What are the Benefits of Rowing Machines?

Rowing machines have a multitude of benefits for your body. A session on one provides a fantastic cardio workout while also targeting many of your muscle groups at once. 

Wondering whether you should be incorporating a rowing workout into your gym routine? Read on to find out all the benefits of rowing machines in more detail, how they compare to other cardio workouts and how to nail your form.

benefits of rowing machines

Rowing machine health benefits

  1. Targets all muscle groups

Rowing is fantastic for full-body conditioning. The complete exercise uses all your major muscles across your body. In your legs, you’re targeting your calves, quads, glutes, on your upper body, your deltoids, lats and triceps, plus your abs too! Not many exercises engage this many muscles at once.

2. A great cardio workout

Not only does rowing help you tone up, but it’s also a fantastic cardio and aerobic workout too because it increases your breathing rate and gets your blood pumping! This is great for strengthening your heart and increasing your overall stamina and endurance. 

3. Suitable for all fitness levels

New to the gym? Whether you regularly work out or this is your first foray into fitness, a rowing machine is great for all fitness levels. Plus, if you have poor eyesight or a disability that makes other cardio exercises difficult, this seated workout is a brilliant alternative to the treadmill.

4. A low-impact option

If you suffer from aching joints, have arthritis or are recovering from an injury, the rowing machine is also a great low-impact option for you. You can still burn calories and improve your fitness, without the added stress on your joints associated with exercises like running.

5. Improve your posture

Because the rowing machine uses all our muscles, it’s great for posture. In particular, it engages the posterior chain (the muscles on the backside of your body). Strengthening up these muscles helps improve posture and prevent injuries. Plus, it’ll help boost your overall athletic ability.

benefits of rowing machine

Is using a rowing machine good for weight loss?

Yes! A rowing machine exercise can burn a lot of calories. According to a study by Harvard Medical School, moderate rowing can burn between 210 and 294 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your weight. Step this up to a vigorous workout and you can burn between 255 and 440 calories!

Benefits of rowing machine vs treadmill

The rower and the treadmill are both great options for cardio, but which comes out on top? The answer depends on what you’re looking for from a workout and what you’re hoping to gain. Here’s an at-a-glance breakdown of a few key factors to consider:

  • Rowing is less impact on the joints than pounding the treadmill, making it a better option for those with injuries.
  • The rower is much better for toning your whole body. 
  • The rowing machine offers a more balanced workout and is better for all-around fitness.
  • While the rowing machine is good for burning calories, a treadmill has the edge on this one. You burn more on a treadmill per hour.
  • To get the most out of your rowing exercise and avoid injury, you need to get your form right first. Read on for our top tips on mastering your technique!

How to use a rowing machine for beginners

If you’re new to rowing, don’t worry – learning how to use a rowing machine is easy. Here’s how to make sure you’re positioned correctly when you start.

  1. Start by sitting on the machine and adjusting the footrests, so the straps cover the top of your foot comfortably. 
  2. Set the resistance level you want – this will determine how hard you have to pull to oar towards you.
  3. Hold the oar with your arms extended and your knees bent. This position is called the ‘catch’.
  4. Keeping your back straight and your core engaged, push yourself back with your legs while bending your elbows to pull the oar towards your chest. This is known as the ‘drive’.
  5. Move back into starting position by pushing yourself forward and extending your arms out again.

Your position is crucial when using a rowing machine, so be sure not to slump – or on the flip side, lean too far back. Another common mistake is raising your arms too high when pulling the oar towards you. 

Take the time to adjust your position and check yourself for any of these mistakes to maximise your workout and keep injuries at bay. Remember, practice makes perfect!

The takeaway

Rowing machine benefits are abundant! Offering a low-impact, high-intensity workout that tones your muscles while burning fat, the rowing machine is a fantastic all-rounder. The benefits of rowing machines outweigh the treadmill on many points – but ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what your primary goals are. 

The best option is to combine a rowing workout alongside other forms of cardio. Incorporating different machines into your workouts helps you avoid the dreaded fitness plateau, and mixing it up helps banish any boredom from your gym sessions!

Rowing machines at FitKit UK

Shop our full range of rowers here at FitKit, where you can find state-of-the-art rowing machines for commercial use and rowing machines for home use.

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