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Will A Rowing Machine Help Me Lose Weight?

Will a rowing machine help me lose weight..will a rowing machine help me lose weight?”

This is a common question I see asked on many different forums scattered across the web.

I also get emails from visitors of Rowing Machine King, so I wanted to answer that question here publicly in case others had the same question.

To answer the question.  It’s Yes. Si. Oui. Ja. Sim. Ken. Sea. Jes. Hai. Ndiyo!

However you say it, in whatever language, a rowing machine will definitely help you lose weight!

I’ve written articles on the benefits of a rowing machine and what a rowing machine does for your body but I still get asked this question every now and then so I decided to make a whole separate post to address it.

I’ve mentioned it so many times before so I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I’m so thankful for the home rowing machine!

I used to do a lot of sports and running over the years but knee pain began sidelining me. I needed to look for another form of cardiovascular exercise that didn’t kill my joints, specifically my knees and ankles, and that’s when the rowing machine stepped in!

Not only did a rowing machine help me lose weight, it’s the main reason why I’m in the best shape of my life! I became stronger, more lean, and vastly improved my cardiovascular capabilities.

There really is no substitute for a full-body workout, especially one that preserves your joints and incorporates some kick-butt cardioat the same time!

But don’t just take my word for it:

Do you remember the movie ‘300’ starring Gerard Butler? He was ripped in that movie wasn’t he? As part of his workout routine to get in shape for the movie guess what he used… you betcha! He said that he loves the rowing machine and it’s what put his body over the top.

You can watch the Men’s Health interview below:

So now when someones asks “…will a rowing machine help me lose weight?” Just nod your head and say, if it’s good enough for King Leonidas, it’s good enough for me!

Here are some other comments regarding rowing machines I pulled from the web:

  • I lost almost 30 pounds in 3 months and my arms and back muscles are very defined already. I had to start working on all the complementary muscles with weights to avoid looking weird ;)
  • (source: http://www.myfitnesspal.com)
  • Indoor rowing was my weight loss “magic bullet” in terms of exercise, the activity I found that I could enjoy and maintain, and that would give me the results I was looking for.
  • The combination of a workout whose intensity I could vary just with the effort I put onto the flywheel and the stroke’s meditative, rhythmic synchronicity was irresistible.
  • Once I built up to being able to work with good effort on the rowing machine I started to see big changes happen, both in terms of losing weight and getting stronger.
  • (source: http://ucanrow2.com/about-us/sarahs-story/)

No matter what type of exercise machine or routine you follow, in order to lose weight and get the kind of results you really want, you will need to also watch your diet. There’s no way around that!

Many experts say that a general rule of thumb is that weight loss is around 75% diet and 25% exercise.

Cutting calories by making smart diet choices is far easier than burning them on the rower. However, a combination of a smart diet and great workout program is the best combination for seeing great results.

Will a rowing machine help me lose weight

Many experienced rowers have different philosophies about what rowing machine exercises burn the most fat.

The two categories are “steady-state” workouts, where you row at a medium pace/ resistance for a long period of time, and “HIIT” (hight intensity interval training) workouts, where a user rows very hard for an interval then slows down for a period and keeps repeating this cycle.

My philosophy is to incorporate both into your workout routine in different time periods. Maybe do steady-state workouts for a month and then HIIT workouts for a few weeks.

This will not only help you get the different benefits from both techniques but also help to switch things up and prevent you from getting bored.

Two Great Rowing Machine Workouts

The two different fat burning rowing machine workouts I use are:


  1. Adjust the rower to a medium resistance (about 60-70% of your max capacity)
  2. Begin rowing at what you consider a medium pace
  3. Keep this pace for 30-45 minutes aiming for a heart rate of 120-150 beats per minute

Playlist Punisher (HIIT Workout):

  1. Warm up for 2-3 minutes at a medium level (about 60-70% of your max capacity)
  2. Sprint or row as hard as possible for 1 minute while listening to your favorite track (90-100% of your max capacity)
  3. Rest for 1 minute or longer until your heart rate comes back down
  4. Repeat until you hit 20 minutes or your desired time

The steady-state rowing machine workout is an aerobic exercise that burns calories stored from fat. This workout will technically burn more calories during the workout than HIIT but many professionals believe HIIT is superior for fat burning.

This is because HIIT workouts are anaerobic and workouts are fueled by your stored carbohydrates. The very intense workout also elevates your metabolism for hours and sometimes days after your workout.

Check out this article for a great breakdown between the fat burning pros and cons of Steady-State vs. HIIT.

It is my belief, from personal experience, that a combination of steady-state and HIIT leads to the best results.

Some days I like rowing for 45 minutes while listening to a podcast. Other days I like cranking the music and rowing like crazy!

Best Rowing Machine Workout Book

If those 2 workouts weren’t enough to satisfy your erging sessions then what about 375+ workouts!?

That’s what is included in The Erg Book, a new rowing machine book that is jam packed with the best indoor rowing workouts of all time for all skill and fitness levels.

Will a rowing machine help me lose weight

The book is written by ‘The Short and Snarky Coxswains’ and Peter Cannia. All experienced authors who know how to turn a dry subject like rowing machines into an interesting and humorous book.

Here is what you will get inside:

  • 375+ of the best indoor rowing workouts
  • 14-week indoor training plan
  • Rowing machine technique tips
  • Best body circuit exercises
  • Much, much more…

The book is easy to navigate and it is simple to find a workout that fits your specific needs on any given day. You can click the photo or this link for a full review and sample of the book.

Final Thoughts

Based on personal experience there’s just no better way of getting in shape than with a rowing machine. It also helps that when someone now asks me, will a rowing machine help me lose weight, I can just say yes and point them to this article!

So what are you waiting for?  Go out there and get yourself a rowing machine!!!

Need help choosing which machine? Check out our rowing machine comparison chart to help you decide!

Questions about losing weight with a rowing machine? Leave them in the comment section below.


  1. I just started rowing about 3 weeks ago. I found it was so much easier on my body, but I do feel the work out, just not the pain that I felt from other machines. However, I am really new at rowing, and wanted to ask if it will help me lose weight all over, or if this focuses more on my arms back and shoulders…which if it’s to thin me out, then great, but if it’s going to make my upper body bulkier and my arms look too strong, then that is not what I want.
    So my question is, will the rower help me get thin and lean all over, or do I run the risk of bulking up my upper body?

    One of the comments read “I had to start working on all the complementary muscles with weights to avoid looking weird” so that kind of scares me…I do typically row and then cycle (row for about 2500 meters and then cycle for about 4 miles (I’m a beginner)…I’m working daily to increase the distance. I had one day where I rowed 4000 meters. So the concern now is, should I be careful with this machine, or am I pretty safe to see the slimming without the bulking?

    Thanks so much for all the information you share, it’s greatly appreciated and super helpful!

    1. Hi Gicel,

      Thanks for stopping by! To answer your question if rowing will help you get thin and lean, the answer is yes but to do it more efficiently let me briefly explain how rowing is similar to lifting weights.

      When someone is weight training, if that person wants to add a lot of muscle (more mass) they lift heavier weights (6-8 reps per set). If their focus was not to add more mass, but to add more strength and “lean muscle” they would lift lighter weights (10+ reps per set). Same principle applies to rowing, for your goal of wanting to get thin and lean all over, row faster and harder; you will feel more cardio, but the pulling of the handle won’t be too hard on your arms and back.

      You can do so much with a rowing machine to get lean – remember, if you’re on a rowing machine with an adjustable resistance, make it “light” on the arms and back but focus on the speed of your rowing – keep good form and in a few short weeks you will notice a big difference in your overall conditioning. You are already active, 4000 meters is a good distance to row! :) Again, keep it “lighter” but faster and with good form. Let me know if you have any other questions. Sorry for the late reply. Good luck and I’m glad you’re rowing!

      1. And conversely row slower and easier but with more resistance for more muscle mass? Would that be correct? So you’d be more jacked than ripped?

        1. Neil,

          Theoretically this is correct. Higher repetition at lower weight would equal being more ripped and lower repetition at higher weight would equal being more jacked.

          However, due to it being a rowing machine you will always be performing “high reps”. Rowing at a higher resistance will definitely help you gain lean muscle mass but in order to get “jacked” you will have to supplement with weight training. It really depends on what type of physique you are looking for.

          If you look up some photos of rowers you will get an idea of the lean muscle type you will gain from rowing. If you look up Crossfit rowers you will see the type of build you can get from weight training and rowing.

          Hope this helped and let me know if you need anything else.

  2. Hi, I was wondering if the water rowing machine I have will help me lose chest fat. I’m a seventeen year old male, and I have a little fat on my pecks, but I’m also a runner and have been running for a year, (last year) although i stopped since about October. I still run sometimes, but I always had this fat, even when I ran last year. If i start doing 30 minutes a day and slowly building up on the water rowe, will that make a difference? Thanks!

    1. Hi Keton,

      Sorry for the late reply! Glad to hear you’re looking to lose a little weight on your chest. The answer to your question is yes. The chest is a primary muscle that is used while rowing (http://livehealthy.chron.com/rowing-affect-chest-8564.html). To lose fat you will also need a clean diet while working out and gaining muscle in your chest will drastically help. I would recommend doing 30 minutes a day to start with pushups before and after. Start with as many pushups as you can do (pushups to failure), row for 15 minutes, then another set of pushups to failure, row for 15 more minutes, and then end with you last set of pushups to failure. This is guaranteed to help lose that chest fat.

      Hope this advice helps and good luck! Let me know how it goes or if you have any other questions.

      1. Hi, thanks for the advice! Here is what I did so far:

        3/8/15 30 min, three sets of pushups as you said, total of 5730 meters
        3/9/15 30 min, same as above, but 6107 meters =)
        Today, 3/10/15 20 minutes, only one set of pushups at the end, and 4442 meters. (The pace was 32, the other two were about 26 and 28)

        The main obstacle I have is school and lack of sleep, and laziness, which is why I only did 20 today. But I hope to continue because I already feel a difference. Are the times good? Thanks!

        1. Keton,

          Those times are great! Keep up the hard work and I am positive you will see results. As you form a habit of working out everyday it will only get easier. Also remember to eat a clean and healthy diet. This will help with losing fat, increasing energy, and help you optimize your sleep.

          Laziness is one of the toughest obstacles to overcome when working out and I have always combated it with a good motivational video before I want to work out. Check out this video that I love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuPLxQD4akQ. Also just Youtube search for “Motivational Workout Videos”.

          If you are interested in other fat burning exercises check out the comment and response below this one from Abhishek.

          Good luck and keep woking hard!

  3. Edwin,

    Are there any specific rowing workouts which are great for weightloss. At this point I am trying to do a 10k on a regular basis, which takes me around 47 mins.

    I am wondering if there are better workouts for this

    1. Abhishek,

      Glad to hear you are rowing regularly! There are plenty of workouts geared towards burning fat and helping to keep your workouts fresh.

      My favorite is called the Playlist Punisher. I love it because I create a playlist of my favorite pump up music and sprint during those songs. It is basically a HIIT workout or “High Intensity Interval Training”. Here are the instructions:
      1. Warm up for 2-3 minutes at a medium level
      2. Sprint or row as hard as possible for 1 minute while listening to your favorite track
      3. Rest for 1 minute or longer until your heart rate comes back down
      4. Repeat until you hit 20 minutes or your desired time.

      This is an excerpt about it from Men’s Health: “Sprints skyrocket your fitness and peel away fat. The reason: When you go as hard as you can for 15 to 30 seconds and then take the setting way down, your heart rate is still through the roof even while you’re coasting. “Doing this over and over again during a workout will burn a ton of a fat and tone your whole body,” says Josh Ozeri, co-founder of indoor rowing facility Brooklyn Crew in Brooklyn, New York. Pair your sprints with your favorite motivational music—like in the workout below—for an even bigger boost.”

      More workouts can be found in this Men’s Health Article and this video shows a HIIT Rowing Workout.

      Let me know if you need anything else and thanks for checking in!


      1. Awesome! Sounds like fun.
        I was already researching this topic and getting it validated from you is great.

        I am guessing this workout will be more intensive and I wont be able to do it at 45 mins. What frequency & length do you recommend?

        20 mins and 5 days a week or higher duration but less times in a week?

      2. Edwin,

        I just did the 20 min HIIT. Since I was starting I did the intervals of 1 min work and 3 min rest.
        Now the rower calculates that I burnt 260 calories in these 20 mins. Thats largely due to the fact that I slow down quite a bit when I am in the recovery mode.

        However I am as tired as I am when I do a 45 min work.

        Now I am in a fix. I dont see the calorie rewards in the HIIT training. Am I doing this wrong? Should I see more calories being burnt? Or do calories not matter in the HIIT mode as I could be burning them even after I have done the workout?

        ps – I really think you can do a dedicated post on weight loss workouts and tips/tricks :-)

        1. Abhishek,

          Glad to hear that I was able to confirm your research! There are many different schools of thought on which type of exercise is best for losing fat. Many trainers have switched over to the belief that HIIT is the best for this because your metabolism is elevated for long periods after your workout and the energy your body uses to perform these workouts is taken from stored carbohydrates. Personally, I like to switch up my workouts between steady state long distance and HIIT due to the different benefits of each.

          I have found a great article comparing the two workouts that I believe you will enjoy https://experiencelife.com/article/steady-state-cardio-vs-high-intensity-interval-training/.

          Also, thanks for the article idea tip! I do think that would be a great article and I may have to start working on that post!


      3. Hi Edwin,

        I also have a little weight to lose on my hips and belly, not too much though.
        Is it important to follow the intervals described in this post, or can I do for example 10 x 500 metres with one minute breaks, and still get results?
        The reason I am asking you this, is that it’s a standard workout on the Concept 2-machines my local gym use.

        If I misspelled anything or made myself unclear in any other way, I apologise – I am contacting you all the way from Denmark :)


        PS: This section is great – really helpful article!

        1. Hi Lasse,

          No need for an apology, everything was clear and perfect! I’m glad to hear you are using rowing as a means to get into better shape :)

          I think the workout you mentioned is perfectly fine. I was actually reading an article today that mentioned a workout similar to yours. The workout was to time yourself doing 500m. Then rest for the amount of time that it took you to row and repeat. You can do this for as many sets as you’d like and keep the same pace each row and rest.

          Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions! Also, thank you for the comment and compliment!

  4. Hello, I am new to rowing. I am trying to lose weight and get toned. I was wondering how I can efficiently use the rowing machine to help me. I am a 180 pound 5’3 girl. I am hoping to slim down and tone up a little bit. What would be the perfect exercise routine using the rowing machine to help me do that?. I was hoping to do maybe an hour for 5 days a week and thinking tht would help me. Im wanting to lose at least 50 pounds

    1. Hi Breanna,

      Glad to hear you are taking control of your health and thanks for reaching out! The rowing machine is a great tool for helping to lose weight and burn fat. If you are going to try to workout 5 days a week I would do a 3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 1 day off split. This will help give your body a break to recover. There are a lot of different workouts that can be performed but I would alternate between a HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training) and a basic distance row. This will help burn calories and increase metabolism.

      A HIIT workout example would be to do 1 interval of very hard rowing followed by an interval of slow rowing to regain your breath. For starters, I would recommend 30 seconds of hard rowing followed by 2 minutes of slower paced rowing. Do this for 20 minutes. You can then work your way up to longer high intensity intervals, shorter rest periods, and longer workout times.

      For Distance Rowing just adjust your machine to a medium resistance and keep a steady pace for 30-45 min. This will help burn more calories than HIIT training but does not have the benefits of elevated metabolism and fat burning like HIIT.

      They key to losing weight is DIET. I cannot stress this enough. Weight loss is 80% or more based on diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet combined with a daily rowing exercise will for sure help you reach your goal.

      Check out the other comments on this post for information on exercises and staying motivated!

      Let me know if you have any other questions and I hope this helped!


    2. Breanna,
      We are cut from the same cloth…you just described me! Glad to hear other ladies out there like me are looking for rowing routines to help with weight loss. Glad I stumbled on to this site. Thanks for the tips below, Edwin.

  5. Hi Edwin,

    Does the Concept 2 Model E work as well as Model D for a shorter person? I’m not only extremely short, I also
    do not have the room for the Model D and am looking for a good compact model? Any thoughts or ideas?

    1. Olenka,

      Yes, the Concept2 Model D and E would work equally as well for a short person. If you don’t have the room for these models and are still looking for a good beginner air rower I would recommend checking out the Stamina 1399 Air Rower. Here is a link to my article I wrote on it. This rower cost quite a bit less so it will not have the same high end quality as the Concept2’s but most of the higher end models have a larger footprint. Let me know if this answers your question and if you have any others just let me know! I’m always glad to help a fellow rower!



  6. Hola Edwin,

    I’m about to buy the LifeSpan Rowing Machine from a co-worker and your site has helped me alot!! I am also 180 5’3 trying to lose weight. Alot of my weight falls in my arms and legs so I have heard this machine will help, what is your expertise on this? Thank you in advance!!

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Glad to hear you are getting into rowing! I believe a rowing machine will definitely help with achieving your weight loss goals. As mentioned previously I would start out with a variation of the two exercises mentioned in the article. A rowing machine will help you lose weight better than any other piece of equipment like a treadmill or bike. It is a full body workout that burns calories, increases strength, and raises metabolic rates.

      The main thing is getting into a habit of using the machine everyday! Some studies have shown that to form a habit you must do the task 20 days in a row. Even if it is just a short period of time, try to get a quick workout in and have fun! The rowing machine will help burn calories and increase metabolic rate but I cannot stress enough how important diet is. Weight loss is about 75- 80% diet.

      A daily workout routine combined with healthy eating habits will with out a doubt give you the results you want!

      Thanks for stopping in and let me know if I can help in any way!


  7. I was just wondering. I have been rowing 5 days a week since September 1, 2014. I have worked up to 30 min a day. I do anywhere from 5300 to 6000 meters. I am trying to find out is this the best workout for weight loss. I enjoy rowing. I have been eating low carb and have lost 35 lbs. Have a more to loose. Do I need to increase the amount of time I am rowing. Do I need to go slower to burn more fat or is faster better. Should I try some of the preset workouts on the machine. I just row. It says I burn 300 calories.

    1. Mary,

      Wow! Very glad to hear rowing has helped you lose weight! Like I always try to mention, diet is going to be the biggest factor when losing weight but it looks like you have that covered.

      In my opinion I would switch up your routine a little to help get you past any plateaus. First I would add a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout to your routine, like the one I mentioned above in the article. HIIT workouts are great on rowing machines because there are no adjustments that need to be made during the workout. Just row at a high intensity for 1 minute then row slowly for 1 minute. Check your rower for an preset workouts that may mimic this type of workout. You could also try increasing the resistance if all the time you have is 30 minutes a day or increase how long you are rowing for. Another thing I sometimes recommend is getting in 2 workouts a day, one in the morning and one at night. This helps jumpstart your metabolism throughout the day, especially if your day is spent sitting at a desk.

      35 lbs in 9 months is fantastic! The general guidelines are usually to lose about 2-3 lbs a week to safely keep the weight off and not have it come back, so you are pretty close in line with that. I think you are doing a wonderful job and if you want to lose more weight just stay focused and motivated! Getting back to your healthiest state can be tough and takes time, so just keep at it!

      Thanks for stopping in, let me know if you have any other questions, and keep me posted!!

    1. Sheila,

      I’m glad to here you are interested in losing weight by using a rowing machine! The best rowing machine for weight loss is a tough question to answer because it differs for each person. To me the best rower to lose weight would be the machine that fits you the best and you use the most.

      You will first have to start with questions like, what is your budget? What type of resistance do you want? Once you answer these two questions it will narrow down your rowing machine to a few options which will make the selection process a lot easier. If used properly most rowing machines will be able to give you about the same workout and burn the same amount of calories. I would start by reading my article on Buying A Rowing Machine. Once you narrow down what you want, visit my Rower Comparison Chart and find the highest rated rower that meets your requirements.

      I hope this helped and thanks for the comment!

    1. Dais,

      Yes, a rowing machine will definitely help slim your legs! When rowing, you will be using your legs to drive your body back and pull the resisted handle. This constant pushing with your legs will help build lean muscle and slim down your legs. Don’t worry about your legs becoming bulky or muscular either because rowing will just tone your legs, due to the very high amount of repetitions.

      Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi Edwin, this website is great! i rowed for the first time in my life today at my local gym and I fell in love! I only did 15 min, but I loved it. I am 5’2 and 170 lbs. I am looking for a machine that will allow me to keep my figure and shape, but burn a lot of fat and tone! I have some extra fat/cellulite on my thighs and am wondering if rowing will help with that. I hate running, so is this a true alternative?

    Also, do all rowing machines allow you to increase or decrease resistance? it seemed like the machine I was on only had one setting. The rowing seat seemed to go back pretty fast every time.

    1. Brye,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed rowing! A rowing machine will definitely help you burn that extra fat and keep you toned. It is also a great alternative to running and in my opinion a better alternative.

      Almost all rowing machines will allow you to increase and decrease resistance. Do you know what machine you were using? Maybe you can take a picture of it the next time you use it and email it to me.

      I would be glad to help guide you towards what rowing machine to to buy if that is what you are looking to do or I can answer any questions you may have on how to use them properly. Just reply to this comment or send a detailed message to my email. Edwin@rowingmachineking.com

      Thanks for stopping in!! :)

  9. I have been looking for a workout that would be easy on my joints. I’m 6’6 and 440lb. I been looking at getting concept2 rower model d. Its one of two that i found that can hold my weight. But it cost 900+ so I haven’t pulled the trigger on it. Part of me is worried that after X amount of time I will stop losing wight. I have had this happen with Treadmills. I know diet is very important but I have had a lot people say I need to lift weights to lose weight. So will I lose like 40lb and then stop losing wight till i do both weight lifting and rowing ? I want to make sure i’m using 1000$ in the right places.

    1. Lee,

      You are correct that losing weight is primarily diet. I’m sure you also know that losing weight is different for every person and everyone has their own opinion on how to do it! One book that helped me get in the best shape of my life was “The Four Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss. It is a small investment and filled with a lot of information. I definitely recommend it.

      I do agree that a good weight lifting and cardiovascular program is the best way to lose weight. A rowing machine is the best way to kill two birds with one stone and the Concept2 Model D is the best rower on the market. You will definitely lose weight if you row daily. Another workout I recommend is to incorporate a kettlebell workout while also rowing. Here are the links to the products I mentioned:

      The Four Hour Body
      Concept2 Model D
      Kettlebell Workouts

      Let me know if I can help in any other way!

    1. Ben,

      The main differences between the Stamina 1399 and the Stamina 1402 is the 1402 is supposed to have a slightly upgraded build quality than the 1399. The 1402 also has a slightly different monitor but ultimately tracks the same items. The 1402 is only $50 more so your decision is basically- is the slightly better build quality and monitor that is easier to read worth the $50?

      In my opinion I would go with the Stamina 1399 because it has a long standing track record and had been a bestseller on Amazon for a long time. The 1402 is a new rower and often times when a manufacturer sells a new rower there are a lot of quality issues in the beginning.

      Take a look at the videos of the machines on amazon and the pictures to see if the extra $50 is worth it to you.

      Stamina 1399
      Stamina 1402

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  10. Hello! I am just getting into rowing, I’ve heard that there are many benefits. I am 5’7.5 and 165pnds. I just started rowinng twice a week this month, 20 minutes. I also do yoga twice a week. If just starting out, should I be increasing my minutes? I have read previous comments, where you had said to row 30 to 45 minutes? Shall I increase to 30 to 45 minutes twice a week? That’s for your help.

    1. Lisa,

      I would increase the time of your workout or the intensity if you are comfortable doing 20 minutes. It’s always a good thing to push yourself and as I wrote about in my article about Burning Calories On A Rowing Machine, the higher your heart rate and the longer the time, the more calories you burn!!

      Hope this helped and happy rowing! :)

  11. I’ve just turned 41 and needed to get back into shape, so like many others on this site I’ve turned to rowing. Its been 3/4 weeks and I’m currently upto 7km Mon-Fri taking 30 minutes on average with resistance set to 5. I can feel the difference on my upper body, but have only lost 2lbs in weight. I’ve added 2 nights of running to the schedule covering 6km each.

    I try to have a healthy breakfast each morning, and have 1 main meal in the evening with my wife, no lunch as I’m rowing during that break.

    I’m hoping the weight will start to drop a little quicker as time goes by, I’m currently 189lbs and 5ft 9in (not that I’m going to get any taller). How soon should I mix things up with the rowing before I plateau, I thoroughly enjoy the 7km rowing and by the end of the 30 minutes I’m exhausted. I started at 5km with a time of 27mins, so I know I’m getting better, and when time allows I’ll push to the odd 9-10km mark.

    Thanks in advance!!

    1. Steve,

      Great to hear you have picked up rowing to pursue a healthier life and lose weight! You are definitely working out enough to start seeing results. I would continue to keep your workout schedule and increase your distance/time when you can. In my opinion, nailing down your diet is going to be the next obstacle to really see the weight start flying off. Everyone is different when it comes to dieting and seeing results but one of my favorite diets is the “Slow Carb Diet”. A google search of this term will bring up a lot of information.

      It usually takes a few months before you would begin to plateau but it would not hurt to switch up your workout to some type of HIIT workout to keep things interesting. Also, make sure that you are weighing yourself in the morning after you use the bathroom so you are having an apple to apples comparison of your weight.

      Let me know if I can assist in any other way!

  12. Edwin, i have been using the Concept2 at the local Y and loving it. Only seriously for about 2 weeks. I have lost weight with the exercise and watching my diet. Have lost 6 lbs so far. Mostly though I am already seeing a reduction in my Moobs(man boobs). My question to you is: can you explain setting of the “drag” in the computer on the concept2. I do understand the adjustment of the drag on the fan, but does adjusting the computer drag also make a difference? I also have downloaded the “ergdata” app and love the use of the logbook it provides. Thank you for your help with everyone’s questions. So easy to let our health and weight slide, not so easy to gain it back.

    1. Ken,

      Glad to hear you are making some improvements with your C2!! There is a lot of information to cover about drag and drag factor so I will pont you towards the Concept 2 website. This page has all the info on the settings, what they mean, and how to adjust. There is also a link on this page to learn more about damper settings and drag factor.


      And yes you are correct that it is easy to let your health and weight slide!! The best thing to do is once you get back to where you want to be health wise, don’t let it go! Try to get a workout in everyday no matter how hard or long and always be conscious of making healthy eating choices.

      Let me know if you need anything else and happy rowing! :)

  13. Thanks for this page! I had a c section birth 9 weeks ago and I wanted to start building my fitness up. I’ve found I can sit my baby facing me in a bouncer, then I row at a fast steady pace for 15 minutes, then I have to feed her, then back on for another 15 minutes. This is about all I can fit in at the moment but I’ve found I am more alert and less lethargic when having to get up lots during the night. I hope this is the start of a great new fitness hobby and I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. Any other parents out there got any extra strategies for getting an efficient work out in short busts like this?

      1. It’s a basic rowing machine I bought here in New Zealand ni-trac since I’m a newbie. I have set the resistance to half to start off with and have to be aware of my scar so I don’t pop any stitches… Really want to achieve toning and increase my fitness, I like going hard for short bursts since I have a baby to tend to every 15 minutes unless I get lucky and she naps. I was a good swimmer but it’s not possible to jump in the pool swim a couple of kms and keep a close eye on the baby. I can’t do high impact things either. I read to not reduce my calories much so my milk supply isn’t affected so the best thing is for me to exercise ideally for longer periods I guess but I have to start somewhere. Can you interval trane with a rower? Will something like this achieve the results I’m looking for?

  14. Hey,
    I used to row competitively for 6 years, I used to train 7-8 times a week!
    Unfortunately I had to give up 3 years ago due to arthritis and surgeries! since then I’ve started uni and gained alot of weight, mostly around my belly, arms and upper back..
    When I used to train I didn’t even think about my weight, now im thinking of starting rowing at the gym again!
    How fast do you think I should start to see a difference, will rowing/edging help me lose the weight around my problem areas without building big muscle?

    1. Hi Katherine,

      Sorry to hear that you had to stop a sport that you were so passionate about but I’m glad you will be starting again!! I think you will begin to see results almost immediately. As you know rowing is such a great full body workout that even after a week you should start to feel better overall and see some improvements. As you know from past experience, rowing alone will not get you big and bulky but will help you add on lean muscle and burn fat. Remember that lean muscle helps burn more calories so that is a good thing!

      I think the best thing for you to do is get into a regular rowing routine and just have fun with it. I know losing weight can be frustrating but the best thing to do is get a small workout in everyday no matter what. Also remember to eat as clean as possible! This is priority #1 when losing weight.

      let me know if you need any other specific information and good luck with your mission!!

  15. Hi
    Ive been reading all the comments and all sound good. I have just bought a cross trainer due to turning 50 next year and hitting the menopause stage of life. Im hoping this will help with the middle area weight gain and all over fitness. Can you please tell me it will

    1. Hi Steff,

      Yes, I can assure you that working out on a rowing machine will help you lose weight. Working out on a rower burns more calories than almost every exercise machine and helps build lean muscle. This lean muscle will have you looking and feeling in shape and will help burn more calories naturally. You will also get one of the best cardiovascular workouts with a rowing machine.

      The most important thing to do is work out consistently on a daily basis and supplement working out with a clean diet. I cannot stress enough the importance of diet!! It will make you feel better and give you the energy to workout everyday!

      Please feel free to contact me with any specific questions you have. Good luck and glad to hear you are looking to improve your overall fitness!

  16. Hi, I do ZUMBA twice a week and would like to know how long I should use a rowing machine for as I need to tone up and would also like to loose some weight. I am now 62, what can you suggest for me. Also, how often or how many times per week should I use rowing machine.


    1. Karen,

      Depending on the amount of activity you do daily I would try to use the rower everyday that you are not doing ZUMBA. I believe that getting your body moving everyday is very important even if it is just for a short time.

      I would start off by continuing to do ZUMBA twice a week and do 20 minutes on the rower twice a week. On the other days just do a nice easy row for 5-10 minutes. Then depending on how you feel you can row more or less on your “easy” days. Participating in ZUMBA twice a week and rowing twice a week will definitely keep you in top shape.

      Following this plan and keeping a clean diet will definitely provide you with the results you are looking for.

      I’m glad you are looking to use a rower to keep in shape because I feel it is the best machine for the job! Please let me know if you have any other questions and good luck!!

  17. Good article and very helpful advice.

    We taking your advice Edwin, all the way from South Africa.


    Talie Girl ;-)

  18. Hello Edwin,
    I am 5 ft 3 in and 116 Ibs, i want thinner legs. I just wonder, is rowing machine thinner my legs or thicker because of gaining muscle? i have problem with my legs only. I dont want to be look muscular, i want to be look thinner. Sorry for my bad english.

    1. Hi Nina,

      This question comes up a lot and I’m glad to answer it! Rowing will help burn fat and build muscle but you will be building lean muscle. Your legs will definitely become smaller and you will not build big, bulky muscles on your legs.

      To build big muscles you have to do heavy weight (resistance) for lower repetitions which is the opposite of rowing which is light weight (resistance) and high repetition. If you are nervous about having muscular legs just row at an easier resistance and work your way up until you get the results that you desire.

      I hope this information helped!

      P.S. Your English is great :)

  19. Hello,

    I have just started rowing regularly on a Concept 2 model “D”. Up to now I have done steady pace workouts (about 25-30mn with 140-145 heartbeats/min). My aim is to tone my muscles, increase my BMR & lose weight (stomach and thighs). I am 52 and not very tall (156cm). My worry is that I am now rowing correctly because although I sweat alot, I have no stiffness… Any thoughts? Thanks very much

    1. Hi Alison,

      I don’t think you are rowing incorrectly, I just think your body has hit a plateau. Anytime a person begins new physical activity they will experience soreness in their muscles for the first week or so. The soreness is due to microscopic tears in the muscle that your body is repairing. These microscopic tears are a good thing and it means you are working out hard. These “tears” are what tones your muscles and makes them stronger. After a while your body will get accustom to the new physical activity and it will no longer be strenuous enough to create these microscopic tears that cause soreness/stiffness.

      You can still gain lean muscle without feeling this stiffness and you will 100% still be burning fat. If you want to build more muscle and feel the stiffness again you can try to switch up your workout routine. Try doing rowing sprints one workout or increase the resistance of the rower while maintaining your usual distance per time. If you are worried about your technique just watch a few YouTube videos on rowing technique as a refresher.

      I hope this information helped and thanks for the comment! Here is a link to more information about Muscle Soreness.

  20. Hi Edwin, greetings from Liberia! I have a Sunny home rower that I love, but I’m wondering if it really gives me a lower body workout. There’s no resistance when I straighten my legs; the only resistance I feel is upper-body. To be fair, I’ve been neglecting my upper body for 46 years now… but should I be feeling the rowing more in my legs? Does it sound like I’m doing it wrong?

    1. Hi Yaara,

      Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever had a comment from Liberia! I have a review of the Sunny Home Rower here and I really love this rower for the price.

      When reviewing this rower I did notice some users having the same issue you are having. I believe it is a form issue and you are using more of your arms to pull back the handle instead of both your legs and arms. Remember that a rowing stroke should be performed by using 60% of your legs, 20% of your core, and 20% of your arms. Try focusing on using your legs first, then core, and finishing with your arms. Here is an article I wrote about engaging your core and this a great video on form.

      Thanks for the comment and happy rowing!

      1. Thanks, Edwin! You should come visit Liberia some time. There’s great surfing!

        I’ll try to focus more on my legs. The motion of the seat is so smooth, it really feels like it takes no leg effort at all. I bet you’re right and proper form will help. Thanks!

        1. Yes, I would love to visit it looks beautiful! I love to travel and somewhere in Africa is on my list for the near future!

          Let us know how changing your form works out for you. Hopefully this fixes the problem :)

  21. While not technically a rower, I recently got a Total Gym Fit which can do a few rowing exercises, it doesn’t have the leg part but I can supplement that with squats, I have been rowing for 1hr at a time 2 times a day while also squatting on days I give my arms and rest, will I lose weight fast doing this or should I find another way?

    1. James,

      For sure you will lose weight fast doing that amount of exercise. However, you must remember that diet is the most important part of losing weight. So first you must make sure you are eating healthy everyday! Eating healthy combined with a daily exercise routine should show results pretty fast.

      If you want, you can add a kettlebell workout to your squat routine. A kettlebell can add a great full body workout to your routine which is great for losing weight. They are relatively cheap and can be used in hundreds of workouts. You can buy them online or most big box stores carry them and there are hundreds of workout tutorials on YouTube.

      Thanks for stopping in and let me know if you have any other questions!

  22. Edwin, I’ve seen a few videos on the Stamina air and I find that noise level is quite high. That’s why I’m thinking of getting the Sunny 5515 magnetic machine instead. What is your take between the two?

    1. Lester,

      The Stamina Air rower does make quite a bit of noise but most users just wear headphones to block it out. If noise is a concern of yours then a magnetic rower would be a better option in my opinion.

      I feel the Sunny Health Magnetic Rower is comparable to the Stamina air rower and would be a good option if you are looking for a quieter rower.

      Here are my reviews for both: Stamina Air Rower and Sunny Health Magnetic Rower.

      Happy Rowing!

  23. Hello, I recently started to do a rowing machine workouts but I am a little worried because I’m not sure is it not to hard. My question is how long I should do rowing in case to prevent injuries?
    P.S. I have personal rowing machine at home

    1. Hi Monika,

      What brand and model rowing machine do you have? The type of workout really depends on your goals. What is your main goal for working out and what injuries are you trying to prevent?


  24. Thanks for such an informative article! I recently bought a Waterrower and I’m interested in the steady state workout. How do I establish medium resistance on this machine? I know you said its about 60-70% of max capacity but I haven’t quite figured out what that is for me. Sorry if this is a silly question but this is all new to me.

    1. Hi Charlotte,

      Not a silly question at all and I’ll be glad to help!

      To figure out heart rate zones we need 3 easy to find numbers.

      1. Finding our “Maximum Heart Rate”(MHR): To find just take 220 minus your age. There are other more complex formulas.
      2. Finding our “Resting Heart Rate” (RHR): Take your heart rate first thing in the morning for a few days and average. Just count your beats per minute. Should be between 60-100.
      3. Finding our “Heart Rate Reserve” (HRR): Take your MHR minus your RHR.

      When we talk about heart rate zones and percentage we are talking about the range between our “Resting Heart Rate” and our “Maximum Heart Rate”. At 0% maximum effort we are at our resting heart rate and 100% maximum effort we are at our maximum heart rate.

      So to find “60% max capacity” we would take our “Heart Rate Reserve” and multiply it by 60% (0.60). We then take this number and add it to our “Resting Heart Rate” to get our “60% max capacity” beats per minute.

      Sorry if that is confusing! If you want a longer explanation you can visit this article by Concept2 or use an online calculator like this one.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  25. Hey Edwin, I’m a sixteen year old girl with type 1 diabetes. I know that having type 1 diabetes makes it harder to lose weight because the more insulin you have in your body the slower it is to lose weight. But I was wondering how long it would take for me to lose weight and see visible results. Here’s what I do: for 24 minutes a day I row at the same pace on a medium tension. I weigh 58 kg and I really want to weigh at least 50 kg before christmas. Would this be possible?

    1. Hi Claire,

      Losing weight is very difficult and having a medical condition that makes it even harder is really frustrating! I’m not a doctor so I don’t know exactly what you are capable of losing but I’m positive you can see great improvements by Dec 25th. You basically have a little over 2 months and most doctors recommend only losing between 1-2 lbs per week or 1kg. So with more that 8 weeks you should come close to your goal.

      However, long-term sustainable weight loss is better than losing it fast then putting it back on, so make sure to do it properly. To lose 1 lbs of fat you need to burn 3,500 calories or 7,700 calories for 1kg. If you divide this by 7 days in a week you need to burn an extra 1,100 calories a day from either cutting out unhealthy foods or exercising to lose 1 kg a week. Cutting out or reducing unhealthy food intake is the best way to lose extra weight. You should be eating mostly vegetables and lean protein. No fruit juices, no snacks, no sugar, etc.. Rowing everyday will then help to burn the excess calories and lose weight faster.

      There are plenty of other factors that will contribute to weight loss and weight gain but this is a rough guide to show you that it is possible. Just stay positive, stay consistent and you should see results!

  26. Hi. My son is 14. He is over 6 ft as of now and is also putting on weight like crazy. He is up to 230 lbs. I fear we are hitting a slippery slope here. We have a rowing machine at home. My question is, for his age, how long should his workouts be and how often per week should he be doing them?

    1. There are many factors to consider when using a rowing machine for losing weight. The most important thing to first analyze is diet. Your son needs to be eating healthy and getting the proper nutrition. I would also see a doctor to get professional advice. Your son may be going through hormonal changes and is putting on weight before hitting a growth spurt.

      There is no right or wrong amount of time to be rowing per week. However, it is important to gradually build yourself up and not wear yourself out. Start with 15-20 minutes a day or every other day. Gradually build up time and frequency. You don’t want to exhaust your son to where he never wants to row and despises exercising. Pick a couple activities that you can rotate to keep things interesting.

      At his age the main thing to do is keep him active. With proper diet and an active lifestyle he should have no problem sustaining a healthy weight. You may even want to ask him what he would enjoy doing for exercise. Maybe we won’t enjoy rowing but would enjoy other activities.

  27. Hello, there! I have a Stamina InMotion Rower. I am new at rowing. I do not feel as tired or muscle aching as I do when I run, however, I do have a Fitbit and my heart rate is at a burning fat rate and I feel my inner thighs a lot more when rowing. From what I read here this is a whole body workout. My question is, does anyone else feel NOT so tired? For sure I am getting a workout, but I guess I’m use to beating up my shins and ankles from running so much.

    1. Hi Veronica,

      Rowing is definitely a full body workout and you should be feeling it on your entire body. If you are already in fairly decent shape and run on a regular basis, the issue could be the model of rowing machine you are using.

      The Stamina InMotion Rower is very basic and can limit the intensity of a rowing workout. In my opinion, the InMotion Rower is good for elderly users or people who are just looking to get a light workout in everyday. It is also good for warm-ups and cool-downs. If you are looking for an intense cardio workout this would not be the best model.

      There are plenty of YouTube videos of people nearly passing out after using models like the Concept2 Model D. While this model is high-end there are some budget models like the Stamina Air Rower 1399 that can also give a killer cardio workout.

      My only suggestion would be to up the tempo and really focus on using 60% legs, 20% arms, and 20% core. I know your monitor does not calculate SPM (strokes per minute) but try calculating this and see what number you get. For good cardio workouts you should be somewhere between 18-24 strokes per minute.

  28. Good Evening,
    I am using a concept 2 rowing machine and I can tell you that besides I enjoy it, it became an obsession. I started about 2 years ago, rowing and treadmill walking at a pace 4.5 mph at 18% grade, that’s max of the machine. I can loose weight at a pace of 1 pound every 2 days along with very careful diet.I am 56 years old and the only problem I have is a little belly fat, which I can not get rid of as easy as they other body fat. When I row I row long, and I am talking my regular day is 12 Km, I came to a point that I row for 2.5 Hours distance of 34 Km, but that was just to see if I can do it.My regular exercise day is real 90 minutes of exercising. Just I need your advise how to get rid of the belly fat easier and faster, I know that the older I get the more difficult is to get rid of the belly fat.
    Thank You very much for your time

    1. Hi Vassilis,

      Glad to hear you are enjoying your Concept2 so much!! It sounds like you are in excellent shape but I’m sorry to hear that you are having trouble losing some extra belly fat. I understand that as people get older it becomes harder and harder to lose weight, especially for women. Women naturally store more fat than men and metabolic rates naturally decrease as you age.

      You are doing all the right things to combat this such as intense cardio workouts and a very careful diet. One thing you could add to your routine is some light weights or resistance training. This will help to add a little more lean muscle which will help boost your metabolism. It is also good for women to do some weight training to build muscle and increase bone density.

      I’m no expert in the area of losing belly fat at an older age but there are people who have covered this topic extensively. You may want to do a quick Google search for “How to lose belly fat over 50 years old” and read some of the advice from there.

      Hope this helped and good luck!

  29. Hi There, great site and information. I’ve started at the gym to lose 6 stone as of Janaury 1st and i’ve become a real fan of rowing. The gym has Concept rower which is fab but i’ve just purchased a Waterrower for home as it seemed to be the best option for me, although i’ve read the monitor can be a bit poor, time will tell. Just wondering what you made of the water rower yourself if you’ve used one?

    Cheers :)

    1. Hi Mark,

      Glad to hear you’ve been enjoying rowing! The WaterRowers are great rowing machines and will function similarly to the Concept2. The stroke will feel slightly different but the “variable” resistance will be the same.

      WaterRowers have been becoming very popular the past 5 years because it has been featured on the “House of Cards” series and rowing classes have been gaining popularity over spin classes. Rowing classes seem to use WaterRowers over Concept2’s due to the lower noise level.

      The S4 monitor isn’t as good as the PM5 but it really depends if you have a “data driven” personality. The S4 still records all the major data points like SPM, 500m split, distance, time, etc.. However it misses some of the advanced features like watts and power curve graphs.

      I think the monitor is advanced enough for most rowers to enjoy it without feeling they are missing out on too much. I’d love to hear your opinion once you’ve had a chance to use and compare the two!

  30. Hi I’m 46 male, 6 feet tall and weigh 270 I use to weigh 200 but had elbow surgery 6 month ago. I used to run 30-40 miles a week. My doctor said I can workout but no weights and running is not good on my legs since I gained 70lbs. My question is, I’ve started the rowing machine last week and today I went for an hour on level 7 on a good pace. Will this help me lose weight, tone up my body. I know diet is the big part of losing weight. So far I enjoy the rowing and I hope to ge5 back into running un the future. Thank you for your time

    1. Hi Mario,

      Glad to hear you have been enjoying rowing! It is a great replacement for people who are not able to run. It is the main reason I started rowing!

      Rowing for an hour straight is no easy task, so congratulations on that! You are 100% correct that diet has a LOT to do with losing weight but a good cardio regimen will also help a great deal.

      The main thing to do when trying to lose weight with a rowing machine is be consistent. If you are already rowing for an hour session, you are capable of rowing everyday. You don’t have to row an hour a day, but if you are serious about losing weight I would try to row at least once a day.

      A healthy diet combined with a consistent cardio routine will definitely shed some pounds fast. Just keep up the positive momentum and don’t stop. I have seen people first hand in the same situation as you who have lost a lot of weight with a good diet and rowing everyday!

      Good luck and let me know if you ever need anything!

      1. Hi what number should I put the rower on a trainer at a gym I used to go said unless it’s on ten there’s no point in doing it is this correct?
        Loving this advice thank you

        1. Hi Ruth,

          What model rowing machine is it and is it a magnetic or air rowing machine?

          Just setting the rowing machine to 10 is usually very bad advice. The resistance should be changed based on the goal of the workout.

          Meaning, if you want to row for a long session you should lower the resistance so you can extend your time. If you want a short, hard workout then you can increase the resistance.

          You can also change the resistance levels based on if you want a strength or cardio based workout. If you give me some additional information about what type of workout you want and what model rowing machine, I can give you a more detailed answer.

          Hope this helps! I’m glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for stopping by!

          1. Dear Edwin

            That’s great thank you I will check the model out at the gym and get back to you I just want weight loss and Toniing, I did 30 minutes today with it on ten and it wasn’t that hard for me as it’s my favourite piece of gym equipment. I love this where I can come for really good advice using the best thing I can really work on at the gym so thank you.

    1. Hi Ruth,

      You should Google “Damper 101 Concept2”. There are a lot of great articles about damper settings and what level you should set them.

      Setting a damper to 10 is usually not the best solution. I rarely, if ever, row with my C2 on a level 10.

      Good luck and shoot me an email if you have any other questions!

  31. Hi, I am a beginner, using a York fitness R101 rower. I am rowing 2 hours/week in three separate sessions (2 days on, 2 days off, 1 day on, 2 days off): 2×45 mins/session and 1 x 30-minute session. My average stroke rate is 22. I am concerned that the read-outs on my machine are not very reliable, as I seem to be making a lot of mileage in the time spent on the rower, compared to my calorie burn count. The readings I get are as follows: 45 minutes, stroke rate 22, distance 28 km, calories burnt 120, total number of strokes: 1000. Does this seem accurate to you? I am 40 years old, 161 cm tall and weigh 70 kg.

    1. Hi Monique,

      Thank you for reaching out! On most lower cost rowing machines the monitors are fairly inaccurate and are more of an estimate.

      For distance, your monitor is probably calculating a set distance per stroke that doesn’t change based on the power and length of your stroke. Basically, it would count the same distance for a short person rowing lightly as a tall person rowing hard. Obviously the taller person rowing hard should go farther per stroke!

      Rowing at a fairly high intensity for 45 minutes should get you about 10,000 meters. Your monitor is reading 28,000 meters!

      Calories on basic monitors is the same deal. It is more of an estimate but yours seems low. To calculate calories you need to input your age, weight, and heart rate. I wrote an article about burning calories on a rowing machine that you can read.

      At an moderate heart rate of 140 bpm for 45 minutes at your height and weight, you should burn close to 390-400 calories.

      If you are wanting to accurately calculate calories you may want to invest in a fitness tracker that you can input your info and have it track your heart rate.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you need anything else :)

  32. I would be new to the rower, I recently run 4 to 5 miles per day, but I am looking for something a little extra to do to maintain my weight loss. I have looked at a Nordic rower, thoughts on this one, and does the rower actually help with thinning and not bulking, I have tried many different excersises and I am not interested in bulking up at all.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Kellie,

      Rowing will definitely not bulk the body. Take a look at some Olympic rowers and you will see how most are slim and toned. It will add more lean muscle to your body than running, as it is a full body exercise with more strength involved.

      However, like running, performing rowing sprints will add more muscle than rowing long distance. So the choice is up to you whether you perform more sprint or steady-state exercises.

      The NordicTrack RW200 is a great option that many people I have spoken to have been happy with. You can read my RW200 review here. You can also visit my Rowing Concierge Page and I can give you a few options to look at.


  33. Cross fit got me into rowing years ago, and I absolutely love it!!! I row 10,000 meters around 3 times a week, it’s really leaned me out!! Any other suggestions on beating my time, I notice on the display it goes all the way up to 10,000 meters, what would be my other options??

    1. Hi Veronica,

      Glad to hear you have fell in love with rowing!!

      I’m not exactly sure what you are asking but I’m assuming you want to know how to create a workout that goes beyond 10,000 meters?

      You can go to “Select Workout” and select “Custom List” or “New Workout”. You can then do “Single Distance” workout and input a distance up to 50,000 meters.

      There are also a ton of different workouts you can create using the interval selection. You can row 10,000 meters 3 times with breaks in-between or whatever you choose!

      As far as suggestion for beating your time, that’s up to you! haha There are always ways to train to build endurance or improve technique. You can also do interval workouts of 2,000 meters with 1 min break in-between. Then do 5 sets for a total of 10,000 meters at a faster than normal 10k pace. This will help you build a faster 10k pace while allowing short breaks in-between.

      Let me know if you need anything else!

  34. Hi,
    I had baby no.2 three months ago and I am looking to invest into a rowing machine in order to get rid of some extra weight.
    I have diastasis recti and I was wondering if rowing will make the problem worse or will it help to bring the muscles back closer together?
    Any advice on this will be much appreciated:)

    1. Hi Eva,

      Congratulations on the new baby! I have talked to many women who have used rowing machines to successfully lose weight after having a baby.

      As far as a rowing machine improving or worsening diastasis recti, I am not sure. I would consult with your doctor and try to read some other blog articles from women who have actually fixed this issue. Here is a good article from Wellness Mama.

      While rowing your core will get a good workout and most people notice a lot of improvement around their mid-section. The closest example of what your core feels like while rowing is to sit on the floor with your legs in front and lean back to “1 o’clock” then forwards to “11 o’clock”. This the the movement your body makes while rowing.

      Basically a slight lean backwards, then a slight lean forwards.

      Sorry I am not able to fully answer your question but I hope this helps a little! Let me know if you need anything else.

  35. Hello, I have been fit/active all of my life but got waylaid by illness for the last 2 years (chemo and other fun stuff). I ate my way through it and now that the worst is behind me, I am focused on returning to my former lean self which was always about 145 lbs.
    I am 47 year old female, 5’6″ and weigh 175 pounds. I have Lupus and am hypothyroid. My goal is to lose 15 pounds first and go from there, ideally to 150 pounds. Most of my excess weight is around the waist and arms. I horseback ride, XC ski, bike and started weight resistance training to build lean muscle mass and to get my metabolism going again.
    My friend who has done bodybuilding suggested that I get on the rowing machine to get lean. My other fitness friend exclaimed “NO!!! DO NOT row! You will bulk up!!”
    So, I am confused.
    I really enjoy the rowing machine in our gym at work. It is a Concept 2 (model unknown) but it is the air type. Running causes me pain and I love the rowing because it does not hurt me in any way.
    For the first 2 weeks, I have been doing 20000m on a 6 setting.
    This week, I started 50000m on the same resistance and added some HIIT on the same setting.
    Am I on the right track?
    Your input is very much appreciated!

    1. Hi Tania,

      I am happy to hear you were able to battle through some really tough times! After reading your comment, I have no doubt you are on the right track and are well on your way to dropping those pounds.

      I do not agree with your one friend who said a rowing machine will make you bulky. Rowing is much more of a cardio exercise than a strength exercise but it will help build lean muscle. Just look at Olypmic rowers, they are a lot more lean than they are big and bulky.

      If you do longer sessions on the rowing machine, like you are currently doing, you will not get bulky and will definitely become more lean.

      I would continue to focus on longer sessions, about 30 minutes, and mix in some HIIT exercises to gain some lean muscle and help boost metabolism.

      If you feel yourself gaining more muscle than you like, just switch to longer rowing sessions and less sprint work. Any bulk you see on a person who rows is usually from lifting weights (a lot of squats and deadlifts) to try to increase their power while rowing. So it is not the rowing machine that bulks them up but them doing free-weight lifts.

      As you are probably already aware, you must eat a clean diet to lose weight. Like many people say, “you can’t out-train a bad diet”.

      I hope this helps and let me know if you need anything else!

      1. Hi Edwin,

        Thank you for your reply.
        I am convinced that I am on the right track with the rowing activity, especially after your input. This is something that I feel I am able to stick with, as I really enjoy rowing.
        I agree with you 100% that eating a clean diet is tantamount. Since I have eliminated any of the “white” refined foods I once used for comfort, I have noticed the weight is slowly peeling off with accompanying exercise.
        I am naturally muscular (thanks, dad)and I look forward to melting off the fat that sits on top of them currently.
        Take care and thanks again!

        Fit in Winnipeg :)

  36. Hi Edwin, I hope you are well! What a great article! Thank you for sharing all the knowledge! Could you please kindly advise if rowing would help me burn the unwanted belly fat, which I guess it’s an every overweight lady’s nightmare. I’ve got what I call a “life belt” which I need losing, what do you think I should focus on during a rowing exercise (E.g. pulling more with hands or legs type of thing) in order to see results and have a visible waistline, for once.
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Lanka,

      Thank you for the kind words! Yes, a rowing machine will 100% help you lose weight, especially around the mid section.

      There is no way to focus on a specific area and the best way to lose weight from rowing is to just perform a proper rowing stroke. Here is a great technique video that will help with rowing form.

      Losing weight at its most basic level is burning more calories than you take in. This means people must eat healthy first. Rowing at a moderate intensity for 1 hour will burn about 700 calories, about the same as an ice cream sundae. So what is harder to do, row for an hour or skip the ice cream?

      Rowing will help burn a lot of calories from being a total body workout plus it will build lean muscles which burns more calories throughout the day. You can also get an “after burn” effect from rowing, where you body’s metabolism will be raised for hours after you finish working out.

      If you want to focus more on you mid section you can add in some supplemental workouts to rowing such as different types of sit-ups and planks. This will help you target a specific area.

      I would first start out with rowing for at least 20 minutes a day. While it may be hard at the beginning, it will only get easier and you can then begin adding more time and intensity to your workouts.

      I promise if you continue to eat healthy and workout daily, you will see results. Consistency is key!

      Good luck! :)

  37. Hi Edwin! I have a quick question. I was wondering if just rowing would help to improve my sit ups, push ups and run time? I’m in the military, and I have to pass all of these portions of our PT test, but to be honest, I HATE all forms of workout, EXCEPT the rowing machine.

    1. Hi Amanda,

      100% a rowing machine will help you with the run time. The sit-ups and push-ups are a little more tricky.

      You will definitely gain lean muscle and endurance by rowing, which will help you with sit-ups and push-ups. However, the only way for you to know you can complete the required amount is to perform the actual test beforehand.

      Why not try rowing intervals with 1 set of push-ups and sit-ups in-between sets? This may make doing the other exercises more bearable.

  38. Hi Edwin,

    This is an amazing site, and I appreciate not only you’re expansive knowledge, but also your desire to be as helpful as possible.
    I’m going to try to get back into shape (I do know that Circles and Squares ARE indeed shapes), but you know what I mean.

    I’ll be using your site a great deal, and will be referencing this to others as well.

    Thank you very much.

  39. What type of rowing machines do you recommend? I love to row, but there are so many options and not sure if they are all the same or each one provides something different.

  40. Great post, Edwin!

    It’s nice to see that rowing has been making a comeback in a big way lately. However, it’s no secret that it can get monotonous, so it’s important to mix it up. I like to recommend exercises like Tabatha Sprints, Pilates Reformers, Pyramids, and Death by Calories really help keep it fresh.

  41. Hi Edwin I’m a 42 year old female I’m 5-8 250 lb. And I was wondering how should I start with the rowing exercises I’ve learned that when I exercise it’s very easy for me to lose weight maintaining the weight loss is what I have problems with and it’s been quite a while since I’ve exercised so any advice would be helpful

    1. Hi Vera,

      If keeping the weight off is the problem, then it sounds like you have to be more consistent with your workouts. Try to exercise everyday, even if it is just for a short amount of time. You can check out my “Rowing Everyday” article and “How Long to Row” article.

      Staying motivated may also be an issue for you if you keep going back and forth between exercising and not. Try watching different YouTube videos and reading fitness articles to stay motivated. This will also help you to keep your diet clean which is the most important!

  42. Hi Edwin
    Iam 44yrs female weighing 60kg with height 5 feet.Recently i had very bad lower back ache and my MRI of spine showed disc protusion with posterior annular tear at L4-5 level. I want to loose the weight so do you think rowing machine will be an appropiate exercise machine for me.Is itindicated or contraindicated for me doing rowing machine exercise with my back ache problem.Please give me an idea.Thank you

    1. Hi Reeba,

      It’s very difficult for me to say if rowing will be ok for you with that type of back injury. I would not want to say yes and have you injure yourself further. I would definitely consult your doctor. Most doctors know the low impact benefits of rowing and will be able to tell you whether it is ok or not.

      My concern is that with rowing, your lower back is sort of the fulcrum point and you will be using your lower back muscles every rowing stroke.

  43. I have recently joined a gym and am overwhelmed with what I could do and how to do it right as to not hurt myself. When using the air or the hydro machines, I get great resistance on the first pull. When the machine is spinning, I can not get resistance again until I am 50-60 percent through my next pull where it catches and the resistance kicks in. I feel like I am doing something wrong. And no, the staff has not been very help full

    1. Hi Bill,

      Yeah something doesn’t seem to be right as you shouldn’t be getting that much of a lag in resistance. If the rower has a damper try setting the level a bit higher.

      Might be that it is an old rower or not the best model. If it is a Concept2 this shouldn’t be happening. Maybe your stroke rate is too high? You should be aiming for about 25 strokes per minute and doing a 1-2 count on each stroke. Meaning, pull back at 1 and recover at double the time it takes to pull back.

  44. Hi I am 70 retired from a semi manual labor job. Joined a gym, using machines for uper body toning. Also use recumbent bike both at gym and home.

    Just order SHF 5515. Only 1 gym I can go to has a rower, concept 2. Will I notice much difference?

    Issues, avulsion fracture left shoulder, ac 3+ separation right shoulder.

    Did just 500 meters on the concept, did not seem to bother either shoulder..Do not know times so I am going back to try the concept rower. Maybe try a longer row and check time, pace etc

    1. There will definitely be some difference as one model cost $1,000 and the other is under $200. However, the rowing shouldn’t change much to where you will be bothering any old injuries.

  45. Thanks Edwin

    Do you have any info on this water rower

    Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5713 Obsidian Surge 500 Seems like it has and elevated seat, much like the concept 2 e model.. may be easier to get on and off at my age

  46. Hi, not sure if you are still answering questions. Hope so. I m looking at the Nordictrack rowers. One is air and the other is magnetic. I have read the difference in these but it doesn’t seem to help with my decision. Looking to use for weight loss/toning. Can you still do the fast rowing HIIT workout if you have the magnetic? Confused. Like the idea of a quiet machine n the cheaper version (of course) but don’t want to be unhappy with purchase and not use it. You can definitely tell the difference in cheap equipment. I have only rowed on my old time Bowflex just in case you need that info.

    1. Hi Cristen,

      Doing HIIT workouts on air rowers is definitely preferred but you can still do them on magnetic. If possible, you should try to test out both an air or magnetic rower to see how they feel. This will probably give you the best idea of what you like best.

      A magnetic rower will definitely be better for doing HIIT than the rowing on a Bowflex.

  47. Hey I just bought one because I heard the great reviews about them. I wanted to know does it help with stomach and back fat?

    1. It is great for both! Every row you will be pulling, which will exercise almost your entire back. Then a full rowing stroke will cause you to pivot back and forth which will work the core and help burn stomach fat!

      Of course, your diet has to be good in order to lose weight and a good diet combined with exercise is the best way to see results

  48. Hi, great inormation in your article for a begginer. Today I used the rowing machine for the first time in the gym. I did 20 minutes before going on to the free weights. Usually I use the treadmill for a warm up. I am a larger guy at 265lbs with a naturally high resting heart rate at around 102bpm. What should my target heart rate be for a steady medium pace?


    1. Hi Jason,

      Thanks for reaching out! You should do some research on “Target Heart Rates for Exercise”. I think reading a few articles would be more beneficial than the quick response from me in the comment section :)

  49. Hi just stumbled across this page whilst looking for rowing challenge. I used to row in the gym and lost a lot of weight doing so. I then took to the bike but after 18 months off the rower I am back as like you say I can almost guarantee it will be empty when I go to the gym. However because of a long absence I am mastering the correct technique before anything else although once I get a rhythm I tend to keep going and finish on a 10km. I tend to prefer distance and endurance over sprints. It was the same when I was cycling. Should I try to incorporate short workouts to increase my speed. Many thanks Vanessa also it is my goal to row 34km (equivalent channel crossing)

    1. Hi Vanessa – thank you for reaching out!

      I am a believer in varying my workouts to have better overall performance. I think doing sprint or HIIT workouts can improve your long distance rows. I would definitely check out some HIIT rowing workouts or tabata training.

      Another thing I am experimenting with is zone 2 training. This is long, slow training that builds your aerobic base.

      If you are training for a specific challenge, I would create a well thought out plan and stick to it. One thing myself and many people are guilty of is training too hard on easy days (when I should be zone 2) and too easy on hard days (HIIT days).

  50. I just started rowing (today) and I love it. I rowed 4000m in about 25 minutes today. I’m trying to lose 20 pounds and really tone my body. Can this be done with steady-state rowing only? I’ve never liked HIIT and really prefer the rhythm of steady-state. I’m looking to get lean and tone.

    1. Hi Monique – Thank you for reaching out!

      Yes, 100% you can lose 20 lbs with steady-state rowing! While a ton of factors go into losing weight, at the core it is about burning more calories than you intake.

      Steady-state rowing is great for burning calories, so as long as you watch your diet you will be well on your way to losing those pounds!

  51. I am a 53 year old male, weighing 110kg and have just started rowing again this week. I lost a lot of weight around 15 years ago with a Concept 2, Model D that I purchased. I had to sell that but now have access to one through my company gym. Being 15 years younger than now, I kind of powered through it and, to some extent, overturned a diet that was far from perfect and still lost weight! My diet is now considerably better. I’m having porridge oats for breakfast (small portion) with almond milk. A salad and Greek yogurt mid morning. Lean mince chilli con carne (home made with no rice) for lunch. Then a spinach omelette made with 3 whole eggs, a handful ofcheddar cheese and a handful of spinach for dinner.

    I have only had two rowing sessions so far, both before work in the morning. Breaking myself in gently I have so far completed 2 X 10 minutes on Monday and 2 X 12 minutes this morning. I only stop briefly for water. The aim is to build up to 30 to 45 minutes continuous and then incorporate some HIIT as I begin to feel fitter.

    Does this all sound like I’m moving in the right direction or would you make changes? Also, how many days a week should I be rowing once I get up to my 30 to 45 minute rows. Currently I am aiming for 6 days a week while ramping the rowong sessions up.


    1. Hi John – thanks for reaching out! I 100% think you are moving in the right direction. I really wouldn’t change anything and I think you just have to follow the plan you have in place. I would aim to rower 5-6 days a week if you’re feeling good. Just remember it’s perfectly ok if you need to add in a rest day here and there!

  52. I am also new to rowing. I am enjoying it so far. I’m a bit apprehensive about the calorie counter on our machine. I rowed for about 2 mns, 500 pull, and it said I burned around 500 calories. That seems like a lot to me and I don’t believe its accurate. Could it be? I am 5″9, 200 lbs and 43 years old.

    1. Hi Corrie – glad to hear you are enjoying rowing so far!!

      Most monitors have very inaccurate calorie counters. The formula for calculating calories burned requires a lot of inputs like age, weight, heart rate, etc. Most rowers just use an estimated calories burned per rowing stroke which is very inaccurate since it would say an overweight 20 year old burns the same calories as a fit 65 year old.

      I’d check out my article on burning calories with a rower!

  53. Hi, I’m new to the whole rowing concept but I’m trying to get back into my fitness. I’m 5ft and 159lbs, 37 years old. I’m aiming to exercise daily but at the moment only managing 4 days a week. My exercise routine is 20 minutes on the exercise bike and then 15 minutes on the rower, then some floor exercises of light weights and abdominal exercises. I have a Fortis foldable rower which I find fairly good – does the brand/machine matter? My goal is to lose weight, get back down to 136lbs, and tone up at the same time, but my main question is this: when combining the rower with other cardio exercises, is a 15-minute duration okay or should I be aiming for 20 – 30 minutes? I’ve changed my diet, cut down massively on sugar in all things, don’t eat that much chocolate or cakes anymore either. Thanks heaps.

    1. Hi Asha – thank you for reaching out! It seems to me that you are overthinking things! The brand/machine does not matter that much if you think the rowing stroke feels good. As you get better at rowing and maybe want a more accurate monitor or certain resistance type – then yes, the brand/machine will start to matter.

      In terms of od duration of each exercise, the best duration for each exercise is the one where you don’t end up hating the routine! Losing weight is all about burning calories and the best way to burn calories is to workout longer/harder and consistently. If that means spending 15 minutes on a rower, great! If it means, 45 minutes on a rower, even better! There are times where I go weeks without rowing because I just get bored and want to switch things up! For example, the weather has been so nice where I live after the lockdown that I have been spending much more time riding my bike and running than I do on my Concept2. Just do what feels fun and natural, remember to eat healthily, and do all these things consistently!

      1. Hi Edwin, thanks for taking the time to reply! Yes, I think you’re right, maybe I am overthinking it! I am actually loving the rower and already feel more energetic after only doing a few sessions on it. Take care.

  54. Hello! I was wondering if you have ever looked at the Total Gym Row Trainer? We have a total gym and have had it for around 25 years now. I have a small fold up rower that I use but , my son is 6ft 3 and he doesnt fit on it.

    1. Hi Johna – thanks for reaching out! I haven’t looked into the Total Gym Row Trainer yet. I’ll have to add it to my list of rowers to review!

  55. Hi, I’m enjoying your insightful articles. I’m a 65+ female with Type 1 diabetes. Have been medically approved to row, but my greatest concern is a rowing menu/schedule as to the type of rowing I should do (standard/HIIT/combo) and time. I’m waiting for an Efitment small hydraulic machine to arrive soon. My blood sugar goes low hours after exercising, so it’s difficult to know how much to eat, amount of insulin to take, etc. It’s a lot to consider, but I’m determined to row. I realize you aren’t a medical expert, but you/viewers might shed some light in the “real world vs a medical world.” Thank you for any help you/viewers can provide.

    1. Hi Jonna – thank you for reaching out! Maybe one of the readers has a similar background to yours but I wouldn’t be qualified to answer that question. I would think your doctor should be better equipped to answer that question due to everyone being different and exercising under different circumstances. That is great news to hear you can start rowing and I’m sure you will start to figure things out as you go!

  56. Hi I was wondering what machine will help me a treadmill or a rowing machine I’m 165kg and need to lose weight for my own health I had my gallbladder removed a few years ago and ever since I’ve just got bigger then came across this and thought if I got a treadmill it will help then I saw this about rowing machines will it help me lose the weight ??

    1. Hi Ann! Both machines will help you lose weight. You just need a consistent workout plan and a good diet. Don’t let deciding on the perfect machine hold you back!

  57. Hi
    I’ve been rowing for about a year. I row fir about 60 minutes at a steady pace 30 spm but what I’ve now discovered is that I’ve gained weight. Why?

    1. Hi La – there are so many factors that can contribute to gaining weight. It would be best to ask your doctor and make sure you are looking at your daily calories/diet closely.

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