How to Calculate Distance Rowed on a Rowing Machine?

Rowing machines are well known for providing a full-body workout with little to no impact implications. Also, the rowing machine is pretty much the only piece of indoor exercise equipment that affords this kind of workout. It requires the use of large groups of upper and lower body muscle for each repetition. And not only are rowing machines good for increasing your strength, they provide a good cardiovascular workout as well. However, not all rowing machines are created equally. Many people have found that although their rowing machine may measure calories burned, strokes per minute, and time spent rowing, they have a difficult time figuring out the distance they would have covered had they been rowing on the water. If you want to know how to calculate distance rowed on a rowing machine, we’ve put together a few methods of estimating this calculation.

Variables When Calculating Distance Rowed on A Rowing Machine

If you’re trying to calculate the distance rowed on a rowing machine that doesn’t feature that type of measurement on its display, you will soon find that there are a few variables that complicate a simple estimation. We’ll cover these here:

Stroke Power and Calories Burned

You may be tempted to simply estimate that each stroke you take will allow you to travel a certain distance. For example, 10 metres per stroke. However, this doesn’t take into account that the strength of your stroke will vary over time and will very likely get weaker the longer you row. A simple estimation like this also doesn’t take into the account the amount of power that’s put into each stroke. This is where the number calories burned during your session will come into play. Although it won’t directly tell you the distance you’ve rowed, it gives you the amount of energy you&’ve expended over the course of your session. This will give you an element of an equation that can allow you to figure out the distance you’d have covered.


Knowing how long you’ve been rowing will be the other element you’ll need to know to calculate the distance you’ve rowed. This measurement is available on pretty much every rowing machine’s display panel, but if not, it’s simple enough to time yourself using a clock or stopwatch.

Distance Rowed

To figure out the amount of distance rowed (D), you need to know the number of calories burned per hour (C) and the amount of time you’ve been rowing in seconds (T).

The formula is as follows:

D = (C-300) / 9.6367 )1/3 * T

So, for example, if C = 805 and T = 1800 then D will work out to 6736.

Other Methods for Calculating Distance Rowed

Using the above equation requires that your rowing machine gives you the relevant information and you’re confident enough to do the required math. But there may be other ways to figure out the distance you would’ve rowed had you been on the water. Unfortunately, very few rowing machines actually yield this information on their display panel. However, if it’s important for you to know the distance traveled, you may want to seek out a machine that calculates this for you.

Beyond that you’ll need to use the services of an online calculator. A quick search will give you options for a few different types of distance calculating services. These require varying types of raw data which you should be able to retrieve from your rowing machine display panel. This data could include power (in Watts), stroke rate (strokes per minute) and the above used time and calories burned. It appears that websites are coming up with different types of ergonomic calculators all the time, so it pays to keep searching for these types of innovations until you find one that works well for your purposes.

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