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The Benefits of Rowing Machine Prove Why it's the Ultimate Workout

Rowing Machine Benefits
Using a rowing machine is a good way to work on muscles in different parts of your body - especially the problematic areas - at the same time. This one machine can do wonders to your body.
FitnessVigil Staff
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2018
The key to avail the benefits of a rowing machine -- or any other exercise equipment -- is to do it right. The technique is the most important thing to learn. Make sure you maintain the right posture to avoid any injury, and achieve the right results.

Rowing is a well-known water activity among water-sport aficionados. It is an activity that requires rigorous movements catering to various important set of muscles in the body. The same technique is used in rowing machines to cater to the toning of the abdomen, legs, arms, shoulders, buttocks, and back. This workout is also useful for your circulatory system, heart, and lungs. While we perform different exercises to focus on different muscle groups of our body -- say, lunges for lower body and pushups for the upper body -- a rowing machine will cater to the prominent parts of both the upper and lower body. Saves time for the busy ones, right?
Helps Tone a Large Set of Muscles
Muscles targeted during the initial position
initial position
1 - Erector Spinae Muscles
2 - Hamstrings
3 - Gastrocnemius and Soleus
Muscles targeted during the initial backward movement
initial backward movement
1 - Rhomboids
2 - Erector Spinae Muscles
3 - Hamstrings
4 - Gastrocnemius and Soleus
5 - Quadriceps
Muscles targeted when the body is completely stretched
complete stretch
1 - Trapezius
2 - Deltoids
3 - Rhomboids
4 - Triceps
5 - Rectus Abdominis
6 - Erector Spinae
7 - Glutes
8 - Hamstrings
9 - Gastrocnemius and Soleus
10 - Quadriceps
11 - Wrist Extensors and Flexors
12 - Pectoralis Majo
Last posture in rowing machine workout
last posture
1 - Deltoids
2 - Triceps
3 - Biceps
4 - Erector Spinae
5 - Hamstrings
6 - Quadriceps
7 - Wrist Extensors and Flexor
8 - Internal and External Obliques
9 - Rectus Abdominis
10 - Pectoralis Major
Rowing machines work on a large group of muscles at a stretch. Hence, during a rowing machine exercise, significant effort is made by the thighs, hips, torso, and the pelvis to perform it. This way, the whole body gets toned. Benefits of rowing machine are also visible on the forearms, triceps, and shoulders since a significant amount of resistance is placed on the upper body muscles. Another great benefit of the rowing machine is that it helps to strengthen the core or abdominal muscles. It also builds up the calf muscles to a certain extent.
Gives You a Good Cardiovascular Workout
Don't you feel more tired when you get off the rowing machine after 20 minutes, while a treadmill, or an elliptical trainer, never makes you feel so exhausted? Experts suggest that a rowing machine is more effective in burning calories, when compared to other machines like the treadmill or the elliptical trainer. The amount of movements including -- muscle contractions, bending, stretching, and so on -- makes your body lose more calories. Also, because your entire body is constantly on the move, your heart pumps faster as the body demands more oxygen to meet the stress. This improves in proper functioning of the heart, thereby reducing the chances of diseases like hypertension, diabetes, angina, and so on. It helps your lungs as well, as they tend to open up to accommodate the increased demand of oxygen for the body.
Saves Time for the Busy Ones
The lack of time to actually hit the gym everyday -- or every alternate day -- can actually get frustrating when you see your waistline increase day by day. In such a scenario, having a rowing machine in your home gym is the best investment you can make. It is already clear, that this machine efficiently provides a complete body workout. You can exercise on it even after the Sun is nowhere to be seen. The additional benefit is that if your weekdays are tightly scheduled, you wouldn't have to compromise on the duration of one exercise to accommodate the others. This machine gives a full-body workout and is efficient in burning calories and getting rid of the excessive fat, when accompanied with healthy eating and sleeping habits.
Brings the Body to a Calorie-burning Mode
The rigorous movement of the body on a rowing machine can help burn about 800 calories in an hour. Of course, the amount of calories burned depends largely on the intensity of the exercise, and the type of rowing machine that you use. The best part about this machine is that you can choose the resistance level according to your capacity. For starters, it is recommended to focus on the technique and posture, and as you keep practicing, you can increase your rowing speed and resistance accordingly.
Provides High Intensity and Impact-free Workout
I have come across a zillion people who have complained of joint problems as a result of using gym machines, but those machines do not include this machine. The modern rowing machine is designed in such as way that although it provides a wide range of motion to your body, including the joints, it still has a low impact on them. Your knees and ankles can relax without having to worry about being injured, provided you follow the technique and instructions as mentioned in the instruction manual of your rowing machine.
A Workout for the Body and Mind!
When we are stressed out, when a lot of things are going in our mind, we usually tend to miss out on our workout because the mind is preoccupied with things. Trust me, instead of focusing on the stress, just hit your rowing machine. As I have mentioned again and again, this equipment puts your entire body in momentum. Also, your mind needs to focus on the posture and the correct movement, so that you can feel pressure on the right muscles. In addition to that, during the exercise, you feel more pumped up, while the physical and mental exhaustion tends to take a backseat. After you are done with your workout, the mental stress is somehow reduced, and your mind is ready to deal with the worries in a fresh manner. Now, who wouldn't want that?
Some Additional Information
The rowing machine is also called the 'ergometer' as it has a performance monitor that measures the speed and distance traveled, as well as calories burned while using it for a workout. It switches the body into the 'calorie burning mode' only after 5-10 minutes of warm up, which makes the rowing machine more effective. The older versions of rowing machines were made using hydraulic pistons that made the workout a bit difficult as well as tiring. Modern rowing machines are made of flexible graphite and flywheel tanks filled with water. Modern-day rowing machines actually give you the feel of rowing on water with the oars in your hand, which make the exercise more exciting.
There are various types of rowing machines with respect to their resistant qualities. They are:
  • Water resistant rowing machine
  • Air resistant rowing machines
  • Piston resistant rowing machines
  • Magnetic resistant piston machines
  • Air and magnetic resistant rowing machine
Before getting any type of rowing machine, it is a good idea to get expert advice on the type that will be suitable for your need.

Disclaimer: This FitnessVigil article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of an expert. It is best to begin any new exercise under the supervision of an expert to prevent injury. Please note that improper usage of this machine may cause back and spine problems.
Three focused women exercising on rowing machine
Young man using rowing machine
Gym Rowing
Rowing machine workout