The Best Workout for Your Rowing Machine

Are you looking for a workout to help you get the most out of your rowing machine? You’re in luck! This article will break down the best workout for your rowing machine and show you how to maximize your results.

Quick facts: Best Workout For Rowing Machine

  • ✅ Rowing Machine Workouts Can Help Improve Your Cardiovascular Endurance – Harvard Health Publishing
  • ✅ Rowing Machine Workouts can Help Strengthen Your Core Muscles – American Council on Exercise
  • ✅ 8-Week Rowing Machine Workout to Build Strength – Verywell Fit
  • ✅ Rowing Machine Workouts Can Help Improve Balance and Coordination – Men’s Health
  • ✅ Benefits of Rowing Machine Workouts – Livestrong

Warm Up

Warming up is an essential part of any workout routine and it’s especially important when it comes to using a rowing machine. Before beginning any rowing machine workout, it’s important to take some time to warm up and prepare your body for the exercise. This will help reduce the risk of injury and help ensure you get the most out of your rowing machine workout.

Let’s look at some warm up exercises you can do before jumping on the rowing machine:

Stretch your muscles

Before beginning any workout on a rowing machine, it’s important to stretch and warm up your muscles beforehand. Not only will this help avoid injury, but stretching after long periods of sitting and/or working out can help alleviate common post-workout soreness.

Dynamic stretching (stretches performed actively with movement) is the best way to stretch for rowing. Dynamic stretches include:

  • Arm circles
  • Hip circles
  • Walking lunges
  • Leg swings
  • Arm swings
  • Light jump squats

This helps get your body warm by increasing the temperature in your joints and muscles before moving onto a more intense workout. Stretching also increases blood flow to important areas of your body that are used during exercise like your arms, legs, and core.

Do a light cardio warm-up

Doing a light cardio warm-up before using the rowing machine is essential. This will help get your heart rate going, keep you limber, and increase circulation in your body. A few minutes of light jogging or a brisk walk can be good for this. Additionally, some dynamic stretching exercises can help warm up your major muscle groups and increase your range of motion for more efficient rowing technique.

Be sure to take some time to get accustomed to the rowing machine itself before getting started with it. Move the rower around and get used to how it feels before trying out any type of workout on it. Once you’re comfortable with the operation, then you can start incorporating different kinds of rowing workouts into your routine:

  • Light cardio warm-up
  • Dynamic stretching exercises
  • Getting accustomed to the rowing machine

Strength Training

Strength training is an important aspect of any workout routine, and it is especially important when using a rowing machine. Strength training focuses on increasing the strength of your muscles, improving their endurance, and making them better able to handle high-intensity exercise. Many strength training exercises can be done using a rowing machine, allowing you to gain the maximum benefit from your training.

Let’s take a look at some of the best exercises for a rowing machine:

Work your legs

Legs are the foundation for most rowing movements and a critical part of any rowing machine workout. To get the most out of your rower, you need to ensure you’re engaging muscles in your legs. Start by engaging your glutes and hamstrings with a one-minute warm-up of squats or lunges. Then move into a targeted strength routine that focuses on quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes – all while keeping your core engaged!

A range of different leg exercises can be performed on the rowing machine set to low resistance like:

  • Air squats
  • Jump squat holds
  • Knee drives
  • Toe taps

This helps build explosiveness and power in the legs so that when it is time to do a longer workout at higher intensity–you can feel confident in your performance!

Work your back

Working your back muscles is essential for rowing machine strength training. It’s a great way to target your upper body, and this type of exercise will give you a great workout for the whole body. Your back muscles are the biggest muscle group in your upper body and will benefit from this type of exercise.

Start with a few sets of rows using either dumbbells or bars. Focus on squeezing your lats as you row, and keep your core tight throughout the exercise. You can also try other exercises such as bent-over rows, lateral pulldowns, lat pull-downs, and cable rows to target different back muscles. All of these will increase strength and tone the back area while increasing overall performance on the rowing machine.

Be sure to do stretches before you begin any workout, as it can help prevent injuries while increasing flexibility.

Work your arms

Working your arms is an important part of any strength training program. When using a rowing machine, you can target your biceps, triceps, shoulders and back muscles.

  • To work your biceps use a narrow grip on the handle.
  • To work your triceps, widen your grip and extend further out. Drawing the elbows back at the end of the return stroke will help to target the shoulders and back muscles.

To maximize muscle gains during exercises that involve multiple joints or muscle groups, focus on controlling both the concentric (positive) and eccentric (negative) movement of each exercise. This helps to prevent imbalances in strength between one side of the body and another. It also helps to ensure efficient recruitment of all involved muscles for better results from each exercise.

Core Work

Core exercises are essential for any rowing workout routine. Core strength is important for helping to maintain good posture and to prevent injuries, especially in the lower back area. Good core strength also helps to generate more power and force when rowing.

Let’s look at some of the best core exercises for using your rowing machine:

Do planks

Planking is a great way of using a rowing machine to get your core muscles working. This simple exercise can be performed while seated on the rowing machine or while standing in front of it.

To perform a plank, imagine you are creating a plank position with your body by creating an imaginary line between your hands and feet. Start by hooking one foot onto the rowing machine’s footplate and then repeat with the other foot. Place your hands on the handles and squeeze them tightly. Now, use your abdominal muscles to pull back until a straight line is formed from head to toe, making sure that your neck and back remain aligned at all times. Maintain this position for 30 seconds, taking deep breaths in and out as you do so in order to keep your core muscles engaged throughout the duration of the exercise.

Do crunches

Crunches are a great way to help build core strength while using a rowing machine. They are also a great exercise to help warm up your body before and after you have used the rowing machine.

To do a crunch, start by lying face-up on the floor, with your legs bent, feet flat on the ground, and your hands behind your head. Then, slowly curl up from the ground until your shoulder blades are lifted off of the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds before returning back to your starting position. Aim to complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 crunches each time you use the rowing machine as part of your workout routine.

Incorporating crunches into other exercises such as planks or V-sits can help further increase core strength and stability while using the rowing machine.

Do sit-ups

Sit-ups are an important core workout that can be done on a rowing machine. Sit-ups strengthen the abdominal muscles as well as the hip flexors, both of which help to support the core and improve stability in the lower body. When you’re rowing, these muscles ensure your posture and movement is correct. Doing sit-ups on a rowing machine helps to keep your range of motion in check and puts less strain on your back compared to free hand exercises.

To do sit-ups on a rowing machine, start by placing your feet in the foot straps located near the rear end of your machine. Then slowly pull back on the handle while engaging your core muscles and keeping your abdominals tight. Make sure to keep good spinal alignment while doing this exercise, so you don’t end up straining or hurting yourself. As you come forward, return to the starting position while engaging your core again—and repeat until reaching exhaustion!


Cardio is an important part of any workout routine, and rowing machines are a great way to get your heart rate up. Rowing machines allow you to target different muscle groups while providing an intense cardio workout. As a result, they can help you burn calories and improve your cardiovascular fitness.

Let’s look at some of the best cardio workout options for your rowing machine:

Do interval training

Interval training is one of the most effective exercise methods that can be done using a rowing machine. This type of exercise involves performing quick bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. Interval training helps to increase your stamina, improve strength and conditioning, and burn fat quicker.

You can adjust the intensity of the intervals and customize them to fit your specific fitness goals. Usually, intervals last between 30 seconds to 2 minutes each with a rest period in between each set depending on your level of fitness. Interval training is an excellent way to get more out of your cardio routine and push yourself harder for better results!

Increase the resistance

When using a rowing machine, increasing the resistance can help you maximize your workout. Increasing the resistance on the rowing machine helps you build strength and stamina by making it more difficult to push against. There are two ways to increase the resistance – by increasing tension on the flywheel or increasing drag pressure.

  • By increasing tension on the flywheel, you will be able to feel more pressure as you row. The higher tension makes it necessary for your body to work harder with each stroke to maintain speed, intensity, and power.
  • Increasing drag pressure enables you to increase your speed since it increases air resistance, making it harder for your body to push though each stroke.

Increased resistance comes with increased caloric burn and exercise time efficiency, so adding resistance is a great way to make your workout more effective in less time!

Keep track of your performance

When using a rowing machine, it is important to track your performance to ensure you are making progress and reaching your goals. Keeping track of your performance on the machine will make it easier to monitor development and keep motivation levels high.

There are several methods that can be used to measure the intensity during each workout, such as heart rate monitor straps and pulse rate sensors. Additionally, tracking your performance data such as total distance, average speed/stroke rate, wattage, calories burned and splits (500m split times) can help you maximize your workouts over time. With rowing machines, you can set intervals or outdoor courses to challenge yourself more and push yourself further each time.

Cool Down

Cooling down after a rowing session is an important part of your workout and allows your body time to recover and your heart rate to return to normal. It is also a great opportunity to stretch out your sore muscles and promote overall flexibility.

Let’s take a look at some of the best cool down exercises for your rowing machine:

Stretch your muscles

Stretching your muscles after a rowing session is an important part of cooling down. This can help improve recovery time, reduce soreness and increase mobility. Start off by taking a few deep breaths to help the body relax into the stretch. Swing your arms in a circular motion or simply lift them up over your head and take a few big lunges to release tension in the legs and hips.

Focus on different muscle groups depending on the type of rowing session you have done. For example, after an endurance session, focus on dynamic stretches such as shoulder circles or arm swings which can help with shoulder mobility and overall flexibility. After an interval session, static stretching may be more beneficial to target certain muscle groups such as quads or hamstrings which will help with reducing post workout inflammation and tightness.

Do a light cardio cool-down

After completing your rowing workout, it’s important to do a cool-down. This helps your body gradually come back to a resting heart rate and helps prevent you from feeling dizzy or lightheaded. A cool-down can also help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.

For your rowing workout, try doing a light cardio cool-down like walking or jogging for 5–10 minutes at a slow pace. If you want to stretch out your muscles, try some simple dynamic stretches like arm circles or leg swings. Dynamic stretches are great for promoting flexibility, since they involve moving the muscle in different directions while keeping it slightly engaged. Cooling down after each rowing session will help your body recover faster so you can keep pushing yourself day after day!

Hydrate and refuel

After a tough rowing workout, it is important to rehydrate and refuel your body. Drinking plenty of water is essential for recovery, as it helps replenish lost fluids and reduce muscle soreness. After you have cooled down and stretched your muscles, be sure to eat a well-balanced meal that contains complex carbohydrates, good fats, and protein. This will help restore glycogen levels in your muscles and aid in the recovery process.

It is also recommended to consume a recovery snack such as a protein shake or smoothie within 45 minutes after exercising as this will help stimulate protein synthesis in the muscles and rebuild strength faster. Taking time to cool down appropriately after exercise will ensure you maximize your results from each session on the rowing machine while helping reduce injury risk.

FAQs about: Best Workout For Rowing Machine

Q: What is the best workout for a rowing machine?

A: The best workout for a rowing machine depends on your fitness goals. For general fitness, try rowing for 30 minutes at a moderate to vigorous intensity. For more intense exercise, try short intervals of high intensity rowing followed by low intensity rowing. You can also incorporate lower body exercises like squats and lunges into your rowing workouts.

Q: What muscles does a rowing machine work?

A: A rowing machine primarily works the muscles in your back, arms, and legs. Your back muscles, including your lats, traps, and rhomboids, are used to pull the handle toward your body. Your arms, particularly your biceps and triceps, are used to help stabilize the movement. Your legs, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, are used to push off the footplate.

Q: How often should I use a rowing machine?

A: The recommended frequency of use depends on your fitness goals. For general fitness and weight loss, it is recommended to use the rowing machine at least three to four times a week. For more intense training, aim for five to six times a week. Make sure to take at least one day off a week to give your body time to rest and recover.

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