Getting Active With Active Hands 2017: Exercise 5

Activity: Rowing Machine

Used in conjunction with: Looped Exercise Aids

Beneficial for: Increasing strength in arms, shoulders and upper torso; increasing stamina and cardio; overall fitness

I find the rowing machine to be a particularly useful piece of equipment and one that can actually be used from a wheelchair. The seat and slider can be unclipped from the front of the machine and moved out of the way with relative ease, leaving you free to pull up to the front of the rower, put your brakes on and get started. Similarly to the handbike, the rowing machine provides a great fitness and cardio-based workout, whilst continuously working the muscles in your upper limbs. Another benefit for wheelchair users is that the backwards pulling motion works in contrast to the forwards pushing motion of a wheelchair, which strengthens the back of the shoulders and helps prevent them from rounding, a common problem for long time wheelchair users. The Looped Exercise Aids can easily slip over each side of the rowing handle, meaning you don’t need to worry about maintaining your grip as you pull. I also find it helpful to fasten a weightlifting belt around my stomach and the back of my wheelchair to support my core and fix my torso in position when I use the machine. Rowing machines are great for anyone involved in sports that require upper body strength and stamina, such as tennis, basketball and rugby players, and in particular swimmers and rowers, as the motions can perfectly mimic pulling an oar or an arm through water.

Gareth Herridge