Rowing: the ultimate gym exercise for men

There were reports last week that Nick Clegg had installed a rowing machine in the Cabinet Office. If this is true, he has made an excellent choice.

Rowing is the ultimate gym exercise for men. Used correctly, a rowing machine works every part of the body. A structured routine will rapidly increase your cardiovascular fitness and turbo-charge your metabolism.

If you compare rowing to other exercises using the MET rate (the rate at which you burn calories per hour, per kilogram of body weight), it burns at 12-14 METs, whereas running burns about 8-12; cycling 6-10.

It is particularly good for men because their high testosterone levels mean that they are predisposed to attack power-based sports in an aggressive way.

It is also great for dealing with a paunch; it’s a high-intensity activity done in short bursts, which means that it burns a lot of calories — and it tones the abs. Your body will also continue to burn calories long after you have stopped exercising.

Start by completing 500m in 2.15min (or 1.55min if you are quite fit),rowing at 28-34 strokes a minute. Over a few weeks, build up to 1,500-2,000m.

Spend a couple of days each week doing 6-10 short intervals of 300-500m with a 60-90sec rest between each. Use real power in the pull and then take about double the time to recoil to the “start” position again.

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