The Muscular Benefits of Adding Rowing Machines to Your Workout


If you’re just getting into regular workouts, it may be hard to commit to just one piece of fitness equipment, but we’ve got a secret to share. Rowing machines are the hidden gem of the fitness industry.

Meanwhile, the internet is divided on its effectiveness, making your decision all the more daunting. There is no doubt that you have heard of treadmills and exercise bikes as top-of-the-line options for staying in shape, but rowing machines' understatements could be the perfect solution. 

The following segments will explain the principles of this piece of equipment, list all the benefits of rowing machine, and share some tips and tricks on how to amp up your workouts. So, let's get going!

Rowing Machines 101

Let’s get the mechanics of rowing machines out of the way before getting to the meat of the matter. As its clever name suggests, a rowing machine is meant to help you replicate rowing movements. Today, these machines are often referred to as ergometers since they track the performed workout. Now, if you still don’t quite know where to start, here are a few factors you can consider:

  • Level of noise: One thing you should know about rowing machines is that they emit some noise. If you’re sensitive to sound or are considering purchasing one of these contraptions for your home, you may want to look into how quiet (noisy) they’ll be when you use them.
  • Resistance intensity: Gather some info on the resistance mechanism. Rowing machines can create resistance in various ways, so make sure the machine’s capacities align with your fitness goals.

The Plus Sides of Using Rowing Machines

A rowing machine workout is low-impact and high-intensity, meaning it puts less pressure on your joints. These exercise programs can help you build strength, burn calories, and also increase endurance. Join us as we examine the many benefits of rowing.

Ease of Use

Using an exercise rower is like riding a bike. Not exactly, but you get the idea. The whole experience is incredibly intuitive — you only need to remember to use the proper form and type of resistance. Of course, the less experienced you are, the less resistance you’ll start out with. You can adjust the intensity once you get used to the specific movements. 

Various Muscle Groups Targeted

You might think that a rower only trains your arms, but this fitness equipment has a much broader range of uses. With it, you’ll get an amazing total body workout since it forces you to use your legs, core, and the whole upper body. Fitness professionals suggest that a rowing stroke is made up of 25–35% upper-body and 65–75% lower-body work. For instance, the driving phase of a stroke engages your calves, glutes, and hamstrings. Meanwhile, you’ll use your core for the entirety of the exercise. 

Diversity of Workouts

Our previous benefits of rowing machine are perfectly aligned with this one. Rowers are extremely versatile, which means you can use them across many different types of training, be it endurance, strength, or interval. Moreover, rowing exercises are typically on the short side due to their intensity. Therefore, you’ll get a full-body and a cardio workout all in one. This is perfect for all those racing against the clock — 15 minutes on the rower will do the trick and help you hit your daily fitness goal. 

Improved Power and Endurance

Our posture can be affected by sitting for long periods. Most of our days are spent behind a computer screen, and then we pass the rest scrolling through our mobile devices. It turns out a rowing machine workout can alleviate the effects of sitting hunched over, since it’s an excellent upper-back exercise. Meanwhile, the strength training and cardio combo promotes endurance, both cardiovascular and muscular. 

Drawbacks of Rowing Machines

Sure, a rower sounds like this dreamy magical device that will make all your fitness dreams come true. However, it’s not perfect. Like every piece of workout equipment, rowing machines have their cons, albeit a few.


Most can simply hop on a stationary bike or a treadmill and start working out without a care in the world. The rowing machine is a bit more demanding in that regard. Namely, proper form is everything, as it will allow you to make the most of your full-body workout and help prevent injuries. Improper form will strain your lower back, causing unnecessary pain.

How to Incorporate Rowing Machines Into Your Regime

We’ve already mentioned the importance of proper form, so let’s see what the term entails. Sit with your back straight, keeping your core engaged. Push with your lower body and upper back while straightening your legs and pulling your hands into your chest. Then go back to your initial position by returning your arms to the base and bending your knees. Repeat the movements until you get the hang of them. Make sure not to raise your arms too high, and remember to push out with more power. 

If you’re new to rowing, take breaks as soon as you feel tired. Don’t overexert yourself — it can do more harm than good. As for the length and intensity of your workouts, listen to your body, especially if you’re a beginner. Experts say that 40 minutes (2x20 sessions) of rowing weekly is more than enough to start seeing results.


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Bottom Line

Using a new piece of workout equipment can be scary at first, especially one like a rower. Just look at it — it seems more like something only professionals use than a part of one's regular exercise routine. However, as long as you’re maintaining a proper posture and using a steady pace, you’re bound to see results. You’ll be getting a full-body workout, which can help you lose weight as long as you are in a calorie deficit. What more could you ask for?