Benefits of a Rowing Machine

People using rowing machine with fitness instructor in gym
Rowing burns a ton of calories. (Image: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/GettyImages)

When you decide to improve your health, your first step doesn't have to be pounding the pavement on a grueling, long-distance run. If you join a gym, using the rowing machine is an ideal way to work toward improved physical fitness.

Rowing is a full-body exercise that can help build and tone your muscles, improve your cardiovascular function and increase your stamina. Rowing is particularly effective for older fitness enthusiasts because it is low-impact and easy on joints.

Weight Loss

Rowing burns calories rapidly, making it a suitable addition to your workout regimen if weight loss is your chief priority. A vigorous 30-minute workout on a rowing machine can burn 255 calories for a person weighing 125 pounds, 316 calories for someone who weighs 155 pounds and 377 for an individual who weighs 185 pounds. Frequent rowing can help you work toward the daily calorie deficit that is integral to weight loss.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Rowing is an endurance exercise that increases heart rate and oxygen consumption. Over time, regular cardio exercise leads to improved cardiovascular function and can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

You can adjust the resistance of a rowing machine, which makes it accessible for all fitness levels. Start out at a lower resistance if you're just beginning to exercise and continue to increase the resistance as you get fitter.

Muscle Toning

Rowing is a total-body workout that uses every major muscle group. At the beginning of each stroke the back muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles are activated.

As the stroke continues the abdominals, triceps, chest muscles, shoulder muscles, wrist flexors and extensors and glutes are also activated. As you finish the stroke, your biceps and obliques are working hard.

Strengthening all the muscles in the body leads to improved movement in daily life, reduced back pain, stronger bones, better weight control and increased energy..


If don't belong to a gym, you can purchase a rower to use at home. Unlike other cardio machines, such as treadmills and elliptical machines, rowing machines are relatively inexpensive and compact. Most rowing machines can be stored upright, so you can pull them out for a workout and then stow them away in the corner of a room or a closet.

You can pull out your rowing machine in the evening and row while watching your favorite TV shows, instead of sitting on the couch. Having a rowing machine at home makes it easier to never miss a workout.

Load comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.