I don’t know about you, upon recalling the first few times I stepped into the gym, I’ve always overlooked the rowing machine. In fact, it’s not a workout people talk about often. It’s usually “I’ll hit the treadmill” or “I’m going on the bike”. So, I decided to do some research and pit it against the common cardio workouts your average person does, so the next time you hit the gym you may consider the rowing machine as an asset in your cardio routine.
Now, let’s get this straight: rowing will burn less calories than running. Cycling seems to be the only activity that can burn as much calories as running can. A study has shown that a 150-pound person burns around 158 calories while rowing for 30 minutes at moderate pace and burns 181 calories in the same time running at a pace of 5mph. However, I believe that the other benefits of rowing are much more superior than this offset in calorie burning capabilities.
Rowing is considered a low-impact activity. This makes rowing a very easy exercise on your joints. This can be said about cycling as well. Running, though fine for most people, may not be suitable for some. Nobody hits the ground with the same force and foot planting, and for those who are on the heavier side, this excess force can really wear the cartilage in your joints down. If you’re worried whether you should pursue your running routine, do give this article a read. Rowing may be a good option if you have noticed pain in your knees while running.
Rowing helps build core strength. Assuming you’re maintaining good form throughout the motion, your core- abs and lower back should be engaged to ensure your posture remains neutral. You shouldn’t be throwing your body back and forth as this may lead to injury. Tips on proper rowing technique can be found here. Cycling does engage your core too as it helps stabilize the leg muscles as they work. Running too, for that matter. However, rowing, cycling, or running alone will not give you Zac Efron abs. You will need to incorporate direct ab workout alongside proper nutrition.
Rowing, however, does build the rhomboids in your shoulders, trapezius in the upper back, and the lats, which running, and cycling don’t. Strong back and shoulder muscles helps you develop good posture, which is healthier in the long run, and pleasing to look at. Overall, you get almost full body workout from rowing. Rowing enthusiasts claim rowing works more on your legs, especially the quadriceps, which are the font part of the thigh. As your feet are locked in place, your calves will feel the burn. Rowing machines can be hired online on a per week basis. if you can’t hit the gym or if you’re not to keen on buying one right off the bat.
Rowing does come with some cons, too. It may take some time for the average person to get the rhythm right. There were times where I went “Whoops, legs first!” Initially, much of your energy will be spent on focusing on the movement, when you can just hop on a bicycle and get a good workout in. If you’ve had a case of back injury, rowing might not be suitable for you. It’s wise to get advice from a certified medical professional before you start.
Overall, I do recommend incorporating rowing into your cardio work. Even if you’ve been running all your life, including a different routine does help to spice it up and keep you motivated. You may enjoy rowing just as much, and have one less lonely rowing machine in the gym.