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The Boathouse arrow right How to use your Hydrow accessories

How to use your Hydrow accessories

January 11, 2021

When it comes to making your home exercise routine really work for you, it helps to make your home gym as well rounded as possible. Adding resistance and mobility workouts to your weekly routine is a great way to build whole health, and Hydrow’s accessories will help you maximize the benefits of your exercise habit. Hydrow’s On the Mat accessories are great tools to complete your home gym, build strength and mobility, and recover after your workouts. 

We’re adding new Hydrow On the Mat workout content using these accessories on an ongoing basis. Below, Hydrow’s Strength and Movement specialist, Peter Donohoe, OLY, CSCS, demonstrates a few key exercises and gives tips for proper form and use. Make sure to check out upcoming workouts in Hydrow’s library that use these accessories to take your workouts to the next level.

What are Hydrow’s Accessories?
Short Resistance Bands
These bands come in two resistances – lighter (blue) and heavier (black) – and are designed to have a small diameter so that there’s lots of tension when you exercise with them. When it comes to short resistance bands, tension = strength building. These bands are incredibly functional, have multiple uses, and take up virtually no space in your home gym, so they’re the perfect accessory to take with you when traveling. Below are a few examples of exercises using your short resistance bands and tips for band placement:

Lateral walks with band around ankles:
Strengthen the major muscles in your hips, thighs and legs (especially your glutes, guads, hamstrings and hip abductors). Loop one of your bands around your ankles. Step your feet far enough apart so there is tension in the resistance band. Take 3 short, lateral steps to the left and right on your workout mat and repeat 4-5 times.


Quadruped banded hand taps:
Strengthen your shoulders and arms while using your core. Starting in a quadruped position (on all fours), loop one of your short resistance bands around your forearm, just above your wrist. With both palms planted firmly on the floor below your shoulders (there should be tension in the band), start alternating planting your palms about 6-10 inches out and back to center, keeping your arms as straight as possible. 


Bicycle core crunches with band:
Strengthen your core (rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, upper abdominis, obliques) while also challenging your legs. Lying on your back, loop one of your short resistance bands around the arches of your feet. Raise your knees to about a 90-degree angle, lifting your feet from the floor. While engaging your core, start alternating sliding your shins forward and back, with the resistance band providing tension. Aim for 12 to 20 repetitions per set. For more of a challenge, lift your head, neck, and shoulder blades off the floor and place your hands behind your head lightly to support your neck. 


Long Resistance Bands
If you incorporate resistance bands into your weekly mobility routine, you’ll find that every Hydrow workout you do will be more effective, you will feel more freedom in your range of movement, and your workouts will feel better. These bands are best for general conditioning, stretching, mobility, and improving the functionality of your joints. One of the techniques Peter Donohoe uses is “joint distraction”- a mobility technique that he incorporates into his stretching exercises in order to create more space inside the joint complex, which helps improve the function of individual joints. 

Hip distraction- reverse the effects of sitting:
Targets the hip flexors and increases the range of motion in hip extension – great for people who sit for long periods of time during the day.

1/2 kneeling hip flexor distraction:
Anchor your resistance band to the front support of your Hydrow (or another secure pole or heavy object), and loop the other end around your upper thigh, just below your glutes. Step back as far as you can against the resistance and begin in a 1/2 kneeling position as shown. Engage your glutes and abs to create a posterior pelvic tilt. Then, gently lunge forward until you feel a moderate stretch across the front of your hip. Keep your spine upright and do not lean backward.


Adductor mobilization with band – hip opener:
Feeling tight in your hips? Find a greater range of motion in your hips and stand up straighter with this exercise. With your long resistance band anchored securely to the front of the Hydrow or other sturdy anchor point, loop the band around your upper thigh. Start in a kneeling position. Straighten one leg out to the side (the leg with the resistance band), keeping your foot on the floor with your toes pointing forward, slowly shift forward and backward, feeling a stretch on the inner thigh of the straight leg.

Place the band as close to your hip as you can, and keep your back and core muscles engaged.


Resistance Bands with Handles
Resistance bands with handles are perhaps the best way to replace the barbells and hand weights at your gym and complete the total-body strength training routine for your home. Not only do they take up very little space, but they provide a ton of resistance and are gentle on your joints, meaning you may never look back after you master these exercises.

Half kneeling row:
Loop your resistance band with handles around the front base of your Hydrow (either on its own or with its velcro attachment strap). In a half-kneeling position facing the anchor point of your band, grab the handles and move yourself away from the anchor point just far enough so that you feel resistance in your bands when your arms are extended. Engage core and maintain a tall spine position. From this position, pull your elbows back so that your palms face one another, the handles are next to your side, and elbows are behind you. Slowly extend your arms and perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps.


Chest press:
Anchor your band with handles to the front base of your Hydrow or another sturdy anchor point. Half kneel a couple of feet away from the anchor point, facing away from it. With one handle in each hand, position your arms straight away from your body so that they are parallel with the floor, palms facing down or facing in. Press arms in front of you as you engage your abs. Make sure to keep shoulders down and a tall spine. Perform 2 – 3 sets of 8-12 reps. 

Peter is demonstrating a chest press with palms facing each other. Another option is to have palms facing down.


Resistance band crunch – core strength, shoulder strength, and mobility:
Anchor your band with handles to the front base of your Hydrow or another sturdy anchor point. Lying on your back with your feet on the ground facing away from the anchor point, hold the handles, and extend your arms perpendicular to your torso. Keeping your arms straight, maintain a tightened core, lift your head up from the floor, and hold the crunch up position. Allow your arms to come down to about a 60-degree angle from your torso. Keeping your arms straight, slowly move them down towards the floor and back to set up position. Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.


Foam Roller
A foam roller helps to release tension in the muscles, relieve muscle soreness, and increase mobility and flexibility. When you first start foam rolling, you’ll find that it can feel pretty intense, and that’s completely normal. In order to effectively release the tension in the soft tissue around your fascia, joints, and sore muscles, you need to apply considerable pressure, which means you will feel the intense release of tension. 

Child’s pose lat stretch and shoulder mobility:
Stretch your lats and find functional mobility in your shoulders. From a kneeling position, rest your forehead on one forearm and place the edge of your other hand on your roller in an outstretched position. While maintaining a long spine, use your hips to push the roller back and forth slowly to experience a stretch along the side of your body (lats, shoulder, and lower back). Perform 10-15 reps slowly.


IT band, glute, hamstring and quad foam rolling:
Release tension in the biggest muscle groups in your lower body. A lot of foam rolling involves using your body weight on top of the foam roller to apply enough pressure to release tension in your muscles. In order to lessen the intensity, you can use your feet or arms to help release some of your weight on the roller (left, below). For more intensity, let your whole body weight rest on the roller (right, below). Once you find the right spot and intensity, gently roll back and forth.


Multi-use Workout Mat
Hydrow’s workout mat is the perfect addition to your home workout routine. It serves multiple purposes: it creates a clear space for you to do your workout routine, protects your floors, has grippy surfaces so you don’t slide while working out, and has just enough cushion to make routines on the floor comfortable. 

Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks are incredibly versatile, and you’ll see them used in your Hydrow yoga and Pilates workouts. In short, yoga blocks yelp you with your range of motion while doing On the Mat workouts, and make many movements more accessible. They can be used as an extension of your arms, supports for your head, back, or hips, or even as a balance challenge under your feet. It’s always a good idea to have your yoga blocks close by when you do an On the Mat session – they can help enhance your workout and take it to the next level.

Check out Hydrow’s On the Mat library for specific workouts using these accessories – we add many new workouts every week and are excited to help you #HydrowWintheDay every day. 

Written by: Kristin Haraldsdottir, PhD

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