10 Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine

Woman works out using a Hydrow rowing machine in her home gym.
Hydrow Marketing Team — Reviewed by Peter Donohoe

Rowing machines can be a great way to improve your health and fitness. The list of benefits of using a rowing machine is long. Between the efficiency of the total body workout and the accessibility rowing machines bring to fitness, you’re sure to find a few reasons to add rowing to your workout routine. 

Read on for 10 rowing machine benefits worth keeping in mind as you consider incorporating this type of machine into your workout routine.

Benefit #1: Indoor Rowers Offer a Full-Body Workout

Rowing machines use an impressive 86% of major muscle groups. As you row, you’ll work your legs, core, arms, shoulders, and glutes. If you’re looking for a cardio workout that combines both upper body and lower body exercise, rowing is a great option

Benefit #2: Rowing Workouts Are Low Impact

Rowing machines are a top choice for low impact workouts. High impact workouts like running are hard on your joints, so those with joint issues or a history of injury should look for lower impact options. 

Benefit #3: You'll Improve Your Mind and Body Connection

Rowing helps you intentionally connect your mind and body. As you move through each stroke, you’ll want to be mindful of how your body moves and the rhythmic nature of the rowing motion. Proper form is important for many reasons, so it’s essential that you pay attention to how your legs, core, and arms move together. Perfecting your rowing form is a process that will bring a new level of mindfulness to your movement and is why rowing is described as a meditative movement.

Benefit #4: Rowers Help Increase Your Endurance

Rowing is an incredible way to increase your endurance and overall fitness. As your endurance improves, you’re also improving the health of your heart and lungs, along with your circulatory system. 

The full-body nature of the motion means that rowing into your regular workout rotation is a surefire way to improve your endurance across all activities that you do.

Benefit #5: Rowing Workouts Are Very Efficient

Because of how many muscle groups rowing works, it is a highly efficient workout. Rowing machines offer a higher calorie burn per minute when compared to other forms of exercise like running, cycling, or swimming. 

If you’re short on time, a 10- or 15-minute rowing session will give you a great workout and impressive calorie burn.

Benefit #6: Indoor Rowers Are Home Fitness-Friendly

The use of rowing machines at homes is on the rise. Rowing machines are a great addition to your home gym. Many indoor rowers, like Hydrow, also offer vertical storage when not in use, minimizing the machine’s footprint. 

Indoor rowing machines often require even less space than a treadmill and elliptical, and a similar amount of space as an exercise bike. The Hydrow Wave, for example, has a 80″L x 19″W footprint when in use, and a 26.5″W x 30″D when stored vertically.

Benefit #7: You Can Improve Your Core Strength and Posture 

Proper rowing form will help you naturally build strength, which will in turn help you improve your posture. Because of the muscles that rowing works, your core will become stronger and more stable. With consistent rowing over time, you’ll feel your body being able to have greater core strength endurance. 

Benefit #8: You May Experience Improved Mental Health

There are also many overall health benefits of rowing machines. Rowing can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, improving your mental health. The Mayo Clinic shares that regular exercise supports improved mental health by releasing feel-good endorphins, taking your mind off worries, improving your confidence, and increasing your social interaction. 

With a Hydrow Membership, you’ll gain access to a community of people to support your health and fitness journey, cheer you on as you hit milestones, and help hold you accountable to reach your goals. You’ll also experience workouts led by world-class Athletes who row along with you, providing a level of connection you might not experience with other forms of exercise.

Benefit #9: Rowers Are Great for Cross-Training

Rowing makes an excellent addition to your fitness regime. If you’re looking to balance your workout routine, you’ll find that rowing is a great way to prevent muscle strain or overuse. 

Rowing can also help reduce the risk of injury from high impact sports, improve athletic performance, and optimize recovery. Because rowing is a low impact yet full body workout, the crossover benefits are transferable across a wide range of sports.

For more information about how rowing is a great choice for cross-training, check out Hydrow for Cross-Training.

Benefit #10: Rowing Machines Are Very Accessible 

Because rowing machine workouts are low impact, they are a more accessible form of exercise than other forms of cardio. Rowing is a great option for seniors and those with a history of injury or joint pain. Many people of all fitness levels come to rowing as a fitness option because of the high return on the investment in the time spent exercising.

You do not have to be an elite athlete or have an extensive background in fitness to take up rowing. The beauty of rowing, especially because it is a seated activity, is that almost anyone can participate. Rowing workouts can be high-intensity, but can also be a gentle start to a wonderful relationship with health and fitness. 

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