Rowing machine gives full workout, with stress on upper body

Q and A


Can you recommend one exercise - other than the bench press, which I hate - to strengthen my arms overall on days when I don't have time for my full upper body weights circuit?

Rowing is a rock-solid pick for working the upper body if you have time for only one machine. Why? The rowing machine, or ergometer, gives you a full-body workout with particular emphasis on the arms, shoulders and upper back.

Just be sure to keep your core muscles tight when rowing. This will help you avoid using your lower back to pull. Also keep the movement smooth, not jerky. You'll leave the gym dripping with sweat, and after a month or two you'll be sporting arm muscles that are sure to be the envy of your fellow gym-goers.

At a cocktail party, someone was telling me about a big health and fitness guide for women. You can look up just about everything in there. Sounded like a good gift, and I wanted to stockpile some for the holidays, but I need to find the title. Can you help?

You may be looking for The Active Woman's Health and Fitness Handbook by Nadya Swedan or The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health by Karen Carlson, Stephanie Eisenstat and Terra Ziporyn.

The first is jam-packed with exercises, stretches and tips, while the second covers everything from how to tend to tendinitis to improving your eating habits.

Whether you're giving a gift to a sophomore in high school or a grandmother in her 70s, both are good picks.

How can I track down some good yoga studios in Baltimore? The phone book listings seem incomplete.

For all you yogis hunting for happening yoga studios, classes and instructors, check out and Both are user-friendly and thorough. Yoga studios tend to change ownership (or disappear altogether) with frequency, and instructors often move on to new studios or to start their own. We found these two Web sites to be better than most.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to, or online at, or in writing to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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