Okay kittens, I put all my new rowing knowledge to the test last week, and here’s the insider scoop:
First, those rowing machines are complicated! When I sat down, I got my feet easily strapped into place and turned on the rowing monitor, which was pretty user friendly. I selected a workout, and then looked for a way to increase resistance…and found nothing.*
Eventually, I just started the workout because I didn’t want to squander away time hunting for a button that maybe didn’t exist. It wasn’t until a very new-age Oakland resident (aka, hippie complete with dread-locks) took up the rowing machine next to me that I got the idea to look outside the machine for resistance manipulation. As he sat down, he nudged something on the right of the giant wheel-thing (a technical term, I know). So I got curious.
After thirty minutes of rowing, I stopped and hunted around the rowing machine. Like a squirrel trying to figure out where I hid my nuts, I prowled on all sides of the machine, struggling to find a knob to turn. Nada.
Back at the monitor (which looks about as advanced as the original version of The Oregon Trail – just saying) after scrolling through every option available, I found a button that directed me towards what appeared to be the resistance. Except…it was really just a button that told me where the resistance was. On the right side of something-or-other.
One more squirrel moment finally produced some nuts, and I found the resistance lever. The best way to describe it is to look at the wheel-fan “thang” on your rowing machine and imagine it’s a clock. There very well was what may as well have been a hand of a clock pointing at some numbers that were lifted like Braille out of the plastic. Pushing that hand around allowed me to increase resistance on a scale of 1-10.
Second, getting off the rowing machine is surprising. The term “sea legs” came to mind as I leapt off the machine and immediately felt like I had forgotten how to walk. After moving my legs in a jumping motion for an extended period of time, the idea of walking was more foreign than men wearing Capri pants.
Third, social norms on the machine seem to indicate that greeting other rowers is not necessary. Of the three times I’ve used the rowing machine, twice other people have sat at the machine perpendicular to mine and not acknowledged me – usually there is a head nod between people on say, the elliptical. I’ll keep you posted as I gather more data.
Fourth, when you get off the machine, you might not feel like anything super powerful has happened to your body. I guess I was expect to feel like I’d been lifting She-Ra’s sword over my head and yelling “By the power of Grayskull!” for the better part of an hour, but really, I just felt light. And that feeling lasted about twelve hours…and then I felt ridiculous heavy. Almost as if I had been lifting She-Ra and He-Man’s swords above my head and holding them there all freaking day.
Good luck, and go forth onto rowing! **
*Note the rowing machine I’m using is not the most modern of contraptions; it’s likely a machine built after circa 1990 has a different way of operating resistance.
** Completely unrelated, but this morning as I got in the pool, the guy I was about to share a lane with pulled to the wall and stopped. I told him we could share, and he said “I think I’m going to get out. I reached my goal.” At that, I said “Really? That’s great! Do one more lap!” because I think little is as awesome for your brain and body as reaching your goal and then going a little farther (which might be why I set easy goals for myself) and he just looked at me. I really need to figure out how to cheerlead better.