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Is A Rowing Machine Good For Weight Loss?

You’re looking in the mirror and you do NOT like what you see.

You’ve tried a bit of this… A tad of that…

However, you’re not losing the weight you’ve been hoping to lose.

And you think that a rowing machine could be the answer to your weight loss problems.

In this guide, you will learn whether a rowing machine is good for weight loss.

You will also learn about the benefits of rowing, as well as other weight loss exercise alternatives.


rowing machine

Rowing Machine Benefits

Rowing can be considered a full-body workout.

The mechanics are sometimes hard to perform consistently but, with practice, using a rowing machine properly has several benefits.

Here are five benefits you may experience as a result of using a rowing machine:

  1. You can engage in a low-impact exercise — lowering your risk of injury
    Low-impact exercise generally puts less stress on your body — but don’t be fooled because you can still have high-intensity workouts on a rowing machine.
  2. You can customize the intensity and resistance to meet your individual needs.
    Everyone is different, with different starting points for exercise. No matter your fitness level, you can adjust rowing exercises to match your physical needs.
  3. It offers another cardio exercise besides the treadmill or elliptical trainer.
    Sometimes you just need a change of pace to jumpstart your workouts. If you are tired of the traditional types of cardio exercises, rowing may be a better fit for you.
  4. You may find the movements of rowing relaxing and meditative.
    The repetitive movements of rowing, along with the smooth rhythm, can put you at ease. If you need to relax, maybe a rowing machine would be a great option for you.
  5. You can maximize your calories burned during rowing due to it being a full-body workout.
    Full-body workouts use almost all of your muscles, which in turn means you will burn more calories at once. That means your entire body can benefit from an aerobic workout like rowing.

Are you interested in learning more about how various exercises can help you reach your weight loss goals? Contact us for your free consultation.

What Muscles Does A Rowing Machine Work?

There are several muscles at work when using a rowing machine.

The part of the rowing motion that engages your upper body requires the use of the following muscles:

  • Abs
  • Obliques
  • Triceps
  • Deltoids
  • Upper back
  • Lats
  • Pecs
  • Biceps

Your lower body also gets a good workout with the required leg drive and engages the following:

  • Calves
  • Glutes
  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings

Rowing For Weight Loss

There are many different workout machines and equipment that can aid you in achieving your weight loss goals.

However, you are here because you are wondering…

How good is a rowing machine for weight loss?

Several of the machines at your gym could aid you in successfully losing weight as long as you can get your heart rate up, right?

Well, the most important factor in whether you will be successful with your weight loss is knowing that you can only lose weight with rowing if you burn more calories than you consume in your daily diet.

So, that leads to asking the question…

How many calories does rowing burn?

A Harvard Health publication states that people typically burn between 210 and 311 calories per half hour of moderate stationary rowing — this can vary depending on your weight and intensity of your workout.

Therefore, you will need to ensure that what you eat supports your daily lifestyle as well as your calorie burning on the rowing machine.

Benefits Of Rowing: Is Weight Loss One Of Them?

A rowing machine (just like many other machines at your local health club or gym) can get your heart rate up enough to get into fat-burning mode.

However, you need to know…

Although rowing can get your heart rate up, In Motion O.C. does not recommend using a rowing machine for weight loss.

Why is that?

Well, let’s consider the following story:

Jimmy is brand new to working out at his local gym. He has a desire to work out but he doesn’t want to use what he calls “the boring machines.”

He sees a woman using a rowing machine and thinks that is what he wants to use for his workout.

The problem is that Jimmy has never used a rowing machine or even rowed a real boat before.

He is eager and excited to begin his workout, but the first few “strokes” make him realize that he may need a bit of help in understanding how to use the machine safely.

He has no idea what he is doing and decides to ask for some tips from the woman he saw using it before him.

The woman gives Jimmy a quick run down — frequently reminding him of his posture and how to coordinate his upper and lower body to execute the proper techniques.

Jimmy thanks the woman and continues rowing, while replaying the woman’s suggestions in his head with every stroke.

He quickly gets overwhelmed and decides to try something a bit easier before he hurts himself.

Jimmy decides that he would rather concentrate on burning calories than on learning new techniques like rowing.

Essentially, we would discourage anyone from working out on the rowing machine solely for weight loss purposes for the following reasons:

  • Without real training on a rowing machine, it’s hard to do it correctly.
  • If you’re not doing it correctly, you won’t see much improvement in weight loss.

However, if you are seeking to lose weight while improving your rowing for recreational or competitive purposes, using the rowing machine might be a good choice for you.

Just know that if you are new to using the rowing machine, it could hinder you from reaching your weight loss goals, especially if you sustain an injury due to the lack of executing proper techniques.

Alternatives To A Rowing Machine For Weight Loss

Now that you understand the variety of factors to consider when using a rowing machine for weight loss, you may be disheartened.

However, there is no need to be discouraged because there are numerous other workouts that you can use to support your weight loss goals.

Although we do not recommend the use of a rowing machine to lose weight, there are two types of workouts that we highly recommend — sled training and battle rope training.

Continue reading to learn more about the equipment required for each of these exercises.

If you are considering working with a professional who can customize your fitness needs for weight loss, contact us at In Motion O.C. for your free consultation.

Sled Training

If you are looking for a not-so-typical workout, training with a sled might be a great choice for you.

According to Breaking Muscle, sled training was inspired by the physically fit Scandinavian loggers, who had the responsibility of dragging trees that were cut down out of the forest.

However, it was in 2005 that the first workout-focused sleds were commercialized for the public and sled training slowly began to take off in popularity.

You have probably even seen football teams train with sleds — from high school to professional players.

It’s a great full-body workout that anyone, even a beginner, can enjoy and benefit from.

What types of workouts can you do with a sled?

Typically, sled training includes pushing and pulling a sled in various directions: forward, backward, and lateral drags.

The versatility of sled training allows you to experience the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Weight training
  • Aerobic conditioning

Why Is A Sled Good For Weight Loss?

A sled can be very effective for weight loss and conditioning, as your heart rate will increase, giving you the ability to get into fat-burning mode fairly quickly.

Sled training is also designed to be a full-body workout, using muscles such as the glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads, and abdominal muscles.

Some of the benefits of sled training for weight loss include:

  • You can lose weight quickly.
  • You can do sled training indoors and outdoors.
  • You are less likely to injure yourself or have soreness compared to many other training options.
  • You can learn how to do sled training almost instantly.
  • You can do sled training individually or with a group.

Battle Rope Training

Another alternative to using a rowing machine is battle rope training for weight loss.

It is another versatile workout, that involves repeatedly lifting weighted ropes to get your heart rate up.

You can choose from a variety of lengths, thicknesses, and weights.

You will need to choose rope dimensions that allow you to focus on aerobic training to get your heart rate up.

Although it may sound simple, rope training is far from easy.

What types of workouts can you do with a battle rope?

Battle rope training is one of the most versatile workouts because you are encouraged to move the ropes in different directions.

Switching the movement of your ropes frequently increases the intensity of your training.

You can move the battle ropes up and down, side to side, and even in a circular motion as if you were turning your ropes for a double dutch jump rope session.

Just like the sled, a battle rope can be used for the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Weight training
  • Aerobic conditioning

Why Is A Battle Rope Good For Weight Loss?

Working out with a battle rope can be a fun and effective method for reaching your weight loss goals.

Most full-body workouts, like battle rope training, are the most effective for weight loss because you naturally burn more fat as you use more of your muscles to execute your training.

Battle rope training uses both arms, your back, legs, chest, and abdominal muscles.

Some of the benefits of battle rope training for weight loss include:

  • You can increase your rate of weight loss.
  • You can do battle rope training indoors and outdoors.
  • You are at a low risk for injury with battle rope training.
  • You can implement battle rope training with minimal instruction.
  • You can do battle rope training individually or with a group.

How In Motion O.C. Can Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals

If you want to achieve weight loss and other personal fitness goals, the professional coaches at In Motion O.C. are ready to help.

We can help you to implement an effective weight loss workout plan that will increase your heart rate and help you burn fat.

Our professional staff can help you avoid unnecessary injuries and slow progress by helping you to use a sled, battle ropes, and other fat-burning exercises effectively.

Contact us at In Motion O.C. to schedule your free consultation and talk to one of our professional coaches today.

In Motion O.C.