3 Killer HIIT Rowing Machine Workouts

Many gym go-ers underestimate the power of the rowing machine and the benefits it can have on your general fitness and physique. At Fitkit, we have put together a killer rowing machine HIIT workout for you to add to your workout routine, keep reading to find out if you’re up for the challenge. We have also included the benefits of rowing machine HIIT workouts to tempt you further. 

Rowing machine workouts in the gym


  1. What muscles do rowing machines use?
  2. Benefits of HIIT rowing machine workouts
  3. How often should I do a HIIT rowing machine workout?
  4. The workouts  

What muscles do rowing machines use?

Rowing is a great exercise that activates many muscles throughout the body. Unlike other cardio machines like the bike or treadmill, rowing machines work both upper, core and lower muscle groups. 

Rowing targets lower body muscles, such as the quads and glutes, as you drive through the legs. It also targets upper body muscles, such as the lats and deltoids, with the pull of the bar. You will find that your core is also engaged when rowing, giving the rowing machine full body workout status. 

Rowing machine HIIT workout

Benefits of HIIT rowing machine workouts

HIIT workouts involve changes in pace to develop your cardiovascular strength and general fitness. Many benefits come with HIIT workouts and the rowing machine in general, which include: 

Low impact workout

With other HIIT workouts, such as the treadmill and stair machine, gym-goers can often experience joint pain and injuries from the constant impact against the ground. When working out on the rowing machine, there is little to no impact or weight-bearing – which reduces the chances of experiencing joint pain. Adding a rowing machine HIIT workout to your fitness plan is the perfect way to get your heart rate up and introduce cardio into your regime for those that experience joint pain. 

Man working out on rowing machine

Burns fat and calories

Like any HIIT exercise, a workout on the rowing machine will help the user to burn calories and fat. As a wide range of muscle groups are activated during the workout, your metabolic rate will be higher, and you will continue to burn calories even after you have completed the full workout. Rowing workouts are great if you want to manage body weight and feel the burn in a wide range of muscle groups. 

Cardio and strength training at the same time

Working out on the rowing machine improves your cardiovascular and muscular strength and endurance. Combining cardio and strength is great for those who struggle for time in the gym and want a form of exercise that targets both areas. 

It is scalable for all fitness levels

One of the great benefits of working out on a rowing machine is that you can scale the routine to suit your limits. Whether you are a gym bunny or a beginner, the rowing machine is a great piece of equipment, and you can change the resistance levels, and effort exerted to suit what works best for you. 

Training on a rowing machine

How often should I do a HIIT rowing machine workout?

The frequency of your rowing machine HIIT workouts depends on your fitness goals and what you want to achieve. It also depends on how much you enjoy the rowing machine and how varied you want your workouts to be. 

If you enjoy rowing and want to use it as one of your main forms of cardio, you can incorporate a rowing HIIT workout into your regime 3 times a week. We recommend adding it to your schedule on alternate days to ensure you add variety to your programme and allow the targeted muscle enough recovery time. 

Alternatively, feel free to add a HIIT rowing workout to your schedule once a week to ensure you get a dual cardio and muscular HIIT session in. 

Woman working out on a rowing machine

Rowing HIIT workouts to try 

You may think a rowing HIIT workout can’t be varied  – but you’re wrong. There are many ways you can switch up your rowing HIIT workouts, which include the 3 following workouts:

Alternating workouts: We recommend adding different exercises to your rowing training if you want to go for a longer session. This fits the standard HIIT working method and incorporates high and lower intensities and rowing and non-rowing exercises. Start by rowing for a minute or 200m and then alternating with various non-rowing exercises. You can switch these up to include press-ups, sit-ups or even squats. The choice is yours, and it keeps the workout varied and fun. 

EMOM workout: EMOM is an acronym used frequently in CrossFit workouts and stands for ‘every minute on the minute’. With EMOM workouts, you should complete the exercise at the top of the minute and rest for the rest. You can use this in your rowing workouts in two ways: 

  • Row for 20 calories, then rest for the remainder of the time.
  • Row for 50m and then rest for the remainder of the time. 

Strictly rowing workout: You can complete a HIIT rowing workout simply by rowing alone. An example would be rowing for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds for 10 rounds. Like most rowing workouts, you can opt for time or distance – the choice is yours! 

Rowing machine workout

Find a rowing machine for your gym or home gym at Fitkit today

At Fitkit, we have a range of rowers from premium brands that you can add to your home gym or studio that are functional and designed to help you get the best results. Featuring rowing machines from the likes of Technogym, Life Fitness and NordicTrack, you will surely find a rowing machine that suits your needs and price range within the collection. Our selection of rowers includes both used and new machines for home and commercial use – grab one today and make a start on your HIIT rowing journey. 

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