The Guide To Rowing Machine Workouts

You’ve probably seen them before in the gym and wondered exactly how to use them.

The rowing machine might not have the popularity of a treadmill or exercise bike, but their benefits can even be more impressive than those traditional devices.

A rowing machine is a great way to get an all over workout, as you sit in a simulated boat in the water and pretend to row. It might sound silly at first, but it’s one of the most effective workouts you can get from a piece of home gym equipment.

These machines have the potential to burn 300 calories in just half an hour, so they’re ideal for someone looking to get fit fast.

best rowing machine workout

One of the reasons why many people avoid these machines in the gym is their lack of knowledge on rowing machine technique. Despite what you might think, a rowing machine is extremely easy to use and with just a few tips you’ll be rowing a pro and burning serious calories in no time.

Benefits Of Rowing Machine Workouts

Although you might not count them as popular as the exercise bike or treadmill, rowing machines actually have a variety of benefits to the user. These machines can offer more than just a great way to stay in shape, in an efficient and fun to use piece of equipment.

Low Impact

Using a rowing machine is an effective low-impact workout that can assist people with injuries in staying fit. As you’re seated the entire time and able to work to your own fitness levels, this versatile machine is a must have for anyone in rehabilitation.


Having an indoor rowing machine at home means you can work out any time of the day you wish, and it doesn’t matter if the weather is unfavorable or you can’t make time to drive to the gym. Having this convenient piece of equipment at home is the perfect motivation to stay fit.

Full Body Exercise

Although most people would assume rowing only works out your arms and legs, it’s actually one of the best all over exercises you can do. Not only will you tone your arms and legs, but you’ll also strengthen your abs and your back as well.

Burns Calories

According to the experts, a workout on your rowing machine burns almost three times as many calories as a spin class. This makes it’s one of the most efficient and effective pieces of home gym equipment you can purchase.

How To Use A Rowing Machine

Many people are put off by the rowing machine at their local gym, feeling intimidated at their lack of knowledge on the technique. While they are fairly easy to get the hang of, it’s essential to have the correct form so that you’re working out effectively and without putting unnecessary strain on your body. With feet secured, pull your knees up and slide forward to the top of the rowing machine.

using a rowing machine

Hold onto the handle in an overhand grip, ensuring that it’s strong enough to have a comfortable hold but not too forceful.

Bring the handle with you as you slide back to the beginning position. Have your legs straight and a slight bend in your knees. Lean back slightly and pull your arms into your chest as you hold the handle with elbows pointing down. This position is both your starting and ending position, so the form is crucial.

Keeping your back straight, move your arms out and forward first, following with your upper body.

Following your arms, slide the rest of your body forward by sliding on the seat. When you reach the top of the machine, your arms should be extended all the way out in front and your legs bent up against your chest.

To slide back, push off with your feet and extend your legs all the way out which keeping your back straight but slightly leaning forward. Imagine you are pulling the oars out of the water here and continue to push through your legs. Your upper body should lean back slightly as you reach the end of the machine.

Pull the handle close to your chest again so that your arms return to the starting position. Continue to practice these moves until you feel confident in your technique.

Best Row Machine Workout

Now that you have the basics covered for rowing machine technique, you can find a workout that suits your fitness goals. For most, the main aim of using a rowing machine is to burn calories fast and tone their muscles, so a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout is best.

Start with a warm up for five minutes so that you can perfect your form and allow your body to become relaxed. Follow this by 60 seconds of rowing as hard and fast as you can possibly go. Cool down for 60 seconds with a lower resistance and catch your breath.

For beginners, you can start with just three reps of these intervals and as you build up strength you can do as many as 10. Depending on your fitness level, the intensity will vary for each individual.

rowing machine workout in a gym

Finding The Best Rowing Machine

If you’re convinced that the rowing machine is the best piece of equipment for your home gym, there are a few features you shouldn’t go without for your new purchase. The most important thing to look for is a trusted name with quality construction, considering these devices can be expensive to purchase.

Find a rowing machine that’s been built to minimize noise and maximize smoothness, so that when you’re working out at home you don’t interrupt anyone else. A device with adjustable settings and a modern display screen will help you hit your targets better, and keep you accountable throughout the workout.

With a quality rowing machine in your home gym and the correct form under your belt, you’ll wonder why you didn’t use this revolutionary device sooner. For an all-over, low impact, but highly effective workout, a rowing machine is the clear winner.