The Rowing Machine: The Largely Unknown Cardio Device

The rowing machine has become extremely popular. In addition to its great benefits, it can be conveniently folded and stored in any corner of the house.
The Rowing Machine: The Largely Unknown Cardio Device

Last update: 20 July, 2018

It is possible that you have seen a strange device in the gym, with an elongated shape, that makes a striking noise. This is the rowing machine, a well-rounded alternative to help you work on strength, resistance, and cardio in a functional and innovative way.

Basically, the rowing machine is made up of a seat and a grip attached to a chain with gears that allow you to simulate the same rowing movement you would do in the water. To make it work, we must use force to push and pull.

How does the rowing machine work?

To use it, first of all, you must make sure that you are dressed in a an appropriate way. That is to say, in a way that will allow you to move freely, will not tangle with the seat and, in addition, will not make you slip.

woman on the rowing machine

Next, sit down and place your feet on the pedals. Once you do this, you will have to adjust each pedal according to the size of your foot; the tape should be in the middle of your foot. Finally, you will need to stretch and bend your legs to check that you are comfortable with the seat.  Now you can start peddling.

For the movements, begin with your legs bent and your arms extended. Then, make the opposite movement: once your legs are fully extended, pull back and bend your arms. To return to the beginning, first stretch your arms and then bend your legs.

Which muscles are we working?

The rowing machine is a highly functional device. With it, you can work several muscle groups that you also need for your daily tasks and activities. The muscles that you work with the rowing machine are as follows:


The movement of bending and extending your legs will work several muscle groups in the limbs, including your quadriceps. This workout not only requires you to use your upper body to row, but also makes it necessary to push using leg force. In addition to the quadriceps, this also strengthens your glutes and hamstrings.

Back Muscles

Of course, your back muscles are one of the muscle groups responsible for performing this type of exercise. When you pull back on the pedal, you use your mid-back muscles, together with other muscles, which we will describe next.

Trapezius and Rhomboids

The work that these muscles do, through the use of the rowing machine, will have many benefits. First, they improve the posture of your shoulders and back. Additionally, they widen your back and help to avoid pain.


Your abdominals, along with your erector spinae muscles, also benefit from the use of the rowing machine. By extending your back backwards, you will be exercising this muscle group.

Upper-Body Muscles

In this last group, we include the: pectorals, deltoids, biceps, and triceps. All of these muscles work hard, through the arm movements that you make on the rowing machine.

use rowing machine gym

The Rowing Machine: Benefits

The best thing about this machine is that its use is simple and everyone can exercise with it. There are also several other benefits you can gain from using it.

The first one has to do with how many calories you burn. This exercise typically burns many calories, largely because it requires constant work from a large number of muscle groups in both the lower and upper body. It is an excellent resistance and cardiovascular exercise.

The lack of physical impact and the fact that it is not necessary to lift heavy weights mean that injuries are rare, when you use this machine. It is also a great workout for performing regenerative work on the days after sports practice.

Finally, it is also worth mentioning that it is fun. Since it is a largely unknown exercise, many people are excited to try it and will improve their performance by using it.

Common mistakes

The rowing machine is an extremely safe device. In fact, the chance of suffering an injury with it are very low. However, there are certain common mistakes that you should avoid when you use it.

  • Pulling with your arms before extending your legs. This will concentrate all the force on your arms, when in fact, you should be using more force with your legs.
  • Bringing your knees outward when bending your legs.
  • Extending your back too much and bringing the grips up too close to your chin.
  • Stretching your legs and leaving your arms forward. This can cause injuries to your back, which will bend when you pull the grips toward your body. The movements of your legs and arms must be coordinated.

In conclusion, the rowing machine is an option that every athlete should try. Its benefits are enormous, its dangers almost nil and, as if that were not enough, it is extremely challenging.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.