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If you’re reading this article, then you might be considering purchasing an indoor rowing machine, but first, you really want to know if rowing machine workouts are a true total body workout.
You’ve come to the right place. I’ve been using rowing machines for many years now, so rest assured I can help you figure out what you need to know.
Yes, you can definitely get into shape and stay in shape with a rowing machine. These machines offer a full-body workout, excellent cardiovascular exercise, increased lean muscle, overall improved health, plus so much more – all in one single piece of equipment!
Of course, no machine will give you the physical benefits of exercise if you don’t use it. You will also need to eat a healthy diet (or at least healthier than what you have now) and get adequate rest.
The good thing about it is that if you’re willing to put in consistent effort, rowing will give you a full-body workout, increase your heart rate, help you in your weight loss or body weight maintenance goals, and work 86 percent of the body’s muscles.
Best of all, you can get a complete body workout in only 20-30 minutes a day. How’s that for a time-saving hack?
Can you get in shape just by rowing? I’m going to tell you a few secrets from professional rowers so that you can make a more informed decision about your exercise equipment.
Can I Get in Shape Using a Rowing Machine?
Rowing machines are hands down one of the best investments you can make towards your health.
Rowing workouts have so many benefits you wonder why not everyone is using them to get fit.
You can do HIIT workouts, which burn fat and improve your cardiovascular system, or do long, steady workout programs that build muscles and burn calories for hours after you’ve stopped working out.
What Are the Benefits of a Full-Body Workout?
One of the reasons why rowing is so popular is that it offers a full-body workout and cardiovascular exercise in a single piece of equipment.
A complete body workout offers multiple benefits, including:
- Shorter time commitment is required, which makes it very doable
- Shorter muscle recovery time
- Easier scheduling of workout routine
- Perfect for losing body fat and/or improving muscle mass
- Low boredom factor
- More calories burned in less time
- Increases strength
I love rowing exercise because a rowing workout gives me more time for other things, such as spending time with my family and friends.
Why would you work out or lift weights 1 hour 3-5 times a week, if you get the same calorie burn and benefits from rowing for 20-30 minutes for the same frequency per week?
- See Expert Rower Tips On Managing Your Rowing Training with Kids
Can You Get Ripped from Rowing?
Have you ever looked at the body of athletes in the Olympic Rowing Team from any country? They look like competitors for weight lifting!
So does it mean you can get ripped just from rowing? You bet you can, and short sessions 5 times a week of this low-impact exercise routine will improve your glutes, quadriceps, abs, upper back, shoulders, and more.
Rowing will work not only the legs and lower body but also your core muscles and upper body. A full workout like this is the best way to drop excess fat from the belly, arms, or legs.
Will rowing work for strength training? You’ll be happy to hear that it offers that as well. Many indoor rowers have additional programs with yoga, stretching, and strength training to help you build muscle faster.
Even beginners should see improvements in both their rowing technique and stroke, as well as in their fitness level within a few weeks.
Rowing elevates your heart rate, helps you lose weight, tones the body’s muscles, improves the body’s ability to utilize energy, and increases core strength and leg strength.
What more can you ask for? Get moving and start a great workout using a rowing machine, but not every day. Keep reading and I will explain why this is.
Should You Row Every Day?
Have you ever heard the old saying, “You certainly could do something, but you shouldn’t.” This is absolutely true when it comes to your rowing machine or any type of fitness routine for that matter.
Yes, you could row every day, but you shouldn’t, and here’s why.
To build new muscle and get rid of fat and/or damaged tissue, the body needs time to rest. Yes, sleep does take care of some rest needs, but your body will need more time than just overnight if you want to see your body gain muscle and your overall body strength improve.
Everyone is different, but most people need a minimum of one day per week of rest. This means no hard physical activity, such as a rowing machine workout.
You can go for a walk, or perhaps do a short workout that isn’t difficult, such as some yoga or Tai Chi, but allowing your body time to recover will help you more in the long run than pushing your body daily with a rowing machine.
If you are a beginner, you might opt to give your body a rest for two days per week. Don’t worry, all your work will still pay off. This short period of time that you allow your body to rest will be extremely effective when it comes to reaching your goals.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of an Indoor Rowing Machine
If you are fairly new to rowing, or if Crossfit has you rowing and you’re not sure you like it, you are not alone.
I know many people who at one time were not fond of their rowing machine, but have now ditched their stationary bike for an indoor rower.
To get the most out of your rowing machine, the following tips will help you:
- Be sure that you are using a good form on the rowing stroke. Beginners should join a class or watch instructional videos online. Rowing requires that you do the strokes properly to get the most out of your row machine.
- Drive with your legs and don’t grip the handle so hard.
- Make this your mantra until you can do it in your sleep: Legs, Hips Arms, Arms, Hips Legs. This is the rowing stroke you should be counting.
- Don’t stick your butt out. Stay upright and engage your core muscles. Yes, this is more work, but that’s what full-body workouts are all about!
- Keep your elbows relaxed- no chicken wings sticking out to the sides!
- Pull the handle to the bottom of your rib cage and no higher, and keep your shoulders down.
- Sit up straight and tall.
- Don’t allow the seat to hit your ankles when you return to the starting position.
- Focus on a smooth motion and a consistent rowing rate, and not so much on speed.
Beginners will find rowing is a terrific fitness program that can help you reach your fitness goals, but you will really be working up a sweat within a few minutes.
The good news here is that with time and experience, you will find yourself enjoying the scenery while you push harder and improving your mental health as you float through a good workout with your rowing machine.
Which Are the Best Rowing Machines?
Well, now that you asked, let me tell you which machines, in my opinion, are the best when it comes to getting all the benefits of rowing while offering you a bit of fun.
If you’re interested in a water rower, you might want to check out the Water Rower Club in Ash Wood or the Mr. Captain. If you need something on a tight budget, you can’t go wrong with the Sunny Health & Fitness Dual Function Magnetic Rower.
Now, if what you have in mind is something that’s a little different, you might try the Teeter Power10. There is nothing else in the world like this elliptical rower, which offers a high-intensity main workout that is a killer to be sure!
If you want to know which machine I use, that’s an easy question. It’s the top-of-the-line, premium rower called the Hydrow. Nothing can match the real-life rowing experience of the Hydrow – if you want to read more see our concept2 vs hydrow article where we go into more detail.
If you like, you can read my guide to the best rowing machines that will improve your overall health, no matter what budget you have – click here to read more!
Move over spin bikes, there’s a new game in town that is taking the country by storm, and it’s indoor rowing.
Final Thoughts: Can I Get Fit Just Rowing?
Rowing is the perfect weight loss tool and one of the best cardio machines for those who want to work out quickly, gain muscle, and improve their cardiovascular fitness all in one device.
An indoor rowing program can absolutely transform your entire body and improve overall fitness.
Yes, you can get fit and experience fat loss just by rowing. It really is that simple.
Rowing is taking off like a Tesla rocket! Move over spin classes because rowing-inspired boutique gyms, such as Row House, are popping up all over the USA.
Forget those push-ups, pull-ups, and other exercise routines that are boring, boring boring. Jump on a rowing machine and get those calories torched fast while improving your aerobic capacity at the same time!
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Written by Petra Amara – RowingCrazy.com
CEO & Founder of RowingCrazy, National Rower, Coxswain Womens Eight Team, Rowing Coach & Writer
Petra is a Mother of two and owner of Rowingcrazy.com. Petra lives and breathes rowing, she also has a passion for writing which lead her to start RowingCrazy.com to share her rowing experience and expertise with others.