Is rowing a great new craze or not worth your time?

The trend was spinning just a few years ago. But that’s all in the past because rowing is now all the rage. The question is, why? Some feel that rowing as a workout is a lot of work and boring to boot. Still, it’s got to have something going for it for the subject to be popping up in publications online, right?

First thing’s first. You have to understand that the rowing machine isn’t the same as it used to be. Oh, sure, the overall actions required to use it are the same as in the old days, but today’s rowing machine isn’t your grandfather’s. With upgrades in style and technology, rowing machines are taking the fitness world by storm.

Fit Man Training On Rowing Machine
Photo By Lucky Business/Shutterstock

Did you say something about cardio?

One of the rowing machine’s calling cards happens to be its ability to jack your heart rate through the roof. Providing a workout that uses a broad range of muscles, rowing consistently keeps your heart rate elevated.

Of course, your overall health and endurance are improved over time when you use a rowing machine. As the Journal of Sports Sciences noted in a study, “Rowing is not only a major competitive sport, but also a form of physical activity that can contribute substantially to both aerobic and muscular fitness. It also has a low injury rate.”

Your muscle performance improves

Some of the muscle groups affected most by rowing include your core and leg muscles. The motions one makes while rowing comprise a combination of movements, such as pulling with your arms and simultaneously pushing with the legs.

If your machine is set to provide high resistance, diverse muscle groups such as your abs, quads, hamstrings, shoulders, biceps, and triceps are all vigorously being worked.

You’ll burn calories like crazy

The number of calories you burn is greatly dependent on the intensity of the workout, as with any exercise. However, even an average workout with a rowing machine could burn up to 600 calories in one session. If your goal is weight loss, then rowing is an excellent option in combination with a healthy diet.

You have less risk of injury

Rowing is low-impact, which means that it doesn’t put a strain on vulnerable areas of the body like joints and tendons. The motions of rowing are smooth and are great for people who have been injured in the past or who currently have problems with their joints. If you’ve never rowed before, try to join a class — you’ll get a rowing how to and learn the right form to keep yourself safe.

People Working Out On Rowing Machines
Photo By ESB Professional/Shutterstock

You can enjoy rowing with friends

No rule says you have to exercise with friends. You could go rowing and either listen to music or even watch TV. However, remember that rowing began as a team sport and is an exercise activity that can be a lot of fun when done with a rowing partner. In fact, there are entire rowing classes that turn rowing into a social activity! (Plus, they’re great if you need a little rowing “how-to.”)

The downsides

While rowing can be great for some people, others just don’t see the appeal. You might want to think about some of the following issues before signing up for a rowing class or buying a rowing machine for your home gym.

Rowing could hurt your lower back

While rowing is low-impact and doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your joints and tendons, it can still hurt your lower back. That’s particularly true if your form isn’t correct. There are right and wrong techniques, so it pays to read the product instructions before starting a workout for the first time.

Additionally, if you have a history of back problems, rowing may not be the best way for you to exercise.

It can be noisy

Many people feel that rowing machines make a lot of noise. If you’re using water or air rowers, that’s especially the case. Rowing machines might not be a good option if you live in an apartment or a house with others who might be sensitive to loud sounds.

Of course, if you are addicted to rowing, you can always use those at the gym.

Rowing machines take up space

While gyms usually have dedicated space for their rowing machines, that’s not true of most people’s homes. Finding the right area to put a rowing machine after buying one can be a big hassle if, as noted above, you live in an apartment or a small house.

Remember that rowing machines average about 8 feet in length and are several feet in width, too.

On the flip side, you can fold and stow many rowing machines when you’re not using them.

Wrapping up

At the end of the day, rowing machines provide a fantastic way to work out your whole body. For those who want what amounts to an all-in-one solution, rowing machines measure up in most ways you can think of. However, just because something may be trending doesn’t mean it’s worth a hill of beans.

Keep in mind that rowing is monotonous, and many think it’s too dull unless they’ve got someone with whom to exercise. Een though rowing machines provide low-impact exercise, it’s worth taking the time to consider whether your back can handle the exercise or not.

Editors' Recommendations