Gym Workouts

10 Health Benefits Of Rowing Machine Exercises

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, Physiotherapist
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
10 Health Benefits Of Rowing Machine Exercises Hyderabd040-395603080 October 10, 2019

Rowing machine exercises are best for toning the upper body. Rowing for 10 minutes, two times a week, also helps lower the risk of chronic health issues. Want to know how? Keep reading!

10 Health Benefits Of Rowing Machine Workouts

1. Amazing Upper Body Workout

Rowing machine workout is great for strengthening and toning the upper body. It works on the lats, deltoids, traps, and rhomboids. As we all know, the better shape your upper back is in, the better any outfit fits you – be it a backless dress or your gym clothes!

2. Effective Calorie Burner

Rowing machine exercises are gasoline for stored fat. Ten minutes of a rowing machine workout burns 100-200 calories, depending on your body weight, intensity, and resistance used.

3. Aids Upper Back Fat Loss

Upper back fat is an indicator of more than just your eating habits. Hormonal problems that affect your metabolism are usually the reason some people tend to accumulate fat in the upper back region. Rowing machine exercises target your upper back. As a result, you end up shedding upper back fat and improving your metabolism.

4. Great Full Body Workout

Apart from working on your upper back muscles, rowing machine exercises also target your core, chest, biceps, forearms, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Therefore, you get a full body workout without having to hop from one machine to the other.

5. Increases Strength And Endurance

Rowing machine exercises help improve upper body strength and increase endurance (or stamina). Depending on the sets, reps, and resistance used, your muscles get used to the “rowing” movement and get stronger.

6. Great For Heart and Lungs

Rowing exercises help improve heart and lung function. Again, depending on the reps, sets, and resistance used for the exercises, you sweat and breathe in more oxygen, thus making your heart work harder to meet the oxygen demands.

7. Reduces The Risk Of Diseases

Upper body fat is closely related to various chronic diseases (1). Getting rid of upper body fat helps reduce the risk of developing these diseases.

8. Low-Impact Activity

Rowing exercises are great for people with joint pain. They are low impact and easy on the joints.

9. Improves Posture

When done correctly, rowing exercises help improve your posture. As a result, you look taller and add definition to your shoulders, upper back, and lower back.

10. Low Risk Of Injuries

Unlike lifting weights or running, rowing machine workouts have a low risk of gym injuries. Just make sure you do not add too much resistance. Add as much resistance that allows you to do 3 sets of 15 reps with ease. Add more resistance gradually as your strength increases.

These are the top 10 benefits of rowing exercises. Want to know how to do them? Here are 5 types of rowing exercises you can do using the same rowing machine.

5 Rowing Machine Workouts

1. Row Warm-Up

Row Warm-Up Pinit


Before you start a full rowing machine workout, you must warm up. Here’s how to do it.

How To Do
  1. Add low resistance. Sit on the rowing machine, hold the pulley’s handle with your hands extended, core engaged, and back straight.
  2. Place your legs on the leg rest. Keep them extended.
  3. Pull the handle to your chest. Do not move back or hunch your back.
  4. Slowly get your hands back to the starting position.
  5. Do this 5 times.
  6. Pull the handle and move forward as you extend your hands again.
  7. Do this 5 times.
  8. Pull the handle of the pulley and as you extend your hands again. Bend your knees and slide forward.
  9. Slide back as you pull the handle of the pulley.

2. Simple Rowing

How To Do
  1. Sit on the rowing machine and place your feet on the leg rest.
  2. Extend your arms and grab the handle firmly in your hands. Make sure your back is not hunched and your abs are tight.
  3. Push with your legs, straightening them until they are completely extended. Pull the handle with your extended arms at the same time.
  4. Lean back a little while keeping your arms extended.
  5. Pull the handle close to your chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades and do not lean back any further while doing so. Use your back muscles to pull the handle.
  6. Bend your knees and slide forward as you extend your hands.

3. Water Rower Workout

This is similar to the simple rowing exercise. There is just a slight difference in the machine design.

Here’s an inspiring video featuring Josh Crosby, World Champion Rower, doing this exercise!

4. Power Curls

How To Do
  1. Do the simple rowing exercise 3 times.
  2. When you go back and bring the handle close to your chest, curl your hands by flexing your elbows, just like you would while doing bicep curls.
  3. Release the curl and slide forward, bending your knees.
  4. Repeat the whole exercise 5-8 times.
  5. Sprints Or Extreme Rowing
How To Do
  1. In this exercise, you do the regular rowing exercise, but without taking the handle all the way back. Increase the speed of rowing while stopping in the Drive position.
  2. Do as many as you can in 1 minute.
  3. To intensify the exercise, you can increase the duration and speed of rowing.

Practice these five exercises to see a visible difference in your energy, appearance, and well-being.


Rowing machine workouts are excellent calorie burners. Do them two times a week to strengthen and condition your upper body. Get fit while having fun!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine?

Rowing machine workouts work on your core. So, yes, you might lose some belly fat. But remember, belly fat is stubborn. You might need to follow these tips to get rid of belly fat.

How long should you workout on a rowing machine?

Start with 10 minutes and increase the time and resistance as you build strength and stamina.

How many days a week should you use a rowing machine?

Two times a week is ideal for rowing machine exercises.

How does a rowing machine differ from a treadmill?

On the treadmill, you walk or run. It does not target your upper back muscles.

Can you lose weight on a rowing machine?

Yes, rowing machine workout is calorie burner, so you will lose upper back fat.


  1. Role of Body Fat Distribution and the Metabolic Complications of Obesity” The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, National Institute of Health.

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.