This post contains links that we may earn a small commission for at no cost to you read more
Hi everyone! You might think that today’s article applies only to men, but that is SO not true! I want to talk about chest muscles, commonly known as pectorals or simply pecs, and how you can get larger stronger ones.
Yes, ladies, let me tell you that if you want perkier boobs that look bigger than they really are, or you want to fight chest sag, this article is for you as well. The pectoral muscles support the boobs, so you’ll definitely want to read this article.
Gentlemen know that a big chest is an attractive feature, but if you think that lifting weights is the only way to gain that Arnold Schwarzenegger look, think again!
Let’s talk about how using a rowing machine can help you gain muscle mass in the chest and shoulder area faster than you can swat a bug!
Table of Contents
Does Rowing Build the Upper Body?
This is an excellent question, and I like the way it was phrased.
Many women think that building up the chest will decrease breast size, but this is 100 percent false! Your breasts are made up of fat and glandular tissue. If your boob size becomes smaller once you start working out, it’s because you’ve lost weight, not because your pectoral muscles became larger.
While rowing is a full-body workout, it also works nearly all the upper muscle groups, including the pecs, but mostly the shoulders and upper back muscles called the trapezius muscles or traps.
When your shoulders and traps are stronger, your chest is ready for a real workout. In short, this means that rowing will improve the muscles supporting your chest and stimulate the chest muscles to grow larger as well.
However, rowing won’t give you massive pecs but will allow you to grow big pecs if you want to. You might want to try some resistance training (weight lifting or resistance bands) on your off days if you want to grow a super big chest.
For overall cardiovascular fitness, strong muscles, and large (but not massive) chest muscles, you can’t beat a rowing machine.
Is There a Better Cardio Machine for Building Chest Muscle?
No, not really.
You can use other popular machine-based exercises similar to a rower, but you still won’t get a bodybuilder’s chest unless you lift weights. It’s all a matter of how big of a chest you want.
If rowing isn’t your thing, you might want to try some an elliptical because it uses a pulling motion similar to what you do on a rowing machine.
For something really different, you can try the Teeter Power10. This is a rowing elliptical offering a tremendous workout for the chest, as well as a full-body workout that is dynamite!
Rowing and ellipticals will definitely work the muscle groups in the upper body, but for building muscle for a larger chest, you will need to do at least some strength training.
See the Teeter Power10 Elliptical Rower in Action in Our Video:
Does Rowing Burn Chest Fat?
It absolutely does.
I’ve said this in other posts, but let me repeat it here – you cannot spot-reduce fatty areas.
Your body will store fat over the entire body, choosing where it will keep fat and where it will burn fat first. It seems random, but I’m sure if we could ask our bodies why it was burning fat in our face first and not our belly, it would make perfect sense.
To burn fat and lose weight, you need to do cardio aerobic exercise and create a calorie deficit.
One of the best cardio workouts you can do is by exercising on a rowing machine 20-30 minutes each day for at least 5 days per week. The rowing motion or rowing stroke works your core muscles, leg muscles (both front and back), as well as all nine different muscle groups in your your body.
The best thing about doing rowing machine workouts is that you don’t only burn calories and lose weight like crazy, but you also build new muscles on the lower body and the upper body.
Don’t forget the healthy diet part because losing weight involves burning fat with regular aerobic exercise AND cutting calories in the food you consume.
Does a Rowing Machine Help You Gain Muscle?
You bet your grits it does!
Have you ever seen some of those Olympic rowing champions? Yummy!
You can use rowing machines as your main source of exercise and then do resistance training on your off days for a great workout plan that will really build some major muscle.
Whether you want to slim and ton those upper arms, get some serious weight loss going on, or if you want to work those abdominal muscles so you can look ripped for the beach, a rowing workout can give you all that and more!
The rowing strokes work the muscles in your lower body, including the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. When you pull the handle towards your chest, you are working the muscles in your upper body, such as the muscles in your arms, chest, shoulders, and the back. This includes muscles like the biceps, triceps, deltoids, pectoralis major, rhomboids, and trapezius.
Those are the technical names for the main muscle groups that rowing works. Building muscle and losing weight will take a little time, but literally, in a few weeks, you WILL notice the difference!
Remember also that if you do some high-intensity workouts, you will see all the muscles in the body become larger and firmer, giving you a toned, beach-ready body you can be proud of.
Best of all, rowing is a low-impact workout, which is great for everyone, but especially for those who have arthritis, back pain, knee pain, or other types of injuries or health problems that make other cardio machines a painful endeavor.
Rowing to me is the perfect exercise for every fitness level.
Related Post: Does a Rower Tone Your Butt?
How Can I Maximize My Results?
Since a rowing machine workout engages more muscle than nearly any other exercise (except perhaps for jumping rope) you can easily maximize your muscle growth by doing the following:
- Focus first on losing overall body fat. This requires keeping your heart rate in the target zone for at least 10-30 minutes every day. The longer and more intensely you work out the faster you will lose body fat.
- You should mix up your workout routine so that your body does not become accustomed to what you are doing. You can still get a true full-body workout from rowing even when you change things up. Try doing a super intense but short workout one day, do some weight training the next day, then do a longer but slower rowing workout the next day.
- No fitness routine will give you the body you are looking for if you eat crap most of the day. Work in plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, lean cuts of meat, and drink lots of water. Make junk food an occasional treat, not an everyday snack.
- Get in at least 25 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (which rowing workouts give you) at least 5 days per week or 6 if you can manage it. If you do a HIIT rowing workout, you only need 3 or 4 workouts each week.
The rowing stroke targets both the upper and lower body at the same time, so if you really put in the effort, you are going to see results, no doubt about it!
The Final Takeaway – Does Rowing Build Chest Muscles?
OK, so the TL:DR version of this is:
- You can’t spot-reduce or remove fat by doing certain exercises, but you can remove all-over body fat with aerobic exercise.
- Rowing workouts are one of the best ways to drop excess fat and build muscle at the same time.
- You need to commit yourself to a regular workout routine to see results.
- Combine strength training and rowing for outstanding chest muscles you will want to show off.
While it’s true that weight training may strengthen, build and tone muscle in targeted areas, a healthy diet and calorie-burning aerobic activities are necessary to burn fat and get a more toned look.
A rowing machine is one of the best ways to get the body you are looking for ( click here to read how many calories does a rowing machine burn).
Stay healthy and happy friends! Life is too short for anything else!
Written by Kathleen Langdon – TheHealthPot.com Founder
Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES)
Kathleen, a mother of two, struggled with ongoing weight and health issues. She created this website after she turned her life around. She built Thehealthpot.com to help inspire and motivate others with their fitness goals. Read more about Kathleen here.