For most exercisers, the rowing machine offers a low-impact, effective workout, burning up to 700 calories or more in an hour of vigorous exercise, depending on your body weight. However, learning to use a rowing machine properly requires a bit of a learning curve. Also, because a rowing machine works your entire body at once, it's not the best choice of workout machine if you have injuries or other physical issues that keep you from using your arms, legs and core together.
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Go for the Row
Under normal circumstances, a rowing machine or row ergometer is an efficient, low-impact calorie-burning exercise. In-console games that let you race against other rowers or against your own recorded pace are another perk. A rower's low-impact workout means no pounding on your joints -- and no pounding to disturb your neighbors, although the roar of a row ergometer's fan at high resistance can be fairly loud.
Reasons to Wait
With that said, if you can't use both your arms and legs, plus your core, you're going to need special adaptations to get into and use a rowing machine. There's also a lot more to proper rowing technique than just scooting back and forth and yanking at the handle. If you're not willing to put the time into learning and practicing proper technique, you're probably better off with another piece of workout equipment.