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“Mäestu, Jarek, Jaak Jürimäe, and Toivo Jürimäe. “Monitoring of performance and training in rowing.” Sports medicine 35, no. 7 (2005): 597-617.[/ref You will be using your quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders, upper back, arms, glutes, as well as core. By controlling the resistance setting (wh…”
Finding a good indoor exercise option that burns calories and is also fun isn’t easy. Especially if you need something low impact or if time is at a premium. Rowing sidesteps a lot of constraints and is an exercise that you can do all year round – and that too without investing in an expensive piece of equipment or a trainer.
If you still need convincing, a look at some of the benefits of a rowing machine workout should seal the deal.
1. Burns Calories And Helps With Weight Loss
Stationary or indoor rowing on a rowing machine is a fun way to burn calories. If you row at moderate intensity for just half an hour, you will have burned through around 210 calories if you weigh about 125 pounds, 260 calories if you weigh 155 pounds, and 311 pounds if you weigh 185 pounds. Increase your rowing intensity level and you can raise those numbers to 255 calories, 316 calories, and 377 calories respectively.[ref]Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights. Harvard Medical School.[/ref]
2. Offers A Cardiovascular Workout
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise every week. So if you row at a moderate level for just half an hour on five days a week, you’d be getting to that number effortlessly.[ref]American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults. The American Heart Association.[/ref]
3. Provides A Full Body Workout
As the American Council on Exercise point out, this much ignored indoor exercise equipment has plenty going for it. Not the least of which is that it is one of the most time efficient methods to get in a total body cardiovascular workout. So while you also get a high-calorie burn comparable to some other aerobic workouts, the edge rowing has is that it engages your entire body and not just one or two muscle groups. Your chest, abdomen, back, buttocks, arms, and legs are all actively engaged in a rowing workout while your heart rate pumps up and you burn away calories.[ref]Equipment You’re Misusing or Not Using. American Council on Exercise.[/ref]
4. Builds Muscle And Endurance
Because you are engaging all your muscles, this is a workout that can help you build up, tone, and strengthen all these body parts. It is considered a strength-endurance workout, besides being an aerobic exercise.[ref]Mäestu, Jarek, Jaak Jürimäe, and Toivo Jürimäe. “Monitoring of performance and training in rowing.” Sports medicine 35, no. 7 (2005): 597-617.[/ref You will be using your quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders, upper back, arms, glutes, as well as core. By controlling the resistance setting (which runs from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest), you can control the strength aspect of your workout.[ref]Reap the Benefits of Rowing With 3 Fast and Efficient Workouts. American Council on Exercise.[/ref]
5. Is Low Impact And Non-Weight Bearing
Rowing is a low-impact exercise, making it good for anyone who can’t do other aerobic exercises that might be jarring to their joints. Plus, it isn’t a weight-bearing exercise, which ensures you don’t stress your joints by loading them with added weight and pressure.[ref]Reap the Benefits of Rowing With 3 Fast and Efficient Workouts. American Council on Exercise.[/ref] Just be sure to take the right precautions when you do use the rowing machine:[ref]Cardiac rehabilitation exercise programme. Oxford Heart Centre, National Health Service Trust.[/ref]
- Before you begin, adjust the resistance lever to an appropriate setting, so you don’t strain yourself.
- Double check that the seat is secure and locked in place.
- Put your feet into the foot straps – always.
- Focus on getting that posture right. Your back should be straight.
- Once done, restore the bar to its start position and slide your seat back as far as it can go before you stand up, slowly.
- Don’t forget to wear the right gear. Don’t wear loose fitting clothing that could get caught in the equipment. And use proper closed toe shoes – athletic shoes or tennis shoes work best.
6. Offers Multiple Modes To Measure Performance And Track Progress
Indoor rowing machines can help you measure how your workout is going in terms of multiple parameters. So you could choose to measure the distance or number of meters you have rowed. Or you could see how much power in watts you’re using in each stroke – the higher the number, the more powerful your strokes are. Or keep it simple and old school with a measurement of calories burned and the energy used. Alternatively, you may measure the number of strokes you take. Or the time you spend on the machine. You can even combine these measurements to get a reading on your progress. For instance, you might want to track how your power has improved over time or whether you’re able to cover a longer distance in the same workout period than before. You could also see how many strokes you do in a certain time.[ref]Equipment You’re Misusing or Not Using. American Council on Exercise.[/ref]
7. Gives You The Option Of Going Solo Or Teaming Up
Rowing can be done solo or as part of a class, much like spinning. You can work on strength and conditioning with a group of other like-minded folk, led by a trained instructor or instructors. This can make rowing a fun social experience aside from building the fitness you want.
8. Is Not Too Expensive
Most local gyms will have a rowing machine even if they don’t have much of other more expensive and larger equipment. If you want to invest in one at home, you could find simpler models that run from under 100 USD to pricier models for over 1000 USD. Just find one that meets your requirements and fits your budget and you’re good to go.
9. Is A Good Option If You Have Physical Constraints
Those who are visually impaired tend to suffer from lower fitness levels and poor body composition. Rowing, an exercise the researchers describe as needing “well-balanced symmetric movement,” can help you correct posture and get fit. What makes it especially compelling for those who are visually impaired is that it is also a safe exercise with controlled elements. For instance, a run outdoors may not be as simple due to the hazards of traffic, the obstacles in the path, and the risk if you happen to stumble on a lonely stretch. With indoor rowing, you are in the safe confines of a gym or your home, usually with other people around.[ref]Shin, Ka-Young, Eun-Hi Choi, Jong-Youb Lim, Ah-Ra Cho, and Young-Ho Lim. “Effects of indoor rowing exercise on the body composition and the scoliosis of visually impaired people: a preliminary study.” Annals of rehabilitation medicine 39, no. 4 (2015): 592-598.[/ref]
The same could apply to anyone who may not be able to head outdoors for various reasons. For instance, if allergies prevent you from exercising outdoors, or if you have a young child you cannot leave unsupervised at home, this may be the solution.