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How Long Should You Row on a Rowing Machine?

How Long Should You Row on a Rowing Machine?A lot of readers ask me “how long should you row on a rowing machine?”

I even get the question, “what is the least amount of time I can spend on a rowing machine?”

These are very difficult questions because there really is no right or wrong answer!

Everyone will be different because everyone has different goals and different time frames for achieving these goals.

People also lose weight differently than others. For example, a person who is “very out of shape” will lose weight a lot easier than someone who exercises a few times a week.

All of these factors change how the question is answered and how long you should use a rowing machine.

While I can give you some rough estimates of how long you should row on a rowing machine, I think the best thing to do is go over some questions to ask yourself.

These questions will help point you to how long you should be rowing every day.

I can also give you some rough estimates of the type of results to expect from rowing different amounts of times.

For those who are new to rowing machine fitness, here is an article called “Is Rowing Machine a Good Exercise?” to learn more about how rowers can provide health and fitness benefits to cardio and strength training.

What Are Your Rowing Machine Goals?

Outlining and writing down your rowing machine goals is going to be the most important factor to determine your rowing time.

Not having goals before you start to exercise is like walking around blind. You should have specific goals and try to follow the SMART goals guidelines.

A good goal may be, “I want to lose 16 lbs. in 2 months. I will lose 2 lbs. per week and weigh myself every Sunday morning”.

You can use your goals to work backward into how long you should row on a rowing machine.

How Many Calories Do You Want to Burn?

If you have a specific amount of weight you want to lose, this can help you back into a time per day to spend on the rowing machine.

Let’s take the previous example of losing 16 lbs. in 2 months. This means you want to lose 2 lbs. per week.

There are 3,500 calories in 1 lb., so to lose 2 lbs. per week you would need to lose 7,000 calories a week (3,500 x 2).

You can divide 7,000 calories by 7 days and conclude you need to burn 1,000 calories per day.

So your goal of losing 2 lbs. a week (16 lbs. in 2 months) would require you to create a 1,000 calorie deficit per day.

Now rowing is not the only way to achieve this 1,000 calorie deficit. You can also cut calories by making healthy eating choices!

Dieting Calorie Comparison

Just switching your breakfast from a bagel with cream cheese and a cappuccino to a banana and black coffee can cut out over 300 calories!

If you plan to cut out 500 calories from eating healthy, you then only have to row until you burn 500 calories. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on some factors like age, weight, heart rate and rowing intensity.

I have a great article on burning calories with a rowing machine that you can read for more details.

Rowing can also help boost your metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day. So you may only need to burn 400 calories from rowing and an extra 100 from your increased metabolic rate from exercise!

Having a weight loss goal and working backwards is a great way to estimate how long you should be using a rowing machine each day.

Hopefully you were able to follow this example and it wasn’t too confusing! If you have a specific situation please leave me a comment below.

What Cardiovascular Benefits Do You Want?

Some people aren’t interested in seeing numbers drop on a scale but instead want better cardiovascular health.

I recently had an email asking “I want to improve my cardio on a rowing machine, how long to see results?”

I had to reply asking, “what type of cardiovascular benefits do you want!?”

Rowing can be used for aerobic exercise (long & slow) and anaerobic exercise (short & fast).

So you can really receive every cardiovascular benefit from rowing. It all depends on your goals, workouts, and how long you want to spend rowing.

Rowing Machine for Anaerobic

If you are looking to improve your anaerobic conditioning, then you will need to spend less time on the rowing machine. Workouts will generally be higher intensity for shorter amounts of time.

Anaerobic exercises can last anywhere between 5-20 minutes.

Doing sprints and high intensity interval training are the best workouts for anaerobic conditioning.

Rowing Machine for Aerobic

If you are looking to improve your aerobic conditioning, then rowing times will generally be longer. I usually perform my steady-state workouts between 45 minutes – 90 minutes.

Intensity and heart-rate will be much lower so you can last the full duration.

No matter what your goal (anaerobic vs. aerobic), you should always mix in different workouts. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise can greatly improve your anaerobic conditioning and vice versa.

Do You Want to Build Muscle While Rowing?

Some people may ask “how long should you row on a rowing machine to build muscle?”

Again, it is a difficult question to answer but I can point you in a good general direction.

First, I will say rowing is more of a cardio workout than strength building exercise. To gain a lot of muscle, you will need to supplement rowing with weight training.

If you just want to build lean muscle and become “shredded” or “ripped”, then a rowing machine can achieve this.

Build Muscle with Rowing Machine

The best way to gain lean muscle is to perform HIIT exercises (high intensity interval training). These exercises are very short and intense. They help to “shock” and break down your muscle fibers which leads to growth.

Great rowing HIIT exercises can be rowing for 20 seconds as hard as possible, followed by 20 seconds of rest. You then repeat this as many times as you can. Total workout time will be less than 10 minutes.

Before or after my HIIT exercises I like to do some supplemental exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and kettlebells.

I wrote an article outlining all the muscles used while rowing you can check out.

I also wrote an article explaining how kettlebells and rowing machines are the perfect match!

In my opinion, this is the best way to build lean muscle from rowing and this is how I got into the best shape of my life!

What is the Time Frame For Your Goals?

Having different time frames for your goals can also drastically effect the amount of time you need to spend on the rowing machine, especially for weight loss goals.

If you take the previous example of losing 16 lbs. in 2 months, we calculated you may need to row anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour per day.

However, if you expand your time frame to 4 months you may only need to spend 15 minutes per day on the rowing machine! You could also use the rowing machine for 30 minutes every other day.

A lot easier to manage!

Rowing Machine Diet Timeline

Giving yourself enough time to achieve your goals is always important. The more time you have, the less stress you will have and the easier it will be to make adjustments to your workout plans.

How Much Time Do You Have to Exercise?

While it is easy to say you must spend 90 minutes a day exercising, I understand that people are busy!

It can be helpful to first figure out how much time a day you have for exercising.

If you have less than an hour a day I recommend auditing all your activities and finding activities that can be removed from your schedule.

This includes things like Facebook, emails, Netflix, reading, TV, etc.. Anything that doesn’t involve your core goals for your family, job, or health should be taken out of your schedule!

If you have a favorite show you like to watch, then watch it while rowing!

rowing machine 30 minutes a day

I promise you there is always time to exercise. You just have to make it a priority.

Once you figure out how much time you have to work out, I suggest adding it to your schedule and making it a necessary part of your routine.

Building a habit of exercising every day is the best way to make sure you won’t fail to reach your goal.

What is the Least Amount of Time You Can Row?

I actually get this question a lot! Many readers want to know the least amount of time they can spend on a rowing machine to see results.

First off, I think this is a bad attitude and outlook to have before starting to exercise. You shouldn’t be looking for the easy way out but instead you should create a goal and figuring out the amount of work/time you need to achieve this goal!

However, I believe a person can row for 15-20 minutes per day and start seeing results in a few weeks.

Rowing for 15-20 minutes every day can help a person lose about 0.5 lbs. per week or more depending on their current state of health.

The more “out of shape” you are, the easier and faster you will be able to lose weight.

You can also start eating a very healthy diet on top of rowing 20 minutes a day and begin seeing very amazing results!

How Long Should You Row on a Rowing Machine?

Hopefully, after reading through some of the questions you have a better idea of how long you should row on a rowing machine.

In a nutshell, it comes down to what are your goals and what is the time frame for completing them?

Below I will break down some different rowing machine times per day and goals you can achieve by doing them.

Rowing Machine Workout Time

Rowing Machine 15 Minutes a Day

If you use a rowing machine 15 minutes a day and you are trying to lose weight, you will need a longer time frame for your goals.

Rowing 15 minutes a day can burn about 150-300 calories depending on the intensity levels.

This means you can lose 0.5 lbs. per week without dieting. So to lose 10 lbs. you would need a time frame of 20 weeks!

However, rowing 15 minutes a day can often lead to losing more than 0.5 lbs. a week because your body’s metabolism will increase, which will lead to more calories burned overall.

You can also add a healthy diet to lose another 1 lb. per week on top of your rowing machine weight loss.

Rowing intensely for 15 minutes a day can also greatly improve anaerobic conditioning and help build lean muscle.

Rowing Machine 30 Minutes a Day

If you use a rowing machine 30 minutes a day you should be able to lose 1 lb. a week (or more!).

I think losing 1 lb. a week is the healthiest way to lose weight and also keep the weight off. I often see many people lose a lot more, but I feel they have a higher chance of putting weight back on due to the weight loss not being sustainable.

Check out this video to see the progress this woman made rowing at least 20 minutes a day for 30 days:

A lot of factors come into play while losing weight. A person who is more overweight can easily lose more than 1 lb. a week rowing for 30 minutes a day!

Using a rowing machine 30 minutes a day can also help to improve anaerobic and aerobic conditioning. Most people will see lean muscle development in their core, legs, arms, back, and chest.

Rowing Machine 90 Minutes a Day

Using a rowing machine 90 minutes a day is for serious rowers or people really driven to lose weight.

Rowing for 90 minutes can burn over 1,000 calories per session which adds up to losing 2 lbs. a week from rowing alone.

Using a rowing machine 90 minutes a day will also give your metabolism a huge boost so you may even lose up to 3-4 lbs. a week depending on your current weight and health.

Couple this with a healthy diet and you are on your way to seeing results fast!

Rowing for 90 minutes a day is an excellent aerobic exercise and is great for any long distance training. People who use the rowing machine 90 minutes a day will become lean and very “cut”.

I have read many testimonials of people rowing for 60 – 90 minutes a day and having huge success! The Concept2 website has some examples of people losing over 100 lbs. in 5 months just from rowing!

How Long Will It Take You to Do a 500-Meter on a Rowing Machine?

You will most probably take 1:30 split time, although someone else might take 2:0. But this split time depends largely on your fitness level. Some factors also affecting your 500-meter split time include age, weight, and height.

Usually, males ranging from 19 to 29 years in age have an average split time of 1.33.9, with 1:13.5 being the best time posted, according to Concept2 rowing machine rankings. So, many factors will affect the amount of time you spend on a rowing machine completing a 500-meter distance.

If you post a better time than 2:0, say 1:30, it doesn’t mean you’re in better shape. But if all factors remain constant, it could mean your fitness level is higher. But generally speaking, you will build muscle in essential places to post a better split time. Therefore, consider using your rower for a full body workout to pack some muscles for exceptional strength.

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Check out some of these amazing rowing machine before and after photos!

What Does Keep a Steady Rate on a Rowing Machine Mean?

A steady rate is the heart rate you will achieve and maintain for at least 20 minutes to give your cardiovascular system the workout it needs. When exercising with an indoor rowing machine, most of the time, giving yourself a cardiovascular workout is your number one goal. But to do this, maintain a given heart rate for 30 to 90 minutes.

Usually, using 18 to 22 strokes per minute will achieve the desired heart rate and maintain it for an optimal cardiovascular workout. But for most people, using 25 strokes per minute achieves the ideal heart rate for an excellent cardiovascular workout.

After figuring out how many strokes per minute will achieve the perfect heart rate for a cardiovascular workout, you want to maintain those strokes at a steady state for rowing times ranging from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on your cardiovascular workout goal.

What Does Split Time Mean on Rowing Machines?

The split time refers to your speed in completing a 500-meter distance on your rower. Most people achieve a split time of 1:30, meaning it took them 1 and a half minutes to cover 500 meters. Also, if your slit time is 2:0, it means you took 2 minutes to cover the same distance. Therefore, split refers to your speed.

Can You Achieve a Full Body Workout with a Rower?

Yes, you can achieve a full body workout on a rowing machine. A rower not only works your arms since it also works your legs. More specifically, it trains the muscles in your upper body 35% and does the same for your legs 75%.

Every time you have time to spend on a rowing machine, it exercises muscles in your lower body, such as the glutes, calves, and quadriceps. At the same time, your rower builds muscles in your upper body, such as abdominal muscles. Also, your arms, pecs, and obliques will benefit as well.

Usually, your rower engages your leg muscles during the drive phase of the stroke. Since rowing on an ergometer trains muscles in your upper and lower body, you will achieve a full body workout when using a rowing machine for training.

Can You Build Endurance and Power by Rowing?

Yes, you can build incredible power and endurance when training on your rowing machine. Rowing on an erg builds muscle mass and strength in crucial body parts such as your arms, legs, and abdomen.

This is a picture of a woman working out on a Concept2 Rowing Machine

With powerful arms, you can punch a bag with incredible power. Therefore, a rower builds power in your muscles, allowing you to exert maximum force within a short time. Also, you can kick the same bag with power since you will gain leg muscles packed with strength.

At the same time, you can improve your endurance for running long distances if you often row on an erg. And this comes about from the cardiovascular training you receive when rowing.

With your heart and lungs built to accommodate more blood and air, you will have enough strength to endure running over longer distances or jumping countless times. Therefore, rowing is strength training to increase your muscle mass and strength to boost your power and endurance.

How Much Weight Can I Lose with a Rowing Machine?

You can expect to shed 0.142 pounds from your weight if you row for 30 minutes to an hour daily. But this depends on a few factors. You might be rowing for the sole purpose of losing weight.

You can really transform your body with a rower. I wrote an article called ” Rowing Machine Before and After: Transformations & Weight Loss Results” to learn more about the main benefits of using rowing machines.

If you aim to lose weight when rowing, you want to develop a calorie deficit first. But to develop a calorie deficit, you want to burn more calories than you consume from your diet. And the best way to do this is to cut your consumed calories and burn calories on a rower.

When starting your weight loss journey, you want to begin with a 1,000-calorie deficit. More specifically, you want to reduce your calorie intake by 500 and burn 500 more calories on your rower. Usually, it will take you 30 minutes to burn 500 calories. And with this modest rowing, you can shed 16 pounds from your weight in 2 months!

You can burn even more calories to speed up your weight loss or lose more than 16 pounds from your weight.

Does Performing Anaerobic Exercise on a Rower Help Me Lose Weight?

Yes, an anaerobic rowing workout can help you lose weight and benefit you in several ways. You will use maximum effort to perform strokes over the shortest time possible to perform an anaerobic rowing workout.

Since this activity burns more calories, it allows you to lose weight. Also, weight training uses the same energy stores as an anaerobic rowing workout, which could help you shed a few pounds from your weight.

In addition to losing weight, anaerobic exercise builds your cardiovascular strength or endurance and essential muscles. Therefore, you want to incorporate anaerobic conditioning workouts in your rowing sessions. And that’s because this rowing workout has additional benefits.

How Does Aerobic Exercise Differ from an Anaerobic Rowing Workout?

An aerobic exercise uses prolonged rowing sessions at low to moderate workout intensity. It differs from an anaerobic workout since it uses low intensity, giving your body enough time to take oxygen from the air. Since aerobic exercise uses oxygen to break down the carb and fat reserves for energy, your rowing sessions will generally be longer.

Most of the time, aerobic exercise uses energy from your fat reserves. But if the workout intensity increases, your body shifts to carbohydrates for energy. Also, aerobic exercise will build your strength and clear your arteries. Therefore, you want to incorporate it into your rowing routine.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, figuring out how long you should row on a rowing machine is not an easy task.

You should first set SMART goals and make sure to have a time frame listed.

From there, you can work backwards into how long you should be rowing everyday and for how many days a week.

Giving yourself more time to achieve your goals always makes achieving the goal a little easier and your workout times a little shorter. It is much easier to row for 20 minutes a day rather than 60 minutes a day!

I know life can be busy but making exercise a priority is the key to leading a healthy life. We only have one body, so it is a good idea to put our health very high on our priority list!

If you need help finding a rowing machine you can fill out my questionnaire and I’ll select the best model for you!

You can also check out my bestselling Concept2 Model D Rower Review. The best rowing machine for weight loss and overall exercise.

If you have specific questions about how long to row on a rowing machine or how long to see results, please leave them in the comment section below.

Each person’s goals are specific and will have a specific answer. I’m always glad to help :)

Recommended Reading

Rowing Machine Muscles Used

Rowing Machine Abs Benefits

The Ultimate Guide to Rowing Machine Back Pain

Should I Use a Rowing Machine Everyday?


  1. I am pretty out of shape and am 40 years old. I started the Keto diet about two months ago and now have a lot of energy. I thought that rowing would make exercise fun! My new machine arrives tomorrow and I am super excited to work out, but I don’t want to hurt myself. What duration do you feel a beginner on day one should do?

    1. Hi Jessica,

      That’s awesome! Glad to hear you are feeling great and getting ready to start rowing!

      I would first watch this technique video and make sure you are rowing with proper form.

      Row slowly at first and focus on proper form. Once you warm up and feel comfortable rowing, I would start with a 10-20 minute row depending on how good of shape you are in. 10 minutes may be plenty!

      I always suggest listening to your body. When you feel tired and your form is compromised, then stop. You can build up from there :)

      Good luck!

  2. Best Tips & Guidance from you for new member of…Row Exercise….like me. Thank You…I just want to know that my father (90 years) can also use Row Machine.. ??However he daily light exercise of body St treches & Movement.Thank U again to give all Row Machine Knowledge.

  3. Thanks for this great article and website. I have a waterrower and am looking to lose about 15lbs. I’m 28, 5’11”, and 180lbs. While I understand why you breakdown the workouts by time, you don’t talk about distance traveled at all. Is there a breakdown you could give based on distance traveled over time (usually shown in time / 500m)? Any guidance will be helpful.

    Right now I do 5km in 30min or 3:00/500m. What would you recommend?

    1. Hi Shawn,

      I’m not exactly sure what you are asking? Could you be more specific on what you want me to recommend?

      Doing a 5km at a 3:00 split is great! A new goal could be to do a 5k in a lower average split. Maybe try to keep it at 2:45/500m the next session, which will make it much more difficult!

      You can also switch up the distance and split. for example, you can row a 2k aiming for a 2:15 split. Or maybe even do intervals such as five 1k rows with 1:00min of rest between sets.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Loving the idea of the 5x 1k with a min rest between. I am 1 week into my WaterRower and I love it! At the moment I’m worrying about neither time nor distance. I’m just getting smooth with my technique. Usually a few minutes after I break a sweat, I feel my form start to collapse. Today was my 5th session so I feel like I’m taking it at just the right pace for my body.

        Goal: lose 22kg, get cut

  4. Your website was very helpful and Thankyou,I have just bought a Rowing for the first time,and wanted some advice,I have always kept myself fit by doing a few kettle bells and exercise bide and I’ve got a walk climber,and I do a physical job on my feet all day to,but I’ve always wanted a Rowing machine,I’m a medium build and just want to tighten up a bit and lose a little weight has I put 2 stone on when I give up smoking 2 years ago,round my middle so I’ve lost some I eat heathy and I’m not got a sweet tooth so that helps,I’ve bin doing HIT training to so all helps,carnt wait to start properly on Rower,my first time today on it and glad I did it right off your advice did just 10 mins slow to get my form right I watched a video I do that for rest of week and work out my goal maybe 30 mins to start with.thax again Tara x

  5. Hi i am new to owning a rowing machine. Its not a concept 2 rower unfortunately.
    I have found a few streches and 2 follow along rowing excerises that goes for about 20/30 minutes with warm ups. I am just looking to have more strength and fitness and maybe help strengthen my back. if i loss weight bonus.
    So just wondering how many days i can row in a row to start out with and how long before i can increase the days? As i would like to row everyday when i can and dont want to over do it too soon as i dont want to get hurt or damage myself.
    Any help and advice will b greatly appriciated thanks

    1. Hi Mary-Anne,

      This is a very difficult question to answer due to it depending on the person. A lot of factors can come into play when asking if you should be rowing everyday, like age and previous experience.

      I think the best thing to do is start out slow. I think rowing every other day or every 3 days is a good place to start. You can do some stretches and other like workouts in-between when you are starting. If you don’t feel tired or sore the next day, then I think you can start to row everyday.

      The most important thing is to listen to your body. If something is a bit sore or aching, then give it some time to rest. Trust me, I always try to overdo it and I end up having to take even more time off to heal.

  6. I am 72 in a few days. I have jogged regularly over the past 15 years (started late), and we have great woods for forest track running. My weight has been pretty constant around 75 kg but has crept up to just under 80 mainly cos of lack of input discipline and difficulty maintaining exercise frequency. A difficult time is always winter. So Christmas present for family (mainly me) is a concept 2 sportplus tower. Started this week – working to row 60-70 mins per day 8k SR around about mid 20s currently 4 on effort. Goal is to lose 5k stay fit ready to mix with jog / energy walking maybe weekly swim.

    How does this sound or is there a good training plan you can point me at.

    1. Hi John,

      I think rowing for 60-70 minutes a day will definitely do the trick! One thing you can do is sign up for the Concept2 “Workout of the Day” email they have.

      They usually give three different workouts a day that can help switch things up a bit and keep it interesting. There really aren’t any good rowing programs that are available. Only programs that you would have to go to a rowing studio to perform.

      If you can keep up with your planned workouts, I think you will be happy with the results

      1. Edwin
        Thanks it is good to get the reassurance, and the link which I will sign up for in a couple of weeks.


    2. Just to report have kept it up for two months. Rowed 8k per day now rowing the total in below 46mins. Also bought Bluetooth weight machine so can graphically track weight loss. I check daily which is a bit OCD but need the discipline and that has helped with diet. Result 5kg loss. Very pleased as will keep it up

  7. Hello Edwin I know this post is older. I was wondering if when rowing for 20 minutes does that mean I don’t stop for 20 minutes? I just started my diet last week. Within 20 minutes is there any amount of time I should stop or is the whole point to constantly row the whole time

    1. Hi Tyler,

      There are 2 types of workouts you can do: steady-state and HIIT.

      Steady-state is where you would row for 20 minutes without stopping. This would be considered on the short end of steady-state exercise and normally you would want to row at a slower pace and row for longer periods of time (30-40 min).

      You can also do a 20 minute HIIT exercise, which may even be a bit long. This could be where you row hard for 2-minutes and then take a 2-minute break.

      Both workouts are great for losing weight but have slightly different benefits. You can look up different articles about the benefits of steady-state and HIIT exercises. I usually like to mix them up to get the benefits of both and not hit any plateaus.

  8. I’m 73 and I’m up to 40 minutes 3 times a week. I’m up to 7064 meters and 362 calories burned. Heart rate is around 122 bpm. Can I do any good with this routine? I’m about 30 lbs over weight. I have cut calories to 1950 per day.
    I seem to feel I have to rest every other day. I’m 221 lbs and 5’10”.

    On Concept 2 D rower

    1. Hi Gary,

      I think that is a great routine and it’s great to hear you can row for 40 consecutive minutes! If you continue with this routine I would definitely think you should start to see results.

      One thing you can look into is adding in some HIIT workouts to your routine to with things up a little. You can also visit the Concept2 website and sign up for their WOD email to get some great workout ideas everyday.

  9. How about a combination. 20 minutes daily of normal intensity and ten minuets each day of HIIT exercises (high intensity interval training. I am thinking of doing this. Is it a winning approach?

    1. Hi Johnn,

      Sounds good to me! There’s no clear or set way to go about exercising. I always feel that if your routine gets you to workout and not dread it, then it’s a good routine! The key point for most people is to actually get started with a plan.

  10. I am 40 and around 300lbs.I was in the Army on active duty around 16 years ago and havent worked out since then. I am going to start a gym routine using compound movements and would like to using rowing as an after lifting or alternate day thing. I just curious what your advice would be for something like this.

    1. Hi Rodney,

      I think using the rowing machine after lifting weight or alternating days are both great ideas. People have used them in both ways successfully.

      I think the key is to start and stay consistent. Once you get into a routine of working out everyday, then you can come up with concrete workout plans. The main objective is to just get started!

  11. Rowing is said to give one of the most complete workouts. I’m just getting started and want to know if there are certain muscles or exercises that compliment rowing by working areas not worked during rowing? Just guessing, but chest and shoulder presses since the motion is pushing instead of pulling.

    1. I think different exercises like push-ups and kettlebells are great compliments to rowing. They are also full body workouts but can help target the secondary muscles that rowing does not directly target, like chest and shoulders!

  12. Hello i have laxed ligaments and i am wondering if a rowing machine would be any good for someone in my conditions i am also overweight slightly.

    I would appreciate a prompt response.

    Great article by the way!

    1. Hi Fiona,

      Thanks for reaching out! I don’t see why a rowing machine wouldn’t be good!

      It’s great for cardio and low impact, so seems like perfect fit for you :)

  13. Hi, I’m a 50 y/o female. I used to run 20-50 miles a wk during fall marathon season. I fell and had two surgeries on my knee (repaired multiple tears and a bone debridement) that left me with stage 4 osteoarthritis last year. I recently fell in love with rowing again. I started going to orange theory fitness and rowing is a part of their routine. I would power walk on the treadmill at a 10-15% incline but I’m still having knee pain. Rowing is the only exercise that i don’t experience any knee pain NONE. I’m going to sit down today and incorporate what I’ve learned from you by writing down my weight loss goals that will include HIIT rowing and weight training. Thank you for this amazing article!

    1. Thank you for the kind words! I’m glad rowing has been able to give you a solution to your knee issues! Let us know how your journey goes!

  14. Greetings
    I am 70. 5’10” and weigh 207lbs.
    I Row 5 days a week.
    6 k takes me 30 mins with the water rower set at Max resistance
    Give or take 30 secs.
    I supplement this regime with another 40 mins of free weights and mixed resistance machines.
    Appetite is ‘robust’ but I watch my carb intake as much as a wine lover can!!
    Do you suggest varying the rowing program for maximum cardio benefit or is my current prog OK?

    1. Hi Chris – thanks for reaching out!

      I think your current program sounds great! One thing you might want to try is mixing in some HIIT workouts. It’s always good to switch things up since your body can become very efficient at rowing for 30min so doing shorter bursts can help maximize your cardio benefits.

  15. Hi. I am a slim 45 year old (about 155lb and 6ft) i have a very fast burning metabolism. I like to row. I can be on a rowing machine for an hour without a problem, but as i want to do this to generally be better fit, and my intentions are not weight loss… what is the recommended routine? I will be doing with along with a short jog, some push ups and some basic matt pilatis steps. Many thanks!

    1. Hi Wael,

      Thanks for reaching out! Seeing as you are already in great shape, there is no specific routine you have to follow. The best way to improve general fitness is to mix up your workout routine.

      Since you can already row for an hour, which would be considered “steady-state” exercise, you shout try some shorter “HIIT” workouts. These are faster, sprint types workouts.

      You can also do some circuit training where you row for 500m, do some push-ups, a few kettlebell exercise, rest for 1 min, and then repeat.

      Hope that helps!

  16. Great read for a new comer. Im 55, 211lbs and looking to get to iro 182 eventually. Brought a 2nd hand air rowing machine r710 and have been building to around 20 minutes sessions (only had it 2 weeks).

    I base my exercise on my heart rate rather than goals. So i will warm up at say 22 spm to get hr to 100bpm, then go to 28 spm and a rate of 120bpm. Interestingly i had been doing hiit as i would then ramp up to 32spm for a minute then back to 28 for a minute with the hr peaking at 155bpm. (I ease off when it gets that high regardless to time taken)

    But as yet, after 20 minutes im done. You mention people doing 30 or 90 minutes a day, but what if i did 3 x 20 minutes over a day, am i likely to be on the same goal as a one off 60 minute exercise?

    I personaly find it easier to have 20 minutes in morning, early evening then one last blast before bedtime. I feel relaxed each time i row but i wonder if i should go for longer sessions in one go.


    1. Hi Terry – thank you for reaching out!

      To be honest, I think what you are doing is fine. The best exercise routine is the one you enjoy and the one that will stay consistent!

      There are so many different types of workouts that it’s hard to package all into one article. As you know, heart rate plays a huge role so rowing 20 minutes with a low heart rate versus 20 minutes with periods of high heart rate is totally different!

      I think it might make sense for you to do some research about the pros & cons of steady-state vs. HIIT workouts. You can also look at people who do heart rate zone training (look-up zone 2 training which is what some people may do when they row for longer periods – over an hour). This may help you decide if you want to switch it up and row for longer periods of time.

      1. Hi Edwin, I appreciate your comment. This is a great website for a novice with lots of information thats easy to understand. Many thanks

  17. Great advice for newbies like myself! I was surprised at my weight after the coronavirus lockdown (male, 160, 5’6”) as I’ve been insanely skinny most of my life (around 125/130). Been rowing about 2 weeks and it feels great, used to cycle every day, but fell off that bandwagon after my commute didn’t allow cycling. Based on your article, I’ve decided to row 1 day with intervals (could use some strength as I slide into middle age) and 1 day doing 30 minutes at a comfortable pace. Hopefully this and eating less Ben n jerry’s will help me shave off that weight and get and get to a place where I feel healthy.

    1. I’m glad you found the article helpful Josh! Good luck with the new routine and I’m sure you’ll be back in shape in no time!

  18. I am trying to get back into rowing again. I have a water rower (Sunny Obsidian Surge). I was doing a short HIIT workout and then a lower SPM longer duration for a total of 15 to 20min. I would do 2 days on and one day off. I am not sure if that is a good plan. Or if I should be trying to do 30min a day. I am 5’7″ and 150lbs. I want to get down to 130-135 and tone up again. My thyroid has played a few issues in this but it is getting better. I also sometimes do the intermittent fasting. I guess I am just a little lost on what to do. But I love the rower it doesn’t hurt my knees like every other workout does. With my joint issues I can’t run or do a ton of weight lifting. I can do strength training maybe 1 or 2 days a week but more than that and I start to hurt. So the rower has been a godsend.

    1. Hi Miranda – it’s great to hear you’ve been enjoying the rower so much! I think what you are doing now is perfect. The key is to listen to your body. If you feel doing 2 days on and 1 day off is getting easy, then switch to 3 days on and 1 day off. If you feel your workouts are getting easy, then increase the intensity or time. If you ever feel yourself getting tired, then take a day off!

      Most people overthink their routine! Just keep rowing and researching different workout plans/routines and you will learn as you go!

  19. On weather permitting days, I walk 2 miles, not power walk, but steady pace. I live in the Northeast, so weather is a real factor. On other days, I use my rower. I’m 73, 160 lbs, and would like to slowly lose 10 lbs or so, which would be the least I’ve ever weighed. My body seems to plateau at 160 even eating a healthy diet. Mostly, I would like to strengthen my heart. I find that I am spent breathing hard with my heart racing after 6 mins. I started at a resistance of 1 and am up to 4. I have bad knees. Used to use a recumbent bike, but it was bothering my knees, so bought the rower. Any suggestions? Is as little as 6 mins. even helping? Thanks!

    1. Hi Stacy – thanks for reaching out! I definitely think spending 6min a day will help! You will slowly be able to build up more strength and endurance ance be able to row longer. If you keep rowing consistently, you will be able to add more time onto your workouts.

      One way to ensure you are seeing improvement is to try to incrementally increase the time you spend on the rower. Most runners look to increase their mileage by 10% per week so try to increase your time by 10% each week and you will see your workout times increase pretty fast. If you are at 6min now, in just 2 months you will be rowing for almost 15 min a session!

  20. Hi I got my rowing machine and put it up. Done 15 mins on it today I’m so over weight at 365lbs will this help me to lose weight

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