An Olympic rower revealed 3 common mistakes everyone makes on the rowing machine, and what you should be doing instead

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An Olympic rower revealed 3 common mistakes everyone makes on the rowing machine, and what you should be doing instead
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Kendall Chase/rowing machine
Kendall Chase is competing in her first Olympic Games this year. Kendall Chase/TikTok, Westend61/Getty Images
  • Kendall Chase, a member of the US Rowing Team, took to TikTok to explain how rowing machines work.

  • Foot placement is important, since it affects the angle of your hips when you row.

  • Other common mistakes include overstretching the chain and not adjusting the resistance.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Kendall Chase, a first-time US Olympian rower, nicknamed the machine she practices on "Satan's wrath."

The machine is also called a Concept 2 Rower or an erg, and it's an important part of Chase's training regimen. But most people don't know how to use it properly, she told her TikTok followers from her room in Tokyo.

In her latest video, Chase pointed out some common mistakes people make when using rowing machines.

"If you have sat on this machine and you are not a rower, good for you," Chase said in the video. "Because as a rower, even I know that it sucks."

Here are some missteps even avid gym-goers make when using the erg, according to Chase.

The strap goes on the widest part of your foot

Using a rowing machine can help with stamina and full-body strength if done correctly. But the machines may be confusing to novices.

When strapping into the rowing machine, it's important to get your foot placement right. The strap should cover the widest part of your foot, Chase said.

rowing machine foot strap placement
The strap should go on the widest part of the foot, or where your shoelaces start. fotostorm/Getty Images, Andrea Michelson

If the strap is in the wrong place, it can affect the angle of your hips when you start erging, according to Dark Horse Rowing. Strap in too high on the foot and you may feel pinched as you move forward, but you'll end up pushing too much off of your toes if the strap is too low.

You can use the top of your shoelaces as a guide if you're not sure about the placement. Simply slide your foot into the Velcro strap and stop where your laces begin.

Make sure to adjust the damper to control resistance

Next, Chase pointed to the damper, a little lever on the fan at the end of the machine.

rowing machine damper
Amateur rowers should start with the damper between 3 and 5. Hybrid Images/Getty Images

The damper controls the amount of air resistance coming from the fan, but many people don't realize it's there, Chase said.

"What I really don't understand is that whenever I go into a gym, the damper is most of the time set to 10," Chase said. "I don't know if people are trying to break their backs on purpose, but I would suggest not doing that."

She suggested that amateur rowers start around the 3-5 range instead, depending on their comfort level.

Keep the chain well lubricated and don't overstretch it

Chase said people usually leave the erg handle in the little slot near the seat. This actually stretches out the chain, which isn't great for the machine.

It's better to let the handle slide up towards the fan cage at the foot of the machine.

It's also important to keep the chain well lubricated with oil so it doesn't get corroded and "chunky," she said.

In her next video, Chase plans to explain how to navigate the rowing machine's monitor screen. She's also open to questions from her followers.

Read about the best rowing machines. Our top pick, Concept2's Model D, is durably built, is comfortable to use, and has smooth-running air resistance.

Model D Indoor Rowing Machine (small)

Read the original article on Insider