Rowing Machine Before and After: Transformations & Weight Loss Results
Looking for some good rowing machine before and after photos to help motivate you?
Do you want to know “how will rowing change my body?”
I can show you this and more!
I help break down some of the main benefits of using a rowing machine as well as key factors for losing weight.
Factors such as eating a healthy diet and maintaining a consistent workout schedule.
I then breakdown how some rowing machine before and after photos are FAKE!
Yes, you read that correctly. Many fitness transformation photos are misleading and downright fake.
I will bring you real rowing before and after weight loss photos along with some great links to success stories.
Some people have lost over 100 lbs. from using a rowing machine and share their story of how they were able to be so successful!
Rowing Machine Benefits
If you don’t know by now, rowing machines are the most beneficial pieces of exercise equipment (in my opinion).
They have so many benefits over other pieces of fitness equipment but yet so few people know how to use them! Which leads many people to wonder how a rowing machine will effect their body?
One of the major benefits is providing a complete total-body workout. Using a rowing machine will exercise 84% of all the muscles in your body. At the same time it will give you an amazing cardiovascular workout. You can read my article for diagrams on every muscle used while rowing.
Rowing can also be done for short, intense sprints or long, steady marathons. This makes them great for anaerobic or aerobic exercises.
Due to rowing using almost every muscle in your body and getting your heart rate through the roof, it is a master at burning calories, building lean muscle, and blasting away fat. Many will say a rowing machine is the best exercise machine for weight loss and it can even help build strong, lean ab muscles.
Unlike other popular exercises like running, rowing is low-impact and very easy on the joints. This makes it great for older individuals or anyone who doesn’t like to put a lot of stress on their joints.
While the list of rowing machine benefits can go on and on, I know we all want to get to the juicy rowing machine before and after pics!
But first we must understand how these rowing transformations are possible!
How Will Rowing Change My Body?
Yes, a rowing machine will 100% change your body for the better. You will see increased lean muscle, lower body fat percentage, increased energy levels, improved mood, better cardio, and so much more!
However, most people want to know how will rowing change my body but don’t understand how it is possible!
While rowing for just 15 minutes a day can show improvements, it will not show drastic changes like the photos below.
To achieve great results, takes great effort and some lifestyle changes. Below are my 3 key points that must be followed to achieve amazing rowing machine before and after photos like the ones below.
You must exercise daily, no excuses! Ok, you can definitely take 1-2 days off a week to recover but I recommend 1 day off only!
Daily exercise is key to seeing improvements and seeing them fast. Also, making the commitment to work out everyday helps build the habit and not allow room for excuses.
If you find yourself saying “I don’t have the time to exercise”, change it to saying “exercise is not a priority to me.”
The change is subtle but it is the truth! Everyone has the time, just don’t waste it doing other things or try getting up an hour earlier!
If you tell yourself you will exercise daily, then that’s it! Get it done!
Clean Healthy Diet
Diet is actually more important than exercise when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.
Many experts will say weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise!
This is due to it being so easy to cut calories out of your diet rather then exercise them off.
For example, a plain bagel with cream cheese is about 300 calories and 150 calories for a cappuccino (450 calories total). If you change this to eating a banana (100 calories) and a cup of black coffee (5 calories) you would have a difference of almost 300 calories!!
Most people will burn 300 calories if they exercise for 1 whole hour! By simply changing your diet you can remove an hour of hard exercise from your schedule!
Making small changes like this to your diet is the reason why eating healthy is so important!
But the real magic happens when you combine eating a clean diet with a daily exercise routine :)
We all know the saying, “consistency is key” and that is the truth!
To see results while exercising we must be consistent with our workout routine and diet.
Consistently working out everyday and eating healthy will lead to the fastest transformations. I know it will be difficult but the results will be worth it!
Check out the transformation this man experienced after rowing every day for 30 days!
I have seen some amazing rowing machine results and rowing body transformations! Each of these people exercised daily and worked hard to eat a clean, healthy diet.
Rowing Machine Before and After: Myths?
You may not be aware but many before and after photos are FAKE! It is true, companies and people fake weight loss and transformation photos all the time.
I wanted to mention this so the next time you see a “before and after” photo you can take it with a grain of salt.
There are many ways to fake a transformation photo and a Huffington Post writer even showed us how he did it. Check out this fake before and after photo.
Luke DePron, talks about how he pumps up his muscles, manipulates his posture, adds lighting, and edits photos to make himself look strong and lean.
DePron isn’t the only one who shows how this can be done. There are many other article out there of people showing how they transform from an unfit, couch potato to a shredded gym rat within an hour!
People do the same on Instagram and many fitness influencers are speaking out against the “staged photos”. They express their concern for misleading people into think this is how they look all the time, when in reality it is right after they finished working out! The photo is then taken with many “manipulations” to make themselves look thinner and better overall.
While the “before and after” photo is a great moral booster and way to track progress, it is not everything!
You should also judge progress on the way you “feel”, such as mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, etc.. Exercise has an effect on all of these and helps us live an overall better life.
Rowing Body Transformation & Weight Loss Results
While some photos may be staged, there are still plenty of rowing machine before and after photos that are real!
Plus we have some great stories of people who have actually used rowing as a means to live a happier and healthier life! Unfortunately, not everyone wants to take a photo of themselves but testimonials provide great motivational examples as well!
Going through the different rowing machine before and after photos made it difficult to distinguish between real and fake photos. I tried to pull examples of very drastic transformations that would be hard to fake and also testimonials where people weren’t trying to sell anything.
Sarah’s Story of Rowing Machine Weight Loss Results
A great example comes from “Sarah’s Story” on the UCanRow2 website. Sarah has rowed over 2 million meters in the last year and a half and lost over 50 lbs.!
She claims the indoor rower was her “magic bullet” and she can’t believe the changes that have occurred due to consistent exercise.
Sarah talks about how rowing was the one exercise she found she could enjoy and once she began rowing everyday, the weight began to come off easily.
Sarah talks about many other benefits of losing weight and how she has been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle in her article on UCanRow2.com.
Many people have purchased a Concept2 Rower and lost over 100 lbs.!! Luckily, they have been gracious enough to tell us some of their story and share some rowing machine before and after photos.
One amazing example is Adrianne Rondon who lost 105 lbs. rowing on a Concept2 rowing machine!
Another great Concept2 testimonial comes from Bill McGowan who says dieting, walking and rowing helped him go from 330 lbs. to 225 lbs. in just over 5 months!
Bill lost 105 lbs. and went from a size 52″ waist to 38″ waist!
More stories like Bill and Adrianne can be found on the Concept2 testimonial page.
Other Rowing Machine Before and After Success Stories
If you search around the internet you will see a lot of photos of rowing machine weight loss results and rowing body transformations.
Many of these people’s stories include different ways in which they were able to successfully lose weight and change their appearance.
Sometimes people use many forms of exercise such as running, walking, biking, rowing, etc.. This helps keep people engaged and stops them from getting bored.
While a rowing machine alone can cause drastic weight loss, it is sometimes better to add other exercises as well to help you workout longer and more often!
Below is an example of a woman who used rowing and other forms of exercise to achieve amazing weight loss results!
Stacy was able to lose 104.5 lbs during a 90-day challenge! She credits the treadmill, elliptical, bike, and rowing machine as her main forms of cardio.
Her transformation photos are amazing and very inspiring. You can read her full story here.
As you can see, rowing can be a major tool for people looking to lose weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
I can tell you first hand that rowing has been the one activity I have been able to stick with and it has improved my overall health drastically.
Being consistent with a daily exercise routine and healthy eating habits is the key to weight loss success.
The different rowing body transformation photos above are truly amazing! They are an inspiration to anyone looking to use rowing as a means to lose weight.
While you may have been expecting to see a person go from overweight to shredded muscle, these types of photos are usually fake. I tried to bring you real examples of people who have truly used rowing and dieting to achieve major weight loss results.
I suggest tracking your weight loss journey by keeping a journal with how much weight you have lost, as well as how you feel. Most of the time your overall mood/energy levels are a more important benefit than weight loss.
I also recommend taking a rowing machine before and after photo just so you can see how much your hard work has paid off!
If you are looking for a rowing machine to begin your weight loss journey I always recommend the Concept2 Model D. It is the #1 bestseller and best rowing machine overall. You can read my best weight loss rowing machine review here.
You can also visit my Personal Rowing Concierge Page and allow me to pick a rowing machine for you.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my article on rowing machine weight loss results! Feel free to share your story in the comment section :)
Ah this whole transformation thing. I have lost over 60 pounds in 5 plus years using my Concept 2 almost daily. In fact I do look better. That said, I am still 57 years old and was overweight for a number of years. There is still evidence of that in my thorax. Still better is better, and rowing works best.
Will rowing as a female cause me to have broad shoulders? I am heavy set and a little bit boxy, I would be afraid to add broad to this combination. Any thoughts?
I think you will be fine! If you think it is giving you broad shoulders you can always stop and change to something else.
Rowing is going to make you thinner and healthier overall :)
Strong shoulders can make your waist low oil much smaller. Just pull yourself up tall and be a proud fitness warrior!!
The breadth of your shoulders is determined by your bone structure, not the size of your muscles. Rowing won’t “bulk up” up your muscles much – just tone and harden them. And it will have no effect on your bone structure (other than spare you the impact damage of other exercises).
I am rowing 2:10 as my average time on the 500m split for 30 mins everyday. I want to know if that is a good time. I am usually dead by the time I get off the rowing machine.
Hey Priscila, 2 minutes and 10 secs. On a 500m Is a great time. Concept 2 fastest reported the fastest time at 1min 30sec. So your doing great. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the articles. I agree about those transformation photos. I noticed Bowflex is using bogus photos as well. Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself.
As a teenager Years ago my father and me went to India on a few occasions and spent most of that time in himalayas.. Last time we were in India for about 6 months and most of that was in himalayas.. For me treking is a very good way to get fit and lose weight. The last time we went to India at the start I was at least 130 kg if not more and after 6 months in himalayas I was about 80 kg very fit and we became even more fit because of months at altitude including some very high places at over 5500 metres above sea at the Tibetan “Chinese” border. We carried our own bags which were averagely 15kg give our take. We also ate very healthy. I went from being very unfit and 6 months later able to literally run uphill at nearly 19,000 feet above sea level! I’ve gained weight since then and thinking of getting into Rowing machine which we have. I’ll say to any one that finds exercise hard then just keep ptshing through. Take it one day at a time and literally each day you do excercise – especially if it’s a good amount) then you feel great and like you’ve done something. If you sit around and a month goes past you think wow month gone past and haven’t walked, cycled,rowed etc and then you imagine “imagine if this last month I rowed every day”… I’m telling you that time goes by quick so you’ll find and feel much achievement if you do daily exercise and after a month you’ll realise that you done month excercise and you’ll feel great.. just go day by day and before you it’ll be 2 days 3 days 5 days a week 2 weeks a month 3 mmonths 6 months etc.. Just do day by day and even if your very unfit you’ll build up fitness every day you do it.. It’ll get easier and easier and before you know it a month will go by and you’ll realise you’ve done a month of exercise and that’s an addictive feeling
Great post and so motivating!! Thank you so much
Thank you for your post!! I agree with the other Connie! Very inspirational ❤️
I am faithfully doing the row machine for 20-25 minutes a day. Will it make your legs bigger? Also are there any other moves than just back and forth?
*correction, other moves I can do going back and forth?
Your legs should not get much bigger but they will become more toned. Doing sprints will add some size and rowing longer will make them more toned.
There really aren’t any other moves besides the actual rowing motion. Some people will do a “curl” by holding the handle the other way but this really isn’t proper rowing technique.
I am 160 pounds and trying to lose some weight. I’ve started the gym and got my time up to 45 minutes a day with the rowing machine along with other excerises. How long until I see results? I’m also watching what I eat but I’m struggling, can’t seem to lose the weight.
Losing weight definitely takes time! Consistency is key! As long as you have a daily routine and watch what you eat you should start to see some results soon!
I would say the first month is the most important to start a routine and start seeing some results. It usually take anywhere between 1-3 months to see something noticeable! There are plenty of times I stop working out and it takes me a few weeks to get back in shape! Once you start seeing the results is will be addicting and you will keep at it. Just don’t give up!
Muscle weighs more than fat. You are building more lean muscle. Who cares what you weigh if you like what you see in the mirror.
There’s a big difference between a flabby and fit person who weighs the same.
Muscle doesn’t weigh more then fat, that’s not possible. A pound is a pound is a pound. It is however more dense and takes up less space so you look smaller as the fat melts away.
A pound of fat has roughly twice the volume of a pound of fat. Yes they weigh the same, but fat takes up a lot more real estate.
Erm, actually muscle does weigh more than fat if it’s more dense. A square inch of fat vs a square inch of muscle…. I know you know this, just wanted to be a pedant.
Erm, actually…a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle…what you mean is that a pound of fat is more voluminous than a pound of muscle…which is what the other guy said…don’t be pedant, specially if you’re not smart ….density is mass divided by volume where as weight is mass x gravity (simply put, A POUND with less volume WEIGHS THE SAME as A POUND with more volume).
You are absolutely correct, since clearly you did not claim a POUND of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat…. Attention Naomi
What a pointless debate. Everybody understands the point Cee is trying to make. Your weight may not change significantly, but you look and feel better because per equal volume, muscle is heavier than fat. Obviously a pound of anything weights the same as a pound of anything else.
I am a former elite distance runner with a pb of 65 minutes 37 seconds for the half marathon at age 35.Now at age 62 I have been rowing everyday,averaging 16km per day for 2 years since retiring but have put 20 pounds ON improving my times rapidly to 3 hour marathon pace so my question is am i in transition from a skinny runner to a muscular rower?
In my opinion, rowing will put on more lean muscle than if you were only running. So the switch from running to rowing could definitely be the reason for putting on some more weight/muscle.
I have just recently purchased a rowing machine 3 weeks ago. I have been rowing around about 500 strokes at 32/pm for around 25 minutes – five days a week. I have completed 2 weeks at the lowest setting and entered my third week at the next higher setting and will do two weeks at this setting before I move to the next. I am currently 220lbs and have been working with a daily calorie deficit of anywhere from 150-400 calories (from my basal calorie requirements) – am I on the right track here? My heart rate gets up to 140bpm, my body is telling me these muscles are getting worked but I’m not seeing much difference on the scales. I am also doing Keto. I am wondering if my fat is turning to muscle. I am 44 yrs old. Is my age going to delay results for me? Any advice is extremely appreciated. Thank you so much & wishing you love & light.
Consistency is really going to be key in your situation. I do think you will start to see results if you keep working out and eating healthy.
While losing weight is a great thing, you may want to change your goals slightly. Maybe ask yourself if you feel healthier since starting to work out or maybe you have more energy. Maybe your mood is better or you are getting better sleep? These are all benefits of exercise that are just as good as seeing the number drop on the scale.
It is also possible you are gaining some muscle which is why you aren’t seeing your weight drop as much. Just keep at it! Results don’t come fast and they come slower from people over 40, which I’ve heard from many readers of this site!
Thank you so much for your reply. Your advice is immeasurable to me. I will persist and just keep plodding on. I also do 15-20 minutes of crunches, sit ups, side bridges,leg raises etc so figure sooner or later I’ll hopefully start to see some movement on the scales. I don’t feel big or look big but the scales tell me otherwise. Thank you again so much for your reply. Hopefully I’ll be able to report back with some progress (even just a little) in the next couple of weeks.
Wishing you love & light.
I’d love to hear about your progress! Do keep me posted and keep up the good work!
You’ll start to see the results you want soon :)
I’m 206 lbs 5-7 Male
I do have a lot of muscle from lifting but want to get down to 180lbs as my knees are shot from a lot of hockey , basically I will need knee replacements
I have noticed the row machine is way easier on the knees , I was wondering why it’s harder for me to cycle then row ?
Is there less resistance or is everyone different where arthritis is concerned ?
Hi Brett – it could be that you are setting the resistance higher on a bike or it could be everyone being a bit different. When I cycle for long periods of time I do get some ITB pain but I don’t get it from rowing. Could be my bike setup or just how my knee tracks when cycling versus rowing.
The biggest thing for helping knee pain is stretching hips/glutes and building strength in those areas
I was wondering if a 5000m 30 day rowing challenge is a reasonable thing to try. I’m trying to get myself into a daily habit with rowing. I have a concept 2 at home and I love rowing, I feel great after finishing a row.I go to crossfit 3x/week so I’m challenging myself with those workouts. I am trying to lose weight but mostly trying to get into a groove with daily exercise.
Thank you for reaching out! I think any challenge that gets you to do a certain task for 30 days in a row will help create the daily exercise routine you are looking for.
For me, creating a challenge is the best way for me to achieve something, otherwise, I find myself getting bored and eventually stopping. That is why I usually set goals for myself with small, measurable achievements to keep me engaged.
So in short, yes, I think it is a great idea!
Another technique I enjoy using is to change your way of thinking from a person who rows sometimes, to a person who rows everyday, no excuses. Just make it a priority that you will row everyday and nothing will stop you. Even if it’s 11:00pm and you haven’t rowed, you will get on and do 15 minutes.
I never used to workout and then I slowly started telling myself, I will never miss a workout. Now I feel super odd if I don’t workout and some days it’s just a quick stretch and a few push-ups/pull-ups. Then sometimes those small workouts can lead to me getting really energized and working out for an hour!
Thanks so much for your reply. I’m 4 days into my challenge and feeling motivated and really good. I tore my ACL and medial meniscus 3 years ago and opted to not have it repaired and have done really well with a physiotherapist. Rowing has been the only exercise that does not bother my knee. It’s such a great form of exercise that anyone can do.
That’s awesome and great to hear the challenge is going well! I’d love to hear how it went after 30 days!
I too switched to rowing after having knee issues from running and it has been so nice to be able to have a full body workout that is low impact. Glad to hear you are having a great experience with rowing as well :)
Hi, Over the last 9 months I have successfully changed my lifestyle to fully encorporate a lot of running from doing pretty much nothing to the point that I know enjoy it and hate going a day without it. I also do regular spin classes. Unfortunately I think due to upping my running distances at around the 7 month mark, I have a knee injury that just won’t seem to shift. I have therefore had to increase my spinnning and completely come off running. I’ve just started rowing over Christmas where I couldn’t make spin classes and I’m keen to develop this. I’m finding it hard on my glutes and back of my legs particularly. My question is Could I replace my running with this to get the same calorie burn and weight benefits? My Fitbit is telling me I only burn 180 calories with a 30 min row, is this because my lack of muscle is preventing me from hitting my Preakness cardio level for a sustained period? Will this improve just by regular rowing? I used to burn at least 300 calories in half an hour running.
Thanks for reaching out and glad you have found rowing to be enjoyable! Studies have shown that rowing can burn just as many calories as running and usually people are able to burn more! To calculate calories burned, you have to use this formula: Calories Burned = [(Age x 0.074) – (Weight x 0.05741) + (Heart Rate x 0.4472) – 20.4022] x Time / 4.184.
This is for all exercise. So keeping all things constant (age, weight, and time), it would mean your heart rate was higher from running than rowing if you were burning more calories. Really this just means you need to be rowing faster/harder to burn more calories when rowing.
Were you more out of breath from running than rowing? If so, this means you should be rowing harder.
You can also try to do some more sprint exercises on a rower or just row a bit faster during those 30 minutes.
As far as weight bearing, rowing is a low-impact, non-weight bearing exercise. So you will want to incorporate some weight-bearing exercises such as kettlebells to balance your workouts.
I hope this helps!
Hi thank you so much for the reply-really helpful. I definitely am more out of breath running and I feel it’s because I can push myself harder having trained more and my body is used to it. With rowing I guess I am finding that my legs aren’t strong enough for me to push at a high intensity for the full 30 mins and I’m having to pace myself more. Ican I assume that just like running, the more you do it the the intensity of the training can grow naturally? And also with some leg strength exercises that will be additional help. Can you recommend a weekly routine for this to fit around two spin classes to replace my running? I’m not good at finding my own routine and prefer for it to be planned. I’m also not sure how much rest time is needed for a begginer – two days in a row of rowing and I was definitely achey! Many thanks again for the help!
No problem! Glad I can help :)
So it does seem you were running a little harder than you are rowing which is probably the reason for seeing a difference in calories burned.
I would let you body decide what the right amount of rowing is to do at the moment. If you feel really sore, then take a day off. You will start to get used to rowing and will begin to be able to push yourself harder and row everyday.
I think a good thing to do is switch up between sprint and steady-state exercises. This helps keep things interesting and switching up workout routines helps you lose more weight by stimulating different parts of the body.
I would research some different “steady-state” and “HIIT” or “Tabata” rowing exercises. Then try these out to see which ones you like. Concept2 has a “workout of the day” email that you can sign up for and they will email different workouts each day so you have some more ideas!
Hi…I am 52 year old mega unfit person with painful joints. I have bought a rowing machine as I think it will be low impact on my joints (as opposed to treadmill, crosstrainer etc). I am very overweight and want to strengthen my core and back.I am also changing my diet to a more healthy one. I have lost weight before but life and stress has helped me find the biscuits and put it all back on!! Is a rowing machine right for me?…I have no clue waht I am doing so any hints would be fab
Yes, rowing is the perfect workout for people with joint issues and who want to burn the most amount of calories! I think the key here is consistency. Don’t worry about doing the right/best/perfect workout, just worry about rowing everyday.
Even if it is for 5-10 minutes, you need to build the habit of exercising. Most of the time if you don’t feel like exercising and you say “Ok, I’ll do 5-minutes”, it turns out to be a full workout!
Once you get a good routine you can begin to look up different rowing workouts such as tabata training, HIIT workouts, or steady-state rowing :)
Hello, I am 70 years old and have been exercising most of my life. I have an older Nordic air rowing machine and I was wondering if I could get the same benefits as the newer machines. I would appreciate your advice. Thank you.
Hi Rosalie – thanks for reaching out!
I think you can get the same benefits as long as the rower is working properly! Not much has changed on the rowing machines except the monitors are a bit more advanced.
I think you should start using it and if you enjoy it and want an upgrade, then you can look into buying a new one!
I’m a beginner do you have any tips in how many minutes should I do and all that, I’m buying the rowing machine that you recommended.
Thank you for the article!!!! Love it.
I think you should start out doing 10-20 minutes nice and easy. As you get the form down you can begin to push yourself more and do harder workouts. I always like to say you should let your body be the judge. If you feel tired and sore, then take a day off.
From there, you can look up different “steady-state” workouts or different “HIIT” workouts. You can visit the Concept2 website and sign up for their daily workout of the day :) this will help give you some great ideas
Good luck with your new rower!!
I have been rowing every during a over a month every day 20 min in the higher setting sprinting and sometimes just 20 strokes per min… I am not looking for lose weight but tone up … for some reason had gain some weight but I am not sure if is fat or bc I am getting leaner? I feel my legs and glutes stronger but I am not sure if is possible to get heavier on muscle in just lil over a month? About my diet .. is very healthy and balanced but lately I found myself craving more protein than usual … is that normal?
I think you should view your diet and exercise routine results based on how you look/feel and not on the weight. Muscle does weigh more than fat so it is possible to gain a little weight if you added some muscle.
However, your weight can fluctuate based on a ton of factors and 1 month is really not a long enough time to gauge long term results. You would need to weigh yourself every morning when you wake up under the same circumstances to get an accurate baseline of your weight.
If you feel more energized and healthy and are starting to look more toned, then I don’t think you have to worry about what the scale says
Eight years ago I finally decided it was time to get serious. I was 43 years old. I had high blood pressure and a 45 inch waist. I was tipping the scale at 245lbs. I’m down to 200 lbs now and I have a 34 inch waist. Rowing is part of my routine. I typically do 25 – 30 minutes on the rower two to three times a week. I also lift weights, swim and do the elliptical. My blood pressure is excellent and I’m stronger and healthier. I notice that I tend to do much better during cold and flu season and when I do get sick I recover faster than I used to. Rowing is a great exercise. My lower back is injured thanks to the U.S. Army and running isn’t an option for me. Rowing is great as an overall workout, I enjoy it and it doesn’t hurt.
Thanks for the feedback Jeff! Great to hear you’ve had great success with the rower!
I previously lost weight (now dress size 10-12 (UK)) but have been left with loose fat on my back that needs to be toned up. Do you think rowing everyday will help with toning of my back or do you recommend any other exercises alongside the rowing? I eat healthily and have been increasing protein into my diet as I believe this helps in combination with exercise. Thank you in advance for your reply!
Yes, I 100% believe that rowing will help tone your back. Any other high repetition, full-body workouts will help as well.
I always like to recommend push-ups, pull-ups, and kettle-bell exercises :)
I’m a 78 year old woman who doesn’t need to lose weight. I’m 5’9″ 137, small frame. I look good, considering my age. I try to use good form but can only do 12-13 rpm at 3:30 to keep my heart rate in the 140 range. I have rowed twice a week for over a year and love it. I’ve SLOWLY WORKED UP TO (don’t laugh) 1400 m. My goal is 20 min. And 3000 m.
I was an avid tennis player until 57. I used to run 8 min. miles to help my foot work. Both knees have had the meniscus trimmed.
My question is how often can someone my age row. I have found I need to give my muscles two days off. I would love to row MWF but am afraid of stressing my muscles or pulling something. I also do weight lifting (minor) on those two days. Thanks for your reply. J
Thank you for reaching out! Unfortunately, I’m not a physician, so I’m not sure exactly how much you can work out. It really can depend on the person.
I always like to listen to my body and I think that makes the most sense. So if you feel you need the rest, take the two days off.
Hopefully another reader can help answer your question!
Hi Edwin, I’m a 27yo guy who is looking for a whole new workout routine! I’ve been playing handball and tennis in competition for about 20 years and have done lots of other sports on the way too (trail running, swimming, skiing, hiking…). I’m 5’11” and 145-150lbs, not super shred but already quite fit. After a few years of traveling I’m ready to go back to a workout routine and I know what consistency means but most of the workouts I tried recently bored me so much and so quickly… I need something fun and where I learn something! It has to be low impact as well as my knee joints cannot handle daily runs anymore. Right now I’m hesitating between making either swimming, bouldering or rowing my main workout and was just wondering which one of them would show good results quite quickly? I’m not looking for losing weight, actually it’s the opposite! Although I’m not looking for building too much muscle mass either, my targeted body type would be one of a swimmer/rower (toned and lean muscles, low body fat). Anyway let me know what you think and thanks for your help :)
Sounds like you are quite active and like to switch between a lot of different activities! Why not do them all? I enjoy rowing but I completely understand that doing the same thing everyday can become mundane.
I actually try to do a lot of different activities to stay in shape. I use rowing and kettlebells as my main exercises, especially in the winter, but when the weather is nice I like to run and swim. I also throw in some climbing as well!
If you are looking to focus on one, then I would try out all 3 and you should be able to get an idea of which one you like best. Everyone is different! I know some people who love rowing and others who find it completely boring!
I have the old rowing machine will it still give me the same benefits as the new one does
Yes, I think so! I have used some old rowing machines and generally they have the same functionality. What usually changes on them is the monitor, which gets better and better technology.
The other changes over the years have been reducing the noise levels and just upgrades to materials like plastics and bearings. Functionally, the rowing machines has stayed pretty much the same :)
Hello, i am currently sitting at about 265 pounds ( im also 6’4″ tall). I did put on bad weight over the last year or so, but i have also lifted heavy. I want to transition to a cardio based workout. My plan is to use a row machine 30-45 minutes per day ( 6 days a week) along with swimmimg 30 minutes a day ( 5 days a week). Is this a wise decision?
Usually people see better results when they start off with a plan that requires working out 1x a day. Exercising twice a day for almost the whole week could become a bit overwhelming.
If you think you can keep up with it then give it a go, but I would listen to my body and take a rest if it becomes overwhelming. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout. It’s a pretty intense schedule you have planned!
Thank you! I really appreciate the response.
I am a 77 year old cancer survivor who was doing triathlons up until one year ago.I have lost 45 lbs and want to gain weight. Along with diet, I am thinking rather than a small part of my conditioning, that I should make rowing the cornerstone of my workouts. But I do not want to loose weight. Can I gain weight rowing?
Rowing will help build lean muscle so it really depends. For most people, rowing will help them lose weight by losing excess fat.
It can turn the stored fat into muscle which can cause some people to look better but weigh more – due to muscle weighing more than fat.
If you already have a lower body fat %, then rowing could help you gain a little weight by adding some lean muscle. If you are looking to gain weight by exercising, I would add a light weightlifting routine with some kettlebells or bodyweight exercises.
Very honest article. My rowing history goes back 11 years. In that time I’ve enjoyed good health and stayed in shape. Male 53 years.
Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for sharing Steve!
If I decide to use the rowing machine, will it make me lose fat from my breasts? I plan on eating to maintain my weight. I just want to firm up my body and keep the way it is.
Hi Amanda – if your body loses fat then it is possible to lose fat on your breasts. Your body will start to use stored fat as energy if you use more energy than what you consume eating. Your body has plenty of places to burn fat so I’m not sure that it will make a noticeable difference.
I did not begin rowing to lose weight. I was a very active runner and cyclist, until I suffered a brain injury from a cycling fall. I’ve struggled for 4 years to return to my old activities but a leg issue has prevented from being successful. I started rowing because I was hoping that the leg issue would not “hold me back”. It hasn’t and I’ve been enjoying the Concept 2 for four weeks now. I was always slender and fit because of the running and cycling. My physique has changed dramatically after just 4 weeks of rowing. Maybe I just don’t have body fat to hide the changes. I’ve actually gained 5-10 pounds and am glad of it. And my resting pulse has dropped to the low sixties. I’m 69 years old.
Hi Mike – thank you for sharing your story! I’m glad to hear your injury did not stop you from continuing to remain active and that a rowing machine was able to help!
Those sounds like some amazing results!
Hi, I’ve been rowing for six weeks daily (ish). I gained one pound. My workouts are 30 minutes long, pulse around 160. I haven’t been eating cleanest, but I don’t over eat. I noticed more muscle but am sad for not loosing any weight ????
Hi Eva – thank you for reaching out!
You just have to stick with it! I also think you have to be tracking things a bit more closely. Based on your response, it seems that you aren’t certain on what/how much you are eating. Your diet is the most important part of losing weight.
Daily exercise is very important/beneficial to your overall health but eating a clean diet is the fastest way to losing weight. For example, rowing for 30 minutes at a heart rate of 160 bps may burn 300 calories. However, 1 blueberry muffin has 470 calories! Meaning – it’s much easier to trade the blueberry muffin in for a banana (90 calories).
I would do an experiment where you cut our all white breads, carbs, sugars, alcohol, etc. for 1 month and row 5 times a week. Be very strict for 1 month and see where you end up. You can do it!!
I fell in love with the rowing machine at the gym and have decided to just buy one. Living in Mn Sometime getting to the gym is impossible. I was always very thin but a desk job Has helped add a good 40 lb to my tiny frame and it’s so painful. My goal is to lose those 40 an be back down to 110 -115 in 8 months. What is a reasonable work out to achieve that?
My main goal is really to get my blood pressure down ! But the weight loss is a bonus
Hi Lisa – thank you for reaching out!
There isn’t one way that is going to be best for losing weight or lower blood pressure. The best way is going to be to follow a routine that you enjoy and will continue to do everyday! There’s no sense in rowing for an hour 1 day if that makes you take the next 2 days off.
I would start with a goal to workout 5 days a week and keep it simple. Maybe 15 minutes a day and you’ll find that after rowing 15 minutes you may want to row another 15 more!
I am a believer in switching up your routine to keep things interesting, so I like to switch between “steady-state” and “HIIT”. You can visit the Concept2 website and sign up for their “workout of the day”, which will send you a daily long, medium, and short workout.
Keep in mind that diet is the most important thing for your goal! You need to be eating healthily and cutting out the junk if you want to lose weight and lower blood pressure.
Just make small improvements everyday and don’t give up! Results won’t happen overnight and will take some time :)
Thank you for the reply ! Our rowing machine will be here in a few days and I will post updates!
Awesome – that’s so exciting!
We would greatly appreciate updates! Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!
I’m new to rowing and have found most of my questions were answered by you in this forum. Thank you so much, Edwin, for your thorough responses and explanations!
You’re welcome Connie! Thank you for the kind words :)
I’ve lost 80lbs doing keto only. I just started rowing 2 weeks ago. Is Keto a good diet with rowing exercise?
Hi Carrie – Yes! A keto diet can be good for anything. It’s mostly just helping to switch your body from using stored carbs for energy to stored fats. A lot of athletes (even endurance athletes) are switching over to keto. It’s really about what makes you look and feel good.
Everyone’s body is different so it’s good to switch up diets until you find one that works. Some people like more a more paleo based diet, while others may choose vegetarian/vegan!
Just found the rowing machine at my gym and excited to work on it daily! Also glad I just discovered your website as well.
Hi there, I’m considering doing a rowing challenge for charity while stuck at home in lockdown (we have a water rower at home). It’s my husband’s machine and I hardly ever use it so I’m basically a beginner. I was thinking of rowing the length of the river Thames (I’m in the UK), which equates to doing about 11.5 km a day for 30 days, but I wonder if that would be bad for me as a beginner? Instead of doing a strict 11.5 km/day, should I vary the lengths each day and incorporate rest days to achieve an average of 11.5 km a day? I wouldn’t set a goal for duration of exercise each day so my other option would be to row 11.5 km every day, but sometimes at a slower pace, to give myself a ‘rest’. What do you think? I’m *reasonably* fit from other exercise and am a 33-year-old female. Losing a couple of pounds and improving my overall fitness would be a bonus to completing the challenge. Any advice appreciated. Thanks!
Hi Julia – thanks for reaching out and glad to hear about your challenge. That’s very kind of you!
To be honest – I think you are selling yourself short! If you are reasonably fit, I think you can double your output in a day. To me, a challenge is a way to push yourself to do things you didn’t think you are capable of doing and I think you are capable of doing much more than you think!
Why not have donations come in the form of how “fast” you complete the challenge. People can agree to donate “x” if you complete in 30 days, “y” if you complete in 20 days, “z” if you complete in 15 days, etc.
This will help motivate you to push harder to raise more money for your charity!
Just a thought but if you decide against it, I think you are very capable of rowing 11.5km per day :)
I ordered a rowing machine, should be here monday, I will bookmark this website and also have an instagram I will start updating- fat2goddess, I will provide a weekly photo update to track progress. Super excited. I am 5’4 at 187, I carry mostly in my mid section. I started my diet in late January and just with diet change i went from 208 to 182 by march, i have gained some back but am getting back on my grind. Hopefully my journey will help others.
Hi Heather – thank you for sharing! That is great progress in a short amount of time!
I really hope you enjoy your new rower and we would love to hear your updates :)
I am a 73 year old woman. I had been swimming a mile MWF for over 7 yrs., row for 6 minutes, use several weight strengthening machines and then play 2 hours of Beachball Volleyball (usually 6 games). I felt great, my cardio and blood pressure were very good. Then my Y shut done due to Covid19. I did some weight lifting and other exercises but felt lazy. Swimming was my favorite exercise but I also loved the rowing machine. I researched rowing machines but couldn’t afford a new Concept 2. Then I lucked out, I found a used Concept 2 with an old MP3 from a University Crew for $300. The rower was old but in good condition, And the MP3 was in great condition. I have been rowing every day. On my heavy day I try to row around 3:06 to 2:40 for 52 to 58 minutes and on my light day around 2:45 for 30 minutes 7 days a week. I have watched many video on correct form and do warmup exercises for 15 minutes and post stretches for 15 minutes. I usually find once I start rowing I get into a “zone” and do more than I intended. My question is-is this a good routine to continue, at least until my Y pool opens? Also, I was so happy to find this site. ????
Hi Cathy – thank you for reaching out and sharing! It’s great to hear you’ve been so active and have found a way to remain active during the pandemic.
I think your routine is perfectly fine! I always like to say the best routine is the one you continue to enjoy and not quite! I think you have everything under control and would continue doing what you’re doing! If it ain’t broke don’t fix it :)
I’m going to purchase a rower next week and my goal is to lose fat. I’m 176cm, 16 years and 90kg and have been meaning to lose weight for a year now but nothing seems to burn off the stubborn fat. Most of the fat is stored in my whole thigh, hips and stomach (mainly in the thighs) and i’m aiming to reduce the size of my thigh, tone my stomach and lose my love handles.
Would rowing result in my thighs being the same size, but toned – or will my thighs become smaller in size, but more toned? Sorry if that doesn’t make sense. Additionally, i’ve inherited my grandfathers large calves, so would rowing keep them large or also reduce the size?
I’m quite tall and have a small waist, but want to appear smaller because all the excess fat is making me appear to be quite large in size.
Looking forward to your response!
Hi Kait! Thank you for reaching out! It’s a difficult question to answer because everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to exercise. Some people start rowing and they are able to burn off the fat more easily and look slimmer overall. Other people seem to gain muscles easier so they start rowing and look a lot more toned but their legs may stay the same size but be more defined (normally there is still going to be some size reduction).
I really think the best exercise for you is going to be the one you enjoy the most and are able to do every day. If it’s not somewhat enjoyable you aren’t going to make it part of your daily routine, so try something you like! I would love for it to be rowing :) I love rowing because it’s a full-body workout and I absolutely love listening to podcasts and watching documentaries, so I’m able to knock out 2 birds with 1 stone.
Another recommendation I have if you end up choosing rowing as your main form of exercise would be to do some highly targeted workouts. In your case, air squats and calf raises. These will really help define those areas and they are simple to do and require no additional equipment. I also have big calves and I really wanted more defined legs – it wasn’t until I started doing calf raises non-stop that I started seeing decent results. I also realized it’s just the way my body shape is and I will never have perfect calves!
I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions!
My son lent me his concept 2. I will be 67 in late Sept. Two weeks ago I weighed 250 @ 6′ in height. Since then I’ve been cycling and skipping sugar, alcohol etc and am now about 240. I plan on incorporating rowing into my workout for app 30 minutes a day. The cycling is now at about 45 minutes a day. Any advice and what is a reasonable weight loss to expect
Hi John – that’s great to hear you’ve already started shedding the pounds and you are going to incorporate rowing into your routine!
It’s such a tough question to answer because everyone is different. So many factors go into weight loss that I would literally just be guessing.
One piece of advice I have is to be consistent rather than overdoing it in the beginning. If you are already cycling 45 minutes a day, I would keep total cardio to about an hour a day so you don’t burnout. It’s great you have 2 cardio exercises now because you can switch between them to not get bored. So remain consistent and you will surely lose weight.
Other than that, just listen to your body and have at it! There’s no secret to weight loss besides putting in the work.
Hi there! I just discovered your page. Great information! I just bought a hydraulic rower, literally today. My reason for purchasing that style…It was cheap, compact, & I am a beginner. Though, I am so excited to start! Rowing looks like so much fun! :)
I am a 37yr old female, 5’0, 130lbs, I am healthy & look alright for not working out (thanks to my mom’s genes), but I am out of shape. I gain muscle very easily, however, I am looking to lose my tummy, lose some weight, and tone up.
Anyhow, my question, is there a difference in results with the type of rower I get…as in hydraulic, water, magnetic?
Hi Lex – that’s exciting and great to hear you’re rower is on the way! In terms of weight loss, there is really no difference in terms of one rower burning more calories than another. The rower that allows you to row the longest and on a consistent schedule will be the best rower.
Enjoy your new rower! You can always sell it on FB marketplace and upgrade if you enjoy it :)
Me again, I should have also mentioned, that I purchased the rower, before I found your page. I am kicking myself in the butt for that. I should have done more research before I bought the item on impulse. I am just excited to start rowing! Haha! It gets delivered beginning of November, so hopefully I picked out the right kind of rower for me. I guess I will just have to wait.
Hi, so I am way out of range here when compared to the other comments I’ve read here so far. But here goes, I am a 46 yr old female, over 300 pounds. I need to be able to start my fitness journey from home with a healthy diet and low impact workouts that dont hurt my body for months at a time, I tried walking uphill and steps outside and thought I broke my hip😔.
Do you think a rower would work for me, considering size, weight and overall girth?
I dont want a huge contraption but I do want something ‘simple’ yet effective. I have began intermittent fasting which seems much more manageable than anything I have tried before. Any insight you can share kindly with me would be encouragingly appreciated.
Hi Juicy – Thank you for reaching out! It’s great to hear you are looking into rowing as a means for exercise and that you’ve already began a healthy eating habit. Intermittent fasting really improved my overall health and I still practice it today. I also eat a very low card diet (mostly fats, proteins, and low carb vegetables) and it seems to work very well.
A rowing machine is an amazing low-impact exercise and I think it is one of the best at-home pieces of fitness equipment. You will need to look at some of the more expensive models ($500-$1,000) as those will have the best quality. The Concept2 Model D is a favorite. The seats can be uncomfortable at first for bigger people but some users make some customization to make it a more comfortable fit. I would check that model out first and go from there. A lot of people have seen great improvements in their overall health from consistent rowing and dieting! I know you can do it too :)
300+ lb. Female here, age 46, have started changing my eating habits and ready for a next level exercise that will be low impact to start at home. Do you recommend the water tower for my size and girth to get started? I surely wont be on longer than 15mins to start
Hey! I usually recommend a WaterRower or a Concept2 Model D. The main difference is the resistance type Air vs. Water. You can read more about both of them here.
Hi im a skinny guy who is looking to build muscle and tone up. I’ve never exercised really at any stage in my life but I want to make an effort with my diet and get to the gym once a day. Can you recommend a meal plan and a workout plan for a rowing machine to get me started please. Thankyou
Hi Ed – thank you for reaching out! I wouldn’t be able to recommend a full meal and workout plan as that takes a lot of time to plan out. I would research the “paleo diet” as a good starting point. Focus on low-carb meals that are mostly meat and vegetables. For a workout plan, the best thing to do is start. Research a workout you want to do each day and then build a habit of working out at least 5x a week. Building a habit of working out is the hardest and most important part!
Hello! I’m 32, a hiker who typically takes on 3-5 mountainous miles daily, and I just got my very first erg!! Alas not a Concept, rather the more affordable ProForm 750. I get tired easily and have the bad habit of taking it easy on myself in workout situations, preferring to go slow but far. However I want to take this new erg as a chance to push way past what feels ‘comfortable’. I’m a femme in great health, 5’8″, clean vegan, very muscular, but definitely have 30-40 lbs I am hoping to delete by using this erg!
My question is this: what are some good metrics I should be aiming for as I begin? Meters/pace? I appreciate your insights very much.
Hi Erin – glad to hear you are going to start using a rower!! Rowing metrics are very similar to running or hiking.
You’ll have your pace or what rowers call split time. This metric tells you how fast it will take you to row 500m, so the faster you are rowing the lower your split or 500m pace will be. A nice steady split will be around 2:30 and down to 2:00 will be more of a sprint. Some people go much lower!
Your SPM or strokes per minute is sort of like cadence. It’s basically how fast you are rowing but doesn’t calculate the power you are putting into each row. For example, you can row at 25 SPM and row at a 2:30 split or a 2:00 split, all depending on the force you add to each stroke. A good steady SPM is around 25.
The last thing to look at would be distance and time. You obviously want to be shooting for a certain distance and recording how long it took to reach that distance so you can see improvement over time.
That should be enough to get you started!
With one knee in need of total replacement, I am unable to run, mountain / road bike / treadmill / any/all high-impact exercise (and I had been a ski instructor since age 14).
I started riding my ‘iron horse’ – a Concept2 “ergometer” at out huge, state-of-the-art Schottland YMCA (Pittsford, NY) in late 2019. I have logged over 2 million meters – most recently – May 1st through August 6th 2021 for 1 million meters – between 10K and 20K meters EVERY DAY. Weight: 165 to 142 and holding.
Though the Y features two other rowing machine brands, for me, Concept2 is PERFECT! And, the Concept2 website features excellent videos on ineffectual rowing motions and effective technique and features a great LOGBOOK free for logging in your ‘pieces.’ Rowing for a hour or more is as much mental discipline as physical workout; you will need more than music and earbuds to do a non-stop hour.
Thank you so much for sharing, David! I’m so glad you have found the rowing machine to be helpful – Also, that’s a lot of meters!
I loved reading this. I bought a water rower few years ago and I have been on an ‘on again off again’ relationship with it. I am not overweight but I am skinny fat. A friend of mine (in great shape) told me he is running 50 km a week and that motivated to start rowing again. I gave myself a target of 30 km a week, and by week 4 I was hitting 50 km a week. Last week (week 7), I did 100 km. I think the turning point for me was falling in love with audio books. They’ve really helped me go on for even 2 hours at a time and I have listened to 7 books since I started this 3 month challenge (I dont think I’ll ever stop though). The big question now is if I should replace my water rower with a more ‘connected’ rowing machine.
That’s so great to hear Sim! I love audiobooks and podcasts while I’m rowing as well!! Thank you for sharing :)
While writing this, I am currently 225 lbs. My goal is to be at 175 to 180, I am 5′ 10″. I started resistance bands and walking as a daily exercise, I only do this about 5 days out of the week and started just about 2 months ago. I lost 25 lbs in that time period. I was thinking of joining a gym, so I can use a rowing machine. If I do this, will I still continue to use the resistance bands and walking, I was also thinking of using weights as well or can I just use the rowing machine and get the same results? I don’t want to have huge muscles but definitely want to be lean with a flat stomach
Hi Victor – wow, those are some great results!! Congrats!! I think the rowing machine can replace walking and resistance bands since rowing is both cardio and resistance training. I would try it out and see how you like it!
You could even rotate the two just to mix it up. As you get used to exercising you could even do both some days or just do the walking/bands when you don’t have time to go to the gym.
Just stay consistent! That’s the key to improving :)
Reading your article is what gave me the push to finally invest in a rowing machine. I am 35 y/o, 5’2, and last I checked, weighting 170 lbs. I am also 9.5 months post partum. The past 2 years, my body has gone through so much. Pregnancy and then severe COVID while 24 weeks pregnant that landed me in ICU…COVID recovery while also in 3rd trimester of pregnancy…very challenging postpartum recovery and then gallbladder surgery only 3 months post partum! With the pregnancy, COVID, postpartum, surgery recovery, it took probably 7 months post partum for me to start feeling almost myself again. Regaining so much of that strength and energy, but I have a long way to go and all these extra pounds I know are hurting me. Ideally, I need to lose 30 lbs. I never thought I’d read on my doctors notes that I am obese…and that hit me hard. I remember rowing every now and then in college, and I really enjoyed it and I’m hopeful that it is something I can really get into. Should be receiving my Concept 2 D in a few days and can’t wait to start! Thank you! Will be definitely revisiting your website frequently!
Also to add, I eat mainly a plant based diet, but the past few months i’ve definitely indulged way to much in junk food. :(