How Long Should You Row on a Rowing Machine to Lose Weight?

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How Long Should You use a rowing machine to lose weightSpending your days (or nights) binging on cherry ice cream and getting lost in a Netflix series is a great way to relax and enjoy time with your family, but oh what it does to your waistline should be a crime!

If you’ve looked in your closet and realized that all your clothes are super tight, it’s time to get back on the wagon…or is that back in the boat? You know what I’m talking about, the rowing machine!


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There are lots of machines at the gym and exercise routines that can inch you closer to your weight loss goals, but why work harder when you can work smarter?

Think about it! Some machines can burn an incredible 500 calories per hour, but what if you could nearly double that calorie burn and only work the same length of time? Would you be interested?

Rowing offers a full body workout that burns many calories in a short amount of time.

Today, I’m going to tell you why rowing machine workouts are your best bet when you want to burn more calories! I will also fill you in on how long you should work out on a rowing machine to get your body back in shape.

Is a Rowing Machine a Good Way to Lose Weight?

Yes! A rowing workout is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off!

people at gym using a rowing machine to lose weight

The truth about rowing machines is that you need to use them in order to drop those unwanted pounds and inches. Unfortunately, there are no magic pills when it comes to shedding unwanted pounds. You must put in some effort; 5-minutes every few days won’t cut it, but that doesn’t mean your rowing workouts can’t be fun!

Rowing workouts offer one of the best ways to burn all over body fat in a short amount of time. Harvard Health states that rowing works 86 percent of all muscles in the body at one time! That’s one outstanding machine!

Does Rowing Burn Stubborn Belly Fat?

While you can’t really exercise fat away by doing only spot exercise (doing planks is great but it won’t burn fat on the belly), you can turn your body into a high-intensity fat-burning machine that keeps going day and night when you increase your metabolism through aerobic (cardio) exercise.

A rowing workout will work your core muscles when you perform the strokes correctly. That, combined with an overall cardio workout, is how you burn off that unwanted belly fat.

When you want to lose weight, especially around the middle, you simply can’t beat a rowing workout!

Does Weight Loss Happen Quickly?

rowing machine weight loss calculator image

That would depend on several factors.

In order to lose weight, you need to work out consistently and with dedication. To see the quickest weight loss results, you should work on completing a rowing time of at least 30 minutes (but 50 would be better) for a minimum of 5 days a week.

Do give your body at least one day of complete rest every week. If you want, you can use your rower 5 days a week, and then do stretching exercises or strength training for the remaining one or two days.

The more overweight you are, the faster you will see the numbers drop on your scale. However, if you don’t have much weight to lose, you should start seeing toning results and muscle definition in just a few weeks.

How Many Strokes Per Minute to Lose Weight?

To get your heart rate (HR) into the target zone (which is 70-85 percent of the maximum heart rate for your age) your rowing machine workout should follow something along the lines of:

  1. Try 10 power strokes at a rate of 24 strokes/min
  2. Then rest for 10 recovery strokes.
  3. Now try to do a second set at 26 strokes/min
  4. Rest again with another set of 10 recovery strokes.
  5. Do one more set at 28 strokes/min

This type of higher intensity workouts inserted into the middle or end of your time is the best way to lose weight.

rowing machine workout weight loss results on a male holding a bowl of salad

For maximum weight loss, don’t forget to include a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables!

Tips & Tricks When Rowing for Weight Loss

When you work out on a rowing machine for weight loss or just to tone up and stay in shape, you can burn as much as 900 calories an hour! No other exercise burns more calories, other than jumping rope, which, let’s face it, isn’t very exciting.

  1. Mix Things Up- Your body becomes accustomed to the same workout day after day, so keep your body guessing to keep up that maximum calorie burn. Do a long, steady rowing workout one day (50 minutes) but maybe do two days of a shorter (30 minute) high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. Then return to a longer workout the next day, followed by a super-intense 20-minute workout. You get the idea!
  2. Use Proper Rowing Form- You can get a low backache if you don’t practice proper rowing strokes. Make sure that you’re performing each stroke correctly to prevent back pain and get your core working! A full-body, aerobic exercise is the best tip ever!
  3. Focus on Your Legs- Your legs are the biggest muscle group you have, so focus on really driving your heels into the footrests and work those legs!
  4. Monitor Your Heart Rate (HR) – To burn fat quickly, you should target 70%-85% of your maximum HR for at least 20 minutes. To find your maximum HR: subtract your age from 220. (For example, if you are 35, your maximum HR is: 220 – 35 = 185 beats per minute.) To burn fat, you should maintain your target HR, which is: 185 x 70% = 130 beats per minute for at least 20 minutes.

How much fat you will burn will depend on your weight and the intensity of your workout. A person who weighs 155 pounds (70 kg) who works out with moderate intensity for one hour will burn 500 calories!

Rowing is a low-impact workout that is safe and healthy for all ages and all fitness levels. Even beginners will find that rowing is fun and easy to perform.

man exercising at gym to lose weight rowing

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long should you use a rowing machine to lose weight?

A: Aim for 30 minutes a day (at the minimum), at least 5 days per week, allowing yourself at least one day to rest.

Q: How long does it take to see results from rowing?

A: Depending on how much weight you have to lose, most people start seeing results within 14 days.

Q: How long should you workout on a rowing machine?

A: Try to work out for 30 minutes a day minimum, at least 5 days per week. If you are more advanced, you should aim for 50-60 minutes per day.

Q: Is the Hydrow good for weight loss?

A: It most certainly is!  In fact, the Hydrow rower is an interactive rowing machine so you have access to trainers right in your own living room to help keep you motivated.  Rowing offers a full-body workout, therefore with consistent workouts and a balanced diet you will see weight loss. 

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