what muscles does a rowing machine work?

5 Benefits of Rowing Machines [Updated 2020]

Going to the gym to do a little cardio, usually means heading straight to the treadmill, spending a short time on the bike, or timing 20 minutes on the elliptical – but what about that forgotten and covered rowing machine? Of dust hidden in that corner?

Yes, it is the rowing machine! You know it, everyone knows it, the rowing machine is probably the least used of the cardio equipment in the gym. But the question is that why do we avoid it?

Don’t get us wrong; all machines have their benefits and are useful in developing cardiovascular endurance if appropriately used.

It is neither easy nor cheap to get a boat and start rowing. Therefore, we are a strong advocate of its use in the gym.

Let’s start a reveal at the gym! Below are some reasons why you should choose the rowing machine the next time you go to the gym to do cardio.

5 Rowing Machine Benefits


1. Train The Whole Body

Hallelujah! A device that works the entire body – (great if you’re already defined and don’t know what to train)

It could argue that the arms are trained a bit by running or on the elliptical. But compared to the upper body muscles that get trained during rowing, it is an insignificant fact.

The key to its success is the combination of the amount of effort required by the muscles of the upper part to pull and the initial explosive thrust movement (which involves all the muscles of the lower body).

Correct technique

A rowing machine may seem like the easiest to use – sit up and pull the bar, right?

Mistake – This cardiovascular exercise uses an incredible amount of muscle to perform forward and backward movements. So it is essential to do it with the correct posture – not only to achieve maximum results but also to avoid serious injury.

Follow these simple but useful tips to get the correct technique:

1)      Sit on the seat in a comfortable position that allows your body to be in align position with the centre of the machine – the rear should be positioned on the bench while the hamstrings are slightly off the edge of the seat.

2)      Before starting any movement, adjust the foot straps until your feet are comfortable and secure (it may seem silly, but it makes the difference).

3)      Use a prone grip when holding the handle with both hands – it should be shoulder width. The broad grip approach is essential to get flexibility and make the muscles work harder.

4)      Perfect your posture: It is necessary to master it! A little tip would be to imagine a piece of string running down the centre of your back, from your head to your lower torso by believing it is taut. You should be sitting high with a tight stomach – your shoulders should be loose for flexibility.

5)      When pulling back, make sure you start by leaning forward with your legs bent and put your arms out in front of you.

6)      (Remember to keep your back straight) – lean back a little, stretch your legs and gently pull your elbows close to your body, but don’t hit them – (Remember that ease will give you maximum flexibility)

2. Effective Calorie-Burning

Rowing vigorously is one of the best calorie burners as it uses the full range of motion in a joint. A fact it is of vital importance in maintaining body balance.

Training on a rowing machine can burn a whopping 600 calories an hour! You can think of a few healthy snacks that you could have if you burned all those calories.

However – that’s not the point!

The point is, the rowing machine may be a bit more cardio-vascular exercise compared to treadmill, elliptical, or bike. In the end, results are worth it, and you’ll appreciate it after your cheat meal.


The more calories burned, the better, right? Well, then why don’t you try some HIIT? We know, you’ve only just started with the rowing machine.

But in reality, the HIIT on the rowing machine can give you more than a break despite burning more calories. Try 30 in 30 out – 30 seconds paddling fast and another 30 seconds at a slow, steady pace (secretly, that time it can give you a break and be taken as a ‘break’).

Try this for 5 minutes – 10 minutes if you feel good! Your body is not expecting it; therefore, you are forcing it to work more, and you will get more blood pumping after the ‘break’.

3. Effective Aerobic Exercise

Now that you are aware of the wide variety of major muscle groups used in rowing, it is easier to explain why rowing is an excellent form of aerobic exercise.

By using a variety of muscle groups compared to other cardio exercises that target specific muscles, it leads to an increase in heart rate. Hence it leads to an increase in the amount of oxygen circulating in the body. You should see this as an advantage. If you don’t want to work at such intensity, you can control it by choosing the specific resistance of the machine that suits you.

4. Avoid Imbalances In The Upper Body

In these times, we tend to put too much emphasis on pushing movements; many go to the gym to lift weights.

Many men go to the gym and train the upper body muscles; that is, they focus on getting large arms and abs. But they are unaware of the muscle imbalances that this can cause.

Without getting trained equally for antagonistic posterior muscles, the shoulder humeral head eventually leans forward as the chest muscles become robust, big and short. That results in a more ’rounded’ posture.

The ’rounded’ postures place the joint of the shoulder in a very unbalanced position that is different from the ideal body position. This off-centre position causes increased compression and a lack of range of motion in the shoulder, increasing the chances of injury.

In this way, by rowing (with the appropriate shape), not only you will have an excellent cardiovascular workout, but it helps you to pull the shoulder back to its correct position by contracting the muscles of the back.

5. Rowing Prevents Joint Pain

If you are exercising to improve your body and cardiovascular endurance, the rowing machine is the perfect option.

Training with the rowing machine compared to other cardiovascular exercise machines relieves a lot of stress on the joints imposed in other activities such as running since it uses fewer cyclical movements per minute than any other aerobic exercise.

If you suffer from this problem with your current training routine, it might be worth giving rowing a try.

We recommend having your joints checked by a professional if they hurt. Besides, rowing can reduce inflammation compared to other machines, but that doesn’t mean it will heal problems that are already happening.


Recovery should always be the top priority of any form of exercise – unfortunately, this is often the most neglected part of the process.

The hardest part is over – you’ve worked hard in the gym, and now it’s time to feed those weak muscles – it’s what they might be thinking when you attack them with a new exercise, even using body muscles for the first time.

The essential staples for those who want to gain and maintain lean muscle mass (whether male or female) in the long term, are Protein Shake and Instant Oatmeal. Instant oats, in addition to protein, as low GI carbohydrates release energy for training and replenish the body’s energy reserves. Also, wearing a shaker is so easy!

Protein can get consumed at any time of the day as a snack. But we recommend protein and oatmeal, either for breakfast, as a pre-workout meal at least an hour before exercise, or post-workout to fuel muscle.

How Does The Rower Work?

If great athletes know the rower well, fewer Internet users are familiar with it. For many, the rower can get summed up in a device that coaches recommend only to rare people.

Suddenly, it is often difficult to know what we are dealing with, especially since the rower takes on mysterious airs, not suggesting what he can help do.

The device, which is also called indoor rowing, can be considered a cardio training tool.

Its use allows you to reproduce movements’ specific to rowing, and incidentally those that are associated with an ergometer.

The products design so that top athletes can use it on freezing days or under particular conditions.

It has only been a few years since it has become a mainstream fitness tool. Its popularity has improved, explaining that it is today one of the most popular references for athletes of all levels.


Yes, the rowing machine can be a slightly more difficult cardiovascular option. But remember, if you want to change your exercise routine for better results (cliché).

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