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Hi friends! Today, I want to talk to everyone who hates exercise or has given up on ever getting a beach-ready body.
There is a huge number of benefits of rowing, including getting in shape, losing weight, and burning calories like a furnace. In this article, we’ll talk about at least 21 ways you can get ripped fast using a rowing machine.
One look at social media and you might be thinking that everyone is ripped, buff, young, healthy, tan, oh yes, and rich, right? You almost never see overweight, heavy, middle-aged, or older people online. Why is that?
Let’s face it, everyone wants to look great, but the truth is that few of us are perfect. Those of us who are less than perfect hide behind our photos of kids, dogs, and the perfect centerpiece we made from scratch.
Would you like to start taking photos of yourself once more and not be embarrassed? A rowing machine won’t make you young again, but you will certainly feel like you have turned back the clock!
Let me tell you exactly what a rowing machine workout can do for your body and how it will transform your life.
The Rowing Body Transformation
Can you really transform your body with rowing machine workouts?
You absolutely can!
It’s true that rowing isn’t the ONLY way to transform your body, but I believe that it is one of the best and most efficient ways to get there.
Have you seen some of those before and after videos or photos that people take? I believe that the majority of them are true! I’ve seen many people completely change how they look simply by adding a rowing machine to their workout routine.
21 Ways Rowing Will Change Your Life
Let’s get right down to what it is you want to know—how can rowing workouts impact your life.
1. Strengthen and Define Your Legs
If you want to avoid big, thick, bulky thighs that look like they belong to a bodybuilder, then rowing is the perfect answer. Contrary to popular belief, rowing is a full-body workout that is 60 percent leg work. You can get longer looking, slim but firm thighs simply by rowing.
2. A Stronger and More Defined Core
“Core muscles” is an overused word that most people use when they mean stomach or abdominal muscles. When you perform the rowing strokes properly, you do work those core muscles, which will get you looking ripped in a matter of weeks (or months if you have a lot of belly fat).
3. Stronger, Toned Arm and Back Muscles
While a rowing workout might be 60 percent legs, that doesn’t mean that your arms, shoulders, and back don’t get a good workout too! Because rowing has you do multiple reps without adding a lot of heavy weights, you get strength and toning of the upper body without the bulk!
4. Burn Fat and Calories
There is only one other exercise that will burn more calories than rowing, and that is jumping rope. I don’t know about you, but jumping rope for 30 or 60 minutes is not my idea of a good time. I’m not sure my knees are up for that task. Rowing is a low-impact exercise that gives you full-body workouts that get real results. The amount of calories burned varies, but it is not uncommon for people to burn 500-800 calories an hour. This kind of calorie burn can give you a much lower body fat percentage. Who doesn’t want more of that?
5. Improved Posture
OK, so most people don’t go around saying, “Hey, check out her posture, man,” but improved posture will make you look taller and thinner. It will also prevent neck and back pain in the future. Mom was right- sit up straight and add some indoor rowing to your workouts. Your back and neck will thank you later.
6. Help You Avoid the #1 Killer in America
No, rowing will not allow you to outrun a killer, or can it? Heart disease is the #1 killer in America and other countries as well. Getting in regular cardiovascular exercise can help prevent heart disease. You might want to practice a new pickup line- “Wanna come over and check out my cardiovascular health?”
7. A Better, Healthier Brain
You won’t become an Einstein double overnight, but studies have shown that regular cardiovascular fitness can reduce anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve memory, greater self-discipline, lower blood pressure, and an improved sense of self-confidence.
8. Low-Impact Workouts
At the same time you are improving your overall fitness and increasing muscle mass, you will be saving your joints from a lot of stress and pain. Since rowing workouts are done sitting down, you reduce the stress on your knees, back, ankles, and hips while still getting in a great workout!
9. Versatile Workout
This is especially true if you do HIIT workouts (read more on beginner HIIT rowing workouts) or you have one of the new smart rowers, such as Hydrow or Ergatta, that have a wide range of fantastic workout programs. You can use your rowing machine as a strength training machine, as a way to do core exercises, or even use it just to relax. Since many people quit exercising out of boredom, you can combine rowing with other exercises to help keep things interesting.
10. Rowing Is a Real Sport
While most people think of rowing as being in a boat on the water, and that part is true, did you know that there are World Indoor Rowing Championships? If you really love erging, you might want to try your hand at breaking a world record on your rowing machine! Now that you know indoor rowing is a real sport, you can consider yourself an athlete in training!
11. Strength Gains
Especially for beginners, you will quickly find that, after a few weeks, you can stay on the rowing machine longer. You will gain muscles and improve your endurance by gradually increasing your heart rate for longer periods of time. A special note for beginners- especially those who haven’t exercised in years- don’t let yourself become discouraged if you can only do the rowing stroke for 5 or 10 minutes before you are exhausted. Rowing works 86 percent of the muscles in your body and asking them to do a full workout is a big job! You will improve over time! Ergatta has a Couch to 1K program, which is a fantastic way to ease you back into exercise and improve your overall health.
12. A Nicer Peach
If you want to have a bigger, rounder booty, look no further than your rowing machine. Toned muscles are always tighter and firmer than non-toned muscles. One of a rowing machine’s benefits is that you will lose excess fat all over your body. Less fat means that your muscles can show through. If you are looking for weight loss and fat loss, you can’t go wrong by doing high-intensity workouts on a rowing machine.
13. Rowing Won’t Make You Sore
Well, to be perfectly honest, sometimes a very long or very hard workout will give you a few sore spots, usually in your shoulders or your thighs, but not so sore that you can’t walk the next day! I remember doing some running while training for a marathon, and some days I could barely walk around the house! Since rowing is a total body workout, it spreads the effort across your entire body, which means that even though you are working all the major muscles, you aren’t working only ONE set of muscles.
14. You Can Learn a New Skill
One thing that helps keep our mental health in good condition is regular cardiovascular exercise and keeping our minds fresh by giving them new things to learn or do. While rowing does have a bit of a learning curve, it is no more difficult than learning to ride a bicycle. Give yourself a few sessions to get the hang of it, and you’ll be rowing with the correct form before you know it. It’s always good for our brains to give them something new to think about!
15. No Slacking
If you’ve ever turned down the resistance during a spin class or gone for a run where you were mainly going downhill, you know what I mean by slacking. The rowing motion is such that if you aren’t actively rowing, the machine isn’t moving. While you CAN row more slowly, you can’t stop rowing and not have someone notice, but that’s OK. Rowing workouts are so much fun that I’ve never known anyone to try to find a way to cheat on their indoor rower!
16. It’s Easy to Track Your Progress
Even the most inexpensive rowing machine has a performance monitor of some kind that will show you not only your rowing body transformation but your rowing machine results. You can easily track your strokes per minute, your heart rate, and the number of calories you are burning. You can always track if you’re losing weight by using a scale, but most people rely on their performance monitor (also called an ergometer or erg) to keep track of their progress.
17. You See Results Quickly
When you are burning calories like mad (and adding to your healthy habits, such as eating a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep), you should notice your body transformation in a matter of weeks! Of course, you can’t see your improved cardiovascular health or your less-clogged blood vessels, but you should be able to see your good posture, lower weight, and more tone.
18. Shorter Workouts
Due to the intense nature of rowing machine workouts, you can burn just as many calories doing 30 minutes of rowing as you can by doing 60 minutes of aerobics or other outdoor workouts, like running. Doing a 30-minute HIIT workout on your rowing machine every other day will burn as many calories as doing 60 minutes of a regular workout every day! Reduce your body weight, improve your upper body strength and tone your muscles all with one short workout every other day.
19. Even Those Who are Injured or Disabled Can Use It
For those who are visually challenged or those of you who are nursing an injury, you may find that most types of exercise bother you or are simply impossible to do. Rowing machine benefits are available to everyone! Even those with arthritis, bad knees, or back injuries often find that rowing makes it possible for them to also enjoy the benefits of rowing.
20. Better Mental Health
While everyone has their own preferences when it comes to rowing machines, I’ve heard many people say that using a water rower helps them decompress and reduce stress. I’ve even heard people say that using a water resistance rower, like Ergatta, was very much like meditation. The soothing sound of water combined with the rhythmic rowing stroke relaxes the mind while the workout exercises the body.
21. Results that You Can Measure
You’ll see how your body transforms and measure it too! Of course, you’ll want to note the changes! You can track your weight loss efforts by documenting the change in your weight weekly/monthly. Seeing toned muscles needs a bit more work, and it’s a good idea to take before and after photos. You can also start by measuring yourself on the first day of your rowing efforts, taking measurements of your arms, chest, waist, hips, thighs, and calves. Remeasure yourself every month, and you will be amazed by what you see!Do your own test for 90 days and see what a row machine can do for your body!
The Bottom Line
A rowing machine workout will absolutely transform your body in ways you can’t yet imagine. However, keep in mind that you can’t out-row a poor diet or other bad habits.
Eat a healthy diet and follow a healthy lifestyle, and you will be the star of your own body transformation in a matter of weeks!
Keep rowing to stay healthy and happy, and see all the positive effects that rowing can do for you!
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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.