6 Top Benefits Of Rowing Machines

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Most people don’t have the time or the desire to use an actual rowing boat. Luckily, rowing machines can offer similar exercise benefits.

If you like these enough, you can consider getting your own rowing machine too. This can save you from a lot of trips to the gym.

1. Rowing machines work a few muscles

It is a fact of rowing machines that they will be a cardiovascular workout for most people. At the same time, they can also engage a variety of muscles to a nice extent.

While you should not expect too much, or any, actual muscle growth, this can still offer benefits. Some of these include slowing down degradation, improving muscle health, and improving muscle endurance.

Some of the muscles you work with rowing include:

  • Quadriceps (front thighs)
  • Glutes (butt)
  • Hamstrings (back thighs)
  • Latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back)
  • Trapezius (upper back)
  • Erector spinae (lower back)
  • Biceps
  • Calves

One of the additional benefits of rowing machines is that you can typically change their resistance setting.

In case you want the muscle-related effects above to a larger extent, you can make your movements harder.

At the same time, you want to remember that using rowing machines is typically still a cardiovascular workout.

Weight lifting exercises tend to be more effective than rowing for working your muscles.

2. Rowing can help you lose weight

Having excess body fat is common in modern life but unfortunately very bad for human health. Luckily it is also possible to get rid of this fat again.

To lose weight, you need to get to a point where your body requires more energy than is coming in from your diet.

Rowing can help with weight loss since the movements involved burn more energy than typical daily activities.

You can even make rough estimations about how many calories rowing burns.

The average person will burn around 207 to 356+ calories per 30 minutes of rowing at a moderate pace.

Your actual results will likely vary due to differences in details like your exact speed, rowing machine resistance, body weight, etc.

That being said, it should become somewhat clear that rowing can be great when trying to lose weight.

Do keep in mind that lifestyle habits like what you eat will still influence your results a lot. Rowing is no guarantee for weight loss either.

3. Rowing can improve your cardiovascular health

As briefly mentioned, rowing is mainly a cardiovascular workout. That means you will likely get out of breath before your muscles fatigue.

Your cardiovascular system includes your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

These body parts are responsible for things like extracting oxygen from the air and moving this, nutrients, and waste products throughout your body.

When you move more intensely by rowing, these things need to happen to a larger extent.

In turn, your cardiovascular system works harder.

If you row fast enough (but not too fast), this can actually strengthen your cardiovascular system.

This is a benefit of rowing since having a strong cardiovascular system tends to reduce your risk of conditions in these body parts (1, 2, 3).

4. Rowing is a low-impact workout

While it is good to focus on the benefits, you also want to keep in mind that exercise involves some form of injury. In some options more than others.

For example, the small jumps involved in running can be relatively challenging on your ankles, knees, and lower back.

Especially for people who are not used to working out and/or have a few extra pounds to lose.

Luckily, the rowing machine is a piece of low-impact workout equipment.

That means your body will not really experience any big shocks. In turn, the injury risk of rowing is on the lower side. At least compared to certain rowing machine alternatives.

5. Rowing machines can be a great warm-up

As mentioned above, rowing machines work a variety of muscles in both your upper and lower body.

This is not only useful for improving endurance and making these muscles healthier.

It also means rowing machines can be helpful for people who want to warm up before certain resistance training workouts that involve leg and pull movements.

One thing to note is that rowing machines do not really work your chest, triceps, and deltoids.

In turn, you will still have to do some type of other warm-ups before doing an exercise like the bench press.

6. Rowing machines are relatively home-friendly

You have many options when choosing a piece of cardio exercise equipment for your home.

This next benefit of rowing machines mostly applies if you are doubting between this and other big cardio machines like an exercise bike, treadmill, or elliptical machine.

Rowing machine dimensions are relatively compact compared to these other machines.

This is even more the case outside of your workouts when you can typically store the rowing machine vertically.

That being said, not everyone is interested in getting their own cardio machine at home. Whether this aspect of rowing machines is actually a benefit for you depends on this.

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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.