How to Tone Up With a Rowing Machine

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Rowing is an excellent cardio workout that is not only effective in building your muscles, but also boosting your caloric level. A “normal” exercise schedule will do a great job on your legs, core, and upper body. However, to target certain areas like your waist, you must be willing to work harder. By focusing on high-calorie-burn workouts, you can effectively tone up your waist area with the rowing machine.


This is because with every stroke you complete on the machine, more and more calories in your system are expended. This makes it possible for your body to take a better form and shape in a short time as more and more fat is being shredded away than normal. You can achieve remarkable results in less than two months provided you are consistent and eating properly.

In addition to proper feeding, you have to use the best rowing machine available if you want to make the most of your effort because not every “jack” out there is good enough. Consider checking out the best rowing machine reviews before putting out your money to purchase your machine.

Now let’s move on and consider 3 simple ways you can effectively tone up with a rowing machine.

Rowing at steady state

what does a row machine target

If you are not a complete learner, then you should already be familiar with this type of workout. While this method might be the most basic rowing exercise, it works better and faster than most aerobic exercises like skiing, hiking or swimming. To row at steady-state, you will normally start at a low rowing intensity and then move up gradually to a moderate level, and then back, repeating the process continuously for a certain period of time. Rowing this way can burn up anywhere between 390 to 450 calories in one hour, depending on your weight.

If you can work out up to three hours every week, then you shouldn’t have a problem toning up within a few months.

Rowing at intervals

When you feel comfortable with the steady-state rowing, you can accelerate your efforts by working out on intervals but at a high rowing level. Here, you will be required to constantly switch from between very short periods of high-intensity rowing to longer periods of low-intensity rowing. So instead of working out between low to moderate levels as observed in steady-state, you alternate between low to high rowing levels. The short burst of high-intensity rowing is actually what makes this method more powerful for toning up.

rowing for weight loss

Remember, we earlier established that the more calories and fat you can burn around your core with each session is what will determine how much or how fast you will tone up. Rowing at intervals helps you burn more calories particularly during the short bursts of high-intensity rowing.

Apart from burning more calories, you also get to spend lesser time in each rowing session compared to rowing at a steady state. To start, do some warm-up for 5 minutes and then quickly increase the intensity as high as possible, maintaining the same tempo for at least 30 seconds. Then, alternate by lowering your intensity to effort level for 30 seconds, and then go high again. Repeat the process for 9 – 14 minutes depending on how much you are willing to take in. Rest a bit for 4-5 minutes after the last interval before repeating the cycle again. If you are dogged enough, then you can go for more than one hour with each workout session.


Rowing for weight training

Although your core or waist region is usually the primary focus when toning up, you also need to work on other areas like muscles around your arms, back, and biceps. Weight training helps you achieve this.

While we cannot completely qualify the rowing machine as a weight trainer, we can conveniently use it as a substitute for lightweight training to achieve a complete tone up by just performing some seated rows. For this workout, perform 3-5 sets of weight training, each consisting of 10 counts, depending on your weight.


Finally, no amount of vigorous exercise, whether rowing or any other option, can help you achieve your desired shape if you don’t find a way to control what you eat. Keep to a balanced diet if you want to get the best results from your workouts. Use the effort scale to track your progress. A low effort scale is usually between one to five; while six is moderate (anything beyond this value is considered high). Do not be in a hurry to race up. Move gradually up the scale as you track your progress.

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