I know that experts always say that losing weight slowly is the best way to keep it off, but I’ve never met anyone who didn’t want to blast off those love handles, well, yesterday! High-intensity workouts, such as spinning or using a rowing machine, can burn through fat faster than a toddler can eat a candy bar.
If you like the idea of exercising at home, then you’re probably in the market for a piece of exercise equipment that not only offers heart-healthy cardio but one that kicks those excess pounds to the curb, right?
Your choices may have come down to a spin bike or a rowing machine, and it’s easy to see why. These are the two most popular machines for home gyms, and both burn oodles of calories, but pay attention here! Only one of these machines will continue to burn calories after the workout ends and offer you benefits that no assault bike can.
Want to know more? Keep reading to find out which exercise machine melts more fat- a spin bike or a rowing machine you might actually be surprised!
Is a Rowing Machine or Bike Better for Weight Loss?
Let’s face it- a lot of people jump on the exercise bike circuit because they are easy. Even if you have never ridden a bicycle before, you don’t even need to know how! You jump on and start pedaling, right? These exercise bikes balance themselves, so you only need to pedal your way to new fitness levels.
Spin classes have been at the height of popularity for at least the past decade, and the introduction of the Peloton has made cycling and home fitness more popular than ever.
However, in this article, we will talk about losing weight, and which machine does more to reduce those love handles and pot belly.
Watch Max Secunda, our expert rower, explain the benefits of rowing versus cycling in this video:
Which Burns More Calories: Stationary Bike or Rowing Machine?
Calculating the calories that a person burns is not as straightforward as we would like to think. There are several factors at play that can vary the results.
Your weight, age, sex, and how intensely you do your workouts can all change the final calorie burn number.
Generally speaking, this chart will give you an idea about the number of calories you can burn while using your rowing machine.
Let’s take an average person weighing 185 pounds. Rowing for one hour at maximum intensity will burn close to 800 calories (751 to be exact).
The interesting thing here is that, according to this chart, the average spin class will also burn 751 calories for a 185-pound individual.
How Can Both Exercise Bikes and Rowing Burn the Same Number of Calories?
Do both activities really burn the same number of calories? Let’s start by asking why a rowing session is typically only 30-45 minutes (or less), while spin bike classes are 60 minutes long.
The number of calories burned according to the chart above is only derived from a mathematical formula. Scientific studies suggest that rowing burns twice that number in one 50-minute time frame. That’s a whopping 1,250 calories in only 50 minutes.
But wait, there’s more.
While spinning sessions require no special training and those high-energy classes give a true cardio workout, there is very little upper body exercise happening.
On the other hand, a rowing machine works as much as 86 percent of all the muscles in your body, is much easier on the knees than exercise bikes, and engages your arms, legs, core, and buttocks.
Why Is a Rowing Machine Better Than a Spin Bike?
As I mentioned above, a rowing machine works nearly every muscle in the body. It offers a full-body, complete cardio workout.
A spin bike pales in comparison because it only works the lower half. When it comes to a bike vs. a rower, there’s really no contest.
While it is true that a rowing machine works more leg and glute muscles, the breakdown is 60 percent lower body, 20 percent core, and 20 percent arms and upper body workout.
If you want to work more muscles and have a strong back and arms, then you definitely want an indoor rower.
Cyclists are well known for having weak core muscles, which forces them to do cross-training. I’ve seen many a spin bike enthusiasts using a rowing machine but rarely the other way around.
A Rowing Machine is More Low-Impact than an Exercise Bike
Both of these pieces of exercise equipment are considered low-impact, but when you get down to it, rowing machines are super low impact, especially on the knees and the shoulder muscles. Click Here to see the best non impact cardio machine.
A stationary bike or another type of cycle causes you to hold on to the handlebars very tightly. Many cycling enthusiasts find themselves turning and twisting their shoulders to force their legs to go faster.
In comparison, a rowing session doesn’t require you to twist with your shoulders for more speed or your knees to push harder. Side Note: If you are looking for an interactive home rower check out my Aviron rower reviews.
Rowing Is Better for a Bad Knee or Back Problems
Getting yourself to exercise when you have a bad knee or back problems can be tough. You need to get your heart rate up to lose weight and stay heart-healthy, but if you’ve hurt your lower back or had knee injuries, you may be wondering which cardio machine would work best for you.
The great thing about rowing machines is that they will not cause you back pain if the strokes are performed correctly. Not only that, they will also strengthen your thighs and core muscles, which is what you need to have a strong back and resolve back pains.
No treadmill is going to strengthen your core, friends, neither will exercise bikes nor assault bikes.
Whether you’re worried about one bad knee or both, rowing is so low impact that the majority of people find they can enjoy rowing without knee pain.
Is 30 Minutes of Rowing Enough?
This will depend on your skill level, as well as your health, nutrition intake, and fitness goals.
Beginners should start at 15-20 minutes and work themselves up to 30-50 minutes.
To lose weight, you should get in at least 30 minutes and work at a moderate to intense pace most days of the week.
Always take off at least one day per week to allow your body to rest.
A Few Things to Consider
I wanted to add a few things here that you should consider before you purchase either an exercise bike or a rower.
Consider these facts about a spin bike or exercise bike:
- Most spin bikes are sometimes called fan bikes because they use fans as their resistance mechanism. This means that these exercise bikes are noisy, noisy, noisy. If you have roommates or small children, or if you live in an apartment building, think about the noise that a stationary bike makes and how it might affect your home.
- An exercise bike is a terrific choice if you don’t have a lot of room.
- Spin bikes tend to be inexpensive, so they are good for someone on a budget
- Spin bikes are terrific cardio machines, but they do very little for the muscles of the upper body.
- If you can afford some of the top-of-the-line models, such as Peloton, you will enjoy spin classes; otherwise, these bikes can get boring.
Consider these facts about a rower:
- You do need to learn how to do the strokes properly. There are many classes either at your gym or online, but you should learn how to use them properly to avoid back pain.
- Some rowers are very long and bulky, making it difficult to move and store them.
- Depending on their type of resistance, most indoor rowers are virtually silent.
- Rower prices range from super inexpensive to premium, so shop carefully.
- Rowing will take you to new fitness levels you never imagined possible.
- An indoor rower is nearly zero-impact when speaking about the knees and shoulders.
Deciding on a bike vs a rower is a job you need to do smartly. I hope I’ve made things clear for you in this article to help you make the right choice for your home gym.
The Bottom Line on a Rowing machine vs Spin bike
Row, Row, Row your boat…Oh, excuse me, I got carried away.
An exercise bike is one easy fitness machine that everyone can use. It will help you lose weight, and most of these exercise machines are inexpensive and don’t take up much space in the home.
Rowing does require a bit of training when you’re new to it. Fortunately, learning the proper form and stroke techniques does not take long. Afterward, you start reaping the benefits that rowing offers.
If money and space were no object and you had to choose a bike vs a rower, I would pick an indoor rower every time. There is no other fitness machine on the planet that offers the multiple benefits that a rowing machine does.
If you love your exercise bike, then you should go for it! I know most spin bike fans wouldn’t trade their bike for anything, but if the point is to lose weight, improve your overall fitness level, and work most of the body muscles, then there is no doubt that rowing is the best exercise machine ever made.
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.