Why Rowing is a Good Workout

Rowing is a great workout because it uses so many muscles, it’s low impact, and it can be done indoors or outdoors.


Rowing is an incredible full-body workout that strengthens many important muscles. It is low-impact so it is perfect for people of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced athletes. Not only does rowing provide an efficient full-body workout, but it also increases your endurance, boosts your calorie burn, and can even reduce stress. Let’s dive into the specifics of how rowing is a good workout.

Benefits of Rowing

Rowing is an efficient and effective full-body workout that targets the strength, endurance and cardiovascular capacity of the body. It has a number of benefits which make it an ideal choice for people seeking to improve their fitness.

One major benefit is that it places a much lower strain on your joints than high impact activities like jogging or running. Because you are seated, there is no excessive pressure on your feet, ankle and knee joints. This makes rowing perfect for people with existing joint problems or who have had previous injuries.

Rowing also works out a wide range of muscles in both the upper and lower body as well as engaging your core muscles for stability. As you scull (use two oars), you’ll work both sides of the body simultaneously resulting in increased balance and tone throughout all muscle groups. The motion of rowing also stimulates blood circulation throughout the whole body aiding in metabolism, weight loss and energy levels.

The low impact nature coupled with its versatility means that rowing is suitable for all ages and skill levels too! You can row indoors or outdoors depending on what’s available to you and select from various strokes according to individual preference which makes mixing up your routine simpler than ever before! Finally, because rowing requires all major muscle groups to be involved at once, it helps increase cardiovascular endurance making it an excellent way to stay fit and toned long-term!

Muscles Worked

Rowing is a fantastic full-body workout that strengthens and tones your entire body. Rowing works multiple muscle groups, including your legs, back, core, arms, and shoulders. In addition, it is also a great cardiovascular exercise, providing a great aerobic and anaerobic workout. It is low impact and can be done indoors or out. Let’s look at each of the muscle groups that rowing works.

Upper Body Muscles

Rowing is a great full-body workout that uses muscles in both your upper and lower body. When you row, you’ll be activating your muscles in the arms, chest, shoulders, back and core.

Upper body muscles are important for providing support to the torso. The primary muscles strengthened during rowing include the Latissimus Dorsi (or lats), which are the two large muscle groups on either side of the back; they are responsible for pulling and supplying force to achieve rowing strokes. Additionally, the deltoids in your shoulder work to extend and retract arms while also maneuvering oars through water. Your upper back also receives significant exercise with rowing; these muscle groups include the trapezius which works to hold posture during rowing stroke cycles as well as provide resistance against powerful currents or immoveable objects such as logs or rocks when out on the waters. Lastly your biceps provide assistance in powering through forward motion of oars through water.

Lower Body Muscles

Rowing is an aerobic activity that combines repetitive motion with low-impact exercises to improve cardiovascular health and strengthen various muscle groups simultaneously. Lower body muscles are primarily worked during rowing, including the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. The squat-like motion combined with resistance from your arms helps you engage these primary stabilizer muscles and tension through your lower body.

Your quads are highly engaged throughout each stroke of a rowing machine—both on the way back as you push off and on the way forward as you pull up to your chest. As the strongest muscles in your legs that absorb most of your body weight when you stand, squats or jump, pushing off intensely targets them as they extend your legs backward against resistance training.

Your hamstrings also assist in driving this movement forward and provide a counterbalance to your quads. Working against gravity helps you challenge these muscles by creating tension in order to move yourself forward through space. Your calves are used for balance during each stroke as well – stabilizing during both extension and contraction of the leg press portion of each repetition.

Finally, there’s no denying that rowing machine exercises create serious tension in those glutes too – especially with higher intensities on longer sets! Though glutes can be challenging to target otherwise when walking or running outside, because they’re constantly engaged while rowing they stay activated over larger periods of time making this one of the best cardio workouts for them.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Rowing is a great total body workout that offers numerous cardiovascular benefits. It is low impact, which is why it is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Furthermore, it is an effective way to build endurance, strength and power. Rowing is effective for burning calories, improving cardiac health and lowering the risk of heart disease. Let’s look at some of the cardiovascular benefits of rowing in more detail.

Increased Heart Rate

When engaging in exercise, it’s important to get your heart rate up. Rowing is one of the few exercises that can offer an elevated heart rate without the impact of a strenuous activity such as running. When rowing, you are able to target numerous muscle groups simultaneously, getting your heart rate up quickly and sustaining it for the duration of your workout or race.

The increase to the heart rate from rowing is due to both the push off from and recovery phase during each ‘stroke’ or ‘pull’. For maximum benefit, experts recommend working out within your target heart-rate zone which can be calculated by subtracting your age in years from 220 for men and 226 for women then multiplying by 0.6-0.85 depending on fitness level. Using this formula will provide an accurate measurement of the desired intensity needed to reach optimal benefits.

For some rowers, a Heart Rate monitor would be beneficial in ensuring they are staying within their target heart rate range while exercising and not exceeding it which could lead to potential injury or health issues down the line. By following this evaluation technique rowers are able improve performance while also aiding in progress monitoring; as well as gaining essential cardiovascular benefits on both a short-term and long-term scale such as improved fitness level, strengthened muscular flexibility and increased lung capacity.

Improved Cardiovascular Endurance

Rowing can be advantageous for improving your aerobic fitness level and overall cardiovascular endurance. Research shows that rowing is a highly effective endurance-building activity. Regularly engaging in this type of moderate to intense physical activity has been linked to countless health benefits, including improved cardiovascular stamina and reduced risk of heart disease.

Studies show that by engaging in regular moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise, your body will be able to better transport oxygen throughout the body, improving the efficiency with which it is used by cells. This type of exercise also improves muscle recovery time after bouts of physical activity and will increase the amount of fat they can burn while exercising.

Rowing also has long-term positive effects on the body’s ability to process cholesterol and absorb glucose more efficiently, reducing the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. For those seeking tangible aerobic benefits from their workouts, regular rowing can increase VO2 Max (the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use), as well as reduce resting heart rate and improve overall heart health. So don’t forget to incorporate some rowing into your routine!

Core Strength Benefits

Rowing is one of the most effective and efficient ways to build core strength. Regular rowing workouts can help to tone and strengthen your abdominal, back and hip muscles. This type of exercise has become more popular in recent years as people are realizing the many benefits it provides. In this article, we’ll discuss how rowing can help you build core strength.

Core Stability

Having strong core stability is essential for improving performance in any physical activity. Rowing requires body stability to maximize your energy with each movement, and having a strong core can help you make the most of your efforts while reducing the risk of injury. A rowing workout will primarily target the muscles in your core — including your abdominals, lower back, hip flexors and obliques — helping you achieve greater balance and coordination. With increased strength in these areas, you’ll be able to maintain better posture and move more fluidly throughout the day. Additionally, having a stabile core translates well into everyday activities such as gardening or carrying groceries up stairs.

Improved Posture

One of the key core strength benefits associated with rowing is improved posture. Rowing engages your back, shoulders, abdominals and other muscles in the core region. When proper form is used, your body position can be corrected and improved upon over time; this helps to improve posture movement not just in the rowing machine but also when you are standing and walking. Primarily, this flexibility increases your ability to move into an upright position and fully stretch your spine, neck and arms comfortably. Improved posture can help ease pain related to heavy lifting or even sitting for extended periods of time in a static position such as at a desk job.

Weight Loss

Rowing is an excellent exercise for weight loss and fitness. This activity will help you burn calories, build muscle, and strengthen your core. With proper diet and commitment to the sport, you can reach your weight loss goals in a relatively short amount of time. Let’s take a look at how rowing can help you achieve the body you want.

Calorie Burning

For those trying to lose weight, rowing is a great choice of exercise because it engages muscles throughout the body. It is both a cardiovascular and strength training exercise that can help to burn calories effectively. Depending on how vigorous the rowing session is, it is estimated that users can burn as many as 600 or more calories in one hour. A brisk pace typically burns around 400 calories per hour. This can vary greatly depending on weight, sex and age of the user, as well as difficulty.

A diet focused on reducing calorie intake combined with moderate-intensity rowing for at least an hour per day helps to increase overall weight loss and reach goals more quickly. Including tricep extensions, squats and crunches during rest periods also helps to work different muscles groups for an even more effective workout session and further increases calorie burning. Rowing machines also come with a variety of available resistance levels so that users can customize their workouts according to their needs and goals.

Improved Metabolism

Rowing is a great way to take advantage of the phenomenon known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). According to exercise physiologist Paul Acsm, “EPOC is the body’s physiological response to exercise that stimulates an incremental increase in metabolism for an extended period after exercise stops.” This means you can get an even higher calorie burn long after the workout stops.

Many studies have looked at how different exercises affect EPOC, and rowing was shown to be among the ones with the most “bang for your buck” when it comes to calorie burning—as much as 10 percent more than a running workout of similar duration. Plus, all that rowing should also result in plenty of sweat, which helps your body release toxins and other impurities that can lead to good overall health.

When coupled with proper nutritional habits and plenty of restful sleep, improved metabolism from rowing can be a great reason why it makes sense to add this activity into your fitness regimen—even if you only have time for a twenty minute row once or twice per week. Just consider your body’s response afterward. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel from consistently burning more calories than you took in over time!


In conclusion, rowing is an excellent form of exercise that activates the entire body and cardiovascular system. It offers a low impact workout, with no risk of injury or orthopedic damage. Beginners to rowing can reduce their risk of either overtraining or undertraining with regular training program modifications that are designed for their individual goals and capabilities. Finally, provided that adequate instructions on technique and safety is offered by competent instructors to all rowing enthusiasts, this type of sport should remain a healthy form of exercise for many years to come.

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