What Muscles do a Rowing Machine Workout?

Rowing machine training is incredibly effective for the whole body. It allows an athlete to build resilience and muscle strength. At the same time, the lack of proper technique and training for visitors to the gyms can lead to injuries if the machine is not used correctly.

I use the Rowing Machine in my training for over a year now. I like this equipment, so I bought it in my garage gym. I have studied the use of this equipment in detail and decided to share it with you. In this review we will consider the answers to your questions:

  • What Muscles do a Rowing Machine Workout?
  • How to properly perform basic exercises?
  • Is this equipment only for one exercise?
  • An example of a training program.

Rowing Machine Benefits

Okay, here we go.  Why do I like this kind of equipment?  First of all, you can use more than 80% of your body muscles during training.  In any case, you get a complex workout that provides better results.  At this load the body feels the necessary stress, produces the necessary hormones.  

Second, really high intensity. You actively burn extra calories and tone up your muscles. At the same time you train endurance, strength and heart muscle. You save time on training. It’s important to me. You can increase the intensity through the level of resistance and speed of exercise.

It is worth noting: the correct execution of the exercises depends on the setting of the equipment and the correct fit. Carry out the necessary adjustments and secure your feet. This increases safety and efficiency in your workout.

Exercise Execution

The main exercise for this fitness equipment is imitation rowing. You sit on the seat, take both hands on the handles and pull it on yourself by pushing your feet. Now for more details.
Exercise execution

1. Capture

First of all, take the starting position. Your hands must be fully extended forward. The steps are fixed to the footsteps. The legs are as bent as possible in the knees. It is important to keep your back flat.

2. Rowing

This is the main movement of this exercise. The movement starts with kicks. By bending your legs and pulling back you also bend the body back.

3. Return to the original position. 

Use the last movement to pull the handle to the lower part of the chest.  Elbows must not fall down. Look straight and do not tilt your head.  

Please pay attention to:

  • It’s a complex multi-joint exercise. It is therefore important to warm up. Your body needs to be ready for the complex work. It may be worth doing a warm-up approach.
  • You must keep your body in the right position. This will increase efficiency and involve the right muscle groups. In addition, you reduce the likelihood of injury. You can’t slouch, lower or twist your head.

What Muscles do a Rowing Machine Workout?

Training with Rowing Machine is great for muscle training and strengthens the cardiovascular system.  This training machine allows you to use a large number of muscle groups.
First of all, the rowing machine develops the upper half of the body – shoulder belt, chest, back and arm muscles. However, the muscles of the front and back thighs and buttock muscles are also actively involved. Press and body muscles account for part of the load (especially if you breathe correctly during training).

What Muscles do a Rowing Machine Workout?
To fulfill these conditions you must use the correct execution technique.

But you are not limited to one exercise. Minimal understanding of anatomy allows you to perform additional exercises. Use the resistance of the Rowing Machine and perform additional exercises like below.
rowing machine exercise calories burned

How many calories do you burn rowing?

Harvard scientists say an 84-kilogram man can burn a 400-calorie tie in an hour rowing.

The amount of calories burned is affected by the athlete’s weight, the resistance level used and rest intervals. At high intensity, this can reach up to 800 calories per hour.

Workout Routings

Before the start of training, I recommend that you learn the technique of exercise. Then you can create a training program or use one of the suggested ones. In any case, I recommend to record your results.

1. Training for Beginners

For beginners it is recommended to determine the distance or time of the exercise. Distribute evenly the load intervals into 3-5 approaches. The resistance level and intensity should be increased gradually. Rest time should allow to restore breathing and heart rate.   

It is also possible to orientate to the heart rate zone and choose the optimal intensity for fat burning.

2. Technique of 20 Rowing

Carry out 3 complex approaches. In each approach it is necessary to make 20 rowing switching the resistance level from the smallest to the largest in 3-4 steps.
After that pause until full recovery.

3. Interval Training

To use such an approach, it is necessary to determine the sequence of exercises and rest. An example of this would be

  • 110 m row, 30 seconds of rest, repeat 3 times
  • 150 m row, 40 seconds of rest, repeat 4 times
  • 200 m row, 50 seconds of rest, repeat 5 times
  • 2 minutes of rest
  • 200 m row, 60 seconds of rest, repeat 3 times
  • 150 m row, 45 seconds of rest, repeat 4 times
  • 100 m row, 30 seconds of rest, repeat 5 times

4. Slowly and quickly

This type of training combines slow and fast pace of exercise. Each approach is divided into an equal number of fast and slow intervals. This type of training increases your endurance.


Rowing machine workout will give you the opportunity to keep yourself in good physical shape. These training sessions are useful to improve your endurance and burn fat. By performing just one complex exercise you will burn muscles of almost the whole body in a short period of time. I recommend that you try this equipment in your workouts.

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