Rowing machines can be intimidating to use for the first time, especially if you have never seen someone using one with proper technique. Once you master the basic motion, rowing is a great aerobic cardiovascular exercise. It works out your legs, arms, and back, all with very low impact on your joints.
Sit down on the movable seat of the rowing machine with your bottom centered on the seat. Place your feet on the angled foot pedals and strap them in so they are firmly anchored. If the machine allows you to set the resistance, start with the lowest weight so you can get accustomed to the motion. As you get more experience, you can increase the weight. If the machine has a screen, pull on the handle or press the on button to activate it. Select the manual workout for starters. Lastly, scoot the seat forward, grab the handle and grip it firmly with your palms down. Your hands should be an equal distance from the center of the handle.
Begin in a position called the catch, with your knees fully bent and your shin completely vertical. Your arms should be straight out in front of you. Move into the drive by pushing back with your legs and keeping your arms straight. When your legs are almost straight, lean back slightly and pull the handle toward you until it almost touches your lower ribs. The completed position is called the finish. Then, for the last part of the stroke called the recovery, allow your arms to straighten completely and, after the handle is past your knees, bend your knees to return to the catch position. The whole rowing stroke should be a fluid motion, and you should keep your head up, facing forward, during the whole motion.