Rowing…more than meets the eye.
The days of rowing machines relegated to the dark corners of a gym are over. While rowing has existed for centuries, it is only now being appreciated as one of the best, most complete exercises available. Indoor rowing provides a COMPLETE workout, consisting of both cardio and strength training, and requiring only minimal impact to your body.
We outline 3 important benefits of a rowing-centric fitness plan: (1) Rowing is a complete cardio workout, improving your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds; (2) Rowing trains nearly every major muscle group in your body, 9 out of the 11 to be exact; and (3) Rowing torches calories, with some users burning up to 900 CALORIES AN HOUR. As a bonus, you get all 3 of these benefits with very little impact to your body.
“While rowing has existed for travel and exercise for centuries, it is only now being appreciated as one of the best, most complete exercises.”
Rowing unleashes a trifecta of benefits
Rowing is a complete cardio workout:
Within the vast world of “cardio” workouts (exercises specifically intended to raise your heart rate), there are two words to familiarize yourself with – Aerobic (using free oxygen) and Anaerobic (the absence of free oxygen).
An aerobic exercise is one that stimulates the heart rate and breathing cadence so that the work is sustainable for an extended period (think slow jogging or cycling). Aerobic exercise is great for general fitness improvement, both physically and emotionally (like fighting depression and anxiety). Aerobic exercises have been proven to strengthen your heart, lower your cholesterol, improve immune functions, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Anaerobic exercise consists of work that is short-lasting, high-intensity, and requires oxygen at a rate that is not sustainable (think sprinting). Anaerobic exercise has its own benefits, including fat loss, continued calorie burn at rest, and developing strength. In order to maximize results and have a well-rounded training plan, you need a balance of both aerobic and anaerobic training.
The most successful training plans will use a base of aerobic work in order to develop general fitness and emotional health, with anaerobic bursts used to ignite fat loss and build deeper strength and stamina. In our classes at Total Row, we balance steady-state cardio and longer tempo work (aerobic training), with high-intensity interval training (HITT) that will send your heart rate and calorie burn soaring.
Fun Fact: The current Guinness World Record for lowest resting heart beat is 27 beats per minute, set by Martin Brady. This rate is significantly lower than the average adult male at 72 beats per minute.
Rowing targets 9 out of 11 major muscle groups:
Quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulders, triceps, back, and biceps; these are all of the major muscle groups worked through a single rowing stroke. We don’t mean to brag (well, sorta), but you are simply not going to find this breadth of work in nearly any other single exercise movement.
In terms of effectiveness per repetition, rowing is about as good as it gets. Not only does rowing demand effort from nearly every muscle in your body, but the breakdown of effort mimics many movements we use everyday; 60% of the power is generated by your legs, 20% by your core, and the final 20% from your arms and upper back. Just like many daily activities, the power in your rowing stroke is derived first through a strong lower-body base.
Fun Fact: At Total Row, we offer many classes that also incorporate off-machine activities. We utilize slam balls, kettle bells, and your own body weight, to make sure our workouts go 11 for 11 on muscles targeted! Our workouts are designed to truly give you a one-stop-shop for all of your fitness needs.
“Quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulders, triceps, back, and biceps; these are all of the major muscle groups worked through a single rowing stroke!”
Rowing torches calories:
We aren’t math majors here at TR, which is why we believe 1 + 1 = 3. Let us explain. A calorie is simply a unit of energy. In order for your body to move and function, it needs energy (i.e. it needs calories to “burn”). Depending on what you are doing and the intensity with which you are doing it, your body will use a different amount of calories. Therefore if your goal is to lose weight, you need to exert yourself in a way that uses more calories than you consume (Important: There are many factors to losing / gaining weight, and this is a simplified example).
Aside from your body’s basic functions, there are two basic ways to “burn” a calorie: through cardio workouts, like running or cycling; and through strength training, like lifting weights. The beauty of rowing is that by combining intense cardio with full body strength training, you compound the effects, generating a substantial increase in calorie burn per unit of time. Because rowing targets 9 out of 11 muscle groups on each stroke, and calories (units of energy) are consumed each time a muscle contracts, a single rowing stroke is a superior calorie-burner to more isolated strength training, like the bench press or squats. Combine this with a solid cardio burn, and you’ve found a real winner. Said another way, by utilizing both intense cardio + strength training simultaneously, you compound the effects of doing each individually, creating 1 + 1 = 3, or in our case, burning up to 900 calories an hour!
Fun Fact: Although basic cardio exercises, like running, usually burn more calories per time than a basic strength workout like lifting weights, the so-called “after-burn effect” (the effect of a vigorous workout on your body after a workout is completed) of an intense lifting session could lead to almost the same amount of total calories burned.
“The beauty of rowing is that by combining intense cardio with full body strength training, you compound the effects, generating a substantial increase in calorie burn per unit of time.”
Bonus: Did we mention that you can receive all of these benefits, with only minimal impact to your body and joints? This is the real kicker with indoor rowing, and what makes it such a special exercise. Not only is it highly effective, but it’s available to almost anyone! Whether you are recovering from injury, are pregnant, have sore knees from running, or are in need of cross-training for another sport, rowing has you covered.
So How do I Join the fun?
At Total Row, you will have access to fun, high-quality classes on world-class equipment, taught by some of the best instructors in the Atlanta area. We are excited to spread the word on rowing’s numerous benefits, and hope to see you in one of our soon!
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