The why and how to really train with a rowing machine

Ami Kucharek

Written by , Head of Communication on

Man on an indoor rowing machine

Indoor rowing gets the unfair reputation of being tiring and repetitive. When in reality, the rowing machine is a great training tool to boost your strength, stamina and crush ambitious fitness goals! Wondering if indoor rowing is the right sport for you? Check out this erging FAQ to figure out whether indoor rowing suits you and find answers to your burning questions.

Is indoor rowing good for you?

Yes, indoor rowing is good for you and helps you get and stay fit. The rowing machine is the perfect ergometer to boost your fitness while being gentle on your joints and back. Indoor rowing is fun for everyone, regardless of age or ability. And fun equals motivation which equals fitness! Just like any other form of exercise, a proper technique is key to booking safe and serious progress.

What are the health benefits of indoor rowing?

Indoor rowing can have huge benefits for your physical and mental health. It strengthens your muscles, improves your blood circulation and burns calories. Additionally, indoor rowing is a great sport to relieve stress, improve your cognitive functions and improve your sleep. Just after a few weeks of indoor rowing, you may notice big changes in your body such as improved stamina. Try to avoid 4 major pitfalls including wrong nutrition to make the most of every rowing workout and feel fitter with each session.


Regular exercise improves your fitness and helps you cope with stress.

How to start indoor rowing?

The best way to start with indoor rowing is to learn how to use the rowing machine. Get familiar with the movements of a rowing stroke. It consists of catch, drive, finish and recovery. You can find detailed explanations and lots of helpful rowing tips on YouTube. Once you know how to row correctly and move at ease, it’s time to improve your stamina, set fitness goals and perhaps look for a community to row together.

Why is indoor rowing hard?

Indoor rowing is hard when you don’t know the technique and only focus on maximizing your stats. To make it easy to stick to indoor rowing and even look forward to your next rowing session, it’s important to think of it as a fun activity that helps you with a fit and active lifestyle. Crushing fitness goals, beating challenges and joining online rowing events helps with that.

People on phone

Train together with others or join online events to make indoor rowing more fun.

How much indoor rowing do I need to lose weight?

When working out on your rowing machine, you burn a significant amount of calories. Studies have shown that a person of 70 kg burns about 300 calories during 30 minutes of moderate indoor rowing. It’s a great sport to burn fat and lose weight since indoor rowing is gentle on your joints and you can adjust each workout’s intensity. Remember that exercise is just as important as providing your body with the right nutrition if you want to lose weight.

Does indoor rowing build muscle?

Yes, indoor rowing is a great sport to build muscle. It’s a full-body workout that mainly trains the muscles in your legs, core, back and arms. Working out on your rower has the advantage that it’s low-impact as well, meaning that indoor rowing is an ideal exercise if you suffer from bad knees, back pain or are a senior.

How do I improve my indoor rowing times?

Indoor rowing is all about a proper technique. The first step towards improving your indoor rowing times is regularly checking your movements for a clear execution. The second step is to set realistic goals. Using the SMART goal method helps with that (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals). Third, follow a training plan customized to your fitness that helps you achieve those goals.

Does indoor rowing help improve my running times?

Yes, indoor rowing is a perfect exercise to improve your running records. This also applies to (indoor) cycling! All of these sports work your legs and train your cardiovascular system. Since indoor rowing also engages your upper body, it’s the ideal way to build muscles in your back and shoulders, helping you with maintaining a good posture when running.


Rowing is a great exercise to improve your running times

What’s the best rowing machine to buy for a casual workout?

There’s no universal answer to this question since the perfect rowing machine for your friends’ needs may not be ideal for you. Finding the best rowing machine depends on criteria such as your space, budget, desired design, noise level, and many more. In general, we recommend a rowing machine with Bluetooth to connect to a heart rate monitor and external apps. Additionally, quick customer service and high-quality parts are important when spending so much money on a fitness tool, which is why rower of bigger brands like Concept2 and RP3 may be more expensive but have a high chance of turning out to be a better investment in the long run.

Before committing to a rowing machine and perhaps later regretting your purchase, we recommend visiting showrooms of rowing machine brands or testing them at your local gym.

What’s the best indoor rowing app?

There’s a broad range of indoor rowing apps available. From coaching to virtual rowing, each app has its own strong points and shortcomings. To help you find the perfect rowing app, check out rowing app guides and use apps’ free trials.


Curious about the #1 motivational app to start and stick to indoor rowing? Give rowing with EXR a go!

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