Is Rowing Good For You?

Working out regularly has many benefits, provided you do it correctly!

With a plethora of exercise equipment and hundreds of exercises to choose from, how do you decide the best workout plan?

If you talk to fitness enthusiasts and professional athletes about their favorite exercises, you will likely get many different answers. But one exercise that has recently been gaining a lot of attention is rowing. What used to be often-overlooked equipment in the gym is now a part of the workout plans of many.

Hi! I am Michael Shaw. And today, I will tell you about all the benefits you can derive from using the rowing machine at your gym.

Without further ado, let’s get straight to the details…

The Benefits of Rowing

Total Body Workout


Unlike most of the other exercise equipment you see in any standard gym today, the rowing machine works on several muscle groups simultaneously. If done correctly, rowing can be used to target your pecs, upper back, arms, obliques, calves, glutes, quads, and abs. In other words, nearly 86% of your muscles are activated when you are rowing.

The American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) found that a rowing stroke comprises 25 to 35 percent upper body work and 65 to 75 perfect lower body work.

Gym equipment that facilitate total body workouts are few and far between. So, make sure that you incorporate some rowing sets in your next workout.

Anybody Can Do It


Some exercises are too advanced for beginners, and others are too easy for passionate gym-goers. That’s where rowing is unique – it can be done by anybody irrespective of their fitness and strength level.

I know it can be intimidating for beginners to walk into a gym and see people doing all kinds of challenging exercises. Having experienced that, I can tell you that rowing is for everyone. In fact, it is one of the very few exercises that is safe for blind people.

As per a study conducted in 2015, a significant decrease in body fat was observed in 24 people with low vision after they rowed five days a week for six weeks.

Safe For Your Joints


One of the common problems people encounter in the gym is an injury. And almost every exercise you did before getting injured is ruled out, except rowing. It is one of the handful of activities that can be done even when you are recovering from an injury.

Although it is used for burning calories, it does not put a lot of stress on your joints. In fact, it is even recommended for people who suffer from the early stages of osteoarthritis. In 2014, a study found a 30 percent improvement in the joint rotations in elbows, shoulders, and knees of 24 people.

Helps Posture Correction


People who do most of their work on a laptop often suffer from bad posture, especially if they do not consciously try to work on it. It is safe to say that slouching is part of any regular 9-to-5 desk job.

Understandably, a lot of people are focusing more on ways to correct and fix their postures in the gym. And rowing is one of the most effective exercises to achieve that goal. You need to be upright while pulling, which significantly improves your posture.

Excellent Calorie Burner


If you are trying to get into shape for the summer or want to tone the body, you should be looking for ways to burn calories. And let’s face it; running on the treadmill gets quite boring, quite soon. That’s where rowing comes to the rescue – it is one of the most exciting and effective ways to burn those stubborn calories.

According to a Harvard Health study, a 155-pound person can burn up to 260 calories in a 30-minute moderate rowing session. And that’s not all; rowing burns more calories than weight lifting and other cardio exercises.

My Experience


After going into the 30s, I started realizing how unfit I am. It’s not like I had a big gut or something, but my upper body strength had reduced significantly. And that’s mostly because I never enjoyed any outdoor activity that would mainly focus on my torso.

Honestly, all I ever did was hiking, which mostly benefited my leg strength and core stability. And that too, took a backseat after I got married and was more engrossed in the hectic lifestyle of a business analyst.

My friend Jacob, who is a fitness trainer at my local gym, told me that I needed to start working out regularly. And for the last couple of months, I have been going to the gym five days a week. Why would I give up on the huge perk of being friends with one of the best trainers at the gym, right?

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Jacob told me to use the rowing machine for cardio as well as upper body conditioning. Like the vast majority of people out there, I had pictured myself running on a treadmill and doing bench presses and deadlifts. But the rowing machine managed to burst that little bubble the very first time I used it.

I had never lifted heavyweights in the gym, and the last couple of months were no different. Despite that, I can notice a considerable change in my upper body strength, thanks to all the rowing I’ve been doing. 

To cut a long story short, rowing has done a world of good for me, and I plan to keep it in my workout regimen. I’m sure it’ll do the same for you, which is why I’ve also prepared a list of the best rowing machines under $300. Click on the link to know more.

Final Words


In my case, rowing helped significantly in terms of increasing upper body strength and endurance. But you might see a more significant improvement in your cardiac functions or stamina. Everybody is different, and the benefits from rowing may vary accordingly.

However, keep in mind that I have only used it for a couple of months, so I’m still a beginner. Based on the level of faith Jacob has on this exercise, I am convinced that it will help me even more very soon.

Also, I was fortunate enough to get it right because Jacob helped me a lot. Make sure that you don’t get the form wrong when you are rowing. And if you face any problems, seek help from the trainer in your gym.

On that note, I will sign off. Till next time, keep rowing!

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