Workouts & Exercises

How to Lose Weight Using a Rowing Machine – What to Know Before Your Workout

Wondering how to use a rowing machine to lose weight? You’re not the only one.

We’ve all sat down on a rowing machine and started rowing, while also wondering if we’re doing the right thing.

Spend half an hour on it and you’ll feel that workout pain in your core, legs, arms and back. I could see what makes the rowing machine so popular.

Getting a rowing machine is a step forward because – unlike walking on an incline treadmill or other types of budget cardio machines – it works on the whole body.

Now, figuring out how to lose weight using a rowing machine is a completely different story.

This article will explore everything you need to know to get things done by the book.

Benefits of Rowing Machine

Here are some benefits of using rowing machine

You don’t need to be a competitive rower to reap all these advantages. After all, we’ve all started in the same position. Here’s what you should expect.

A full body workout is your top priority. While some cardio machines work the legs only (which is perfectly fine if all you want is build bigger quads) this one works on your whole body, but especially the calves, glutes, quadriceps, pecs, arms, obliques and abs - making it especially useful for guys looking to get abs fast.

Then, it makes no difference how advanced you are – the rowing machine is suitable for newbies, advanced users, slim people, overweight individuals and so on.

It’s a low impact type of exercise too, meaning it will burn calories without putting any pressure on your joints - if you have used a recumbent bike for weight loss then you can relate.

As long as your soles do not leave the foot support, there is nothing to be concerned about.

With these thoughts in mind, the rower is great for those recovering after injuries as well.

If you’ve ever been on a boat, rowing by yourself, you probably know already how calming it feels. Sure, the experience is slightly different indoors, but you can try to achieve something similar.

The smooth gliding movement will help you relax, while the repetitive movement will put you in a good mood. Imagine this type of movement to unwind after a long day at work or as a part of cardio after your workout – feel good while burning fat.

Now, since this is a cardio exercise, it will boost your heart health and lungs, but it also adds to your endurance and power. And like any other exercise, it will help increase your metabolism and burn fat, well, not as much as you would with hight intensity calisthenics or weight workouts, but still significant enough. 

Row correctly and you will use muscles the right way. The outcome? A good cardio, a leaner appearance and stronger muscles.

How to Use Rowing Machine Properly

Learn how to use rowing machine

Now you know the benefits of a rower – especially over similar space-saving cardio equipment. Learning how to lose weight using a rowing machine is just as important.

In theory, you don’t have to be a genius to figure it out – sit down, fit your soles, grab the handle and go. However, small details can boost the fat burning process.

Sit tall

Sitting tall is the first step of using rowing machine

This is an overlooked idea when using a rower. The taller you sit – without bending your back, the more you will work on your core.

Maintain proper posture, but as tall as you can. If your back is hunched, you are too tall. Lift the chest and never drop the head for maximum effectiveness.

Use Your Legs

Use your legs properly when doing rowing machine exercise

The focus is often lost after a few strokes – you need to keep it on your legs. You need to work on big groups of muscles – such as your legs.

As a direct consequence, you’ll obviously burn more calories.

The upper body should be engaged too, but it’s not the main driver. 50% of your work should come from the legs – everything else must be split evenly between the back and arms.

Intervals rock

Take intervals to do effective rowing machine workout

Do intervals for more effectiveness. For instance, do 10 strokes at a high rate, then slow down for another 10 strokes to recover. The speed is determined by the number of strokes per minute – your main indicator.

Finish your workout with an intense set – more speed than throughout the workout.

Focus on Endurance Training

Learn how to do effective workout by using rowing machine

HIIT exercises like the above mentioned one is great to lose weight. But on the same note, you can also supercharge your calorie burning capabilities with a slow endurance workout.

Avoid going all the way to the max – simply exercise at about 80% of your total capacity. Stick to longer workouts then.

Alter Your Routine

Change your routines

Challenge yourself and change the routine. Try HIIT workouts for a couple of days, then opt for endurance training for the next few days.

The more you diversify, the more surprised your body will be – great to burn even more calories.


Still unsure about how to burn more fat?

Can You Lose Belly Fat on A Rowing Machine?

The truth is no cardio exercise will only target the belly fat – you need to burn fat in general and the belly fat will also be affected. Since this workout targets your core, it will help you burn belly fat at a high rate and if you have a 10 pack, it will definitely show.

Should I Row Every Day?

If you can, why not? It is a low impact cardio exercise, so you don’t really need to recover. If you have the time, go for it.

Is 20 Minutes Rowing Good?

Absolutely. Start with short workouts – such as 20 minutes. If your time allows 20 minutes a day, it is much better than nothing. Make sure such workouts are intense though. If you want to slow down, they should last longer.

Wrapping up..

Bottom line, the rowing machine is one of the most appreciated cardio fitness gadgets these days. While other machines still dominate the market, the full body workout given by a rower is definitely a distinctive factor in the selection process.

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