Brie Larson Is Learning How to Do Rowing Machine Workouts — Here's How You Can Too

Learn about the benefits of using a rowing machine and how to get started as a beginner.

Brie Larson in pink dress against blue bokeh background
Photo: Getty Images

Brie Larson is a fitness queen who's known for doing it all. One scroll through her Instagram proves there's no workout she isn't willing to try, whether that's dance, rock climbing, or boxing. Most recently, the Caption Marvel actress said she's been on a rowing machine workout kick, and took to Instagram to crowdsource advice.

"🚨 attentions rowers 🚨 I am trying to be a row queen, but it's hard," wrote Larson in the caption of a recent video she posted. "If you have tips I'm here for it. Otherwise I'll continue to watch 5000 YouTube videos." (

In the clip, Larson quickly pulls and releases the rowing machine handles as she bends and extends her legs in what appears to be a garage gym. Followers took to the comments to offer the 32-year-old actress advice and fitness tips. Even celebrities, such as Eva Longoria, added their two cents in the comments section. "I despise Rowing!!! But it's sooo good for you!" wrote Longoria.

Longoria's not wrong about the benefits of rowing. "Rowing improves your cardiovascular fitness as well as your overall strength and mobility," says Annie Mulgrew, vice president and founding instructor at CITYROW. "Rowing uses 86 percent of the muscles in your body — all of the major muscle groups, including chest, back, shoulders, arms, most significantly, your legs and glutes, which makes it a killer calorie and fat-burning machine."

In addition to being a full-body workout, rowing is also safe and effective for all fitness levels, explains Mulgrew. If you, like Larson, are new to the workout, just make sure to ease your way into it to avoid injuries. "Beginners should start with short intervals of rowing to get a feel for the machine and the movement, focusing on proper technique before increasing intensity," advises Mulgrew. (

Proper rowing technique begins with rowers getting into what's referred to as the catch position at the front of the machine with shins vertical and core braced as you grasp the handlebar, says Mulgrew. "Your body should be leaning slightly forward with shoulders in front of your hips," she says. "Next, while maintaining an embraced core, push off of the machine and start to extend your legs. As the legs are reaching full extension, extend the hips as well and hinge your torso backward."

Once you're at full extension in the legs and hips, use your arms to pull the handle into your body, right around the middle of the chest — that motion is known as the drive. Then, you reverse the motion. "Release your arms towards your legs and begin to hinge forward and bend the knees back to the catch," says Mulgrew. "This motion should be slower than the drive, around half the speed, to ensure your body has time to recover for the next stroke."

Using proper form is more important than increasing your speed or resistance level when it comes to getting the most out of a rowing workout, according to Mulgrew. So, if you, like Larson, would like to become a "row queen," nailing down your technique is the best place to start.

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