February 5, 2018

5 Reasons Why We Love the Rowing Machine

Rowing: it’s not just for early mornings on the Charles River (although we love doing that too!). This cardio/strength combining exercise is easier to get the hang of than you might think, and comes with a host of benefits. If you haven’t added rowing to your workouts yet, here are the five reasons we recommend you give it a try.

Indoor Rowing

1 – Indoor Rowing is a Change of (Cardio) Pace

If you have been spending a lot of time on the treadmill, elliptical or even the spin bike, the rowing machine (or ergometer) can be a great break in routine. Getting bored with your fitness plan can be very demotivating, so why not mix it up? It won’t take you long to get your heartrate up and your excitement back!

Indoor Rowing

2- Indoor Rowing is More than an Arm Workout

At first glance, it’s easy to think that rowing is just an arm workout. While it will certainly work your arm muscles, you can expect almost every other muscle in your body to get a good workout too. The three distinct stages of each row stroke – the “catch,” “drive” and “finish” – combine to create a fairly complete full-body workout. Approximately 60% of the power when rowing actually comes from your lower body!

Indoor Rowing

3- Indoor Rowing Burns a Lot of Calories

Don’t let the fact that you are sitting down fool you. Rowing is a high-calorie burning workout, when done correctly. Depending on your body type and how vigorous your workout, you can expect to burn between about 400-800 calories an hour.

Indoor Rowing

4- Indoor Rowing is Good for Beginners

The motion of rowing is fairly easy to get the hang of. Though there are many moving parts working together, each can be broken down and practiced individually. This approach can train you to better master the entire movement as a whole (not to mention will still give you a great workout!). If these movements are not performed correctly and with great technique, there is a chance you could experience back pain.

  • “Catch” – Sit with the seat close to your heals, shins perpendicular to the ground (where the oar would enter the water).
  • “Drive” – Pushing through your heals, extend your legs all the way until they are straight (60% of your power!).
  • “Finish” – Use your arms to pull the handle in above your belly button (20% of your power). Lean back just a little bit, engaging your core/abdominal muscles (last 20% of power). Rowing is an awesome workout for your core!

On the way back in you will simply reverse the steps in a fluid motion, bringing yourself back to the “catch” position. To prepare for the next stroke, sit up tall. Extend your arms, pulling the handle away from your chest. Bend your knees, sliding the seat close to your heals.

Indoor Rowing

5- Indoor Rowing is Low-impact

The horizontal motion of rowing makes for a very low-impact workout, prefect for anyone with joints that protest on the treadmill or track. With no pounding on pavement, etc., rowing can be a great and effective way to cross train if you prefer high-impact modes of cardio or are an athlete. Or, rowing can be a great, new long-term part of your regular exercise routine that will be easy on your joints if performed with good technique.


If you have never tried out the indoor rowing machine, it may be time to give it a try! We hope you come to love it as much as we do.

Want to try rowing as a group? Check out our indoor rowing class: Rowing for Fitness.