Is Rowing Machine A Good Workout For Lose Weight And Toning?


Image photo: A trainer is doing a rowing machine workout

We shouldn’t underestimate this workout machine.

If you are looking to lose weight from home, look no further for an indoor rowing machine.

It is a great workout regimen and does provide surprising overall health benefits to your body.

So, is a rowing machine a good workout to get you in good shape?

We’ll dig in deeper here.

An Overview Of Workout With A Rowing Machine

Although it is not an easy workout like you have always seen outdoor rowers on a large boat rowing along the river, the health benefits are superb.

In general, rowing is another healthy workout to tone and strengthen your body muscles. It also helps by boosting the immunity system, strengthening the heart, overall stamina, and mental wellbeing.

A rowing machine or also called an ergometer (shorter form as an ‘erg’) is targeting the major muscle groups of the body such as the arms, shoulders, upper back, quadriceps, hamstrings, and, glutes.

This brings indoor rowing to become increasingly popular these past years.

When rowing outdoor is not permitted due to weather conditions, which is why we have indoor machines for the rowers that provide almost similar rowing experiences such as tracking the distance covered and the stroke that a rower has taken in sixty seconds.

The rowing machine is absolutely a complete full-body workout regimen for both the lower (60%) and upper (40%) body, plus physically and mentally enhanced.

Can Rowing Help To Tone My Arms?

This is possible!


The pull and row workout on the arms does a good job on the biceps and triceps. Developing these two major muscle groups will lead to greater tone, muscle size, shape, and overall strength.

This cardio workout is working faster to tone your body. However, it does require some time and consistency to reap the results. If you are a newbie in fitness training, you need to slowly build up your strength and stamina before you can hit the machine for a higher intensity workout.

Once the ‘building period’ is reached, you can then increase the intensity workout on the rowing for toning your body and of course, the arms faster.

Be careful too as the rowing machine can strain the lower back, so a correct workout with a proper form is vital to prevent injury.

Can I Build My Arms Bigger?

Of course, you can. I mean if you are already past the building period, look at how hard your arms are working out by ‘pulling and rowing’ on that machine.

By increasing the intensity levels, you are pushing the muscles in your arms to grow stronger and more muscular. Compared to just regular rowing without any intensity, your biceps will be working it out.

You will have some minor soreness in your arms the next day, which is good news! It shows that your muscles are slowly growing and working well correctly.

Note: If this is major soreness, it could be severe due to over extreme workout, then you may need to rest for a couple of days or until the soreness has healed properly.


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Can I Build Abs With A Rowing Machine?

Honestly speaking, a rowing workout isn’t going to give you much result on the abs, but rather for the back and core strengthening workouts, although you will see some good results on the arms too.

Rowing won’t be an effective full workout regime for building muscle abs. When you are rowing, the movement is geared towards the back of the body, far from your abs. That is why you will notice most professional rowers have great backs, and wide shoulders, but with little abs and pecs.

If you need an effective solution for your chest or abs workout, go for bench presses, crunches, or, pushups workout, they are simply effective for this reason.

Fact: What gives you abs is to lose enough body fat by having a ‘calories deficit or reaching below 11% of your body fat.

Can You Lose Belly Fat On A Rowing Machine?

This is a favorite question and even involves other types of workout equipment like treadmills or exercise bikes.

It is typically quite a subjective topic.

Burning belly fat is pretty a difficult task to achieve. To me, it mostly depends on:

1) your workout intensity. The higher intensity you are putting effort into it, the more chances you’ll shed off the pound quicker. For example, having HIIT Training into your rowing workout, results can be overwhelming.

2) how long (the duration). Typically, with a longer duration of rowing or any other type of workout, you will see a quicker result. However, this also depends on your fitness level, strength, and, endurance.

3) how often you are working out (frequency). Having a great workout plan routine is a good motivator to keep the ball rolling. Being consistent and persistent throughout is the best answer to how quickly you will achieve your fitness success.

4) your diet habits. It doesn’t matter whether you are rowing, peddling the cycle, or running on a treadmill at home, the simple rule is to burn more calories than you take in, and you will lose weight.

So you see that it is also crucial to have an effective right diet on your hands besides working out. Otherwise, you will be wasting a lot of your time and effort.

Can Rowing Help You Lose Back Fat?

The first step towards reducing ‘back fat’ is through a cardio workout that burns calories.

Again, one of the most effective ways is HIIT Training.

Instead of just working out at the same pace of 30 minutes a day, go for this workout which consists of high and low-intensity movements. It helps to boost metabolism and burn more calories even after finishing a workout, thanks to the increase in metabolism caused by the EFOC (Effect Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption) effect.

You don’t actually feel the fat loss on the back but the high-intensity workout on the rowing machine will hit the back and burn the calories overall.

A rowing machine is a perfect warmup for the back workout. It burns the calories and warms up other major muscle groups too.

Sounds terrific, isn’t it?

How Often Can I Row To Lose Weight? Can I Row Every Day?

For beginners or those who wish to row for the ‘sake of health’, 30 minutes a day with moderate intensity is suggested. If you are aiming for weight loss, you will need more time to achieve that.

As per DHHS (US Department of Health & Human Services) recommendations, to stay healthy, you will need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio workout a week, or 75 minutes of high (vigorous) intensity workout per week.

Your workout intensity on a rowing machine depends on how fast you can row and your resistance fitness level.

If you have already had a base strength and stamina, you can row fast with a more vigorous intensity to reach that 75 minutes benchmark. You can also break into shorter sessions, with each rowing lasting for 15 minutes, five days a week.

Or if you just like to do it moderately, you can break it into a few shorter 30 minutes sessions, five times a week, so as long you hit the target 150 minutes mark.

In another hand, if you seriously want to lose weight with a rowing machine, then you need to bump out more energy and longer duration. DHHS recommended doubling the duration for moderate-intensity workouts (300 minutes) and high-intensity workouts (150 minutes) respectively.

On top of that, how many calories you can burn depends also on the person’s weight and the body’s composition. Studies by the Harvard Health of Medical School, a person weighing 155 pounds on a moderate-intensity workout will burn around 260 calories in 30 minutes.

Double the duration of the workout to an hour, and it is highly possible to hit the double jackpot of 520 calories! Imagine if you stick to this for the next 5 days in a week, how many calories you can stand to burn?

You see, you can certainly adjust the workout duration that best fits your lifestyle and daily activity to get rid of those extra pounds.


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How Fast Can I See Results From Rowing?

Well, if you give your full dedication and consistency in a rowing workout like any other cardio workout, you will notice positive results in a few weeks. Again, you will need some amount of time and is different for each person to see the desired outcome.

Work it up slowly to build a foundation of strength and endurance that focuses on the back posture and the upper back flexibility. This is a great base from a regular slow pace rowing until you are confident in increasing the intensity level of the workout.

Once the muscle mass and flexibility of the upper back are there, you are going to pull and row even harder for quicker maximum healthy weight loss and body toning.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Using A Rowing Machine?

It is always good to find out the advantages and drawbacks of a product before we enter the credit card numbers.

We need to know if that piece of workout equipment is a good fit to help our fitness goals.

A rowing machine is a low-impact workout that doesn’t strain much on your knee joints or ligaments, compared to a treadmill or indoor bike.

It is also a full-body workout targeting the most significant muscle groups, working out on the lower, upper, and core bodies.

You can burn more calories in the same amount of time as using a treadmill, indoor bike, or other workout equipment.

How about the drawbacks?

The risk of developing back pain or injury if you do not work out in a proper form with your body core.

The sounds produced by the water or air rowing machines can be extremely noisy and maybe annoying for some people nearby.

You will need enough space in your home for a rowing machine. If you have a smaller home, this could be a challenge as you need to extend your arms and legs in full when pulling and rowing.

Some of these rowers are non-foldable and difficult to move for storage if needed. Do consider this factor too, or if you need a portable or foldable rower.

My Overall Thoughts: Is Rowing Machine A Good Workout For Lose Weight And Toning

The fact rowing machine workout is indeed a low-impact workout, aerobic booster, effective for fat-burning, muscles strengthening and even has meditative healing effects for the body.

You can even mix this workout with other aerobic workouts such as walking, running, and jogging for a maximum healthy weight loss.

Always never fail to get advice from your healthcare expert or a personal trainer if you are not 100% sure, to begin with, a rowing machine or other fitness training.

So, do you think a rowing machine is a good consideration for an indoor workout?

You be the judge with this brief insight and I hope this helps you a lot.

Let me know in your comment below and I will reply within 24 hours.

Have Another Fabulous Exercise At Home!


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