Why Should You Use a Rowing Machine?

In the world of fitness, finding an exercise method that targets multiple muscle groups, increases cardiovascular health, and is low impact can often feel like a quest for the Holy Grail. But what if I told you such a solution already exists? Meet the rowing machine – the unsung hero of the gym floor. This piece of equipment, often overlooked in favour of treadmills and elliptical machines, packs a punch when it comes to total body workouts. But why should you incorporate it into your fitness routine? Sit tight, because we’re about to dive into the compelling reasons why the rowing machine should be your new workout best friend.

Benefits of a rowing machine for cardiovascular health

rowing machine
Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels

Rowing machines offer an array of benefits, particularly for cardiovascular health. Regular usage of a rowing machine can lead to significant improvements in your stamina and endurance, while simultaneously enhancing your overall heart health. As an excellent aerobic workout, rowing gets your heart rate elevated, ensuring a comprehensive cardiovascular exercise. The rhythmic nature of rowing means you’ll be maintaining a consistent level of exertion, which is ideal for boosting your heart’s efficiency and health.

Moreover, regular rowing sessions can lead to an increase in your heart’s muscle mass, further improving its strength and functionality. When you engage in a rowing workout, it activates both large and small muscle groups. This increased muscle activity prompts enhanced blood flow, providing a full workout for your heart and improving your circulatory system. Rowing not only helps you burn calories quickly, but it also improves your cardiovascular fitness in less time, making it a highly efficient exercise choice. So, if you’re looking for a workout that’s easy on the joints, but tough on calories and great for your heart, then it’s time to give the rowing machine a try.

The impact of a rowing machine in improving muscular strength and endurance

The rowing machine is a powerhouse when it comes to improving muscular strength and endurance. It’s a full-body workout that engages all the major muscle groups, including your arms, legs, back, and core. The beauty of rowing is that it provides both resistance and cardiovascular training in one fluid motion. As you pull against the resistance, you’re building muscular strength. At the same time, the continuous rowing action helps enhance muscular endurance, allowing your muscles to work for longer periods without fatigue.

Research has shown that consistent training with a rowing machine can lead to significant improvements in muscle strength, particularly in the lower body and core. This is due to the push-pull nature of the rowing stroke, which requires strong leg drive and a robust core for stability. Additionally, the upper body gets a solid workout from the pulling action, resulting in stronger arms and shoulders. Furthermore, rowing promotes functional fitness by mimicking the natural movements we make in our daily lives, making it a practical choice for enhancing overall muscular strength and endurance. So, whether you’re an athlete looking to improve performance or someone seeking a comprehensive and effective workout, the rowing machine certainly delivers.

How to use a rowing machine correctly and safely

Using a rowing machine correctly and safely requires understanding of the right technique. Begin by adjusting the foot straps so that the balls of your feet are secure, with your heels resting on the machine’s footplates. Sit tall with your back straight, core engaged, and arms extended out in front of you, holding onto the handle. This is your starting position, called ‘the catch’. Now, initiate the stroke by driving back with your legs until they’re almost fully extended. This is called ‘the drive’. At this point, lean your torso back slightly and pull the handle to your chest, keeping your elbows tucked in. Remember to keep your wrists straight and avoid hunching your shoulders. This is called ‘the finish’

The recovery phase is just as important in the rowing stroke. Extend your arms out first, then pivot from the hips, allowing your torso to lean forward. Once your hands have cleared your knees, allow your knees to bend and slide your seat forward back to the catch position. The key to safe and effective rowing is to ensure the movement is fluid and controlled, avoiding any jerky motions. Always remember to maintain good posture throughout the workout, engaging your core, and not rounding your back. If you’re new to using a rowing machine, it may be beneficial to seek advice from a fitness professional to ensure you’re using the correct technique and minimizing the risk of injury.

Tips for getting the most out of your rowing workouts

To get the most out of your rowing workouts, it’s crucial to focus on technique and consistency. A common mistake is using only the upper body strength to pull the handle, but remember, rowing is predominantly a leg-driven exercise. Start the stroke with a powerful leg push, followed by engaging your core and back, and finally pulling with your arms. This sequence ensures that you’re using your larger muscle groups (legs and core) for the majority of the work, which can increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your workout.

Integrating variety into your rowing routine can also help maximize the benefits. Consider incorporating interval training into your sessions. For example, you can alternate between 30 seconds of high-intensity rowing and 30 seconds of low-intensity recovery. This not only helps improve cardiovascular fitness but also boosts your metabolic rate, aiding in fat burning. Furthermore, ensure you’re rowing at a steady, controlled pace to maintain good form and prevent injury. Lastly, remember to warm up before each session and cool down afterwards. This prepares your body for the workout ahead and aids in recovery post-workout, respectively. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to getting the most out of your rowing workouts.

The different types of rowing machines available

Rowing machines come in various types, each offering a unique workout experience and catering to different fitness needs. Here’s a breakdown of the main types available:

  1. Air Resistance Rowing Machines: These machines use airflow created by a spinning flywheel to provide resistance. The harder you row, the more resistance you feel. This type of machine is favoured by athletes and those who enjoy the feeling of intensity increasing with effort. They also commonly offer adjustable air resistance levels to tailor resistance to the person using it.
  2. Water Resistance Rowing Machines: These aim to mimic the dynamics of outdoor rowing. They use paddles in a tank of water to create resistance. The sound of water swishing around the tank can make for a more realistic, soothing rowing experience.
  3. Magnetic Rowing Machines: Magnetic rowers use a magnetic brake system to provide resistance, which can be easily adjusted. They are known for their smooth, quiet operation, making them an excellent choice for home gyms.
  4. Hydraulic Rowing Machines: These machines use fluid or air housed within a cylinder to create resistance. They’re typically compact and budget-friendly, making them suitable for those with limited space or those new to rowing.

Each type of rowing machine offers its own set of advantages, and the best one for you depends on your personal preferences, fitness goals, and budget. Whether you’re looking for the realistic feel of water rowing, the quiet operation of a magnetic rower, or the high-intensity workout of an air rower, there’s a rowing machine out there that’s just right for you.

What to look for when shopping for a rowing machine

When shopping for a rowing machine, there are several factors to consider to ensure it aligns with your fitness goals and lifestyle. Firstly, consider the type of resistance that suits you best. This could be air, water, magnetic, or hydraulic, depending on the kind of workout you prefer. For instance, if you’re looking for a quiet machine that offers smooth and adjustable resistance, a magnetic rower might be your best bet. However, if you want a more realistic rowing experience, a water rower could be the way to go.

Other crucial factors include the size of the machine and its storage capabilities, especially if you’re working with limited space. Some rowers can be folded up when not in use, making them perfect for small apartments. The noise level is also an important consideration, particularly if you live in a shared space. Lastly, look at the machine’s weight capacity to ensure it can accommodate your needs, and consider features like a clear, easy-to-read display and comfortable seat. Remember, the best rowing machine is one that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle and encourages consistent use.

To sum it up, rowing machines offer a myriad of benefits for cardiovascular health, muscular strength, and endurance. However, to reap these benefits, it’s essential to use them correctly and safely. Incorporating variety in your workouts and focusing on technique can help maximize these benefits. When shopping for a machine, consider factors like the type of resistance, size, noise level, and additional features that align with your fitness goals and lifestyle. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a fitness novice, the right rowing machine can be a game-changer in your fitness journey.


Q: What is the best type of resistance for a rowing machine? 

A: The best type of resistance depends on your personal preferences and fitness goals. Air resistance rowers provide a dynamic resistance that increases with your effort, making them popular among athletes. Water resistance rowers mimic the feel of outdoor rowing and are known for their soothing, realistic experience. Magnetic resistance rowers offer smooth, quiet operation and adjustable resistance levels, ideal for home gyms.

Q: Is rowing a good full-body workout? 

A: Yes, rowing is an excellent full-body workout. It engages all the major muscle groups in your body, including your arms, legs, back, and core. Not only does it build muscular strength and endurance, but it also provides a robust cardiovascular workout, making it a highly efficient exercise option.

Q: How often should I use a rowing machine to see results? 

A: Consistency is key when it comes to seeing results from using a rowing machine. Most fitness experts recommend rowing for at least 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week. However, this can vary based on individual fitness levels and goals. As with any exercise regimen, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your workouts accordingly.