13 Rowing Machine Benefits (2019)

image 1 rowing machine benefits weight loss

Despite what most people think, the rowing machine benefits extend beyond working the upper body muscles. The rowing machine will give you a full-body workout as it uses every major muscle group. So, you can work on your upper body, lower body and core muscles using just one machine.

And it doesn’t stop there! The rowing machine benefits your cardiovascular fitness too as it’s an incredible aerobic workout to raise your heart rate and get you burning some calories.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, tone your physique, build muscle, or increase your stamina, the rowing machine is the perfect full-body workout that you need to add into your exercise routine.

If you want to know more about the benefits of using a rowing machine, keep reading because we’ve got them all covered from rowing machine weight loss benefits to how the rowing machine benefits your Psychological well-being!

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Rowing Machine Benefits

#1 An All in One Workout!

One of the key benefits of using a rowing machine is that it’s a form of both anaerobic and aerobic exercise, which means you can work on your cardio and muscle strength at the same time.

Using a rowing machine benefits your full-body as it uses over 80% of your muscles. Throughout the rowing motion, you use the muscles in your upper body, lower body and in your core all whilst working on your cardio. 


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There’s no excuse for missing the rowing machine out of your fitness regime, as its one of the most efficient additions to your workout.

Keep reading for more detailed rowing machine benefits which will help you reach your goals and save you precious time! 

#2 Rowing Machine Benefits for Stamina and Endurance 

image 5 rowing machine benefits for overall fitness

Step away from the treadmill! The rowing machine is constantly overlooked despite being one of the best exercise machines for an aerobic workout.

The rowing machine is great for working on your cardio to build endurance. It’s a tiring workout at first but if you keep at it, your stamina will increase which will give you more energy in the long-term.

The rowing machine benefits your overall cardiovascular fitness which helps you to perform better in other aerobic workouts. Making the rowing machine a great exercise for cross-training.

Basically, whether your intentions are to get a little fitter or to push yourself to train for an upcoming marathon, you really should stop neglecting the rowing machine!

#3 Rowing Machine Weight Loss Benefits

image 1 rowing machine benefits weight loss

Whether you’re overweight and wanting to start a weight loss transformation or just looking to shed a few pounds ready for your summer holiday, the rowing machine weight loss benefits make the rowing machine an excellent way to achieve your weight loss goals. 

As the rowing machine is an aerobic exercise, it’s an effective fat burning workout which will help you to burn calories and begin to tone your muscles.

The rowing machine benefits weight loss because it’s one of the most efficient machines in the gym for burning calories. On average, you can burn around 600-800 calories for every hour you spend on the rowing machine. Of course, this will differ depending on a number of factors, such as your weight and the intensity of your workout.

#4 Benefits of Using A Rowing Machine For Toning Your Muscles 

If you want to tone your muscles, you need to add the rowing machine to your regular workout!

The rowing machine is great for toning your body as it’s an aerobic workout which uses all of the major muscle groups. Shedding excess fat is a huge part of toning your muscles, and as we’ve discussed, the rowing machine has that covered! The less fat you have, the more your muscles can be seen making them appear more toned.

One of the benefits of using a rowing machine is that it is a kind of resistance training which will help to strengthen your muscles. When this is combined with shedding fat, it makes your muscles appear toned and more defined.

To get the most out of the rowing machine benefits for shedding excess fat and toning your muscle, try using the rowing machine as part of a HIIT workout, like this one from Coach Mag.

#5 The Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine for Your Psychological Well-Being

image 6 brain -  rowing machine benefits for psychological wellbeing

Using a rowing machine benefits your mental health as well as your physical health. The rowing machine benefits your self-esteem and psychological well-being in general, reducing the likelihood you’ll suffer from stress or depression. The endorphins released during this exercise will boost your mood and leave you feeling more motivated.

#6 It's Easy!

Because rowing is such a natural movement, it’s easy to do. There’s no complicated tips or tricks to getting the rowing machine right! 

Saying that, it’s vital that you get your form right to really maximise the rowing machine benefits. The rowing form is easy and getting it right will ensure that you get the most out your workout and minimise your risk of injury.

Here are the 3 simple steps to executing the rowing motion:

image 3 rowing machine form

  1. Start Position: you should be sat at the front of the machine with your knees bent at a 90° angle so that your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Your arms and your back should be straight, and your body should be bent slightly forward so that your shoulders pass your hips. 
  2. The Drive: engage your core and push the seat back with your legs until they are straight. Once your legs are fully extended, lean back slightly whilst bending your arms so that your hands come close your body, just below your ribs.
  3. The Recovery: extend your arms until they straighten and then lean your body forward until it is bent so that your shoulders pass your hips. Once you’re in this position, bend your knees so that you move back towards the front of the machine until you return to the start position.

#7 You Can Switch Up Your Rowing Machine Workout

Like to switch up your exercise routine every now and then? Us too! But that doesn’t mean you should abandon the rowing machine when you get a little too familiar with your workout.

There are tons of variations of rowing machine workouts out there. And who knows, you might enjoy the rowing machine benefits enough to give rowing on the water a try!

Why not check out Men’s Health’s 8 ways to change up your rowing machine workout for some inspiration.

#8 You Can Workout with Friends

image 8 rowing machine classes

Another one of the benefits of using a rowing machine is that you can workout as part of a group. Gyms and fitness clubs always have a few rowing machines, so you and your friends can workout together.

Better yet, thanks to more and more people recognising the benefits of using a rowing machine, rowing machine classes are starting to appear on the timetable in gyms and fitness clubs!

This means that you can get all the benefits of a spin class and more, as the rowing machine works the upper body muscles too.

In addition to the rowing machine benefits, being a part of a group exercise class will give you a motivational boost that will push you to your limits. The support of your friends, the encouragement of the instructor and a bit of healthy competition make exercise classes the perfect setting to reach your fitness goals. Plus, they’re fun!

#9 Rowing Machine Benefits for Building Muscle

image 2 rowing machine benefits for muscle gain

Looking to bulk up? Crank up the resistance. As well as weight loss and muscle toning, using a rowing machine benefits those who want to build muscle too.

The rowing machine can also be used for anaerobic exercise, so it can strengthen and build muscle. Because the rowing machine is a full-body workout, you can build the strength and size of the muscles in your upper body, lower body and parts of your core.

The drive motion works the muscles in your lower body, including your Glutes, Quads and Hamstrings. Pulling the handle towards your chest works the muscles in your upper body, such as the muscles in your arms, chest, shoulders and your back. This includes the Biceps, Triceps, Deltoids, Erector Spinae, Pectoralis Major, Rhomboids and Trapezius. 

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you of the rowing machine benefits for building muscle, the rowing machine also works your forearms, strengthens your wrists and your grip because of how you need to grip the handle to complete the motion.

#10 You Can Workout at Home

image 4 home rowing machine

If you prefer to exercise on your own, in your own space, the rowing machine is the perfect machine for home use too. There are tons of affordable home rowing machines available on Amazon, we’d recommend the R310 Home Rowing Machine model from XS Sports, which you can check out below. 

Considering all of the benefits of using a rowing machine, we think £159.99 is a bit of a bargain! This rowing machine is also foldable, quiet when used and has 10 levels of resistance which are easily adjusted.

We think this rowing machine is the perfect option if you want to get the rowing machine benefits from your own home without breaking the bank or having a bulky piece of exercise equipment take over your living room.

Being able to exercise at home is a great way of saving you time and money, you can sneak in 30 mins on the rowing machine and then get back to your busy schedule. Because the rowing machine benefits are so varied, it’s the perfect machine to have in your home. You can cover aerobic and anaerobic exercise without needing to pay for a gym membership or splash out on a fully kitted home gym.

#11 Rowing Machine Benefits for Reducing Your Risk of Chronic Diseasesimage 7 heart - rowing machine benefits for health

Rowing is an effective exercise for raising your heart rate and increasing the intake of oxygen into your lungs. The rowing machine gets your heart racing, so it improves your circulation and strengthens your heart and respiratory system by making your heart work harder to increase your oxygen intake.

Because the rowing machine benefits your immune system, lowers your blood pressure and keeps your arteries clear and healthy, this workout reduces your risk of multiple chronic diseases. This includes your risk of developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, becoming obese or having a stroke.

Check out this NHS article for more detailed information about the reduced risk of chronic diseases associated with exercise

#12 The Rowing Machine Benefits All Ages and Abilities 

Even if you’re unfit, overweight or elderly, the rowing machine is the perfect exercise to get you started on your fitness journey. As the rowing machine is a high intensity but low impact exercise, it allows you to burn calories efficiently without putting stress on your body. 

The rowing machine is easy on the joints because it’s a low impact and non-weight bearing exercise. This means that the rowing machine benefits those who are recovering from an injury too. The rowing machine is a great alternative to exercises like running which are high intensity but high impact.

If you’re more of a regular gym go-er, there are benefits of using a rowing machine for you too! Depending on your current muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, you can change the intensity of the rowing machine to suit your fitness level and reach your goals.

#13 Rowing Machine Benefits for Strengthening Your Core

rowing machine benefits for defined abs

Engaging your core during this workout means that using a rowing machine benefits and strengthens your core muscles too! And who doesn’t want more definition in their abs?!

Not only that, the rowing machine benefits for strengthening your core will also improve your posture and reduce lower back pain. Engaging your core whilst using the rowing machine will provide stability for the rest of your body which also prevents a number of exercise-related injuries.

If you’re unsure about how to engage your core, click here for our article which explains how to engage your core correctly and the benefits of doing so!

Before you go!

Now you’ve read about all of these amazing rowing machine benefits, get to the gym and see them for yourself.

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Written by Abbie Watkins

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Abbie on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Holding an MA Marketing Communications and Branding as well as a BSc Psychology from the University of Liverpool, Abbie’s experience encompasses the retail, hospitality and fitness industries. Since joining OriGym, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and gone on to complete a specialist qualification in advanced Sports Nutrition. Abbie’s main focuses cover staying up to speed with YouTube fitness influencers, identifying successful and innovative content formats. She has contributed to various publications, including the Daily Express. Beyond OriGym, she describes herself as a ‘work-hard, play-hard’ type going on scenic runs and upbeat exercise classes, and often found on the front row of a Saturday morning spin class. 

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