Many gym-goers tend focus on just a few common pieces of equipment, like the treadmill, the elliptical or free weights.
The rowing machine, however, gets woefully overlooked, and is rarely incorporated into one’s regular fitness regime.
This is a darn shame if you ask us.
Combining both cardio and strength training, the rowing machine is one most efficient exercises out there, sculpting your entire upper body — shoulders, back, biceps and even your core — in one easy, fluid motion.
Here are just six surprising benefits to the rowing machine that will make you a believer.
1. A Good Aerobic Exercise
One of the greatest benefits of rowing machines is that they strength train while providing an excellent aerobic workout. With varying levels of intensity already built in to the machine, you can go as hard or as easy as you like — the pace is entirely up to you. We all know the cardiovascular benefits of regular, aerobic exercises, but for those who struggle with the treadmill, a rowing machine is a great alternative.
2. Puts Little Pressure On The Joints
Unlike running, rowing puts very little pressure on your joints. You’re sitting down, making gentle, fluid movements instead of sharp ones, and your feet secured in place. There is no rough terrain and very little risk of suddenly, accidentally injuring yourself.
Whether you suffer from arthritis, have specific aches and pains, or are recovering from an injury, protecting your joints during exercise is essential. With the rowing machine, your joints get stronger, but aren’t damaged in the process.
3. Burns Calories Quickly
You can burn up calories rapidly on this machine without even feeling the burn. The number of calories burned will depend on your body type, but also how you row. Some people use the machine mostly to get an upper body workout, but others incorporate fluid leg stretches as well. At the same time, some row very lightly, whereas others row moderately or intensely.
The more experienced and faster you are on the rowing machine, the more calories you can burn and the more pounds you might shed.
4. Tones Key Muscles
Now this is the big one. Rowing machines, when used properly, target a large number of important muscles. From your shoulders, your arms, your back and even your legs and core, a rowing machine tones and strengthens it all.
Runners, for example, can reap many benefits from a rowing machine like strengthening the legs even while recovering from injuries or highlighting weaknesses that are overlooked while running. Weight lifters, swimmers, and many other athletes also tend to find that rowing helps tone muscles.
The best part? A beginner to fitness could walk into a gym and start using the rowing machine like a pro. Unlike free weight or body weight exercises, most of the form work here is already done for you.
5. Takes Out The Guess Work
A rowing machine can be found in most major gyms, and is super easy to set up and operate. It’s easily adjustable for different body types and sizes, as well as for intensity and workout duration. Basically, it’s great for beginners and seasoned athletes alike, because you choose your desired level of difficulty.
6. Feels Damn Good
Any time your physically active, your body reacts by producing certain hormones, including those “feel-good” endorphins. Triggering feelings of euphoria and relieving stress, endorphins are also vital to keeping depression at bay and can minimize aches and pains, too.
The rowing machine in particular is great for this due to its flowing, rhythmic movements. Your body rhythmically exercises in such a way that endorphins are produced in plenty. Throw on your headphones and get in the zone — you might find that the row machine is actually quite relaxing.
Considering its many benefits, it may be high time for you to consider incorporating some rowing into your gym routine. Not only will you get a great a great workout, but you’ll be trying something new. Who knows — it may soon become your go-to piece of gym equipment.