does rowing burn fat

Does Rowing Burn Fat?

Hi, there friends!

I’m Kathleen, and today, we are going to talk about how to lose belly fat and love handles and work all the major muscle groups simultaneously. Yep, it’s time to talk rowing machines!

Does rowing burn fat? Absolutely! The rowing machine has been shown to work 86 percent of the muscles in your body every time you use it to exercise and help you burn hundreds of calories an hour.

I don’t know about where you live, but I’ve seen and heard people doing some pretty crazy stuff to lose weight, especially when they want to lose belly fat. Drinking nothing but lemon juice and water for days? Eating only cabbage for 2 weeks? Seriously?

While I have no doubt that you will lose weight if you try some of these, no diet is sustainable over the long haul.

Experts will tell you that the absolute best way to lose weight, burn calories, and keep it off is to eat a healthy, sensible diet and get in a minimum of 150 minutes of cardio exercise each week.

Burning hundreds of calories an hour and getting aerobic exercise is the best way to maintain your weight or lose weight. I know, it sounds so easy when you read it, but it is so hard to do in reality.

I’m not talking about an exercise bike or a treadmill. No, friends, I’m talking about the humble rowing machine. Indoor rowing machines have been around since at least the 1800’s, but they were mostly for professional rowers who needed to train during the off-season.

Today, you will find that rowing machines are gaining in popularity, and there are so many options to choose from that you might find it overwhelming.

What Will Rowing Do to My Body?

lady learning how long should i row to burn fat - with trainer

Rowing workouts are one of the best ways to lose belly fat and get a full-body workout in 20-30 minutes per day.

Rowing machine workouts look deceptively easy. You’re sitting down, right, so how hard can it be?

I remember thinking something along those lines when I first sat down on the “erg” (a nickname for rowing machines). Boy, was I ever wrong!

A rowing machine will work all the major muscle groups, including your upper back, lower back, arms, and shoulders, as well as your quadriceps, glutes, and abdominal muscles.

You will find that a rowing machine workout is unique in that it builds endurance, really gets your heart rate up, and works more muscles than you ever thought possible.

This type of exercise not only burns tons of calories but also helps you build strength and endurance at the same time without hurting your joints. You won’t find another machine that does all this.

Rowing machine workouts will give your arms and shoulders a beautiful definition. You can also get a ripped 6-pack if you work hard enough, but more than anything, I love the tight, toned look that my legs and butt have from using my indoor rower.

How Effective Is a Rowing Machine for Weight Loss?

does a rowing machine burn fat

You will find that a rowing machine is one of your best tools when it comes to weight loss, especially if you want to burn belly fat.

First, I want to say that there is a myth floating around the internet about losing weight – that you can “spot reduce” and lose weight in certain areas, like your belly. That’s so untrue!

You can do situps and planks all day long and you may not lose one ounce of fat from your belly. Your abs will be very strong and tight, yes, but unfortunately, you can’t shed fat by exercising one area.

You will only lose weight by getting in lots of cardio exercises and creating a calorie deficit. Your body will ultimately decide where it wants to take fat from, but if you commit yourself to eat healthy and working out, your body will have no choice eventually but to remove fat from your belly. Or your behind, or whatever fatty area it is you hate to see in the mirror.

Exactly how many calories you burn depends on many factors, including your age and current weight, but you can easily burn several hundred calories during an average 30-minute rowing workout.

Beginners may find the exercise intensity during a 30-minute rowing workout too much for them, but you can start off doing whatever you can. If you can only do 10 minutes, try to do 10 minutes twice a day. Slowly add one or two minutes to your rowing workouts each week and you will be able to hit 30-minutes, or even 45-minutes within a few weeks.

Don’t forget to wear your heart rate monitor and aim to reach about 75-80 percent of your maximum heart rate for maximum fat burning. This calculator can help you find your suggested heart rate for burning fat.

Is 20 Minutes of Rowing Enough to Lose Weight?


When it comes to weight loss, more exercise is better than very little or none.

If you are extremely overweight, you may find that 20 minutes is enough to help you reach your weight loss goals. If you have only a few pounds to lose, you may need to exercise on your indoor rowing machine longer than 20-minutes, unless you do some substantial dieting.

I have found that most people can maintain their current weight by doing 20-minute exercise routines on their rowing machine, but for weight loss, 30-minutes seems to work better.

Depending on your fitness levels, if you can work in 45-minute rowing sessions most days of the week, you will really be reaping the weight loss benefits!

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How Long Should I Row to Burn Fat?

As I mentioned earlier, unless you are obese, you should aim to row for at least 30-minutes per day, a minimum of 4 days a week, but 6 would be better. Always allow your body at least one full day of rest so it can repair any damage and build new muscle.

You might find that HIIT (High-intensity Interval Training) works best. HIIT workouts burn more calories than regular workouts. Best of all, you only need to do HIIT exercise programs every other day.

will a rowing machine burn fat

Beginners may find that they can only do 20 minutes every other day, and that’s OK! Remember that even Olympic pros were beginners at one time!

Keep up the hard work, and you will become stronger. I know I was very disappointed when I first started rowing. I couldn’t manage more than 15 minutes but within two weeks, I could do 20, then 25 minutes.

Give your body time to build strength and your cardiovascular system to become accustomed to your routine.

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The Final Takeaway – Does A Rowing Machine Burn Fat?

We all have different time frames for achieving our goals. Be sure that your goal is realistic. You didn’t gain that spare tire in a week, and it will take longer than that for you to get rid of it.

I would like to stress that eating a proper diet and fewer calories will go a long way towards your weight loss goals. You cannot out-row or out-exercise a poor diet. A diet filled with junk food and sugar won’t get you closer to your fitness goals.

You can increase your calorie burn by doing other forms of exercise in addition to rowing or on your rest days (just don’t overdo it on your rest days). Walking, swimming, resistance training, resistance bands, or just dancing in the living room with your kids will help you keep your metabolism up and burn more calories than a Netflix movie marathon.

Last, but not least, remember to have fun with it. Losing weight IS hard physical work, but you should be sure that you enjoy what you’re doing, otherwise, you won’t stick with it.

I really love my rowing machine, but I also love taking my dog for long walks in the forest and rearranging my garden. I enjoy my exercise routine so much, I sometimes forget that it’s exercise and not fun!

Stay happy, healthy, and smile! Life is too short for anything else!