Rowing Machines vs. Other Cardio Alternatives

When it comes to any exercise at the gym, having a variety of options to choose from allows you to create a diverse workout. One of the more common pieces of gym equipment among athletes is the rowing machine; a hybrid exercise machine enabling you to build strength while also getting a cardiovascular workout at the same time. These machines, like any machine, have their advantages and disadvantages, compared to the other forms of cardio. These will need to be given due consideration when creating a workout plan for yourself or others.


Hybrid Machine Benefits

A hybrid machine is any piece of gym equipment that combines the ability to have muscle building resistance with cardiovascular elements, such as elevated heart rate. A rowing machine is an example of a combination machine that copies the muscles used when rowing a boat. It conditions and strengthens the major muscle groups such as arms, shoulders, core, back, glutes and legs. One of the major benefits of using a machine such as this is that it is low-impact and places very little stress on your body.


Rowing machines help you get rid of those unwanted calories at a high rate during the course of your workout, and it helps you to continue burning calories long after you’ve finished your workout. This is due to the added resistance from the flywheel that your muscles have to adjust to, which increases your muscle activation. The entire set-up of a rowing machine will also allow you to perform HIIT (high intensity interval training). This is a type of workout that consists of intense bursts of movement followed by periods of less-intense activity. This type of training will benefit those who are looking for a quick, efficient, high calorie-burning workout. To begin with, you will need to warm-up at a steady pace for at least three to five minutes. Be sure to set your resistance to low and row at a reasonable pace for 60 seconds. For the next 20 seconds, pick up the pace and focus on pulling the handles while driving your legs. Repeat this eight to 10 times, and then cool down for several minutes for a complete workout.

Rowing vs. Elliptical and Treadmills

A 57 kilo person who is walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes at 6 kilometres per hour will burn approximately 120 calories. However, running or walking on treadmills can put immense stress on your ankles, knees and hips, which can be quite painful and could lead to joint or ligament damage. Elliptical machines are similar to treadmills in the sense they mimic the motions you go through as you run and walk; however, your movements will be much more fluid as you move with the machine instead of on it. A 57 kilo person working at a reasonable pace on an elliptical machine for 30 minutes will almost certainly burn around 270 calories. It’s a machine that is great for toning your body without gaining muscle mass. For example, a 57 kilo person working for 30 minutes will burn around 255 calories. This is a significant loss and highlights just how effective a rowing machine can be. As previously mentioned, rowing puts less stress on your joints and builds muscle mass while improving your overall cardiovascular health.


Rowing vs. Participating in Sport

Rowing machines are a great training tool for any athlete regardless of the sport they play due to its ability to the whole body regardless of the caloric burn. A 57 kilo person burn anything from 90 to 180 calories in a dance session lasting 30 minutes, which is nowhere near as much as said person could burn on a rowing machine. Furthermore, dancing is much harder on the joints. The same dancer playing badminton for 30 minutes can burn 135 calories or play softball to burn 150 calories or go hiking to burn 180 calories. All of these are great cardiovascular exercises, but have a high risk of injury and don’t provide a full-body strength workout. Conversely, a rowing machine allows you to sit comfortably, is lower to the ground, and you are able to go at your own pace, and not the pace of the game.