What Muscles Do The Rowing Machine Work

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If you usually walk straight past the rowing machine at the gym, you might want to try it out the next time you go. Rowing not only provides a good aerobic exercise, but it also targets a surprising amount of muscle areas, making it a perfect addition to your strength training regimen.

Rowing Machine
Rowing Machine

While the rowing machine, also known as an ergometer, appears sophisticated, it is really quite user-friendly, according to Caley Crawford, NASM CPT, a certified personal trainer and Row House’s director of education. All you have to do is sit down, strap your feet into the footholds, and then pull back on the grips while pushing away from the flywheel, which is the component of the machine that rotates to imitate rowing.

This rowing action activates the muscles of your legs, body, and arms all at once, according to Chris Chang, a personal trainer and director of exercise research and programming at rowing business Egratta. “It’s like combining a leg push, kettlebell swing, and upper body row into one cardio-packed workout,” he explains to Bustle.

If you want to take it easy on the cardio, Crawford recommends rowing slowly and steadily for a softer exercise that builds muscles while also promoting flexibility and joint health. Row faster and for a longer period of time for a cardio exercise that will enhance your endurance and leave you hurting the next day. Rowing exercises all of the muscles listed here, regardless of how you do it.

All The Muscles Rowing Machine Works

According to Crawford, rowing recruits over 85% of your body’s muscles, specifically hitting the legs, arms, and core.


To certainly work your muscular tissues when rowing it’s essential to focal point on true form, so begin via checking out the video above to see how to do a suited rowing stroke. You’ll be aware that you’re supposed to lean lower back a bit at the stop of the motion — this is referred to as the finish, Crawford says, and it’s the section that engages your belly muscles.

You’ll additionally have interaction your core, as properly as your hip flexors and serratus anterior muscles, as you return ahead in the stroke. This movement helps compress your physique like a swing, Chang explains, which helps you wind up practicable strength for the subsequent stroke.

Quads And Hamstrings

Rowing is additionally viewed a important leg exercise, says Jane Gumley, a non-public coach and head educate of the University of Victoria women’s rowing team. “Your electricity in rowing is pushed via your massive leg muscles,” she tells Bustle, which consists of the quads, calves, and hamstrings.

This is due to the fact you bend your knees and then push returned on the footholds to propel your physique backward. “Think of all the muscle groups you set off whilst doing a squat,” Gumley adds. “That’s what rowing does over an prolonged duration of time.”


Your hips hinge open in the course of the stroke as well, which Chang says engages the glute muscle mass in the equal way a deadlift would. That’s why you’re certain to sense sore in your decrease physique the day after rowing — now not simply in your arms.


Rowing additionally works the latissimus dorsi muscle positioned on your back. “In the rowing stroke, after powering via your legs, you set your self up to be in a sturdy function to pull with your lower back and lats,” Gumley says. The intention is to squeeze your shoulder blades together as your fingers pull returned on the handles.

Just be positive to use suited structure to make the most of every stroke. “People frequently get the 2nd 1/2 of the stroke incorrect by means of scooting in earlier than their palms are prolonged out again,” Crawford says. “To make sure suitable approach and sequence, assume legs, core, arms; arms, core, legs.”

Biceps And Deltoids

The deltoids, placed on the pinnacle of every shoulder, interact as you row. And then there are your bicep muscles, which Chang says make a contribution to about 10% of the complete pressure of your row as you draw the handles in towards your sternum. Talk about a full-body energy education workout.


Rowing machines, as you can see, provide for more comprehensive muscle reinforcing. They are, however, an excellent gadget for cardio training and strengthening the heart and respiratory systems.

Working so many different muscles allows you to burn a lot of calories: 300-400 at medium level and up to 800 at high intensity. When your goal is to reduce weight, or more precisely, fat, it is the excellent supplement to a well-balanced diet. Cellulite and flabby regions on the top of the thighs can be reduced by rowing. It can assist to avoid back discomfort, enhance flexibility (because to the needed range of motion), reduce tension, and improve your mood.