If you’re getting tired of doing cardio on a treadmill, think about adding a rowing machine to your home gym equipment. The advantages of rowing are incredible. Without putting undue stress on your joints, you receive a total-body workout that gets your heart rate up.
Why Rowing Workouts Are Shorter Than Most Other Workouts
There is a reason why marathon rowing sessions are rarely mentioned: they would be exhausting! The fact that rowing is a full-body exercise from the outset is the main reason why quick workouts on a rowing machine are successful. Compared to other activities like running and cycling, rowing activates almost twice as many muscles.
Your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, arms, and back are all worked out during a single rowing motion. And ten minutes of steady rowing works out to approximately 200 strokes, which is more than enough to raise your heart rate and possibly even cause you to perspire.
By Using The Rowing Machine, How Many Calories Can You Burn?
A 125-pound person can burn 255 calories in 30 minutes of intense rowing exercise, according to Harvard Health. A 155-pound person can expend 369 calories, while a 185-pound person can expend 440.
On an elliptical trainer, a person weighing 125 pounds can burn 270 calories in 30 minutes, a person weighing 155 pounds can burn 324 calories, and a person weighing 185 pounds can burn 378 calories (7).
It’s a great way to stay active or in shape to row every day along with a healthy, balanced diet.
To Improve Your Rowing Workouts, First Know Your Pace
When it comes to determining how intense your workout was while rowing, one number stands out above the rest. It’s called the split, and it’s a number you’ll become familiar with very quickly as you establish a regular rowing routine.
It takes you how long to row 500 meters, which is your split. An assessment row is a technique we use at Hydrow to assist users in determining the split times they should target during workouts. Even though this exercise only takes 5 minutes, it will test your endurance and strength.
You perform a speed test during this 5-minute workout, trying to maintain your fastest split for as long as you can. The pace windows for other workouts that you’ll want to try to maintain can then be calculated using this number.
If you are looking to improve your split time, there are a number of ways to accomplish this. Having good form and exerting a little more effort is one of the best ways to decrease your split times.
How Long Should You Work Out On A Rowing Machine?
You now understand your split, but there is still one nagging concern: how long should you exercise on a rowing machine? At Hydro we, we separate workout types into three categories:
Drive workouts are made to increase your strength and speed with challenging intervals that will test your stamina and push you past your limits. A study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that interval training is more effective for releasing endorphins in your body than other forms of exercise. Expect these workouts to go quickly, but be prepared for some hard work as well! Drive workouts typically have a work-to-rest ratio of 1:1.
Sweat workouts include time-based intervals as well, but they concentrate on intensities that can be sustained for two to five minutes at a time as opposed to an all-out effort. After a sufficient warm-up, you can anticipate a sweat workout with a work-to-rest ratio of two to one.
Breathe exercises are made to get you sweating and breathing while maintaining a heart-healthy pace.
Hydrow also offers an entire library of On The Mat workouts, which are a library of yoga, pilates, and strength training workouts to supplement your training. Since they take place away from the rowing machine, we won’t go into too much detail about those offerings here. However, you should be aware that the Hydrow’s 22-inch HD touch screen pans 25 degrees to the left or right, making off-machine instruction simple.
Once you have a solid understanding of your typical splits, choosing and finishing a workout from the list above that can achieve your goals given the time you have available will be simpler. Here are a few options you might want to think about.
Examples Based On Time Availability
Rowing Workouts Around 10-15 Minutes In Length
Choose whether you want to break a sweat or just do some active recovery if you only have a few minutes to fit in your daily workout. A few options could be as follows:
– For a high-intensity workout: 10-minute or 15-minute Drive
– For a cross-training workout: 10-minute On the Mat strength workout
– For a core workout: 10-minute On the Mat – Pilates workout
– For a cardio workout: 15-minute Breathe
Despite the brief duration of your workout, you should still allow yourself some time to cool down before leaving for the day. You will feel less stiff and sore after your workout thanks to cool-downs, which help flush out any lactic acid buildup in your muscles. If you’d rather follow along with one of our athletes, Hydrow also offers guided cooldown videos that you can add to any workout.
Rowing Workouts Around 20 Minutes In Length
According to studies, endorphins—the feel-good neurochemicals released during exercise—typically start to work around the 20-minute mark. A 20-minute workout can give you a full-body burn that will leave you feeling great for hours.
– 20-minute drive (look for a HIIT workout!)
– For a cross-training and cardio workout: 10-minute On the Mat strength workout, then 10-minute Sweat
– For a core workout: 20-minute On the Mat core workout
– For a cardio workout: 20-minute Breathe
– One of Hydrow’s ten live workouts offered each week for a fun, interactive workout!
Exercise physiologist and Director of Exercise Research & Innovation at Hydrow, Dr. If the 20-minute workout time frame is your sweet spot, Kristin Haraldsdottir has a few extra suggestions for you here.
Rowing Workouts Around 30 Minutes In Length
You will have enough time for a thorough warm-up and cool-down as well as an interesting, full-body workout if you can finish your rowing workout in 30 minutes. Rowing and On the Mat exercises are both available as 30-minute workouts! Here are some ideas of ways to put together 30-minute workouts:
– For a cardio and mobility workout: 20-minute Breathe, then 10-minute On the Mat strength & mobility workout
– For the perfect balance of HIIT and cardio: 10-minute Breathe, then 20-minute Drive
– Start with a technique-focused workout, and end with a HIIT workout: 15-minute technique focused Breathe or Sweat, then 15-minute Drive
– Or, get the most out of your 20-minute Sweat with a warmup and cool-down: 5-minute warmup, then 20-minute Sweat, then 5-minute cooldown
Rowing Workouts Approaching 45 Minutes In Length
Although Hydrow’s 45-minute rowing workouts are not for the faint of heart, once you can complete one, you can accomplish anything. If you’re aiming for a longer workout, but want to break it up, here are some ideas:
– For a taste of HIIT and more cardio: 15-minute Drive, then 30-minute Breathe
– For an intense 40-minute workout with a cooldown: 20-minute Sweat, then 20-minute Drive, then 5-minute Cool Down
– Mix it up with cardio and cross-training: 15-minute Breathe, then 30-minute On the Mat
The Benefits Of A Rowing Machine
The advantages of rowing can be enjoyed by anyone, even competitive rowers.
Get this: Every stroke you take on a rowing machine, also referred to as an ergometer or an erg, uses both your upper and lower body.
Your muscles will subsequently become stronger and more toned, and your endurance will increase as a result. Additionally, rowing has some unexpected heart and lung benefits.
A look at the nine advantages of rowing is provided below.
1. Rowing Is A Total-body Workout
The idea that rowing only exercises your arms is a common one. Rowing actually works your entire body.
The American Fitness Professionals Association states that the rowing motion involves 65–75% leg work and 25–35% upper body work (1).
The major muscle groups it targets are your:
Rowing is also known to strengthen your upper body muscles, including your:
- abdominal muscles
During the drive phase of the stroke or when pushing off the foot stretcher, your leg muscles are primarily used.
2. It’s Good For People Of All Fitness Levels To Try
Rowing can be a part of your workout regimen as long as you have access to an ergometer.
The exercise has also been approved as safe for blind and low vision individuals.
A 2015 study including 24 people with low vision found that rowing 5 days a week for 6 weeks led to a significant decrease in fat mass and total body fat percentage (2Trusted Source).
The participants’ cholesterol levels dropped as well, and their back strength and trunk flexion both significantly improved.
3. It’s Low Impact
Without putting additional strain on your joints, rowing burns a lot of calories. It is an excellent exercise for active recovery because you can control the movement and tempo.
For those who have osteoarthritis in its early stages, it is occasionally suggested as a form of exercise.
A 2014 study of 24 people over 8 weeks found that joint torques, or rotations, in the elbow, shoulder, lumbar, and knee improved by 30% (3Trusted Source).
Running and plyometric exercises fall outside of this category because of their high impact nature.
4. It Can Be Meditative
Rowing has a mind-body component.
Although rowing outdoors on a body of water may have the most calming effects, you can still achieve some of these effects indoors.
The ergometer’s ability to simulate a smooth, gliding motion and the repetitive motions that cause your mind to function automatically are the causes of this.
This involves the four phases of the row stroke, which are the:
Endorphins, those hormones that make you feel good and lower stress, are also released when you row.
5. It’s Great For Your Heart And Lungs
Your cardiovascular system, which consists of your heart, blood vessels, and blood, is strengthened by rowing as a cardio exercise. This system is in charge of distributing vital substances like oxygen and nutrients throughout your body.
Your heart has to work hard to pump more blood to your body because rowing is such a strenuous exercise. This may strengthen the heart.
For those who already have heart issues or may be at risk for developing them, this might be helpful.
6. It Builds Power And Endurance
Rowing will help you develop your power and endurance because it combines cardio and strengthening.
When you jump, sprint, or hit a punching bag or a baseball, you are using power, which is your capacity to exert the greatest amount of force in the shortest possible time.
When you row properly, you will use your arm and leg muscles, both of which require power, to row and to propel your body back.
The capacity of your body to continue an activity, like rowing, for a prolonged period of time is known as endurance. Rowing checks off both forms of endurance — cardiovascular and muscular (4Trusted Source).
7. It’s Efficient
The rower can help you accomplish your objectives even if you’re short on time.
You’ll work all the major muscle groups and get a cardio and strength workout because it’s a full-body workout.
Additionally, brief intense exercise sessions, such as high intensity interval training (HIIT), are known to improve cardiac function and post-exercise oxygen consumption. In other words, you’ll continue to burn calories even after your workout has ended.
A recent study found that low volume HIIT — less than 15 minutes per session — can induce similar, or even greater, improvements in fitness level, glucose control, blood pressure, and cardiac function than high volume HIIT or moderate-intensity continuous training (6Trusted Source).
8. It’s A Great Alternative To The Treadmill Or Elliptical
You might initially overlook the rowing machine when it comes to the gym’s exercise equipment.
This might alter, though, if you contrast it with other exercise machines, like the elliptical and the treadmill.
For instance, the ergometer offers a full-body workout while the treadmill primarily targets your lower body.
Both the rowing machine and the elliptical exercise your upper and lower body, but the rowing machine puts more of a strain on your upper body and abs with each stroke.
Additionally, a rowing machine is much quieter than a treadmill if you live in an apartment or condo with neighbors below you. In general, rowing machines are less expensive than treadmills.
9. The Machine Is Home Workout-friendly
If your living room doubles as a workout area, a treadmill or weight rack setup can take up a lot of room in your home gym.
Many rowers fold up so you can store them away when not in use, which is a great benefit. Even better, think outside the box and use the rower for strength training. Who wants to work their core?
Tips On Use, Technique, And Form
You don’t have to be a competitive rower to try this exercise. You can maximize your use of the rowing machine by following these suggestions.
Consider This For Good Technique
Injury or strain can result from improper form or poor posture, such as rounded shoulders.
Many rowers worry frequently about low back pain. 25–81% of injuries suffered by male rowers in 2015, according to research from that year (8), involved the low back.
Neglecting to contract your abdominal muscles during each stroke is a common cause of low back pain. Your lower spine is compelled to compensate excessively for your weak abdominal muscles when this occurs.
Leaning back while pushing with your legs is another error that is frequently made. Keep these movements separate by pushing with your legs first, leaning back while maintaining a tight core, and pulling your arms back toward your body.
Don’t Overexert Yourself When You’re First Starting Out
If you’re too exhausted to maintain proper form during exercise, stop rowing to help create a habit. It’s not a good idea to finish a challenging rowing session right after you exhaust your arms with another demanding workout, according to experts.
Performing exercises like heavy weightlifting before completing a high-intensity rowing machine workout is also not advised.
Do Rowing Machines Aid In Belly Fat Reduction?
Rowing can aid in calorie burn, which, when combined with a caloric deficit, can result in weight loss. Burning belly fat, however, will depend on factors like genetics, not the kind of exercise you’re doing, since targeted fat loss is not under your control.
What Health Benefits Does Using A Rowing Machine Provide?
Rowing is a total-body exercise that will strengthen your arms, legs, and core as well as improve your cardiovascular endurance.
In other words, if you use the rowing machine regularly, you’ll notice that you’ll get stronger and less out of breath. Even some muscle gain might be apparent.
How Much Time Should I Row?
Because exercising at all is preferable to doing nothing, even a quick 5-minute rowing workout could be beneficial.
However, the American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both (9Trusted Source).
You could achieve your aerobic activity goal more than halfway if you used the rower for a 20-minute HIIT workout twice a week.
What Happens If You Row For 30 Minutes?
Your core, lower body, and upper body will all be stronger after a 30-minute rowing workout, which will also improve your cardiovascular endurance.
Moreover, a vigorous 30-minute rowing workout, as reported by Harvard Health, can help a 125-pound person burn 255 calories. In comparison to a 185-pound person, a 155-pound person can expend 369 calories (7).