Rowing Machines Frequently Asked Questions

faq imageThe following are just some questions that you might have about rowing. If you’ve got a question that isn’t covered here just post in the comment box below and we’ll try to answer it for you!

How long should you row on a rowing machine?

The amount of time spent on a rower depends on your fitness levels and also on the fitness goals you may have set. Initially, a steady 20 minutes workout per day can be good, you can gradually increase this time by 5 minutes per session as week 2, 3, 4 comes around. If you are a beginner, new to rowing or easing back after injury then its recommended you row approx 500 meters in 5/6 minutes. You can do two 500 meter sessions (taking a small break between 500 meters), this should not take more than 12 minutes maximum.

Is rowing machine safe for pregnancy?

This depends on whether you are an experienced rower or a beginner.  During pregnancy wouldn’t be a good time to take up rowing. However, if you’ve rowed regularly before getting pregnant then you should be able to carry on with your normal workout, at least in the early stages. You may need to lower foot pedal holders so less pressure goes on the abdominal and tummy area and make sure to keep the back straight while performing the rowing strokes. Legs should slightly open up as you row forward as this allows for extra room for baby. It stands to reason that you probably won’t attempt rowing in the final stages of pregnancy, but up to 6/7 months should be fine. Always consult your doctor before attempting any exercises during pregnancy.

Are rowing machines good for weight loss?

You can lose body fat while using rowing machines, to do this you must engage a heart rate program (this involves measuring your beats per minute so that you hit a training intensity). The other most important factor is that you must cut down on your daily calorie intake. So when you see you lost 300/400 calories on your rowing machine monitor, it does not mean reward yourself with a slice of cake or apple pie or similar. Think of it like this – eat less, do more exercise, stay the course for longer. The results will follow.

Is a rowing machine bad for your back?

Rowing is not bad for your back so long as you work out properly and apply the correct techniques. Some people have weak abdominals and to compensate for that they round their back when rowing. This is incorrect and can cause unnecessary strain on the back. The best rowing technique is to open up your chest –  shoulders should be in line with the chest, and core fully engaged as you row forward and back. Using rowing machines ensures you have a strong core and this actually helps your back remain strong too, as rowing is regarded as a low impact body exercise.

What muscles does the rowing machine work?

Rowing provides a good full body workout. Many muscles are engaged and targeted when we row with the correct technique. Rowing benefits leg muscles, mainly your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus. So that’s the front of your thighs, the back of your thighs and the back of your hips and butt. It also works your midsection muscles like your core and abdominals. It works the upper back muscles, trapezius, and rhomboids, when you are rowing back and forth – these are the muscles between your shoulder blades. The arm muscles are also worked, pulling the handlebars ensures triceps and anterior deltoids benefit.

What type of rowing machine is best

There are so many different types of rowing machines on the market and all at different price ranges. The range includes water rowers, air rowers, budget rowers, hydraulic rowers, flywheel rowers and magnetic rowers. You must decide on various aspects, price, performance, durability, storage space and features you desire. It can also depend on where you are in terms of your fitness. Most people who are starting out and are on a budget would go for the less expensive rowers while the more advanced trainers go for more high-end rowing machines.

Which rowing machine is the quietest?

The principle reasons for noise in rowing is the seat sliding along the rail and the speed and intensity at which you actually row. Sometimes lubricating the seat from time to time can reduce that type of noise. Then more controlled and focused strokes help noise reduction too. In terms of quietness, the magnetic rowers can serve you best. Air rowers and water rowers, although not annoyingly loud, definitely are more noisy than the magnetic rower. The air rower makes noise as the flywheel turns, and the water rower produces a watery “whooshing” sound (not unlike the noise you’d hear when rowing on the water).

What rowing machine does Frank Underwood use?

If you’re a fan of Netflix’s “House of Cards” you’ll probably have noticed the main character Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) spends a lot of free time on a swanky looking wooden rowing machine. So which model is it? By its design and color of wood we can see that it’s a WaterRower. A water rowing machine gives a great sense of actually rowing outside on the river or lake. The water rower range has a strong wooden frame and has been manufactured to last a long time (it’s also one of the most expensive on the market coming in at over $1k). This type of rowing machine gives you great traction and has an element of noise reduction so you can work comfortably in your home without much distraction. The water rower can be large and heavy machine so you will need a reasonable amount of space.

Where to buy the best rowing machine?

You can find an excellent range of rowing machines online and most sports emporiums and fitness machine suppliers. It’s a competitive market place so you might want to compare and check the prices before going ahead with your purchase. is one of our favorite stockists of rowing machines. Dicks Sporting Goods is another popular retailer for sports equipment.

How does the rowing machine work?

The rowing machine works according to your technique and proper leg and upper body movements. This can be measured in three steps or stages for the best results.

Step 1– The Catch, this is the starting point sitting tall, arms straight, back upright, knees and ankles flexed. When you’re in this position use your lats to pull down shoulders slightly and engage your core.

Step 2 – the Drive, this is done by pushing back with your legs while still fully engaging the core. When you have straightened your legs hinge at the hips slightly leaning back at a 45 degrees angle. The final movement comes from your arms as you pull handles toward the torso about a few inches above the belly button.

Step 3 – The Finish, this is doing the entire movement in reverse order. You extend the arms, hinge at the hips, bring the torso over the legs and end back at the catch position.

Are rowing machine calorie counters accurate?

The calorie counters on rowing machines are only a guide. There are many factors that affect the calorie counter like the heat of the machine, the environment, your body weight, size, and your age. So if calorie loss is your focus then look to cut back on what you eat, go for a calorie control program while doing rowing sessions.  Naturally, if you eat fewer calories and do more on your rower, you will get better results.

Is the rowing machine good for abs?

Generally, rowing is an entire body workout. You are using multiple muscle groups when you row with proper technique, balance, and poise. When you engage and contract your core muscles you are working your abdominals. Keeping tension on the front and midsection helps to strengthen the abs. The best way to work your abs while rowing is to incorporate other abdominal workouts simultaneously. This can be done by getting off the rower to do press ups or plank sessions and then getting back on to carry on with the rowing session (like an interval training regime).


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