How to use your Hydrow accessories

Kelly Johnson
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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 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 accessories: Hydrow On the Mat workout content using Hydrow 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 Hydrow 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 is 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.

Peter Donohoe demonstrating using the heavier small resistance band around his ankles.

Peter Donohoe using the lighter small resistance band just above his wrists).

Peter Donohoe using the lighter small resistance band.

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.

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

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.

Peter is demonstrating a half kneeling row with palms facing each other. Another option is to have palms facing up or down.

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

Keep your arms straight, core tight, and shoulders engaged during this exercise.

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.

Because your lats connect to your arm through your shoulder, the position of your hand matters in this stretch. By rotating your hand and resting the outside edge on your foam roller, you will get a deeper stretch in your lats during this exercise.

Peter demonstrates how to foam roll with a little less pressure by putting down a foot (left). For more intense foam rolling, let all of your weight rest on the roller (right).

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 Hydrow accessories - we add many new workouts every week and are excited to help you #HydrowWintheDay every day. 

Written in conjunction with Dr. Kristin Haraldsdottir, PhD