Rowing Machine Belt not Retracting-Quick Solutions

The rowing machine came into existence in the 18th century. But in 1872, a patent was released to W.B. Curtis for a hydraulic base damper design.

Then machines using linear pneumatic became common around 1900. One of the popular was Narragansett hydraulic rower made during 1900-1960. Then many events occurred in the world of rowers, and they are now one of the most common home fitness products.

A machine that is used for exercise or indoor training for rowing is called a rower or rowing machine.

In modern terms, they are known as ergometers as their function is to measure work performed by the rowers (which can be measured in ergs). Indoor rowing is now becoming a trend as a daily exercise. It is also becoming a sport that draws a competitive environment around the world.

Rowing Machine Belt not Retracting

The rowing machine belt is a strap of leather or any other material. It can also face technical problems. Such as the belt of the rowing machine doesn’t retract anymore. This is the major problem and the machine will not be able to work.

Rowing Machine Belt not Retracting-Quick Solutions

Reasons behind this problem

Shock Cord

The problem can be, that the belt alignment has been disturbed. But sometimes the low-quality shock cords or belts become inflexible after some time. Due to this, the belt is not able to retract anymore.

For example, in some of the low-budget rowing machines, this problem is common. They don’t use the standard belt or cord, this cord then gets hard as time passes and a point comes when it is not able to retract anymore.


This problem has only one solution. You have to change the belt or shock cord.

  • Take the face of the rowing machine out, in which the recoil machine is present.
  • You may also need to check whether it is a realignment issue.
  • Check out the belt if it is hard then you have to change the belt.

Recoil Machine

The recoil machine is a systematic pully. There can also be a problem with the recoil machine. The recoil machine can also become the cause of the belt not retracting.

As for the name recoil, it suggests that the machine pulls the strap back. If this recoil is not working the belt will also not work and the rowing machine will not be functional.


This problem can be solved.

Things You Need
  • A 10mm spanner
  • A 16mm spanner
  • A multitool spanner also
  • Take the face of the rowing machine out in which the recoil machine is present.
  • Take the belt out of the machine.
  • Take the recoil machine out and check it thoroughly.
  • If the belts and cords are in their place then the problem is only the recoil machine.
  • The only way to solve this problem is to replace the recoil machine.


1-How do you know if you are rowing correctly?

If all of these are being done well then your machine is working properly

  • The Catch
  • The Drive
  • The Finish
  • The Recovery

If your rowing machine supports you during all this, it is working properly.

2-Do rowing machines require maintenance?

Yes, it is a daily using machine. It also requires regular maintenance. If you don’t maintain it regularly, it’ll cause problems and eventually end up working.

3-Where should the strap be on the rowing machine?

You should position the foot strap above the ball of the foot. When you are rowing, you should be sure that it does not cut off circulation but is snug also. You should not make it fully tight. You can adjust it as you feel comfortable.

4-What type of grip should you have on the handle rowing?

Your hands should be a part of shoulder-width approximately. The thumb should be wrapped around the handle and should also be loose so that you can pick the fingers up while rowing.

Also Read: Proform Exercise Bike Resistance not Working-Quick Guide

Final Thoughts:

If it has been slipped then realign it. You can also face this problem due to the recoil machine. As the recoil is not working properly, examine the issue and solve it accordingly.

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