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Key Fitness Benefits Of Using A Rowing Machine

Updated on January 15, 2015
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist as well as being a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.

Push Yourself To Better Fitness

Rowing machines have many workout benefits
Rowing machines have many workout benefits | Source

The Fantastic Benefits Of Rowing Machines In The Gym

You head into the gym and usually see the rowing machines standing alone, away from the other equipment. Exercise bikes, treadmills and elliptical trainers are usually the most popular cardio machines in the gym: However the humble rowing machine offers fantastic benefits to health, fitness and the weight loss you may desire.

Every gym seems to have a rowing machine and it can give you a great workout. Benefiting all major muscles groups. Particularly the heart, the arms and legs, back and abdominal muscles.

Row Your Way To Better Fitness

Rowing a large selection of your major muscle groups. It will you to develop both your upper (Back, Arms and Abdominals) and lower body (Legs and Glutes). Rowing can provide a serious workout to get your heart pumping and provide great cardiovascular health benefits too.

It's time to get rowing- the video below will provide an introduction to developing a good rowing technique so the benefits of rowing machines can follow.

Make Sure Your Practice Proper Rowing Technique

Benefit 1: Rowing Machines Provide A Fantastic Cardiovascular Workout

If you're looking for an effective, full body aerobic workout then rowing could be just the ticket.

Rowing will help to raise your heart rate and breathing frequency in reaction to the increased oxygen demands for your body to provide you a great aerobic workout.

Many gym-based rowing machines have the option of controlling their resistance levels. A good example is the Concept 2 indoor rower which has a selection of 10 different resistance levels to choose from.

A workout of 20 minutes or more is all it takes to gain cardiovascular fitness and rowing endurance. From there you can start to take your rowing workouts to higher levels for improved cardiovascular fitness.

If you have a heart rate monitor use it to monitor your effective exercise workload. Aim to keep between 60-80% of your max heart rate. (How to calculate your max heart rate)

Benefit 2: Rowing Is A Low Impact Activity So Limits Injury Risk

Rowing is a low impact injury and therefore puts your body at less of a risk when compared to hitting the treadmill. Using a rowing machine benefits your body by putting minimal stresses and strains on your working joints when you row with the right technique.

Rowing Benefit 3- Calorie Burning (And Lots Of Them!)

Rowing is a great way to lose weight and can be easily integrated into your gym workouts to assist your weight loss program. A typical 20 minute steady workout session can burn around 200 calories and if you were to row for an hour everyday you could burn over a pound of fat in a week.

The vigorous whole body workout that rowing provides can also give you the benefit of an increased metabolism in the same way that a weights workout can be a longer term stimulus for calorie burning. Rowing workouts can boost your metabolism for increased weight loss.

Rowing Machines Can Help You Get A Great Physique

Rowing machines can help develop a great physique. They offer a great workout for many gym goers- Not just the superfit.
Rowing machines can help develop a great physique. They offer a great workout for many gym goers- Not just the superfit. | Source

Benefit 4: A Fantastic Upper Body Workout

Many cardio machines in the gym give you a second rate upper body workout. Rowing offers a fantastic upper body workout which can have crossover into many other sports.

Rowing Machines help you to really target your back and shoulders: Particularly targeting your rhomboids (shoulders) trapezius (upper back) and latissimus dorsi muscles in the lower back. Your biceps muscles also do some work as you pull the oar in towards your body with each stroke.

You're pulling against a force every stroke for around 20 strokes per minute so your upper body is getting a fantastic muscular endurance workout.

5. Rowing Gives You A Great Lower Body Workout Too

It's no surprise that Olympic and Paralympic Rowers like Sarah Storey and Rebecca Romero have moved from being successful rowers over to becoming great cyclists.

To many enthusiasts rowing machine workouts are primarily a lower body workout as the leg muscles are the real drivers of the stroke. (Particularly the quadraceps and glutes as part of the push action). It's the upper body that then finishes the work when in synergy with the lower body.

It's a myth among many in the gym environment that the strength within the rowing stroke pattern lies within the back muscles.

What Do You Think About The Benefits Of Rowing?

We hope you've enjoyed this article on the key health and fitness benefits of rowing machine workouts.

Here at Hubpages we love to receive your feedback (good or bad) on our articles. Therefore please feel free to leave any comments below regarding if this article has helped you or provided the information you required.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your next rowing workout

Liam Hallam (CyclingFitness)


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    • CyclingFitness profile imageAUTHOR

      Liam Hallam 

      7 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Goodlady, Rowing could be good for you after a knee injury due to the gentle nature- I would check it over with your doctor physician first however as they will have a more concise diagnosis on your condition.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Shared, voted and tweeted this really helpful hub. I think I need to do this sort of exercise to build up strength in my leg after a knee injury.

      Great stuff.

    • greatstuff profile image


      7 years ago from Malaysia

      Rowing machines are the least popular machines in the gym that I goes to. Occasionally I will use the machine, but with my time constraints, I tend to work on other elliptical machines. I also use the gym rowing machine to work on my abs by standing on the side and pulling the rowing cable from left to right ( moving it upwards) and vv

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Liam how dedicated one must be . Afraid I just walk for miles with my dogs,enjoyed your write, do row on the lake twice a week in the none snowy weather but I don't suppose that counts eh,

      best from jandee

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      I must try it out the next time I go to the gym, especially if it helps with leg muscles. I can do without the arm muscles more (I think) anyway, your hub is most informative thank you. Voting and sharing.

    • CyclingFitness profile imageAUTHOR

      Liam Hallam 

      7 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks carol for the vote and share. Rowing is a great activity in the gym and one I believe is overlooked by many. Thanks for your feedback and it's a shame your gym no longer has a rower.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      I used to row at the gym..however there is no rowing machine at the current gym. I loved the rowing..easy and yet strenuous. I agree it is a great workout. Voting UP and sharing.


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