3 Reasons Rowing Is the Perfect Full-Body Workout

Imagine engaging about 86% of your muscles during a single workout. That’s what you get from a rowing machine.

A man working out hard to experience rowing machine benefits.

One of the most important aspects of rowing is that it provides a full-body exercise that improves your cardio health while strengthening most major muscle groups. For this reason, the narrative around rowing machines has shifted dramatically over the years - from being seen as monotonous machinery tucked away in gym corners to now taking centre stage in many workout routines globally. So let’s examine the health benefits of rowing machines in detail and how rowing is the perfect full-body workout. 

The Comprehensive Full-Body Workout from Rowing

Let’s start with the 3 basic benefits of rowing machines for your cardio health and explain how rowing workouts may be more impactful than most people would think.

  1. Engaging Major Muscle Groups with Rowing

Think rowing is just an upper-body workout? Think again. A rowing stroke consists of about 65–75% leg work and 25–35% upper body work. That's right, your legs get in on the action big time, so one of the benefits of a rowing machine is that you get a full-body workout each session.

  1. Burning Calories Effectively

If a high-calorie burn is what you are looking for and you are looking for the best cardio machine for weight loss, then a rowing machine should be one of your top picks. It’s only natural that rowing burns a lot of calories because it’s a full-body workout that combines cardio and strength training. And there’s scientific evidence to back this up - a recent Harvard study found that a 30-minute rowing session burns between 255 to 440 calories, based on your weight, which more than most other cardio routines.

  1. Boosting Cardiovascular Endurance through Rowing

No matter where you're starting from fitness-wise, adding some strokes can do wonders for your heart health. Rowing is perfect for all fitness levels and when all of the major muscle groups work together in harmony it boosts your cardiovascular endurance as you do the work. Without getting into the fine details, rowing is an intense exercise so your heart has to work diligently to deliver the blood to where it needs to go, which in turn improves your heart strength

But that’s not all that rowing does for you. Rowing is also:

  • A low-impact exercise
  • Good for your posture
  • Potentially stress reducing

So let’s talk about those benefits of rowing too.

Low-Impact Cardio Benefits of Rowing

Not all cardio is created equal nor should everyone do all types of exercises. Low-impact cardio like rowing saves the joints while still providing that heart-pumping workout, making rowing machines a top pick for anyone looking to get into or maintain their fitness game without a high impact on their joints. 

Think about it - you're seated, pushing with those leg muscles, pulling with your arms; all smoothly gliding back and forth. This means no pounding pavements or jumping around until your knees scream mercy. Plus, since you’re seated when rowing, we're talking about an exercise form that respects your body’s need for gentleness yet doesn't skimp on intensity.

Improving Posture and Muscle Strength with Rowing

A long-distance shot of a man using a rower at a gym.Rowing transforms more than just your muscle activity - it revolutionizes the way you stand and carry yourself. Rowing uses most of your muscles and that includes the ones keeping you upright. Strong muscles are crucial for good posture and you engage the back, shoulders, and core muscles with rowing, which promotes proper alignment.

By encouraging proper spinal alignment and muscle balance, rowing helps counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and poor posture. We would argue that in the modern world, where most of us sit (very often hunched over, too) for hours on end, one of the most important rowing machine benefits is precisely the improvement in posture you can experience.

Rowing as a Stress-Busting Exercise

Besides the physical aspects, many people find that rowing machine workouts have a positive effect on their mental state. The rhythm of each smooth stroke engages and centres the mind, easing stress. So it's not just about getting in those reps but also about how rowing takes that mental load off too. 

The constant push-pull action lets you zone out from your day-to-day worries and when you manage to sync with the machine's rhythm - it’s almost meditative. Naturally, there’s also the endorphins boost you get from any workout. So rowing helps you destress by inducing your body’s natural response to all workouts and the specific exercises themselves are highly meditative, so you get a two-in-one type of deal.

Making Your Workout Routine Diverse with Rowing

One of the main critiques of working out on a rowing machine is that it’s monotonous and dull. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. A rowing machine offers diverse cardio workouts through various techniques and workout formats. To diversify workouts, you can alternate between steady-state rowing, interval training, and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). On top of that, changing the resistance level and incorporating different rowing strokes such as power strokes or quick sprints can add variety to your daily workouts. 

Plus, who said that rowing is the only exercise you need to include in your fitness routine? You can combine rowing with bodyweight exercises like push-ups or lunges during rest intervals to target different muscle groups and intensify the workout. Furthermore, incorporating circuit training by alternating rowing with other cardio gym machines or strength exercises can enhance overall fitness. In simple terms, rowing is only boring if you allow it to be.

How Often Should You Row and How Long Should the Session Last?

If rowing is the only cardio exercise you do, you should try to fit in at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity or an hour and a quarter of high-intensity rowing per week to see some benefits. It is even better to double that amount if wish to experience substantial rowing machine benefits to your health.

That means that 30 minutes of high-intensity rowing per day during the work week is all you need to boost your cardio health. Add to that 30-minute strength-building exercises and you have a fitness routine that will use up only one hour a day and can keep you in top health. However, remember that consistency is key to fitness, so try to find a routine you know you can stick to. 

Where Can You Get Everything You Need for Your Workout Routine?

So, there you have it - rowing machines offer a vast array of advantages, including calorie burn and muscle fortification, mental well-being enhancement, and providing a low cardiovascular option. Yet, to experience the benefits of rowing, you need a rowing machine, right? And that’s where Flex Equipment can help.

Check out our range of affordable rowing machines to find the one you like best. In case you do decide that rowing isn’t for you or you want to complement your rowing routine with other types of cardio, we also offer other cardio machines, including: 

So take a pick of what you need, choose from one of the multiple options available, and order online - we’ll ship your machines directly to your address. And if you have any questions, feel free to contact us, we’ll be happy to help in any way we can.