the machine, your entire upper body can basically check out while your legs pedal. Your hamstrings and glutes work during the downward phase of the pedal stroke and your quads take over during the upward phase.
Both the rower and recumbent bike are useful for improving cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance and strength in the working muscles. They are both low-impact, which makes them appropriate for those with joint issues, injuries, who are overweight or obese, and pregnant women. Because the rower requires such large, dynamic movements, it may not be appropriate for those with limited mobility due to arthritis, osteoporosis or injury. The recumbent bike, on the other hand, is safe for virtually anyone to use.