How Many Calories Does Rowing Burn?

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What workouts you choose can make a big difference in terms of results. Find out how many calories rowing burns and how to burn more.

These are very rough predictions but the average person can burn around 138 to 237 calories when rowing at a moderate resistance for 20 minutes.

Your actual results can vary due to differences in a variety of details. A straightforward example is how much you weigh.

For example, a 125-pound (56 kg) person can burn more or less 138 calories per 20 minutes of rowing. On the other hand, the 237-calorie estimation is for a 215-pound (97 kg) person.

Additionally, something like the resistance setting on your rowing machine will play a big role too.

That aside, I will go over a few other important factors in the calories burned with rowing, more in-depth estimations, and how to get more results from rowing.

Biggest factors in calories burned with rowing

Something important to note is that it is hard to predict the number of calories you burn while rowing correctly. This rowing fact can make it hard to balance your energy intake.

That being said, having slightly better estimations can already be welcome.

You can get these by knowing what details influence the calories burned with a rowing machine a lot. A few of these include:

  • Body weight: How much you weigh influences how much energy your body needs to move around during activities like rowing. A heavier body weight tends to burn more calories.
  • Rowing intensity: You can use your rowing machine at very different speeds. Higher speeds tend to burn more calories.
  • Muscle vs body fat: Human bodies can consist of different ratios of tissues which influences how many calories someone will burn with rowing. For example, having more of your weight come from muscle mass instead of body fat will tend to burn more calories.
  • Rowing machine resistance: Rowing machines often allow you to change how hard it is to pull the handle in one way or another. This can increase the amount of energy you use per pull.

You can also use these details to change your rowing workouts in ways that make them burn more calories in shorter amounts of time.

Hidden calorie burning from rowing

Correctly estimating the calorie-burning results from a rowing session becomes even harder if you consider the afterburn effect.

This is a situation where you burn more calories than usual even after your rowing workout. You can get this afterburn effect by moving intensely enough.

The extra calories you burn will likely not make or break your weight loss journey but small amounts do add up.

Unfortunately, it is hard to put this afterburn effect into exact numbers. Partly because it can vary so much depending on your workout intensity.

Additionally, rowing workouts can change the levels of certain hormones. In turn, this can make calorie-burning throughout the day easier too.

The main thing to keep in mind about these secondary effects is that calorie-burning estimations for rowing machines typically don’t take them into account.

In simpler words, you could potentially get slightly more results than the numbers below imply at first.

Chart of rowing calorie-burning estimations

A cheat list from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention mentions you can burn 3.5-7 calories per minute of rowing at a moderate effort and more than 7 calories per minute at vigorous effort (1).

Luckily, there are numbers called MET values that can help you get more precise estimations too.

These MET values are basically estimations, and sometimes measurements, of how intense certain exercises and activities are. You can use these MET values in the formula below.

Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute

Now, all you need is the MET estimations for different intensities of rowing and you can get an idea of how many calories these burn.

Sources can vary but one example mentions METs ranging from 3.5 for rowing at 50 W resistance to 13 for rowing at 250 W resistance (2).

You can find the results of using the MET for moderate-effort (100 W) rowing in the first table below.

After that, there is a comparison of the impact of different intensities of rowing on the number of calories you burn.

Something that can help you compare these numbers to food is that one chocolate chip cookie (30 grams) contains about 148 calories (3).

Calories burned with rowing per time interval

Most, if not all, people will find the number of calories burned per minute(s) of rowing the most useful.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds
(56 kg)
7 calories103 calories207 calories310 calories413 calories
155 Pounds
(70 kg)
9 calories128 calories256 calories384 calories513 calories
185 Pounds
(84 kg)
10 calories153 calories306 calories459 calories612 calories
215 Pounds
(97 kg)
12 calories178 calories356 calories533 calories711 calories
Calories burned rowing at a medium resistance of 100 W

Calories burned with rowing per resistance

Additionally, it can be helpful to know how much you would benefit in terms of calorie burning by turning up the resistance of your rowing machine.

These estimations are for using the rowing machines for 30 minutes.

Rowing Resistance
Weight Person
Rowing (50W)Rowing (100W)Rowing (150W)Rowing (200W)
125 Pounds (56 kg)103 calories207 calories251 calories354 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)128 calories256 calories311 calories439 calories
185 Pounds (84 kg)153 calories306 calories372 calories524 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)178 calories356 calories432 calories610 calories
Calories burned rowing at different resistances for 30 minutes

Ways to burn more calories with rowing

The MET formula may give you a different impression but you can actually influence how many calories you burn with rowing machines a lot.

As a first example, if you keep moving at the same speed, rowing at higher resistances will burn more calories per minute.

Secondly, you could also focus on rowing faster at the same resistance. These intenser movements tend to require more energy aka calories from your body.

Another option is getting yourself to weigh more in a healthy way. You can do this by building muscle with resistance training outside of your rowing sessions.

Lastly, if your body is able to deal with it, using your rowing machine for longer and more often can help you burn more calories too.

This last method does also require more time out of your busy schedule.

How long does it take to see results from rowing?

Most people who are interested in burning more calories also want to lose weight. You want to keep some things in mind for this goal.

It is true that rowing can be good for weight loss. However, your habits in other areas like the things you eat still need to be good enough to make this happen.

While you still want to keep this in mind, you can imagine all the extra calories you burn with rowing come from body fat to get some rough estimations.

A 185-pound (84 kg) person would burn more or less an extra 918 calories or about 0.26 pounds (0.12 kg) of body fat by rowing at a moderate pace for 30 minutes three times a week.

If this person would stick to the same rowing routine for a month (four weeks), they would burn an extra 3672 calories or about 1.05 pounds (0.46 kg) of body fat.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you will burn fewer calories with rowing as you lose weight.

Is rowing good for burning calories?

Rowing machines can be great for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

One of the additional benefits of rowing is that it tends to be relatively soft on your body.

This can help you avoid injuries and improve consistency. As you can see from the numbers above, this will benefit your long-term calorie burning a lot.

Something you do want to keep in mind is that you need a rowing machine (or boat) to do this type of exercise.

If you do not want to invest in one yourself, there are more time-friendly rowing machine alternatives that don’t require you to make trips to the gym.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.