Increase Your Physical Fitness With Rowing

You want to lose some weight. You plan to train often and hard. But are you going to train smart? Are you going to spend hours trying to burn fat on cardio equipment like the treadmill or elliptical? 

Stop right there!

Do you see that rowing machine that nobody ever uses? Get on it and get to work.

Rowing is a Full-Body Workout

The rowing machine, also known as an ergometer (or “erg”), gives the body a full body workout. Executed properly the rowing motion activates the muscles of the legs, core, and arms. It also provides cardio and resistance training in one exercise.  Rowing is a low impact exercise ideal for overweight people as well as those prone to impact-induced joint and back problems.

This does not mean you should abandon the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bicycle.  They all have their place in a well-designed fitness program, but substituting a rowing session for a treadmill session once a week will make your exercise program more effective.

Why Full-Body Exercise is Important

Full-body exercise mimics the way we move in real life, outside the gym. Full-body workouts force your stabilizer and neutralizer muscles to activate. Those muscles help you stand, sit, twist, hit a golf ball, or throw a baseball. They also help you avoid falls and prevent back injuries when lifting heavy objects. Rowing and other full body exercises help your core become stronger and better prepared for nearly any activity.


The Health Benefits of Rowing

1. Muscular Endurance:

Muscular endurance refers to the ability to perform movements for extended periods of time without fatigue. It is an important characteristic of overall physical fitness and has implications for everyday life. Standing for long periods of time, walking distances, stair climbing, bicycling, and playing sports are examples of activities requiring muscular endurance. People lacking adequate muscular endurance tire quickly, often have poor posture, and are more susceptible to injury.

2. Enhanced Respiratory Function:

Rowing is an aerobic activity requiring your cardio-respiratory system to work hard to take in and absorb large quantities of oxygen. Using a rowing machine on a regular basis strengthens your respiratory function by strengthening your respiratory muscles--your diaphragm and intercostals--and increases the oxygen processing ability of your lungs.

3. Improved Core Strength:

Pulling too much with the arms and shoulders is a common mistake made by novice rowers. Proper rowing form emphasizes driving through the stroke with your legs and body core. The arms are practically along for the ride.  About 80% of the physical workload of rowing is on the legs and core. Core strength is the foundation for nearly every movement we make. Improved core strength improves your balance and ability to support loads. It does not matter how strong your chest and arms might be; you cannot lift or carry a load your core cannot support.

4. Reduces Bone Density Loss:

Unlike most cardio equipment, rowing machines allow you to increase the resistance load.  According to the National Institute of Health, weight-bearing exercise is thought to provide the stimuli or "loading" important for the maintenance and improvement of bone health. Rowing, and other resistance training exercises reduce help keep your bones strong and reduce the potential for osteoporosis.

5. Improved Heart Function:

Like all aerobic exercises, rowing is good for your cardiovascular health. It strengthens the heart muscle and also helps to maintain the elasticity of your blood vessels and keep them clear of obstructions-essential factors in maintaining healthy blood pressure.

6. Weight-loss/Maintenance:

Rowing is an ideal exercise for those interested in healthy weight-loss or weight-loss maintenance.  As stated earlier rowing is a full-body exercise utilizing several major muscle groups. The aerobic nature of rowing raises the heart rate and helps burn fat, while the resistance load maintains lean muscle tissue.  Maintaining muscle is an important factor in weight loss because lean tissue burns more calories than fat.  As you increase the percentage of lean muscle in your body, you are also raising your metabolism and increasing your body’s ability to efficiently burn fat.

A Note Regarding Fat Burning

Like all cardio exercises, rowing is most effective in weight-loss/fat burning situations when performed in high-intensity intervals rather than in long steady-state cardio sessions and has been shown to burn almost double the amount of calories than in a spin class.

An effective weight-loss and fitness program should include a variety of different exercises and movements. Keep your body guessing about what is coming next.  A rowing machine is a great tool as part of your overall fitness program.

But it is just a tool. 

In the end…it is all up to you.

Never tried rowing before and want to? Did you know we offer a 1 WEEK TRIAL? Click here to get started or share with a friend.

Megan Cooper