In my choice of sport mental strength is everything, the indoor rowing machine - when used properly- is in some sessions unforgiving! The results and progress you will see if you push yourself are second to none BUT you have to challenge yourself. There is no point completing a session on this machine that your not 100% mind and body into. Even the longer, slower distance rows need focus and a little mental strength as sitting on a rowing machine for up to an hour in some cases even longer takes some doing!
When I started using the indoor rowing machine I didn’t really know what I was doing. I bought the indoor rower with some inheritance after my knee started playing up with running. The indoor rowing machine is great if you want a low impact cardio workout as it doesn’t put any undue pressure on any joints, so it can be used for injury rehab, older and younger people alike.
So I got my Concept2 and decided to look online at the workouts I could do, I tried all the main ranking distances such as the 2km, 5km and 10km and boy were they tough. The first year my times were slow and the thought of some of these sessions filled me with complete dread! To improve at these distances there are other sessions you can perform that can train your body and even more importantly your mind. These are the sessions that build-up that inner strength and help you feel that you can row that 10 km in 43 minutes!
The most important point of indoor rowing is to never give-up. I find this really difficult sometimes and there are sessions where my mind is not where I want it to be for whatever reason. Some may say those are the sessions you must complete and I agree, these will build your mental strength so you will still fear the distances, but know that even though it will be uncomfortable YOU will get through it.
Putting the handle down in sessions is a complete demotivator, you will feel frustrated and punish yourself for your weakness - well I do. I once got a some very important advice from a really inspirational female indoor rower who’s mental strength is second to none. She pointed out that when you watch marathon runners (or any runners in races) you never ever see them stop and just give up. If they’re tired they walk BUT they NEVER give up, they always manage to get over the line. I find this piece of advice priceless and there are sessions when I want to give up but when I think of those words I plough on. I am not going to lie and tell you that I never give up now, just this past week I messed up a session that needed a big dose of mental strength, and yes I felt completely crap about it for a day, BUT I got back on the rower the next day and fired out a different session which I finished. This in itself builds the mental strength back up again.
The indoor rowing machine is one of the most underrated and misunderstood machines in the fitness world, but if you are able to push yourself, compete with yourself and challenge yourself you WILL succeed in improving your fitness and more importantly your mental strength!