Rowing Physique

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tesseracts
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Rowing Physique

Post by tesseracts » February 26th, 2019, 6:59 pm

So I am about to buy an erg. One little stupid thing that I am worried about it getting big arms. I am fine with muscles, but I don't want big beefy arms. I imagine rowing is not going to do that. But I have heard some comments that female rowers have big manly arms. I don't know whether to believe this or not.
So if you are female, and row regularly, could you please tell me your thoughts on this.

Cyclist2
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by Cyclist2 » February 27th, 2019, 12:46 pm

Well, I'm not female, but it applies to both.

If you look at world class rowers, you'll see well defined, trim bodies. Some have bigger muscles, some look on the skinny side. But in general, just fit, trim, evenly developed, and well defined.

Rowing builds endurance and muscle strength, not big bulky muscles like weight lifting would. I wouldn't worry at all about overdeveloping your arms by rowing. I would guess that in a year or so of consistent rowing you'll be pleasantly surprised at the way your physique is developing.

Go for it, you'll never look back!
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

Tenshuu
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by Tenshuu » February 27th, 2019, 3:45 pm

Your arms wont "Bulk" up, but the muscle will be more defined and fill out a little more. Proper rowing technique is in the legs, very similar to exploding up out of a squat, with a little bit of arms near the end of the stroke - but even then, a lot of that motion is actually your back muscles when you pull the handle into your abdomen. I think realistically your forearms get more of a workout for grip strength, than your biceps.

To get some noticeable size in most muscle mass, you're gonna need to put in time under some heavy weights with good nutrition, not endurance or sprint training.

TL;DR
Don't worry about getting popeye arms from rowing.
29M 5'7" 190LBs

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Ombrax
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by Ombrax » February 27th, 2019, 7:20 pm

Tess,

I've attended several of the local (St Louis, MO) indoor rowing competitions our local OTW club puts on every winter and I would say that the vast majority of the female rowers (I happen to be a guy, if it makes any difference) appear to be fit, but in no way excessively bulked-up on their arms.

Bottom line - I don't think it should be a concern at all for you, and I'm certain that if you put time and effort into erging you will be very happy with how your body responds.

Good Luck

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Carl Watts
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by Carl Watts » February 27th, 2019, 10:34 pm

I don't think it will be a problem. To be honest even the top rowers are pretty scrawny looking, rowers don't exactly end up looking like body builders.

Cannot say rowing has done a huge amount for my arms other than keeping the fat off them. Legs well thats a different story you can get some pretty big muscular thighs and backside, however I'm not upset that Levis 541 jeans are the only ones I can get my legs through at least they make something that fits. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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jamesg
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by jamesg » February 28th, 2019, 4:41 am

One little stupid thing that I am worried about it getting big arms.
You can only get big muscles if you work them hard. So it's your choice. However standard rowing style, with the slide, uses mostly thighs and hips. The muscle there is big and strong already, so, as is, more than capable of overloading our heart and CV systems. One only has to climb a few flights of stairs to see this.

In rowing we repeat the same action many times in quick succession. This means that the forces involved are well below our maximum, which alone is enough to ensure that muscle growth will be small if any.
78y, 188cm, 85kg, MHR 155. Last 2k (21 Jan 19) 8.27@24

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Anth_F
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by Anth_F » February 28th, 2019, 1:50 pm

tesseracts wrote:
February 26th, 2019, 6:59 pm
One little stupid thing that I am worried about it getting big arms. I am fine with muscles, but I don't want big beefy arms.
You won't get "big" arms, even rowing with high drag! What you will get is nice firm and toned looking arms.

This wasn't enough for me, so i also do weights to bulk my arms.
41yo male 5'10 78kg (Rowing since june 9th 2016) PB's 5k 19:22

My goals are simply to keep fit/get fitter and continue to enjoy rowing on the C2 :)

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johnlvs2run
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by johnlvs2run » February 28th, 2019, 3:26 pm

Cyclist2 wrote:
February 27th, 2019, 12:46 pm
If you look at world class rowers, you'll see well defined, trim bodies.
Perhaps compared to super overweight out of shape people, then yes.

But certainly not compared to world class runners, skiers or cyclists, so this depends on perspective.
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Carl Watts
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by Carl Watts » February 28th, 2019, 3:43 pm

It does all depend on your perspective, do you prefer the Physique of a 100m sprinter or that at the other end of the spectrum the marathon runner ?

Same with cycling, the body of an indoor velodrome sprint specialist is totally different to that of a Tour de France rider.

At the top end of any sport there is what exists as the perfect body physique. I believe rather than choose a sport you can actually have all your body parameters measured and you can be told what sport to be involved in for your greatest chances of success.Your body is simply compared to all those who are top in their field.
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JMac
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by JMac » March 1st, 2019, 4:22 am

johnlvs2run wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 3:26 pm
Cyclist2 wrote:
February 27th, 2019, 12:46 pm
If you look at world class rowers, you'll see well defined, trim bodies.
Perhaps compared to super overweight out of shape people, then yes.

But certainly not compared to world class runners, skiers or cyclists, so this depends on perspective.

Runners (long-distance), skiers and cyclists (road) are generally very thin, being built for pure endurance (5-10% bf and <160lbs for men) and from what I've seen, rowers have builds that cater for a mix of power/endurance, hence carry a bit more muscle. Average world class rower (HW) is probably anything from 6'4" to 6'10", about 210-230lbs with a bit more bf.
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Cyclist2
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by Cyclist2 » March 1st, 2019, 1:29 pm

johnlvs2run wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 3:26 pm
But certainly not compared to world class runners, skiers or cyclists, so this depends on perspective.
From my own personal experience (not world class), I got out of rowing and into road cycling pretty heavily over the course of 10 years. My physique definitely changed - great legs, but my upper body thinned out, I weighed about 139lbs. However, my endurance was really good, I was in the best cardiovascular condition of my life. Now that I've shifted the focus back to rowing over the last couple years, I can see my arms, chest and back muscles are slightly larger and more defined. And, I'm stronger overall, endurance is good (but not up for marathons or century bike rides). Weight has stabilized around 145lbs.

So, back to the OP's question, don't worry about developing bulky arms, or any other muscles. Rowing will get you strong, improve your conditioning, and your appearance as well.
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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jackarabit
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by jackarabit » March 4th, 2019, 12:21 pm

I always preferred the gals who looked just strong enuf that they might be able to pull a plow for a bit but hadn’t actually done so all day every day. :wink: Now when they looked like they could break me in two pieces with one arm, I got properly warned off. Guess it all depends what impression you want to make.
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tesseracts
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by tesseracts » March 8th, 2019, 8:08 pm

Thanks everybody for the feedback on my concerns! I went ahead and got the erg and it arrived today! I was actually at the gym, paying to use the rowing machine, when it was delivered 3 days early unbeknownst to me :D

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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by Tenshuu » March 12th, 2019, 11:10 am

tesseracts wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 8:08 pm
Thanks everybody for the feedback on my concerns! I went ahead and got the erg and it arrived today! I was actually at the gym, paying to use the rowing machine, when it was delivered 3 days early unbeknownst to me :D
Fresh Erg Smell didn't pique your awareness? =P

Great investment. I love my erg!
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Re: Rowing Physique

Post by mitchel674 » March 14th, 2019, 7:14 pm

Image

No need to worry. This fine young woman is a top rowing recruit at USC. She has remarkably dainty arms and legs for a top rower!
54yo male, 6ft, 162lbs

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