Rowing Machine: Muscles Involved, Benefits And A Training Program To Burn Calories rowing machine is an excellent tool to train at home and seek a better physical condition by bringing the sensations of rowing indoors. It is the top of the tools because it is the most complete and in addition it makes you sweat ! By exercising regularly with the rowing machine, your body will regain both stamina and elasticity and improving your physical condition will help you feel good. Let’s find out all the benefits of the rowing machine and a training program that will help you reach your goals.

Rower: what it is

The rowing machine or rowing machine is a cardio training fitness tool that faithfully reproduces rowing rowing for this reason it is also called indoor rowing . 


Initially, it was designed to allow rowing athletes to train during the winter. It later became one of the best-selling tools in the world for its many health benefits. 

In the 90s, with the arrival on the market of the elliptical bike and treadmill, it lost some of its charm. Yet the rowing machine still remains the best fitness machine for:

  • train yourself
  • lose weight
  • burn fat
  • improve your cardiovascular capacity.

Which muscles do you train with the rowing machine?

The muscles involved in training with the rowing machine are so many. Above all, the lats are stressed  but this tool is excellent both for strengthening all the back muscles and for those suffering from back pain .

During training, the legs  are strongly stimulated but  also the buttocks , quadriceps and hamstrings.

Not only that, rowing tones your arms and shoulders. Finally, the muscles of the abdomen are strongly involved During the movement, in fact, the abdominals are only stressed to give coordination to the whole body.

The benefits of the rowing machine

  • Helps burn fat and lose weight. During exertion, your  heart rate increases and this causes  your body to need more energy and therefore burn more. An hour of training with the rowing machine burns an average of 470 calories (average value for an individual weighing 70 kilos).
  • Improve your  cardiocirculatory system. By training consistently with the rowing machine, you improve physical endurance and also lung capacity .
  • The rowing machine is accessible to everyone because it is a low impact machine, which produces no stress or overload on the joints as you work, so it is also great for those who are overweight.
  • It is a complete exercise. The rowing movement involves the whole body and must be fluid. For this reason, training with the rowing machine improves motor coordination .
  • Practicing the rowing machine  relieves stress. It helps you to unplug and temporarily clear your head from all thoughts of the day.

Rowing machine: which model to choose?

There are several characteristics to evaluate to choose a rowing machine that is right for you.

First of all, the traction system : it exists with separate arms (it more faithfully reproduces the act of rowing but requires excellent coordination) and with central traction , which is the most common type of rowing machine.

Another important feature is the console where all basic information is displayed, from distance to speed to calories burned . Depending on the type of rowing machine you choose to buy, you will have the option of consoles with preset programs . The advice is to choose a simple type of console that gives you the main information without special programs.

Finally, if you want to keep the rowing machine at home, the advice is to choose space-saving models with an intelligent folding system that allows you to make the tool smaller to store it in small spaces ”.

The importance of correct technique

Rowing is a simple gesture, but to avoid getting hurt and to enjoy the benefits of this tool to the full, it is important to row correctly.

Read our tips and watch the video

  • Do not move your arms and legs at the same time. The rowing is done in 2 stages: first you have to push the legs and then the arms.
  • Don’t open your elbows. The blow is finalized with the elbows back parallel to the body.
  • Keep your back straight. At the end of the pull, you must keep your torso vertical, do not throw your back back!
  • Don’t stretch your legs too far. During the strike, do not reach maximum extension of the legs so as not to force the knees.
  • Do not open your knees during the exercise. The legs must remain parallel.
  • Don’t squeeze your shoulders. The shoulders must remain low during the execution.
  • Don’t start training right away. Check the position of the footrests first: if your arms are not stretched correctly in the starting position, it means that the footrests are badly adjusted.

Proposed training program with the rowing machine

This program is to be carried out in 5 weeks with an average of 2 workouts per week, but you can modulate it according to your goal and your physical condition . Once you have reached 20 minutes,  continue exercising 2/3 times a week progressively increasing the duration to reach 30 minutes of training. It is progressive work and you can have fun modulating both the speed and the resistance of the rower. For example, sequence 1 is 1 minute or 20 strokes or strokes per minute but you can increase the speed of the stroke and also the resistance of the rower: the heavier the training cable, the more strenuous each time you row the stroke and your heart rate goes up, so adjust the resistance of the rower to reach 70% of your HR.

Rowing machine: tips before starting

  • Warm-up : Warm up between 5 minutes and 10 minutes, then start your sequence by staying focused on the correct position throughout the exercise.
  • It is important to finish the sequence with some stretching exercises .
  • Never force: you run the risk of getting too tired or hurting yourself.
  • Before starting any sports program, pay a visit to the sports doctor who will be able to  assess your health.
  • In the proposed program, all sets are to be achieved at 70% of your maximum HR. See how to calculate itSome models of rowing machines have a frequency meter, if yours is not there we recommend that you buy one.

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