5 Incredible Benefits of Adding Rowing to Your Workouts


While the benefits of adding rowing to your workout routine are numerous, here are my top 5!

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I love rowing – and that’s that.

My WaterRower rowing machine was undoubtedly one of the best things I bought myself.

Anyways, I am not just writing this to write it, I really do love rowing. Ask my doggies, Kenzo + Ví­k, what I am doing for an hour every day 3-4 times a week – the answer is rowing. It’s always rowing.

benefits for adding rowing to your workout routine


Rowing is a type of exercise that has been gaining popularity over the years. Using a rowing machine for a workout can give you an effective low-impact full-body workout.

I used to be a huge runner. I’ve run dozens 5k runs around the Milwaukee area and I ran the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2014. I had to take a break from running because I developed Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) and tore a ligament in my right knee. Since running was really hard on my body, so I decided to copy the Underwoods from House of Cards and bought myself a WaterRower.

After just a month of adding rowing to my workout, I have experienced so many positive changes to my body. I am way less stressed, I am sleeping better, and I feel (and look) so much stronger. My arms & legs used to be SO darn incredibly sore after all of my ice hockey games, but not anymore! BONUS! Not only are my arms and back are stronger, but I can see my abs starting to come in!

I row 3-4 times a week for 45-90 minutes. When I first added rowing to my workout routine I did 15 minutes and then some other HIIT and then 15 more minutes. I did this for a couple of weeks and then as my endurance and strength increased I added on more time and higher meter goals.

If you are a rower (at your home, in the gym, or on the water), you know that rowing can change your life. While the benefits of adding rowing to your workout routine are numerous, here are my top 5!

Thank you Sara, for taking these beautiful photos of me! I told her this already, but these just might be the best portraits of me – I am seriously so happy to have me rowing documented. I also love that Ví­k (per usual) came into watch the water swirling around. Thank you Runner’s World for the information on PFPS.

water rowing benefits

5 Reasons to Add Rowing to Your Workout Routine

1) Low Impact Workout

It is easier on your joints and knees as this is a low impact workout. Since you are sitting down while rowing, there is no weight bearing down on your lower body, unlike running.

water rowing benefits

2) Full Body Workout

This workout is great for both your upper body and lower body. You are using your arms, legs, and core. Bonus! It burns calories quickly! Using a rowing machine for your workout can burn on average 600 calories per hour. This is more than biking, walking, or even using an at-home gym machine. The more calories you burn, the more weight you should be able to lose.

Water rowing is a fantastic workout! Rowing is a great exercise because it:

  • Works the Upper Body
  • Works the Lower Body
  • Low Impact
  • Enhances Endurance

RELATED: 4 Types of Rowing Machines – Which one is the best type for you?

water rowing benefits

3) Aerobic Exercise

Rowing uses many of your major muscle groups throughout your strokes which increases your heart rate. This, in turn, makes rowing a great cardio workout. Many rowers have adjustable resistance so you are able to customize the intensity of your workout and hit your target heart rate.

4) Say Bye to Stress 

Probably one of my ultimate favorite benefits of rowing is that is severely decreasing my stress levels! Rowing can boost your brain’s serotonin levels which makes you calmer and more relaxed. I don’t run from my problems, I row from them. 😉 Bonus! I sleep better on the days when I was able to get a solid workout in.

water rowing benefits

5) Easy to Learn

There’s very little barrier to entry when it comes to rowing; you do not need any special skills to do it or experience. The only prerequisite you may want to have is familiarizing yourself with the proper rowing form and testing out different stroke speeds and resistance levels.

Here’s the youtube video I watched when I first bought my Waterrower.

If you’re looking for a new workout routine I definitely suggest adding rowing.

Related: Stuck at your desk? I wrote a blog post for workouts you can do at your desk.


Is water rowing a good workout?

The answer is absolutely! Rowing is a full-body workout that targets your hamstrings, quads, glutes, and core. It can be used as both an aerobic and anaerobic exercise as rowing offers both up-the-hill and downhill resistance. What does this mean? You’ll see results quickly! The water provides natural resistance which makes this form of exercise more challenging than your typical row machine at the gym. Rowing, in general, is also great for weight loss because you’re constantly moving and it keeps your body guessing, burning calories all day!

What does rowing do?

Row machines are low-impact equipment that requires little to no prior knowledge to begin using them. The intense workout you will get with rowing is so beneficial for both your heart and muscles. You can burn up to 520 calories per hour on a row machine which is comparable to running for an hour. Rowing also has great benefits by helping improve posture, increase flexibility in the spine, relieve back pain, strengthen your legs and build your arms all while improving cardiovascular fitness!

Does a water rower build muscle? Yes!

If you are looking to build muscle, or tone up then rowing is a great option. Water rowers work both your upper and lower body so you won’t have one specific area that stands out more than the other. The resistance also helps strengthen muscles which in turn will help you tone up! You can use this workout machine at any fitness level too because it’s adjustable which makes it extremely popular among beginner, intermediate and advanced fitness enthusiasts.

Can You Use the Rowing Machine If You’re Injured or Are New to Exercise?

Yes! Rowing is a sport that can be done by new exercisers and the injured alike. The water rower propulsion method makes this sport more forgiving than other machines in which you may injure yourself with a sudden outburst of movement or a wrong movement, but it’s important to consult your doctor if something seems off. It’s also best to ease into rowing slowly as you’d do for any other workout routine, especially when finished using an unfamiliar machine.

What exercises will I get from rowing?

You’ll get a great workout from rowing, but don’t expect it to work the same muscles every time. Rowing works legs, back, and arms at different intensity levels depending on how much force you exert from each stroke. If you’re utilizing a rowing machine with the proper footwork and technique, you’ll definitely work out all major muscle groups in your body!

Is rowing good for weight loss?

Absolutely! Rowing has many benefits but one of them includes being a great low impact option that allows you to burn a ton of calories without putting a lot of stress on your body. This is because water rowers use an air resistance system as opposed to some other types which utilize magnetic or hydraulic resistance.

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