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By Lisa Steuer

Looking for a cardio workout that will whip your whole body into shape? The rowing machine in your gym may be a better choice than the treadmill or elliptical. More and more people are realizing the fitness benefits of rowing without ever stepping foot near any water. Rowing combines cardio with resistance exercise, meaning you can actually cut your workout time in half. In fact, rowing activates 86 percent of the muscles, and especially works the core.

Why Rowing?

Rowing is an all-over body workout because it’s cardio that utilizes your back, core and arms, says Tom Sanford, the director of rowing at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Tom, who was born into a family with a rowing background, is also the head coach of the varsity women’s team at Marist, having previously served as the men’s coach and helping lead them to their 10th consecutive MAAC championship in 2009. They have also won the championship twice since then.

“[Rowing is] obviously excellent for cardio and you use, in order, your legs and then your back and then your arms. So there are other sports that are good [for fitness], but they usually focus on one or two body parts as opposed to all of them,” says Tom.

The rowing program is pretty strong at Marist, with about 80 men and women rowers, and Tom knows just what it takes to train beginners. “I’ve taught children how to row, and I’m currently teaching an 88-year-old man how to row,” says Tom. “It takes a little bit of patience on the part of the athlete. If they stick with it for a little they’ll definitely see how much they can get out of it.”

In fact, rowing is not only a good workout for those who want to get in shape, it can also increase an athlete’s performance in other sports. “A lot of colleges are now having basketball teams sit on rowing machines to teach them body discipline,” says Tom. He even convinced Marist to purchase four or five rowing machines for the weight room, so he can teach athletes in other sports how to row.

Another positive aspect of rowing is that it increases core strength. It also increases flexibility, balance, and can even be used in rehab for an injured shoulder or back. “I think it’s great, and you can do it forever,” says Tom. “Once you learn how to row, you can do it when you’re 90.”

Prepare to Row

Tom says that rowing can be “deceptively painful.” This is true even for skilled athletes and those who are already in shape. Many people also think that because they have upper arm strength, the rowing machine will be a breeze. But in fact, it’s really the legs that are doing a lot of the work.

It’s important to practice the techniques of rowing before you start (see sidebar “How to Row”). Failure to do so could result in injury. An even better idea is to have someone watch you practice your technique so that you can be sure you are doing it properly. “It’s a fairly easy sport to pick up. But if you don’t do it properly it can lead to lower back issues,” says Tom.

Once you learn the proper motions, it’s best to start out by doing shorter increments. The first couple of times, row 3 to 5 minutes, rest and repeat. Beginners should have a short-term goal of cycling for 30 minutes nonstop. Once you get that down, you can begin a good workout program. Rowing machines (Tom suggests machines from Concept2, because they are most like actual rowing machines) are similar to treadmills in that they will usually keep track of calories and distance, and you can go at certain paces, certain stroke rates and alter the resistance. A lower intensity workout would be 18-22 strokes per minute, while a higher intensity one would be 30-34 strokes per minute.

Rowing Workouts

Before rowing, Tom suggests an active warm-up that includes stretching, running in place or a short jog and jumping jacks. The cool-down is light rowing with no resistance. In addition, Tom always has his athletes do sit-ups, push-ups and planks for core strength. A strong core will help protect the lower back when rowing.

Here are some rowing workouts to try, once you are comfortable with the rowing technique. Experiment with your pace and stroke rate depending on your fitness level. Remember: 18-22 strokes per minute is lower intensity, while 30-34 strokes per minute is more advanced. You can use the rests in between increments to get up and stretch, or you can just rest on the machine if you prefer.


• Row for 3-5 minutes, rest for 3 minutes by stretching. Repeat four times.

• Row in 3-minute intervals, with 1-minute rests. Start with a comfortable pace, and at the next 3-minute interval, try to slightly increase your strokes per minute, and then go back to a more comfortable pace at the next interval. Do a total of four 3-minute intervals.

More Challenging Workouts:

• Row in 10-minute increments for a total of four times, with a 3-5 minute rest in between. 

• 20-minute increments x 3. Rest 3-5 minutes in between.

• 40-minute increments x 2. Rest 3-5 minutes in between.

• Row for 300 meters x 2. Rest 3-5 minutes in between.

Training on a rowing machine

How to Row

Before you make rowing a part of your workout regimen, it’s important to first be comfortable with proper rowing technique so that you avoid injury. The seat moves and your feet are tied to it, and rowing is a continuous motion.

1. Grab the handle while sitting in an upright position, slightly leaning back with your legs straight. The handle should be pulled back so that it’s just above your belly button. This is the “finish” position of a stroke.

2. To start the next stroke, extend your arms, pivot forward slightly (from the hips), and then bring your butt forward by bending your knees (move toward the machine).

3. With your arms still extended, you will reach the “start” position when your chest is a couple of inches from your knees.

4. Start the next stroke by pushing back through your heels as hard as you can.

5. Just before your legs are fully extended, pivot from your hips to a slight lean (80 degrees) and then pull your arms back so that the handle is just above your belly button.

6. Transition right away into the next stroke.

7. Remember each stroke starts with the legs, the back follows, then the arms. Legs, back, arms.

The post Ultimate Full-Body Workout: Indoor Rowing appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: Ultimate Full-Body Workout: Indoor Rowing
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Published Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2021 14:26:04 +0000

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Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs



Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.

Active Muscles in Leg Extensions

The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1

Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.

The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.

The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.

Leg Extensions

The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.

1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.

2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.

3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).

4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.

5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.

6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.

7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.

8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.

The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6

Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.

This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.

GettyImages 674163248 600


1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.

2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.

3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.

4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.

5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.

6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.

7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.

8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.

9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.

The post Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
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Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:11:16 +0000

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PRIMAL Preworkout



Training hard and intensely is the only way to train – you can’t step into the gym in low gear or
asleep at the switch and expect results. To get the most out of every training session with no
compromises, you need a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush
it every time you train. Bottom line, you need to maximize your workouts by pushing yourself to
your limits and that’s what Animal’s PRIMAL Preworkout delivers.

A Better Pump

PRIMAL is Animal’s most comprehensive pre-workout supplement ever, and is scientifically
designed for the advanced, hard trainer. Animal worked tirelessly to find the right combination of
ingredients that could be worthy of the Animal name. First on the agenda was giving you a better
pump, which is why PRIMAL Preworkout is empowered with the breakthrough, patented
3DPump-Breakthrough ® . Not only does it increase nitric oxide for the valued “pump,” but it also
helps increase exercise capacity and endurance and helps optimize vascular endothelial function,
aka vascularity.†

Other key benefits of PRIMAL come from four scientifically formulated blends that work in tandem
to deliver the ultimate pre-workout:

• Endurance & Performance Complex so you can train longer and harder. Beta-alanine,
betaine and taurine are combined as a powerful endurance trio†. Beta-alanine is a vital ingredient
used to combat the urge to quit.

• Focus & Intensity Complex helps you keep your head in the iron game so you train hard and
maintain focus. Includes the amino acid tyrosine, which is involved in neurotransmitter production;
Huperzine A for brain health; and choline bitartrate, which supports energy metabolism and helps
the brain send messages for improved mental endurance and focus†.

This blend is completed with the patented Teacrine ® . Among its many benefits includes increases
in energy without the jittery feeling, increases in motivation to accomplish tasks, mental energy
and decreases in feeling of fatigue†.

• Quick and Sustained Energy Complex is the energy core of PRIMAL Preworkout . It is
powered by a combination of tried-and-true caffeine, along with an herbal complex of green tea,
coffee bean extract and guarana†.

• Electrolyte Complex to support muscle hydration and help get you through those intense
training sessions – because proper hydration is key for maximal performance. PRIMAL
Preworkout tops it off with a combination of AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake and Senactiv,
which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is responsible for
producing more ATP†.

How to Use PRIMAL
30 minutes prior to training, consume 2 rounded scoops (20.3g) with 8-12 oz of water or your
favorite beverage. Users that are sensitive to stimulants should start off with 1 rounded scoop
(10.1g) to assess tolerance.

PRIMAL Preworkout

• Enhances energy and endurance†
• Supports muscle hydration†
• Supports intense focus†
• Contains AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake†
• Contains Senactiv ® which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is
responsible for producing more ATP†
• Absorption and nutrient enhancers
• Great tasting, easy to mix

PRIMAL is a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush it every time you train.

For additional information, visit
†These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The post PRIMAL Preworkout appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
Sourced From:
Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 16:51:41 +0000

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