This post contains links that we may earn a small commission for at no cost to you read more
When you are looking to lose belly fat or build your muscle groups, a rowing machine is going to make sure you are getting the most out of your full-body workout.
If you are looking to lose weight, you will appreciate the full-body workout a rowing machine gives you. The low impact workouts will get your heart rate going and work to improve your muscles all over your body.
Whether you are looking to lose weight or build your muscles, make sure you are eating a healthy diet. You need to supplement your rowing machine workouts with the right diet, and you will see noticeable improvements in your body.
Will Rowing Build Muscle?
Absolutely, using a rowing machine gives you a full-body workout that helps strengthen muscles on your entire body. The muscle groups in your back, chest, arms, and legs are going to all get a good workout , so yes the great news is that using a rowing machine for muscle gain will give you great results.
The magnetic resistance of the rowing machine means you can use a low impact rowing stroke to work out almost all muscles in your body including your back.
When you are looking to use a rowing machine to build your muscles and do strength training, do not forget about your diet. As you experience some weight loss, you will gain muscles and continue to burn more calories. Your deltoids, hamstrings, back, and chest muscles will all experience definition as long as you are eating healthy and fueling your body with the right foods.
What Our YouTube Video from Max Secunda (Rowing Coach) Explaining The Muscles Used in Rowing:
Can you lose Belly Fat on a Rowing Machine?
Rowing machines give such great high-intensity workouts that not only do they work most of the muscles in your body, but the workout can indeed help you lose belly fat. Your cardiovascular fitness will improve when you regularly use a rowing stroke, and this will help you lose belly fat.
The nice thing about rowing is it is low impact, so you will not risk damaging muscles and joints in your body like you would if you were running. As your muscles build and become defined, you are going to burn more and more calories when rowing, which is going to help you lose that stubborn fat around your belly.
A good workout is going to elevate your heart rate, which will help you build stamina. Each time you row, you can row for longer intervals, which also helps burn calories and trim body fat.
The Right Diet for Building Muscle
If gaining strength and building muscle are top priorities for you, you need to do more than just use a rowing machine. If you live on a diet of ice cream, beer, and potato chips, you can row all you want, you will not get the clean muscle definition you desire. Supplement your rowing workouts with a diet that is heavy in the following:
- Protein – get your protein from lean meats and nuts
- Fruits – but not too many, as the sugars can be counter-productive
- Healthy fats – Avocados and nuts are good to eat, foods high in saturated fats like fried foods are not
While you are adding healthy foods, also limit foods that can work against your muscle mass and pack on the unhealthy pounds, like:
- Saturated fats from fried foods
- Lots of red meat – the occasional lean steak is OK, but limit this
- Lots of bad carbohydrates – a potato here and there can help give you strength and energy but stay away from eating pounds of pasta. Get your carbohydrates from other sources like leafy green vegetables
The right diet can be just as important in building muscle as the right exercise. It will also help you trim some of that belly fat. If you pair a healthy diet with a good rowing routine, that is the equation to shed belly fat and gain muscles.
How Long should you use a Rowing Machine to Build Muscle?
While you will see some benefits immediately, like all exercise, you need to perform a rowing stroke over time to see the best results. Most importantly, get in a habit of rowing almost every day. While you should take rest days, aim to use your rowing machine for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. You will want to be in this habit for several months before you can really expect to see a change in muscle size and definition.
To build muscles, consider also rowing in intervals where you row at high intensity as hard as you can for a minute, then take a minute off, and then repeat the cycle. Your back and upper body will get a great workout by rowing in intervals, making this a great way to build the size of your muscles.
If you do interval training 5 or 6 times a week with a good rowing stroke, you will see the size of your back and upper body muscles increase in no time at all.
Does a Rowing Machine Build Chest Muscles?
Yes. Chest muscles are one of the muscle groups most positively affected by a rowing machine. Your chest and back perform a lot of the efforts in a rowing stroke, so you should see results in the shape and size of your back and chest muscles.
Arguably the best thing about a rowing machine workout is that your whole body gets a good workout, including your back and chest muscles. With the right rowing machine workout, most of the muscles in your body will become toned, and your back and chest muscles will gain definition.
In reality, your lower body and upper body should all see improvements to their muscular tone. Your chest might see a pronounced difference, though, if you pair it with a diet that helps you lose some weight. In as little as a month, you can reshape the tone and definition of your chest muscles.
Other Benefits of a Rowing Machine
While you will see some weight loss and your muscles will get defined when you spend time working out on a rowing machine, there are other health benefits with rowing as an aerobic exercise as well. Here are just some of the diseases and health issues you could fend off by regularly working out your muscles on a rowing machine:
- Diabetes – your A1C could lower if you increase exercise and lose some weight
- Heart problems
- Lung disorders
- Arthritis – low impact exercises can help the achy joints feel better
- Depression and Anxiety – exercise has been proven to release endorphins and elevate mood
Don’t forget that sometimes if you have light joint pain, cardio machines like rowing machines can actually help to improve the pain. Getting blood flowing to achy joints can help them heal quicker, so a good rowing machine workout can actually help joint pain, even though it might seem like your muscles ache after you spend time rowing.
Rowing Machines vs. Other Cardio Exercises
Are you on the fence between a rowing machine and a treadmill or other piece of equipment for your home gym? Rowing is a better workout than running or walking because of the number of muscles that get a good workout. While any cardio workout gives similar aerobic exercise benefits, the added strength training that comes with rowing machines makes them tops in the class of cardio equipment.
Rowing uses resistance training to tone your lower back and leg muscles, while also working the muscles in your upper arms and chest when you push and pull the equipment. A rowing machine also does not cause the injuries that a treadmill can – like shin splints and stress fractures in your feet. Your muscles can get the benefits of a rowing machine without the negatives of a treadmill.
An elliptical machine can be almost as good as a rowing machine, but you will not gain as much muscle as you would with a rowing machine. There are actually a couple of elliptical rowing machines on the market, that combine the benefits of rowing machines with the benefits of an elliptical machine.
Starting an Exercise Program
If you have been sedentary for too long, you might be discouraged about starting an exercise program. Gyms can be daunting, with everyone seemingly looking they have worked out daily. Adding equipment to your home is also daunting, as you might feel you need a lot of pieces of equipment.
In reality, you can start your home exercise program with just one tool. If you spend 30 minutes a day on a good rowing machine, your entire body will see health benefits. You do not need to buy dumbbells, a treadmill, a weight bench, or anything else. If you are looking to build muscles and achieve new fitness goals, one machine can help with all of that. Using just your body weight, you can create a whole fitness routine using just one machine.
Get yourself a good quality rowing machine, devote your 30 minutes, and track your progress over the course of one month. You should see new muscle definition, and you might lose some weight and improve your overall health and well-being.
More You Might Also Like:
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.