Top 10 Benefits of Adding Rowing Machine
Training to Your Workouts
Coach Patrick of Start Rowing says, “when it comes to cardio, the rowing machine is king. It’s highly effective, multi-functional, and sufficiently challenging enough to make it a staple of workouts for fitness fanatics worldwide.”
Now, while it certainly won’t be for everybody, the vast majority of us will find plenty of benefits from adding it to our training. If you’ve made the conscious decision to omit it that’s one thing, but if you simply haven’t considered it when planning your routines, then it’s probably time you do.
With that in mind, allow me to give you 10 compelling reasons to add rowing to your schedule.
#1. Complete Full Body Workout
The main difference between rowing and most cardio options is it incorporates your entire body.
While machines like treadmills, bikes, and steppers only use your legs, the rower spreads the load throughout your entire upper body as well.
This not only makes it a more challenging cardio workout, but it also provides you the opportunity to train everything from the base of your calves to the top of your traps at the same time.
# 2. You Can Workout From Home
While you’ll often find people with sets of dumbbells in their house, it’s much rarer to find them with cardio machines.
This is largely down to the amount of space they take up, as kit like treadmills and steppers are incredibly large.
This is where a rowing machine shines though. Not only are they substantially smaller, to begin with, most are designed to be collapsible for transport or storage.
Considering this, rowers are absolutely ideal when you want the convenience of training at home, without the hassle of your machine getting in the way of your day to day life.
If you’re interested in finding a used rowing machine for home use, check out this great guide.
#3. You Can Incorporate High Intensity With Low Impact Training
Many people will instinctively head for the treadmill when they want a high-intensity cardio session. This is because it gives you the freedom to go flat out, without worrying about any particular rhythms or techniques.
The problem is, it’s an incredibly high impact activity. Every time your feet hit the belt you are driving all your weight down on them. This will put the bones, joints, and ligaments under immense pressure, which can lead to injury or brittle bones later in life.
With rowing, you can go just as hard, but there is zero impact, meaning you get all the rewards with none of the risk.
Check out 5 alternative methods to treadmill training here.
#4. Demanding For All Fitness Levels
One of the best things about rowing machines is that their difficulty increases at an equal rate to your ability.
This occurs as its resistance comes from the air that circulates in the flywheel, as opposed to the preset levels on other cardio machines.
The faster the user rows, the more air is pulled into the flywheel, which generates a greater resistance. This is exactly the same as you would find when rowing in water.
This makes it a perfect option for pushing you to your limits, no matter how many times you’ve used it before.
# 5. It Can Help Build And Preserve Muscle
While most cardio options are purely that, rowing combines it with resistance training at the same time.
Driving the seat back with your legs and pulling the handle towards you with your arms both require repeated contractions of the muscles throughout your entire body.
This is doubly effective, as not only does it provide an extra resistance workout without you having to spare any extra time, it also keeps the muscles engaged throughout, making them less likely to be broken down and used as fuel. This second point is especially useful for people who are worrying about doing cardio while bulking up, for fear of muscle wastage.
#6. Great For Improving Cardiovascular Health
As I’ve previously stated, rowing is one of the most challenging cardio workouts around. While we’ve looked at all the secondary benefits it provides, I’d be remiss to overlook its primary one.
The impact it has on your cardiovascular ability is huge. The need to use every single muscle forces the heart into working tremendously hard, in order to pump blood around every inch of your body.
Just like any other muscle, the harder you train your heart, the stronger it becomes (within reason of course). That’s why the benefit of rowing is unmatched in the world of cardiovascular training.
#7. It Can Be Used With A High Training Volume
When you are trying to fit a great deal into your routine, there are two primary things you look for.
Firstly, is the ability to use exercises for multiple purposes. This is so you can minimize the amount of time you need to set aside, which is essential when you are already spending a great deal of time working out.
Secondly, is minimizing your risk of injury. When you are pushing your body to its limits, forcing it near to breaking point with a tremendous workload, the last thing you want is to do an activity that greatly increases the risk of injury.
Rowing machines are perfect for taking care of both these concerns. The ability to combine resistance and cardiovascular training will minimize the amount of time required in your routine and its low impact nature will greatly reduce the risk of injury.
#8. It’s A Great Calorie Burner
One of the most common reasons people use cardio machines is for their ability to burn calories.
Making sure your calorie intake stays below your basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories your body needs to function correctly) is essential for people looking to lose weight.
Just like how it is great for cardiovascular conditioning, the full-body nature of the workout uses up more calories by incorporating all of your muscles. Perfect if your primary goal is shedding those last few stubborn pounds.
#9. Versatile Training Options
Unlike most cardio machines, you can use a rower in a variety of different ways.
You can up the resistance and perform slow reps to focus on muscle development. You can lower it and go flat out to make it almost a pure cardio workout. You can change your grip to alter its emphasis on your muscles.
With these and so many more little tweaks you can make to alter your training on a rower, the possibilities are almost endless. Perfect for maximizing what you can get out of a single machine.
#10. It Can Improve Posture
Posture refers to the natural position of your body. Maintaining good posture is important for the health of your spine, as well as keeping numerous other parts of your body protected from injury.
Rowing with the correct form will not only strengthen your back muscles but will also make you consciously focus on keeping your back straight and your shoulders back.
When combining these things it trains your body to recognize this as your natural position, while simultaneously giving it the strength to keep it that way without having to think about it.
As you can see, there are many positives to incorporating a rowing machine into your training. While the 10 I have listed may be the most important, they are certainly not the only ones.
When it comes to fitness, we all have our own likes and dislikes, as we would in any other part of life. Some people will love rowing, while others will loathe it, but rarely will you find someone who doesn’t at least respect what it can do.
If you’ve never tried it before, I implore you to give it a go. Even if you have tried it and weren’t the biggest fan, maybe there’s something on this list to convince you to give it a second chance. Who knows, this time might be different now you know the benefits you can reap.