are rowing machines good cardio

Are Rowing Machines Good Cardio?

Hi there! Today, I want to talk about something I think you will find both interesting and surprising.

To your question whether rowing machines provide a good cardiovascular exercise, my answer is a resounding Yes! It’s not only an effective cardio workout, it’s also a low-impact and full-body exercise.

In case you are new here, I’m Kathleen. I hurt my back a few years ago, and it took my entire exercise routine in another direction.

It’s been a fascinating journey, filled with surprises, and although back pain is NOT fun, I’m almost glad that it happened. I have discovered so much that I never would have even thought about had I not been forced to change my life and my way of thinking.

OK, so here’s where we get down to the nitty-gritty.

You know you need cardiovascular exercise, right? Your cardiovascular health is super important for many reasons, including losing or maintaining your weight and keeping the old ticker and lungs in good working order to name a few.

However, if you’re like most people, you don’t have 3 or more hours a day to get in cardiovascular training and then strength training and stretching.

This means that you want to find the best cardiovascular exercise machine so you can get everything done in a single workout.

I thought I would never, ever ditch my beloved treadmill, but after I injured my back, I was forced to look at things from a different perspective.

In today’s article, I want to share with you all the fascinating facts that I discovered so that you can benefit from the information as well.

Ready? Let’s talk rowing VS running!

Which Is Better a Treadmill or a Rowing Machine?

are hydraulic rowing machines good for cardio workouts

I like to get right down to brass tacks, friends.

First, let’s look at a shortlist of the benefits of running, a very popular form of cardiovascular exercise whether outdoors or on a treadmill.

Let’s face it, there’s not much to it! Put on some shoes, play some tunes, and get your feet in motion!

Running is so easy, there’s almost no learning curve involved. It’s a great way to destress, lose or maintain your weight, and if you add sprints, you have one incredible cardiovascular exercise!

Rowing also has multiple benefits.

Like running, rowing is a fantastic way to lose or maintain weight, it is a very effective form of cardiovascular exercise, and many people find the rhythm of rowing to be very relaxing.

Rowing is also low-impact, which means it won’t hurt your joints, and a rowing machine will work both the upper body and lower body at the same time.


If you haven’t picked up on the fact that rowing machine benefits far outweigh running, let me speak more plainly:

  1. Rowing works more muscles. While running has many benefits, it does nothing for the upper body. Rowing is a full-body workout that also incorporates some strength training into the workout. Want those 6-pack abs? Rowing can get you there. You can’t say that about running.
  2. Rowing is low-impact. For those with bad knees (learn more), painful hips, arthritis, or other health problems, running is nothing short of a painful endeavor. Meanwhile, rowing is easy on the joints. There are few other machines that can offer that!
  3. Rowing burns just as many calories as running. That, plus you get other benefits that you won’t get no matter how long you run.

I still enjoy running from time to time. When I can’t use my rowing machine, you might find me running down some trails or using a treadmill, but after I discovered all the things that rowing could do for me, I exchanged my treadmill time with rowing machine time!

Why spend time doing an upper body workout after you go running when you can get both an upper and lower body workout in less time? This is a real no-brainer for me!

I still have my weight set and weight bench in my garage, but I use those on my rest days, not on a nearly daily basis as I used to.

How Long Is a Good Workout on a Rowing Machine?

are rowing machines good for you to work out on

The answer to this will depend on your current fitness level, your fitness goals, and whether you want to lose weight or maintain your weight.

Generally speaking, most people find that 20-30 minutes spent on rowing machine workouts provides them with weight control and cardiovascular fitness.

If you want to lose weight, you may want to spend 30-45 minutes on a rowing workout.

Click Here to Read More on: Rowing Machines for Heavy People!

Beginners may find that they get exhausted after only 10 or 15 minutes, but that is completely normal. Commit yourself to rowing for as long as you can most days, and you will become stronger over time.

I remember feeling like such a failure when I first started rowing. I was only able to do 10 or 15 minutes before I found myself wheezing like a freight train going uphill.

I didn’t give up, however. I kept at it, adding 3 minutes each week, and before I knew it, I was looking like an indoor rowing machine expert.

Well, maybe not an expert, but at least I didn’t wheeze like an old car anymore!

Give yourself time and your cardiovascular endurance will improve, and your rowing workout will also.


Are Rowing Machine Workouts a Good Way to Lose Weight?

Rowing can burn as much as 600-900 calories an hour, depending on your current weight, how hard you work out, your age, and other factors.

are water rowing machines good for cardio?

If you want a crazy good cardio workout that works all the major muscle groups and burns calories like a furnace, then you are going to love a rowing workout.

This total body workout may take you a bit of time to learn how to do the strokes correctly, but it’s always good to learn something new, right?

It’s really not that difficult to learn either. Once I discovered that rowing targeted multiple major muscle groups so I didn’t really need to do additional weight training, I found it hard to get interested in other cardio machines.

To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. Rowing burns hundreds of calories per hour while working your upper and lower body at the same time. Try and find even one exercise machine that can offer you all of that, along with such good cardio.

A rowing workout is a great exercise that offers full-body benefits you simply can’t get with other exercise machines.

If your weight loss efforts haven’t really responded to other workouts, try rowing. It may change your life forever!

Click to See:  Best Rowing Machines for Seniors & Elderly

What Is a Good Cardio Workout at Home?

A good cardio workout is the one you will actually do, not the one you sit and watch on television or the machine that ends up as a giant doorstop.

If you’re only interested in cardio, there are tons of machines for that. The only thing you need to concern yourself with is which machine you enjoy, how much space you have, and how much money you can comfortably spend for a piece of exercise equipment.

are Air Rowers good for cardio?

You can get a good cardio workout and improve your cardiovascular health by using ellipticals or a treadmill, and even stair climbers offer cardio benefits.

Rowing machines are unique in that they give you a full-body workout and build muscle, which is something many other machines can’t do.

As long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort, almost any cardio machine will work out well for you at home.

Nordictrack Rower vs Hydrow – How do they Compare?

The Final Takeaway – Are Rowers Good for Cardio?

The TL:DR version here is rowing is superior to treadmills because, while both offer a great cardio workout and burn calories, rowing works the entire body and is low impact.

I still own a treadmill, and I have a set of weights in my garage. However, my indoor rowing machine has become one of my favorite cardio machines.

I love the benefits of rowing and rowing workouts are really fun!

If you love your treadmill, there is no reason for you to stop using it, but if you want to shake up your exercise routine and take advantage of the benefits of rowing, you should see if your local gym has an indoor rower that you can try.

I bet once you get the hang of the actual mechanics of rowing, you’re going to agree with me that rowing is just plain fun!

Eat healthy and have fun because life is too short for anything else!