How to Use a Rowing Machine with Handles| 3 Techniques Explained

Are you a newbie, using a rowing machine with handles? And having ambiguity about how to use such kind of rowing machines.

There is no need to despair to see and wonder how to use this. It is as simple as other rowing machines.

There is a slight difference in use between traditional rowing machines and rowing machines with handles.

If you are a fitness freak and you have decided to use a rowing machine, then you have taken the right decision. The benefits of using a rowing machine are, that it is a low-impactful exercise. And, there is a very little chance of injury in rowing as compared to other exercises like using treadmills or using dumbells or heavyweight lifting, or jumping.

There are two types of rowing machines in the market you might consider buying. One of the most common is ergometer(erg) and another which is now trending is one with handles.
If you are one who switched from commonly used ergometers to rowing machines having handles then you need only a little bit of change in your workout. And it would be a piece of cake for you to row on this machine.

Either else, no need to be worried about this I will teach you a complete and accurate method to row in a nice manner with proper techniques

We will discuss how to row at a machine having handles with nice methods using important techniques.

How to Use a Rowing Machine with Handles?

Also Read: Rowing Machine Techniques for Beginners

Design of rowing machine having handles

These machines are designed in the same way you use oar while steering a boat. It gives you the feel of real boat rowing. Only the difference is, that this machine is stationary while the boat can move in water.

The energy utilized while workout in this machine is same as in other ergometers. And almost 83-86%body parts are involved in rowing.

The technique of using differs very slightly. Have a look at the process.

There are three types of rowing techniques you can do with this machine.

  1. Neutral row
  2. Wide row
  3. Full motion row

Neutral Row

It is kind of similar to a traditional row. After neutral row, you can do a wide row and a full motion row.

Initial Position

First, get strapped your feet in the straps in order to do the workout nicely and securely. Tighten the strap in such a way that your feet remain too relaxed.

Grab the handles slightly below the top like 3-4 inches below or where you feel comfortable or relaxed. Hands are straight, shins are vertical and back is also straight.

The Drive Phase

The drive will start by pushing with legs until they get straight. After pushing from your legs don’t bend or slouch. Just lean backward with your back kept straight and finally pull the cord in with your arms below your ribs.

The Recovery Phase

To recover move your arms then core and core followed by legs.

So, this is exactly like regular rowing but the other method is different.

Wide Row

The wide row is a little bit different from traditional rowing but similar to boat rowing.

Initial Position

The initial position for wide row will remain same as for neutral row.

The Drive Phase

The drive phase is particularly the thing that distinguishes it from former. During drive phase first, push with your legs along with your arms pulling in the cord but in the outward direction. The body part which takes more effect during this exercise is your scapular blades. It helps in strengthening scapular blades.

The Recovery Phase

The recovery phase goes in the same way as neutral row.

Full Motion Row

The thing which makes this type of rowing apart from aforementioned types lies in the recovery phase. The initial position and the drive phase go in the same way as in a neutral row.

But the recovery in full motion row occurs with outward hands movement followed by back movement and then legs.

This row is a little bit of advanced level if you are an absolute beginner.

Also Read: Rowing Machine Slipping


According to my experience, if you are a beginner then you must go with the neutral row. After that, you can switch to a wide grip row or if you want so to a full motion row.

The difference which lies between all types is very minor.

Overview of Each Type

The overview of three phases in each case is this.

In a neutral row, your movement is same as the traditional rowing.

In wide grip row, your drive phase comprises outward hand movement.

In a full-motion row, your recovery phase includes the outward hand movement.

With that’s it, hope you grabbed the idea and learned different techniques, and how to row properly with rowing machines having handles. Now gear up and start your drill using the aforementioned methods.

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