Improve Your Cardio With A Rowing Machine

Rowing machines are a great way to incorporate cardio into your workout if running isn't for you. There are different kinds of rowing machines that enhance the experience depending on how intense you want your workout to be and what fitness features you want to optimize.

When purchasing a rowing machine, you'll want to tailor your search accordingly to your needs. Each machine offers different resistance levels, unique ways to track your progress, and features that simulate a different type of on-the-water workout. 

At Northern Fitness, we are proud to offer a wide range of rowing machines. Shop from our selection today and find the perfect machine today, whether you're a professional rower or a fitness adventurer ready to take your workout to new lengths. 

What Is a Rowing Machine?

A rowing machine or indoor rower is an exercise machine that simulates the feel and physical benefits of on-the-water rowing. The workouts metrics will usually be available with the information displayed on the machine, tracking the user's progress in each session. 

This equipment can be for anyone who wants a good workout to improve cardiovascular health and strength. It's also for athletes who train for rowing competitions. Rowing combines strength training and cardio to build power and endurance within a shorter span than other workout machines.

Exercising on a rowing machine is excellent for all age groups and fitness levels because it's low impact. It's an aerobic workout that allows you to control how intense and comfortable the workout is to meet your needs and goals. 

How to Use a Rowing Machine Properly

The proper form for using a rowing machine breaks down into four parts called the rowing stroke. The four parts consist of: the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery. Each portion is essential for maintaining the proper form to guarantee a safe and efficient workout.

The Catch

This starting position occurs before the stroke begins. You want the body to be in a neutral position without any hunching to prevent injury and to feel the workout properly. 

  • Arms are straight with the head in a neutral position. Shoulders are levelled and should not be hunched.
  • The upper body leans forward from the hips with the shoulders positioned in front of the hips.
  • Shins should be as close to vertical as comfortable and should not move beyond the perpendicular position.
  • You can lift your heels as necessary.

The Drive

From the catch position, you can move into the drive, with your legs doing the work and the rest of the body remaining in place. 

  • The drive is started by pressing with your legs, then swinging back through a vertical position before getting to the arm pull.
  • Hands will move in a straight line to and from the wheel.
  • Shoulders should remain low and relaxed through this process.

The Finish

Here, the body begins to move down to build power for the thrust and prepares to move back to the starting position. 

  • The upper body will lean back slightly using the core muscles for support.
  • The legs will extend. Hold the handle slightly below the ribs.
  • Shoulders should be low with relaxed wrists and grip. Wrists should be flat.

The Recovery 

In recovery, the hands move away from the body and past the knees. The body then follows the lead of the hands and slides the seat forward, preparing for the next catch to begin. 

  • Extend your arms until they are straight in front of you before leaning from the hips toward the wheel.
  • Your hands will pass your knees before bending your knees to drive the seat forward.
  • Return to the catch position with relaxed shoulders and vertical knees before you move onto the next stroke and repeat this process.

Almost every part of the body is activated through these four stages to give you an effective yet low-impact workout that will yield results quicker than most other workout machines. 

What Muscles Does a Rowing Machine Work?

Rowing doesn't just work out your arms—it's a total body workout. This exercise engages the upper body and lower body for each stroke. The muscles in the legs do the most work during the drive of the stroke or when users push off the foot stretcher while the finish activates the upper body, but you can feel the burn in your whole body after a good workout. 

 The major muscle groups targeted by this workout include:

  • Calves
  • Glutes
  • Quadriceps

Muscles targeted in the upper body include:

  • Arms
  • Abdominal muscles
  • Pecs
  • Obliques

With the whole body moving in tune, users quickly strengthen and tone a wide range of muscles across the body and improve their endurance. Although it targets muscles throughout the body, the rowing machine is ideal for low-impact exercise, so users can burn calories without adding stress to their joints. 

How Many Calories Does a Rowing Machine Burn?

There is no exact number of calories that exercising on a rowing machine will burn. The intensity of the workout and the weight of each user will influence the total number of calories burned within the same time frame.

Keeping in mind that results will vary, users can expect to burn approximately 210 and 311 calories per half hour for a moderate rowing session. The higher your weight is, the more calories you will burn, so you get a boost when starting with your new rowing machine.

A more vigorous routine or higher resistance can bump the calorie count between 255 to 377 for a 30-minute session. Burning calories quickly through a low-impact exercise makes it easier to sustain an effective long-term routine that shows results and keeps you feeling motivated. 

How Long to Use a Rowing Machine For

Your goal and capability determine how long you should spend on the rower. If weight loss is your goal, start with 20-30 minute sessions. You want the workout to be consistent, but you need to factor in rest days, so you don't want to overdo it.

Spending less time per session but working out more often will be more effective in the long run than if you are too tired after a rigorous session to work out for the next few days. Working out on the rowing machine may be exhausting if you are just starting, so it's important to pace yourself as you gain momentum. 

How Often to Use a Rowing Machine

If your goal is to complete 20-30 minute sessions, you should use the rowing machine once a day between four to six days a week. This frequency will vary depending on your goal and fitness level. 

Consistency is critical when starting a new workout regime. Losing weight and building up strength relies on continuous activation of the muscles. You want to work out frequently enough to develop and tone the targeted muscles and see progress every week. 

Adjust your workout duration and frequency according to how your body is feeling, your goals, and where you are at with progress. 

Where to Buy a Rowing Machine

You can purchase a rowing machine and various fitness equipment and accessories from Northern Fitness directly in-store or through our online store. Northern Fitness offers a range of rowing machines so that you can experience a full-body workout from the comfort of your own home. 

This machine can help you tone muscles and burn calories while making you feel like you're outside in the water through the various on-the-water rowing simulation options. Experience the sensation of rowing in your home today and shop our fine selection of the best rowing machines.