Believe it or not – rowing machines don’t only benefit off-season rowers; they also benefit anyone that wants to be physically fit. There are plenty of rowing machine benefits but a majority of people out there apparently didn’t get the memo (but don’t take my word for it).
During a health club’s busiest hours (usually after 5 p.m. when everyone gets off of work) I can always count on one machine to be available for use and it happens to be a machine that health club’s usually have just 1 or 2 of right next to 10 stationary bikes and 15 treadmills. Can you guess which machine I’m talking about? Yes, it’s a rowing machine; the same machine that’s more efficient at burning calories and building muscle than any other single piece of fitness equipment in the health club. In case you’re like most people and don’t know the rowing machine benefits, I’ll list the top 5 benefits of a rowing machine below:
Full Body Workout
- Rowers provide a solid full-body workout. The entire rowing motion involves all major muscles of the lower and upper body.
- Throughout the entire rowing motion, you’re working out your core and your lower back as you keep your body tight and seated upright. You’re also developing stronger hands and forearms since your hands are gripping the handle the entire time.
- When you start the rowing motion (in the “catch” position), you push off with your legs and this works out your quads and calves.
- The next phase of the rowing motion is “the drive” and in this phase you’re straightening out your legs while working out your back as you start to arch it a little bit and your shoulders as you keep the handle steady in front of you.
- During the next phase of the motion called “the finish”, you pull the handle to your lower chest and this works your back and biceps.
- The last phase called “the recovery” is when you return back to the “catch” position or the beginning of the motion. You guide the handle when going back to the starting position (almost like you’re pushing it) and this gets your chest, shoulders, and triceps involved. When you’re bending your legs to bring your body back to the starting position, you’re working out your hamstrings.
Since most rowing machines come with adjustable resistance, you can make the workout more challenging or easier based on your preference.
Total body workouts save you time because you simultaneously work out your upper and lower body. Doing each group separately can take twice as long and in some cases burn less calories making a rowing machine perfect for people that value time and efficiency with their workouts.
Great Aerobic Workout
Rowers provide a solid and challenging aerobic workout. Similar to running and biking, you can control the intensity of your workout but unlike biking or running it works out your whole body while building and defining muscle, which arguably makes it more challenging. The benefits of using a rowing machine for your aerobic workout include an increase in stamina, strengthening of your heart and respiratory system, and keeps your arteries clear.
Burns a Lot of Calories
A rowing machine is a lean, mean calorie burning machine (as corny as that sounds it really is). When rowing vigorously, you can burn between 600 – 1,000+ calories per hour; that’s on par with running on a treadmill at an incline and more than a stair climber, elliptical, or stationary bicycle.
This is probably the most important and overlooked benefit of a rowing machine – it’s low impact and non-weight bearing unlike running, jogging, or jumping rope making it ideal for people with weak joints and/ or recovering from surgery.
I discovered the benefits of a rowing machine after I hurt my knee training for a marathon not too long ago. It truly is amazing that you can get a challenging full-body workout without feeling “beat up” like what running for a long period of time does to your joints. There are some times when I intensely row for ~30-45 minutes and when I stand up I immediately want to collapse because I wasn’t expecting my legs to feel like jello.
The rowing machine benefits are you get an excellent full-body workout that’s efficient and will save you lots of time if you were to work the same involved muscle groups and get an equivalent aerobic workout separately. You’ll also burn lots of calories which will lead to weight loss and you will preserve your precious joints since rowing machines provide a low impact and non-weight bearing workout. In addition, rowing machines are also affordable to own in your home costing as much as 90% less than an average treadmill or elliptical. Since you now know the benefits of a rowing machine I wouldn’t be surprised if you start rowing at the gym or purchase your own rowing machine for use at home. Using one has changed my life for the better – I’m sure it will do the same for you too!
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