Top 10 Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine

Woman using rowing machine with trainer in background

by Molly Parker

Fitness Specialist

Choosing an exercise program can be overwhelming, especially if you're a newbie. Getting in shape doesn't mean you have to scale mountains or hit the pavement for a strenuous run. Using a rowing machine is a great way to improve your overall health, plus it's low impact and easy for all ages and fitness levels. A rowing machine is essentially a piece of exercise equipment that mimics the motion of rowing a boat in water, making it a full body workout!

Great for weight loss, toning and building muscles, and increasing stamina, this machine is a fitness game changer. Rowers work out several major muscle groups and will help you develop both your upper and lower body. Most importantly, using a rowing machine gets your heart pumping and lungs working, providing a serious aerobic workout.

Check out our top 10 benefits of using a rowing machine to see if a rower is the best way for you to get physical!

Aerobic Exercise

1) Effective Aerobic Exercise

No matter what your age is, a fitness plan that includes cardio (or aerobic exercise) is an important contributor to your overall health. The benefits of regular aerobic exercise include weight loss, increased stamina, and a stronger immune system. Endorphins released while you work out can also help improve your mood and sleep quality. Because it requires the use of so many major muscle groups, a rowing machine is an effective way to raise your heart rate and increase your oxygen intake for an effective cardio workout. The adjustable resistance on most rowers lets you easily work up to your target heart rate as well as slow back down to your resting rate.

Weight Loss

2) Weight Loss

Regular workouts on a rower can help you burn calories, tone muscles, and give you increased energy. A rowing machine workout burns an average of 600 calories an hour. That's more efficient than many other home gym machines on the market. On a stationary bike without arm involvement, you'd need to ride about 78 minutes to equal a 60 minute workout on a rowing machine. Combined with eating a healthy, balanced diet, using a rowing machine consistently is a great way to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Upper-Body

3) Upper-Body Workout

As you might expect, rowing machines provide a stellar upper-body workout. Rowers exercise the rhomboids in the shoulders, trapezii in the upper back, and lats in the lower back. The benefits of a stronger back and shoulders include improved posture as well as a reduction in back pain. In addition to your backside, rowing machines also provide a nice workout for your biceps, pecs, and abs, which helps you develop a stronger core. Because you need to maintain a strong grip on the oars, you'll also develop stronger hands and wrists, which is a big plus for anyone who enjoys activities such as climbing or yoga.

Lower-Body

4) Lower-Body Workout

Perhaps one of the best rowing machine benefits is the workout they give the lower body. In fact, rowing enthusiasts consider rowing primarily a lower-body workout. The main leg muscles involved are the quads in the upper front of the thighs, however the calves and glutes (buttocks) also feel the burn. Building strong legs and glutes will help you look amazing and working out the lower body actually burns calories at a faster rate. In addition to improved muscle strength and tone, resistance training on a row machine is a great way to maintain flexibility and balance.

Low-Impact

5) Low-Impact Cardio

For those who are overweight or have existing joint problems, high-impact workouts may carry more risks than benefits. A rowing machine is a great alternative for those who are unable to perform weight-bearing exercises, such as running, hiking, walking, and yoga. The motion of rowing is natural and low impact, putting minimal stress on the joints. Like stationary bikes, rowers are great for injury prevention and are also an excellent way to strengthen and condition the knees after surgery. While back strain is a concern, you can minimize your risk by using correct rowing form. Good rowing posture lets your legs do the work, taking the pressure off your back. Check out #9 for more details on proper rowing technique.

Increased Endurance

6) Increased Endurance

If you feel like your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went, chances are you may not be getting enough physical activity. Rowing machine workouts may feel exhausting at first, but the long-term benefits of regular exercise will increase your endurance and give you more energy. Because rowing exercise is cardiovascular and works out all your major muscle groups, it's a step above many other types of workout equipment. With repeated use, you will gain increased stamina and boost your metabolism. More energy means more drive to do the things you love!

Convenient

7) Convenient

Just because you don't live on the water with a rowing boat sitting at the dock doesn't mean you can't enjoy the same physical benefits from rowing. You can purchase an affordable rower to use in the comfort and convenience of your own home. Sometimes getting motivated to work out is more challenging than the exercise itself. Uncomplicated and accessible workouts, like rowing, are much more appealing. It's also great, because you can recruit a workout buddy to join you for added encouragement.

Affordable

8) Affordable

While it's not hard to spend a pretty penny on high-end rowers, you can find many basic machines that won't break the bank. You don't have to sacrifice quality on your rowing machine to save a buck, as there are numerous models with extensive features for under $200. You may have access to a rower at your gym, but if rowing is your main form of exercise, you can save money in the long run. Purchase the rower pictured here.

Easy to Use

9) Easy to Use

If you're just beginning your journey to get in shape, the maze of complicated workout machines at the gym might have your head spinning. Don't worry! Exercising on a rowing machine is relatively simple to learn and ideal for all ages and abilities. It's important to make sure you use proper rowing technique when you exercise. It will help to both maximize your workout and minimize the potential for injury. Your feet should be securely fastened in the stirrups with your shins close to a 90 degree angle to the floor. It's best to keep your back straight, your core engaged, and to row in a smooth, fluid motion. You'll get the hang of it in no time!

It's Fun!

10) It's Fun!

If exercising is something you dread, it is a lot harder to motivate yourself to do it. Making a fitness plan that you enjoy is your key to success. Because rowing works out your entire body, it's easier to stay engaged while doing it. Plus, you can challenge yourself by increasing the resistance as you become a more seasoned rower. Crank up the speakers and row to the beat of your favorite tracks, put your favorite show on the TV, or recruit a workout buddy for extra encouragement. Once you become a pro, you'll be feeling so good that hopping on your rowing machine will be a treat!



Molly Parker

by Molly Parker

Fitness Specialist

Molly is a Texas-native turned Rocky Mountain girl who makes eating healthy and staying fit a priority. When she can't snowboard or hike Utah's beautiful mountains, she does yoga or works out on exercise machines at home. Molly also likes watching DIY shows and pretending she's an interior decorator.