Benefits of exercising with a rowing machine

Updated July 19, 2017

A rowing machine is a piece of exercise equipment that simulates the action of rowing a boat. Whether you're at home or at a gym, using a rowing machine is one of the best workouts you can undertake, as it is a very demanding form of exercise and provides numerous benefits.

Exercise for All Ages and Abilities

Almost anyone at any fitness level can exercise with a rowing machine; if you are a beginner, keep the settings low and work your way up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even recommends a rowing machine for older people as part of their exercise routine. Use one at the gym or at home while watching TV or listening to music; with its calming, repetitive movements, the rowing machine may help with stress and anxiety reduction.

Total Body Exercise

A rowing machine exercises the total body by working on all the major muscle groups---no single area is favoured. The muscles in the back, upper body and lower body are strengthened and toned. As well as providing strength training, working out with a rowing machine also delivers an equal amount of demanding aerobic exercise and improves stamina. This all-in-one workout is a huge time-saver for those with busy lives.

Weight Loss and Heart Health

A regular aerobic workout routine on a rowing machine is a good way to burn fat and lose weight; metabolism is increased and extra calories are burnt due to the strengthened muscles needing more calories to sustain them. The American Heart Association recommends the rowing machine as an effective way to maintain heart health. The intense cardiovascular workout gets the blood pumping faster around the body and strengthens the heart to help prevent heart disease later on.

Low-Impact Exercise

Working out on a rowing machine is a low-impact activity and exercises the joints and muscles in a smooth constant flow so there are no jolting impacts to the ankles or knees. A rowing machine is useful for rehabilitation therapy following an injury because a full range of body motion is employed but the workout is not weight bearing. For those recuperating from an injury, a rowing machine would be preferable to a treadmill or other weight-bearing equipment.


To use a rowing machine safely and effectively, ensure you are using good form and technique; if you have never used one before, get expert instruction prior to use to get optimum health and fitness benefits. Poor technique can result in injuries and muscle damage. If you have back or knee problems, consult your medical professional before you begin any kind of rowing machine workout schedule.

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About the Author

Maria Slater is a trained midwife who has worked in prenatal, labor and delivery and postpartum wards in hospitals in Europe and the Middle East. She is also a freelance web content provider who writes on health, weight loss, parenting, travel, homemaking and pregnancy topics.