Benefits of Rowing Machines Vs Other Cardio Machines

Rowing Machine, Exercise Bike, Treadmill, or Elliptical Trainer?

When it comes to choosing a type of exercise equipment to focus on it can become a daunting task. Nobody wants to choose a rubbish piece of equipment that will fall apart and not help them get the most out of their fitness routine. There are so many questions that need to be asked when it comes to deciding what exercise gear to purchase and use. Not everyone has access to a personal trainer and lack some of the basic knowledge when it comes to choosing the right exercise equipment, so questions most certainly need to be asked. Just don’t decide one day to buy a treadmill to lose some stomach fat without asking questions! I’m here to shed some light on some of the questions you may have based on my experience, opinions, and scientific facts.

Oh, and I’ll let it be known right now that I love rowing machines and I’m going to talk them up… and of course explain why.

What are some of the rowing machine benefits?

A lot of people tend to instantly go with the hype and pick what is currently popular. I see the average person who isn’t a fitness buff say things like, “I really need to get a treadmill and lose some weight.” or “I think I’ll pick up an exercise bike and burn some calories.” I very rarely hear anyone new to fitness say they are thinking about purchasing a rowing machine (also known as a rower). It seems people just go after what is commonly known, like treadmills, exercise bikes, and to a lesser demand elliptical machines. Now don’t get me wrong, all three of those are great and certainly better than nothing, but what about a rowing machine? Why isn’t it getting a popular eye?

Let’s first compare the top three cardiovascular (cardio) based exercise equipment. Exercise Bikes, Treadmills, and Elliptical Machines. All three give you a cardiovascular workout, but which one will burn more calories? Let’s compare.

Exercise Bikes Vs. Rowing Equipment

If you are 170 lbs and use an exercise bike moderately for 60-minutes you can burn up to 570 calories. Exercise bikes are great for cardio and are a smart addition to any sort of diet or strength building plan.

Treadmills Vs. Rowing Equipment

Treadmills are easily one of the most common pieces of exercise equipment. If you are 170 lbs and were to use a treadmill for 60-minutes running at 5 mph on a 0% incline you could burn 670 calories. Keep in mind that treadmills do not offer a low impact workout and are hard on knees and joints.

Elliptical Machines Vs. Rowing Equipment

If you were to use an elliptical machine for the same 60-mintues at a moderate resistance you could burn 525 calories, this is also assuming you are 170 lbs. Elliptical trainers are considered a lower impact workout and are better for those with bad knees, joints, etc.

Of the three “common” exercise equipment the elliptical machine offers the lowest calorie burn rate. However all three are pretty close when it comes down to it. Each piece of equipment have their little pros and cons, like lower impact workouts and sitting vs. standing. Now let us take a look at rowing machines.

How Many Calories can Rowing Machines Burn?

If you use a rowing machine for 60-minutes and are 170 lbs like in the previous examples, you’ll burn 688 calories with moderate effort. Do you notice all three are pretty close seem to when it comes to burning calories? However, calories are not everything when choosing exercise equipment. Here are some great reasons to choose a rowing machine over any other cardiovascular workout equipment.

Cardiovascular workout: A rowing machine will raise your heart rate and increase oxygen uptake. This will help build stamina and improve your lungs. It’s going to just plain make you feel better overall. A rowing machine in my opinion does this better than any other cardio exercise equipment. I always feel much better afterwards when compared to running on a treadmill. This is because a treadmill will spend more energy to use.
Burning calories: Rowing machines and treadmills both have about the same calorie burn rate, but as mentioned before, a treadmill is a high impact method to burn calories. Some people, if they have bad knees, can’t even use a treadmill. I’m not here to bash running, running is great and I still love to run… just not on a treadmill. I’d much rather use a rowing machine for calorie burn and gain all of the extra bonuses they offer.
Low risk: Rowing machines workouts are low impact, putting minimal stress on the joints and keeping the risk of injuries low. There’s no risk of falling because you are seated and provided you are using proper rowing form your lower back will not be strained.
Upper and lower body workout: My favorite benefit and what tips the scale is how much extra conditioning for the upper and lower body a rowing machine gives the user. You work the rhomboids, lats, biceps, trapeziums, pecs, abs, quads, calves, hands, wrists, and buttocks. That is like a full body workout right there! If I’m spending an hour a day using an aerobic piece of exercise equipment then I might as well use a rowing machine and get all these extra benefits.

Summary: Choose a Rower? Yes!

Rowing equipment is gaining in popularity, but they are still put on the back shelf when someone looking to buy exercise equipment is bombarded by treadmills, exercise bikes, and elliptical machines at retailers. I think once common knowledge spreads and it’s understood how much more of a benefit a rower can be, then people will hop on the bandwagon.

Rowers are affordable and offer a full body workout with minimal impact. They burn more calories than the other top three cardio machines. Using a rowing machine for 60-minutes a day will not only drop pounds off of you, but will also tone your body. You won’t be the hulk, but you can gain nice muscle tone. I can’t think of any reason to not want these extra benefits. I should also mention that using a rowing machine is fun and therapeutic. I always feel better and never feel like I’ve been brutally beat after my workout. The only pain you’ll feel is the next day, that great sore pain that let’s you know it’s working. I stay thin, in shape, feel great, and I can do it all in front of my TV! If you are in the market for a cardio workout machine, then please consider a rowing machine first. I don’t think you’ll regret it.