Rowing machine is great for total body workout

In the Sagevita philosophy, the term “vitality” means, “a vital force present in all living things”.  A sound body is the womb for that vital force.  You need a sound body to be vital and to enjoy life to the fullest.  Certain of our attitudes and activities can result in a sound body. What attitudes and activities can enable us to develop and maintain a sound body for our “vital force”?   A necessary attitude is, “I am a sound body for my vital force.”  A necessary activity is intense daily physical exercises.

But what should the exercises be?  They should include low-impact cardio and strength-building exercises which are done to the anaerobic level and stretching exercises done pre and post.  Strength-building exercises with resistance machines should be done only every other day as the body needs adequate time to recover and rebuild the tissues which are torn down.

I recently discovered the terrific benefits of “TGIB – The Great Iron Beast” – the modern rowing exercise machine.  The rowing machine is believed by many physical fitness specialists to “provide the best total body workout of any cardio machine.” (U.S. Olympic rowing coach Mike Teti). Why?  Because, the movement requires equal effort from the lower and upper body and results in more calories burned per minute.  It also does not have any adverse impacts on joints and cartilage.  It is a full body workout, in particular, on the core muscles.

Getting the most out of the rowing machine

Here are some practices that will result in your getting the most out of TGIB:


  • Choose a resistance level that is at the low end of the range initially in order to avoid straining muscles which you may not have used to the extent necessary to tame the Beast.
  • Keep your back in its naturally arched position.
  • Hold the handle over to develop the upper back or under to develop biceps, and alternate.
  • On the back stroke, your knees should be almost completely straight before you squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the handle to your sternum.


  • Then release the handle all the way forward with your arms extended before you flex your legs and go forward.  Be relaxed.
  • After 5 minutes, get off the machine and do some stretching exercises for 2 minutes.
  • Mount the Beast again and do another five minutes.
  • Get off again and do as many push-ups as you can do.
  • Get on again and do another five minutes of rowing.
  • Get off and do as many sit ups as you can do following by 2 minutes of stretching

As you gain experience, gradually increase the resistance and the time.  Row in five minute intervals during which you go all out to failure (the anaerobic state) before you dismount the Beast and do push-ups, sit-ups or stretching.

Getting familiar with TGIB has resulted in significant strength and cardio fitness improvements for me.  It can be for you, too!

See all Vitality posts.

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2 Responses to Rowing machine is great for total body workout

  1. Thanks for all the details. Because you’re working almost every muscle group in your body, your heart rate naturally elevates as well. Add in a few anterior strengtheners like pushups, to round out the pulling effect of rowing, and you’ve completed a full body workout in a single class.

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