How rowing can help you achieve your health goals

Kelly Johnson

How can rowing help you reach your fitness goals? Can rowing really help with certain personal aspirations involving weight loss, muscle gain, or overall improved fitness? 

There are a few things to keep in mind as you pursue your short-term and long-term fitness goals; in this post we’ll cover setting healthy goals and how rowing helps you achieve them.

Choosing a “healthy” health goal

Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to get on the same page about fitness goals. It’s important to set goals that are both inspiring and realistic. Here at Hydrow we aim to provide you with an experience that helps you find whole health, and for many people the most compelling goal is to be fit enough to enjoy a long, active, healthy life.

Let’s address some of the most common health and fitness goals and how rowing can fit in the picture.

Goal: Weight loss or gain

Weight change is a gradual process driven by having a week-to-week calorie surplus or deficit. Many nutritionists, dietitians, and medical professionals suggest keeping a food journal or tracking calories as a way to create awareness and develop healthy habits. Exercise fits in the picture both to burn calories and improve overall cardiovascular health.

In rowing, “calories burned” is tracked in real time, making it easy to factor into your day-to-day tracking efforts. Keep it fun, though. If you turn your health goals entirely into a numbers game, it can be easy to lose sight of what really matters: having a healthy, fun hobby that gives you energy and helps you live your best life. Rowing is an activity that will keep you excited, interested, and engaged.

Goal: Muscle tone

Your muscles tone and strengthen through what is known as resistance training. When you contract certain muscles to work against resistance, you create force and eventually reach fatigue; your muscles then recover post-workout and are stronger in future workouts. Since rowing is a full body workout, the different parts of the rowing stroke target different muscle groups, giving you increased overall strength and a leaner look. 

Goal: Improved cardiovascular fitness

Whether it be getting into the best shape of your life or just having the stamina to play with your kids in the garden on a Saturday, rowing is one of the best ways to build and develop endurance and aerobic capacity over time. 

How rowing helps you achieve your health goals

Year after year, millions of people set new goals or resolutions related to their health. According to a recent survey from YouGov, improving fitness and losing weight were the top two resolutions for 2021, with 50 and 48 percent of respondents respectively saying they planned to take action on it in the new year.

As we know, though, most resolutions fizzle out after just a few weeks. And it isn’t just resolutions around the new year that we struggle with: 92% of goals are never reached in general. A lack of clarity around your goal or not having enough time are common reasons for failure; here’s why rowing acts as a great workaround for common objections.

Rowing burns more calories in less time

Strapped for time? Rowing might be a great solution for you. Since the majority of muscles in your body are activated with every single stroke, rowing revs up your metabolism and is minute-for-minute one of the most efficient workouts you can do. Rowing burned up to 25% more calories than cycling when comparing workouts that produce equal watts.

Rowing is a low-impact activity

Unlike other forms of high-intensity exercise, rowing has little to no impact on your joints. A muscle strain or injury from overuse can quickly short-circuit your aspirational fitness goals, but with rowing you won’t have to worry about this. There’s a reason rowing is often prescribed in physical therapy: it’s a very stable movement in which your feet remain in the same position throughout the workout.

Rowing scales up with you as you improve

Whether you’re an elite athlete with years of training, or haven’t exercised in years, rowing will meet you exactly where you are. As you improve and become more fit over time, you’ll generate more power out of every stroke. As with other forms of cardio, you’ll get faster, but continue to be challenged and pushed in your workouts to keep things engaging.

Hydrow and health goals

Why you row can be just as valuable as how or when you row. That’s why at Hydrow we aim to make the rowing experience as fun and interactive as possible. From frequent feature updates to a lively and active community, here are some of the ways Hydrow can help you reach your first or next big fitness benchmark.

World-class Athletes

The centerpiece of the Hydrow experience is our Athletes: Olympians, nationally ranked athletes, and champions who are ready to guide you every stroke of the way through your workout. Since the Athlete rows the entire workout with you while they teach, all you have to do is watch their oars and move in tandem. You’re also welcome to go at your own pace.

In addition to our Athletes, all rowing workouts feature our leaderboard: A sidebar feature in which you can see where you are in comparison to other users who have completed the workout. If a little friendly competition pushes you, this feature is perfect for you; you can also filter the leaderboard by age/gender or hide it entirely to focus 100% on you.

Live Rows 

Hydrow specializes in offering what we like to call Live Outdoor Reality™: A live, real-time fitness experience that brings the thrill of being out on the water directly to your own home! Five days a week, Hydrow hosts live workouts from various locations. 

Enjoy the thrill of working in real time with your instructor and other fellow rowers from around the globe. Our Rokt integration works with Google Calendar to ensure you never miss an opportunity to hop on and join your favorite Athletes live. Give it a try – you’ll soon be hooked!

A library of over 2,500 workouts

Do you tune out at the idea of doing the same workout over and over again? That won’t be an issue with Hydrow. A library of over 2,500 workouts will keep you inspired for months and years to come, and new workouts are released every single week. Use the search filters in the workout library to sort by workout type, instructor, or class length to quickly find exactly what you’re looking for.

At Hydrow, we want to provide an all-in-one solution. In addition to our library of workouts, we also have our On The Mat workouts: A collection of classes that cover strength training, mobility, pilates, and various levels of yoga to keep you engaged and inspired. On The Mat workouts provide the variety and cross-training you need to use Hydrow as often as every day if you like.

Active, dynamic Facebook groups

At Hydrow, we’re all about the people! Our official private Facebook groups allow members to connect, ask questions, and get to know one another. Hydrow’s social features let you follow other users and like and comment on their recent workouts. Find your crew and hold ‘em close with this feature that works both on Hydrow and on our app!


Whether you’re rowing for improved fitness, muscle gain, overall health and longevity, or just to have a fun pastime, Hydrow gives you everything you need to achieve your goals. Learn more about what we have to offer and Hydrow’s unique features right here.