Exercise Bike or Rowing Machine: Which is Best?

Do you hesitate between a rowing machine and an exercise bike and don’t know which one to choose? The rowing machine seems more demanding, but is it more efficient than the exercise bike for weight loss? And to strengthen the muscles? And to firm buttocks, thighs and legs? Isn’t the rowing machine contraindicated in case of knee or back problems? To help you make the right choice, read our comparison and find out the differences, pros and cons of the exercise bike compared to the rowing machine!

1) Exercise bike or rowing machine to lose weight?

The two fitness machines, the home bike and the rowing machine, offer an efficient cardio workout to burn calories (and fat!). Both tools offer the advantage of being able to vary the intensity of the training by increasing the resistance of the machine and thus burning more calories.

Rowing machine or exercise bike: which fitness machine burns the most calories?

The rowing machine and the exercise bike allow you to burn the same amount of calories. The two tools are based on the same principle: a wheel is rotated with the strength of the legs (and the arms for the rower).

1 hour of training

Calories burned

Exercise bike, from low to high intensity

from 400 to 800 kcal

Rowing machine, from low to high intensity

from 400 to 800 kcal

As shown in the comparison chart above, the calories you burn depend on how long and how hard you train. For example, you burn about 800 kilocalories in one hour of intensive training on a rowing machine or stationary bike, but only 400 kilocalories if you do a more moderate workout.

But isn’t the home exercise bike more effective than the rowing machine in losing weight?

In fact, while they can help you burn as many calories, there’s a big difference! It is much easier to train for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour or even 2 hours on a stationary bike than with a rowing machine! A rowing workout usually lasts 20 minutes, while an exercise bike workout lasts at least 30-45 minutes. The rower is more demanding for the position, the noticeable knee flexion and the two-step movement (or even 4) which induces a great effort and then a slowdown to spin the wheel while the movements on the stationary bike are constant and the comfortable position and not binding.

If your main goal is to lose weight, then we recommend that you choose a home exercise bike because you can easily alternate between prolonged cardio workouts of an hour or more and 20 minutes of HIIT workout to burn calories and fat efficiently .

Lose 1 kg in a month. 1 hour of exercise with the stationary bike 3 times a week allows you to lose 1 kg per month or you can achieve the same result by doing 30 minutes of rowing 3 times a week for 2 months.

2) Rowing machine vs Exercise bike: Which muscles are involved?

The exercise bike and rowing machine are cardio fitness machines , that is, they train the most important muscle in the body, the heart! Plus, they help to firm up the muscles, refine them but not make them swell like weightlifting would.

The second common benefit of the rowing machine and the stationary bike is that they will both help you strengthen your legs, thighs and buttocks. If you want to lose weight, it is essential to work on the muscles to firm up the softer parts of the body and have a more athletic body.

The rowing machine trains more body muscles than the exercise bike. It is generally said that when training with the rowing machine, 60% of the effort comes from the legs, 30% from the pendulum motion and 10% from the arms. Here are the muscles that work with the rowing machine

– leg muscles

– thigh muscles (anterior and hamstring muscles)

– gluteal muscles

– calf and tibia muscles

– arm muscles (biceps, triceps)

– muscles located at the level of the shoulders (deltoids)

– back muscles (large back, trapezoidal and rhomboid muscles)

– abdominal muscles

The advantage of the rowing machine over the exercise bike is that it works the muscles of the arms, shoulders, back and abdomen, while the exercise bike essentially trains the muscles of the lower body.

Is the rowing machine more efficient than the exercise bike for strengthening the thighs?

Both cardio machines are effective for strengthening the thighs. Both make it possible to increase resistance to train the thigh muscles more intensely. The higher the resistance, the harder the muscles work!

However, the exercise bike mainly works the muscles of the legs and thighs, which means that your effort is concentrated on this part of the body. If you tire your arms after 20 minutes with the rowing machine and the workout stops, while on the exercise bike, your legs and thighs are working mainly and if you can extend the workout to 45 minutes, for example, this means that you save 25 minutes compared to the rowing machine and that more work was done on the muscles of the legs and thighs.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. Muscles don’t come without effort! You will need to increase the resistance of the exercise bike or rowing machine to train the muscles and tone them! The benefit is that you burn more calories at the same time!

3) Exercise bike or rowing machine in case of knee or back problems?

The exercise bike exerts light pressure on the back and therefore has no back problems. In addition, the exercise bike allows you to work your knees very gently while pedaling with moderate resistance and is therefore suitable for both prevention and rehabilitation after knee surgery. It is an ideal fitness tool for rehabilitation because it does not cause joint shocks.

The rower is very demanding on the back. In a way, it strengthens the back, but on the other hand, for people who already have back pain or not good posture, the intensive use of the rowing machine can increase the pain. In addition, the rower forces the knees to be fully bent, which is generally contraindicated for people with knee problems.

The exercise bike is therefore more suitable for the elderly and people with back or knee problems than the rowing machine .

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. You must have the right technique when training with the rowing machine to avoid back pain! Push with your legs first, then slide the seat backwards and finally pull with your arms, then repeat the reverse (stretch your arms, slide the seat and then bend your legs).

4) What are the other pros and cons of the exercise bike and rowing machine?

The rowing machine and exercise bike are cardio machines that offer benefits for the heart and cardiovascular system, improve fitness and endurance, allow you to lose weight and strengthen your legs, thighs and buttocks. However, the two machines correspond to two very different types of use which we present in the following table.

Comparative table of advantages and disadvantages of each fitness machine:

Exercise bikes: pros and cons

  • Easy to handle, various training possibilities
  • Cardio training and interval training (HIIT)
  • Firm the muscles of the legs, thighs, buttocks and arms
  • Calorie consumption: from 400 to 800 kcal per hour
  • Safe for the joints
  • Suitable for everyone (beginners and advanced)

Rower: pros and cons

  • requires experience to get the right movement and position.
  • Challenging training: cardio or interval (HIIT)
  • Firm the muscles of the legs, thighs, buttocks, arms and shoulders
  • Calorie consumption: from 400 to 800 kcal per hour
  • Challenging for the hip, knee and ankle joints
  • Suitable for sportsmen and amateur rowers

In general, the home bike is suitable for almost all types of use, whether to keep fit, to lose weight, for rehabilitation or to tone the muscles of the thighs, legs and buttocks. Amateur or professional cyclists prefer a semi-professional exercise bike or home bike, while if you want to exercise for 30 minutes to 2 hours a day, an exercise bike is the perfect choice, such as the DKN AM-3i DKN AM-3i for example. People accustomed to rowing will appreciate the rowing machine to experience the sensations they know and continue training at home in bad weather, while measuring its performance.

Don’t forget that you should ideally train on the stationary bike or rowing machine 30 – 45 minutes 2-3 times a week. This way you can fully enjoy the benefits and positive effects of exercise on your body and your health!

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