Indoor Rowing Benefits – Whole Body Work Out

By | June 15, 2016


Recently, I have had many emails asking this one question… “indoor rowing benefits, what are they?” Rowing has been around since the dawn of time so why the boom in rowing questions?

You only have to look at the Vikings to know that rowing can only be a good thing. Their big muscular frame, brute strength and endless stamina. In part, rowing the high seas played a massive part in there physical attributes.

One of the main reasons, I believe is the introduction of spin. People have realised you can do the same type of exercise on a rowing machine. However, you receive better results. It’s claimed, you burn 3x the amount of calories from rowing. Why do you burn so many you ask? well, we will get into that a bit later on! (sorry)

Out of all the cardio machines such as the treadmill, bike and cross trainer the rowing machine is a cut above the rest for one simple reason… it’s a powerful exercise

Indoor rowing benefits

Why Indoor Rowing

Firstly, for the obvious reason, you need a large body of water or a rowing club near you then your out of luck!

To join a rowing club it is quite costly, it’s set at specific times usually in the evening, you have the rubbish weather to contend with throughout the year and let’s face it, it’s easier, cheaper and more accessible to invest in a rowing machine.

Also, you have the problem of size, if you’re overweight you will have no problem plonking your butt onto the machine. However, the alternative is to squeeze into a tiny little rowing boat and struggle to get out. are you the sought of person to find that embarrassing? go ahead and leave a thought on that at the bottom of the page!

by working out indoors you can set your own workout schedule we all know how life can get in the way of well-laid plans if something crops up in the morning then exercise in the evening and vice a versa.

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Physical and mental benefits 


Now we get to the important part why is it a cut above the rest for results? its pretty simple really, rowing utilises both aerobic and anaerobic if you not sure what these are let me give you a quick crash course.

Aerobic – Also known as cardio, this primary works the lungs and heart to provide muscles with oxygen, this is a great way to boost your fitness and burn calories this type of exercise usually last longer than 2 mins

Anaerobic – Primary works your muscles for more strength or endurance and triggers lactic acid ( The burning sensation) this form of exercise is great for burning calories up to 48 hours after the exercise, it also gives a more defined, toned or muscular look.

The way this works unlike other cardio machines, both aerobic and aerobic is down to the resistance the machine puts you under when you’re pulling the handle, this will be working your muscles as well as heart and lungs, in fact, rowing uses a whopping 85% of your muscle groups to perform this exercise, big muscles too!

This will lead to greater fitness and greater weight loss in a shorter amount of time.

The benefit to this type of training is your going to experience greater results, the after burn effect of the anaerobic part of this workout will fire up your metabolism, burning additional calories up to 48 hours after finishing your workout.

That’s right you’re going to be burning calories for doing nothing for an extra 48 hours, does that sound good to you?

As well as increasing fitness and losing weight, there are more added benefits, underneath your layers of fat, your going to be toning your muscles, Haven’t got any fat? great, you will see muscle tone very quickly.

Effectively killing two birds with one stone! as soon as the weight has gone you will be a toned god/goddess.

You are going to see a shift in mental strength as well, rowing is demanding as it is challenging, you may fail to row 2000 metres at the start, your forearms and back will be screaming at you to stop, but you won’t you will be determined to finish the goal set, so your mental toughness will increase and this will help you in everyday life.


Proper Technique


Like with any exercise it is super important to nail down the right technique for two main reasons, firstly you don’t want to hurt yourself and secondly, you want to get the best out of your workout, make sure your muscles work the way they’re designed to, trust me your mirror and inner self will thank you later!.

All machines should come with instructions, just in case yours didn’t or you have misplaced them a Quick go to guide can be found here at Men’s Health
Always seek advice from a qualified physician before doing any physical exercise 

Understanding the computer system

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All modern rowing machines come with a computer console on, and the really important as will as it tells you metrics, however, most people don’t understand what half of it means console will differ from machine to machine but they will all just about have the same fundamentals

  • Calories – this shows on average how many you have burnt for the session it varies from person to person and is only a rough guide.
  • Distance – Usually in metres, this is my preferred metric.
  • Stroke Rate (SPM) – this is an important metric and demonstrates the number of times you go back and forth, for beginners try and aim between 18-30 range
  • Split Time – Pay attention to this number and try and keep it even as this is the amount of force applied

You may find more metrics on your screen but these are the main ones to worry about if you get the stroke rate and split time right you will have a far better experience and far better results, you can vary the resistance with traditional rowing machine by either moving the resistance up or pulling harder.


Continuous Training VS HIIT Which One Should You Do?


The age old question, well we can finally put it to rest now as high-intensity interval training is superior in every way (HIIT) ofc there is a place for continuous training such as if you are looking to compete for a certain event, for weight loss though go for HIIT it will work you harder and for longer, you will also receive greater after burn.

You’re probably wondering how you do HIIT on a rowing machine, it’s fairly simple you go all out at maximum effort for a short period of time, let’s say 30 seconds and then rest (not completely stop) for say for 1 minute and repeat.

keeping your eye on your split time and stroke per minute will help with HIIT greatly.

After a few weeks, it will become easier so you can increase your effort time and decrease your rest time there are so many variations to HIIT that will keep on producing quality results.

My Final Word On Indoor Rowing Benefits


Investing in rowing whether that be in a club, gym or at home should be a staple of any exercise programme, you get the best of both worlds with aerobic and anaerobic it really is a no-brainer.

you won’t find a better cardio machine for all-around fitness and weight loss, it will save you time as well as money, think about it, if you invested in a treadmill you would lose weight but you wouldn’t be toned would you? therefore, you would need to buy extra equipment and start again, with a rowing machine you tone up at the same time as losing weight.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this please leave a comment below



2 thoughts on “Indoor Rowing Benefits – Whole Body Work Out

  1. Matt

    Hm, rowing often doesn’t come to mind when I think of an aerobic exercise. Usually its jump rope, blur-pees, jumping jacks, squats or something like that. I’ve never done the sport of rowing before but I can certainly see the benefits. I guess its something I can try out.


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