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What Muscles Does a Rowing Machine Work?

Depending on the exercises you do regularly, you may find that certain body parts are getting worked harder than others.  Walking or jogging doesn’t require too much work by the upper body, while simply doing pushups isn’t going to give your legs much of a workout.  Finding a total body workout may not be as easy as it appears.  But what about rowing machines?  What muscles does a rowing machine work?  In this article we’ll go over the various muscle groups affected by the exercise as well as some of the other benefits of using a rowing machine.

What Muscle Groups Does A Rowing Machine Work?

Rowing provides a great overall body workout.  Using a rowing machine can condition and strengthen most of the major muscle groups in both the upper and lower body as well as the core.  In the upper body, using a rowing machine will affect the biceps, triceps, deltoids, pectoral muscles and the muscles of the upper back and chest.  In the lower body, the rowing machine will strengthen and condition the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles.  And the core muscles affected include the abdominal muscles, the lats and the obliques.  As you can see, there’s quite a wide range of muscle involvement.  There aren’t many more exercises that can utilize all these muscle groups at the same time.

A Cardiovascular Workout

Due to the large number of muscle groups employed during a rowing machine workout, rowing requires more aerobic capacity than most other exercises.  Your heart rate is increased, your blood flow is accelerated, and your breathing rate goes up.  Cardiovascular workouts are important for the strength of your heart, for improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure and blood sugar levels.  More generally speaking, regular cardiovascular exercise can diminish chronic pain, improve sleeping patterns, bolster the immune system and enhance the mood.  If this list alone isn’t enough to get you onto a rowing machine, keep reading!

Increased Strength and Endurance

Regular rowing machine exercise will not only strengthen your muscles, but it’ll also improve your endurance as well.  Rowing combines cardio with strength training that results in a stronger, more overall conditioned body.  You can also adjust the resistance that a rowing machine provides.  As your physical fitness improves, you can keep things challenging by ramping up the difficulty. 

Help with Weight Loss Efforts

Rowing is a tremendous burner of calories.  It ranks as one of the top exercises in the calorie burning department.  As a high intensity exercise, it uses far more energy than jogging, swimming or cycling.  A lot of this has to do with the large number of muscle groups involved, but the fact that rowing involves dynamic, extended motions that begin in the legs, move up through the core and into the arms means that these muscle groups fire in a coordinated pattern that travels through the entire body.  If you’re looking for a single exercise that’s incredibly calorie dependent, rowing is where it’s at.

A Low Impact Workout

Rowing is almost a completely impact free workout.  The motions used are smooth and don’t involve pounding the ground like running or aerobics classes often do.  Because you’re sitting, a lot of stress is taken off the lower body making it an ideal exercise for those with issues with their weight.  The force of the movements is pretty much equally distributed over the entire body while putting surprisingly little stress on the joints.  Maintaining proper form also reduces risk to the back.  Rowing can be a good exercise for those recovering from certain forms of surgery or injury.

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