Top 8 Benefits Of A Rowing Machine

As you get started with your cardio fitness routine, it’s important that you consider all types of cardio machines and which one will give you the best results possible. Too many people are quick to jump to what they see other people doing or what they already know how to do. This leads them to using the treadmill or the bike most of the time. But, is this really the best piece of cardio equipment for you? While there’s nothing wrong with either of these, it’s important that you don’t limit yourself because something better may be waiting right around the corner.

That something better could be the rowing machine. Rowing machines are a great way to get in shape, have fun, and improve your fitness level in the process. Let’s take a closer look at what benefits they provide so you can see why you should add these to your workout protocol.

No Impact

The first nice benefit of the rowing machine is that it’s a non-impact activity. Meaning, there will be very little stress coming down on the joints while you perform this workout session.

For those who have suffered from joint injuries before or those who simply want to prevent any injuries from taking place down the road, this is a very important factor that you’ll want to consider.

The low impact nature of this session makes it ideal for those who may be older and who have joint pain regularly as well as for those who are doing a rehabilitation program.

Upper AND Lower Body Workout

The next really nice thing about the rower as a workout form is the fact that it’s going to give you a lower and upper body workout. Most cardio machines, apart from the elliptical trainer, are solely focusing on the lower body. The treadmill and bike for example don’t call the upper body into play at all.

With the rowing machine, both are working equally. Your lower body is working hard to push yourself backward with each row rep you take and your arms are pulling the rowing handle bar towards you.

The more muscle fibers you enage during a workout session, the more superior that workout tends to be, so this puts rowing right up there as one of the best modes of cardio that you could be doing.

For those who don’t want to perform additional strength training work or another cardio exercise for the upper body (such as boxing for instance), this is perfect. It helps you save time during your workout week by doing both at once.

Easy To Use

Whenever you start a new exercise routine of any kind, one factor you need to think about is how easy is it to use. You want to be able to effectively easy into the routine without having to spend a long time in an awkward phase, where you are struggling to learn the movement and actually do the workout itself.

Remember that the easier the movement pattern is for you to use, the more comfortable you are apt to feel while doing it, and the harder you’ll be able to work because of this factor.

If you are spending most of your energy just doing the movement pattern as you should, it shouldn’t take much to realize that this is going to significantly impact your overall performance.

Set Your Own Pace

Another great thing about the rowing machine is that it makes it very easy to set your own pace. You aren’t doing the machine to any sort of pre-program. Rather, you are the program. You can set the pace that you go at based on how energize you are. This does mean you may need to get a little creative with your programming options if some days you want to be performing a more intense workout and other days, you want to bring the intensity down.

But, this is generally quite easy to do by just listening to your body and using its own biofeedback – telling you just how hard you can push on any given day.

In some cases, those who lead their own workout tend to progress better because they learn to be more in tune with their body, listening to the messages it’s sending you.

Note this does not mean you need to push hard every single workout to the point of utter exhaustion. That is not what we’re referring to here. Rather, you need to focus on listening to your body and taking rest days when necessary throughout the course of the week.

Muscle Strengthening Benefits

Also consider the muscle strengthening benefits you’ll get from doing the rowing machine. The faster you row and the greater the resistance level, the more benefits you’ll see in this regard.

What’s interesting about this form of cardio training is that unlike other forms of training, you may actually be able to build quite a strong back and upper body. If you look at the physique of great rowers out there, you will see that they are very powerful individuals. Their back especially is well defined and something you take notice to.

If your back is an area you want to work, rowing should definitely be a cardio choice you are considering. While the elliptical trainer will work your back as well, it won’t work it to near the degree that rowing will. The elliptical trainer tends to hit the arms – the biceps and triceps to a larger degree while the rowing machine is more predominantly focused on the back muscles.

Obviously do keep in mind with this that if you want to actually build physical muscle size when doing the rowing machine, you need to be eating in a calorie surplus to do so. If you are dieting while doing the rowing machine, you may get stronger, but you aren’t going to get any larger. Building muscle takes extra energy, so you must be feeding you body this fuel.

Great Calorie Burn

Which now brings us to our next point, the calorie burn. Rowing is a fantastic way to burn calories quickly and reach your weight loss goals. Any time you do a workout session, the general rule of thumb is that the more muscle fibers you can work with any given exercise and the more intense you can workout, the more calories you will burn.

All it really takes is 10-15 minutes on the rowing machine to see how intense this workout can be and you’ll know that you’re doing a great job at burning off that extra body fat.

Since weight loss does really come down to total calories burned versus total calories consumed, this is going to help point you in the right direction. You’ll get a higher total calorie deficit if you include rowing in your day over a form of cardio training that just didn’t burn as many calories.

Potential For High EPOC

In addition to burning more calories during the workout itself, rowing also has the potential for a high EPOC, which stands for excess post exercise oxygen consumption. This is basically the amount of energy that is required in order to return your body back to homeostasis following an exercise session.

The harder and more intensely you work, the higher the EPOC tends to be. This means that you will continue burning up fat for a great deal of time after the workout session is over.

This can contribute hundreds of extra calories over the week, so it’s definitely a worthwhile thing to consider.

Endurance Boosting Benefits

Finally, the last great benefit you’ll get from doing the rowing machine is superior endurance boosting benefits. Developing a good level of muscle endurance should be important to most people who are working on their fitness routine because not only will having good muscle endurance help you out with your other exercises performed during your workout session, but it’s a great way to ensure that you are staying functional in day to day life.

The greater your overall endurance is, the easier everyday lifestyle events will feel. You won’t get as fatigued carrying in groceries for instance or playing with your kids or grandkids. You won’t want to crawl right into bed as soon as you get home from work because you are just too exhausted from it all.

Muscle endurance and your overall level of energy go hand in hand, so if you want to boost your energy, it’s wise to work on your muscle endurance.

So keep these points in mind and remember, don’t forget about the rowing machine. It can be a great piece of fitness equipment to pick up and incorporate into your usual workout routine. Because it’s also a fresh new exercise and a movement pattern you haven’t done before, this will make it more enjoyable to use and may just help you stick with your workout program that much longer as well.

Photo credit: nd3000/Shutterstock; ESB Professional/Shutterstock; Chubarov Mikhail/Shutterstock

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