Do Rowing Machines Provide A Full Body Workout?

When it comes to full-body workouts, there are a few different options, from burpees and pushups to almost any aerobic exercise. However, there is a particular aerobic exercise in question for this article. That being rowing on a rowing machine. Do rowing machines provide an actual full-body workout?

When it comes to rowing machines, they are probably the best form of full-body workouts for many reasons. First, properly using a rowing machine will use up to 83 to 85% of the muscles in your body. Besides, rowing is an aerobic exercise, which essentially means that it is incredible at burning fat and toning your body.

As you continue to read this article, it will go more in-depth on the benefits of using a rowing machine. Along with that, it will also describe how to properly use a rowing machine to get the most out of your workout.

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How To Get A Full Body Workout On A Rowing Machine?

If you are looking to use a rowing machine to get a full-body workout, there is one thing you need to keep in mind at all times. That being the proper rowing technique. 

Without rowing properly, you are drastically reducing the number of muscles you are working out in your body. Not only that, but you might also be increasing your risk of injury if you are not using the correct posture on a rowing machine.

The proper way to row on a rowing machine is relatively simple. There are only three steps to the entire process. However, while it is easy to learn, it may take you some time to master the technique completely.

The three steps to rowing are as followed:

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  • The Catch Position: Also known as the starting position, the catch is where you will start and finish every row you do. To sit in the catch position correctly, you will need to sit on the seat on the rail and put your feet on the footpads.

    While you are sitting down, keep your knees at a 90-degree angle perpendicular to the floor. Something else to keep in mind is to keep your whole foot on the footpad. Keeping your entire foot on the footpad provides a better grip and allows you to use more of your legs for power.

    Keep your arms straight out in front of you while holding the bar. Keep your back as straight as possible while leaning forward until your shoulders are past your hips.
  • The Drive: The drive is where you are going to be experiencing everything this workout can provide. Start by engaging your core muscles and pushing and fully extending your legs.

    Once your legs are fully extended, you will need to lean back until your back forms a 45-degree angle with the floor. Then you will need to pull in with your arms until the bar is close or is touching your body just below your ribs.
  • The Recovery: Once you have completed the drive, you will need to essentially reverse the entire process until you return to the catch position. To do this, first, start by extending your arms until they are straight.

    Then you will need to lean forward until your shoulders are past your hips. Finally, begin to raise your knees until you are sitting in the catch position.

With those three steps, you will have completed a single row. Repeat this process as long as you want, and remember to take breaks. 

Some Advice To Help You Out

As previously stated, while the rowing technique is simple to learn, it will take some time to master. 

However, a tip to getting the rowing technique is just as simple. When you start your workout on a rowing machine, take a few minutes to slowly go through the above steps. 

Do this for about ten reps each time you row. Eventually, you will build up muscle memory, which will lead to mastering this technique.

There is another bit of advice when it comes to learning to row properly on a rowing machine. A lot of beginners tend not to engage their core correctly when starting. If you want to see if you are correctly using your core muscles in this exercise, unstrap your feet from the footpads and set your feet on top of them. 

You will then proceed with a few reps on the rowing machine. If you find yourself flying off of the device, then you are relying too much on the straps to keep you in place. Depending on the straps entails that you are not entirely using the muscles in your body’s core. 

When you are training yourself to use a rowing machine and making sure you are preparing and using your core muscles during the exercise, take time to do some reps without the foot straps. Doing this in some of your routines will help you use your core more on a rowing machine. In addition, practicing without the foot straps will help you get more out of your workout and get more of a full-body exercise.

The Major Benefits Of Using A Rowing Machine

When it comes to rowing on a rowing machine, you can expect to gain quite a few benefits from it. In this section, we will be discussing many of these benefits below.

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1. Rowing Is A Fantastic Way To Lose Weight

Suppose your primary exercise goal is to lose weight. In that case, there is possibly no better option than learning to use a rowing machine. Rowing machines are one of if not the best forms of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercises are an exercise that increases heart rate, blood flow, and oxygen intake. 

Because of this, you can expect to sweat away tons of calories during this exercise. An average person rowing at a respectable rate can expect to lose anywhere between 500 to 800 calories per hour on a rowing machine. Of course, the number of calories you burn during this exercise can vary depending on the person’s weight and the intensity of the workout.

For instance, a heavier person rowing at the same respectable rate can expect to be closer to 800 calories an hour, perhaps even higher. Another example is the rate at which you are rowing and the amount of resistance you set on the machine. These can also increase the number of calories you are burning every hour on a rowing machine.

2. An Amazing Full Body Workout

Due to the natural movements you use when rowing, you use upwards of 83% of your body during this exercise. Rowing is excellent for a few different reasons. Firstly, you can use a rowing machine for the entirety of your workout. Because you are using just about your whole body for this workout, it can be sufficient to be the only thing you do. 

Continuing on that point, many people also use a rowing machine as a pre-workout warm-up. It is excellent for stretching your body out. In addition, because it is one of the best aerobic exercises, it will increase the blood flow to most of your body. 

Rowing allows your muscles to be more prepared for the upcoming weight lifting and any other activities you plan on doing, including other aerobic exercises like running, swimming, and cycling.

3. It Is A Great Way To Boost Your Mental Health

Everyone should know that working out, in general, is a fantastic way to boost your overall mood, and rowing is not an exception to this. Working out in any capacity will release endorphins in your brain.

These endorphins will do quite a few things for you, including:

  • Boosting your mood making you feel better in general throughout the day
  • It Will help combat depression
  • Make you feel more motivated to do other things.
  • Reduce the likelihood of suffering from stress

4. Vastly Improve Your Stamina And Endurance

Because of the type of exercise rowing is, over time, you will see yourself being able to do all sorts of other activities for longer periods before tiring out. Using a rowing machine will also vastly improve your performance while doing other aerobic exercises. 

This is mainly due to what aerobic activities do for your body as it works as a workout for your cardiovascular system. This will allow your body to perform better at transporting oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.

5. Rowing Reduces The Risk Of Chronic Diseases

Once again, rowing can drastically reduce the likelihood of some chronic diseases due to rowing being an aerobic workout and all of the benefits of aerobic exercises coming with it. 

Aerobic activities like rowing work to strengthen your heart, increase blood flow and oxygen throughout your body, and increase your heart rate during the exercise. 

This works to combat multiple diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes and reduces the likelihood of a stroke.

Another side effect of aerobic exercises due to the increased blood flow and oxygen is that it will strengthen your immune system, thus reducing the likelihood of becoming sick. All of this happens because rowing helps increase the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Are Rowing Machines Good At Developing Muscle?

While any kind of exercise can increase the amount of muscle that you have, they mainly do so in varying amounts. Even though a rowing machine can build muscle, it works more as a cardio workout. That means rowing will not be as effective at building muscle as lifting weights. 

That being said, you can still build muscle on a rowing machine by increasing the rowing machine’s resistance. But this still comes as an afterthought. Rowing machines are much better at increasing your overall stamina and endurance for other workouts or just in general.

However, rowing machines are very good at losing weight while also being good and toning your body. This will allow your muscles to show more through your skin.

For example, you might have some pretty strong abdominal muscles, but you might have a thin layer of fat above them which is not making them show as much as you would like. Adding some time to a rowing machine during your workout routine will help you solve that problem.

Final Thoughts

There are many types of full-body workouts, like burpees, pushups, and lunges. However, no exercise works out more for your body than rowing. If you want a proper full-body workout, look no further than rowing on a rowing machine.

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