Are Rowing Machines Good Cardio?


Rowing machines are very effective for use in cardio-workouts, they crush lots of calories while helping you to sculpt the muscles in your legs, back, abs, and arms. However, you need to have a well thought out plan on how you’re going to approach your workout regimen. In other words, you need a goal to work towards in terms of distance and time.

If you ask most people what comes into their minds whenever you talk about cardio, most of them will talk about cycling, elliptical, or running. We hardly think about rowing machines, but most gyms have these machines and they’re often underutilized.

If deployed in the right way, rowing machines do a great job in providing a cardio challenge for anyone who’s interested.

Studies have shown that working out on a rowing machine for one hour can burn 800 calories, this stems from the fact that it engages most body parts. The machine demands 25% effort from the upper body and 75% from the lower body. You get to work out the legs, arms, abs, and the back. In other words, you can look at this machine as a wholesome multi-tasker that combines different workouts on one single machine. This is part of the reason rowing athletes look very fit.

Rowing is a good cardio workout

The actual mechanics that we engage in while rowing is different from what most people are accustomed to. While growing up, we often engaged in biking and running, in very rare cases would you find people rowing. This is part of the reason why it’s a challenge to most people. One needs to expend lots of effort to get the right form when they’re getting started. However, as soon as you get the right form, it now becomes very easy. However, the benefits to be derived from this workout are worthwhile.

Rowing is a combination of different exercises that test your cardiovascular and muscular endurance. By simultaneously using the upper and lower body, you get to work out multiple muscle groups at the same time, which is very good for your cardiovascular system. The core, shoulders, arms, and legs are all used in the process. A simple low-impact workout can get your strength training and cardiovascular training all at the same time.

Team SOCOM Chief Petty Officer Phil Fong competes in the 2018 DoD Warrior Games indoor rowing competition at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. June 9, 2018. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

Comparing Rowing With other Forms of Cardio

We’ve mentioned earlier that rowing can burn up-to 600 – 800 calories in one hour. Also, consider this, rowing is a low impact workout hence it is ideal for cross-training. You can also tailor your workout around the rowing machine without much pressure.

The main advantage of rowing is that it provides you with the opportunity to exercise a wide range of muscle work. You’re able to hit most parts of the body, including the core and both the lower and upper parts of the body. There are very few machines that can achieve this kind of results.

Muscles Involved While Rowing

The catch is also known as the big push engages your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. The leg muscles also do a great part of the job while pushing. As you do this, you get to burn a lot of calories. By working the major muscles in the body, you get to burn a lot of calories as the day goes by.

The core also comes into play because you need a lot of stabilization. If your core is not strong and well stabilized, you can easily collapse while you’re rowing. Talking of core, we’re talking about the muscles in your truck.

On the other hand, the pulling motion engages your back and arms. This implies that your triceps and biceps, and the chest muscles and rhomboids get involved. A few minutes of rowing can help you loosen up a tight back and neck muscles this warming up your body.

Two-In-One Workout

Rowing gives you both the cardio benefits and the strength training because you get to engage some muscular and cardiovascular endurance, which requires a lot of strength. Tho is make you more efficient as time goes by. It’s like running and lifting all at the same time.

Some Tips To Use While Rowing

Rowing should be harder on your legs than your back. So when you’re rowing you need to be very cautious so that you don’t jerk your back off. However, a little bit of soreness is allowed.

Avoid straining your back excessively; most of the work should be done by your legs and arms. Push with your legs first and then allow the body to follow.

Make sure that you exhale while you’re pulling the handle, also inhale while returning it to the initial position.

Avoid rowing on the highest resistance, to get a good stroke you need to lower the resistance.
You can consider a rowing machine workout plan where you pull 2 minutes – 500 meters split and burn 1000 calories in an hour.

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