The Benefits of Rowing

Only have 20 minutes? Get a rowing workout in!

What are the benefits of rowing?

Rowing is one of the best full-body exercises available. Each and every row works your entire body.  The acceleration movement that takes place at the beginning of the row works the back, legs, shoulders, and arms. During the deceleration movement that takes place at the end of the row, you use your hip flexors and abdominals.

Another benefit to rowing is that the ‘stress’ is distributed over the entire body, so rowing won’t cause any additional aches or pains. Rowing can actually help you recover from movements such as squats, lunges, dead lifts, etc.

Rowing workouts provide great cardiovascular work as well, as you are moving at a quick pace, which increases your heart rate.  If you’ve ever tried it, you know how truly exhausting it can be (in the best way!).

Like other forms of short-burst/high-intensity exercises, rowing workouts improve your resting metabolic rate (after you are finished working out). That means, even a short rowing workout can still reap massive results hours after you finish.  Check out the graph below for comparison of different types of cardio workouts.

cardio-execise-comparison-chart

Here are a few rowing workouts to try:

For the beginner:
Try to do 4 sets of a 300-meter rows with 2-minute rests in between sets. As you progress weekly, try to either cut down the rest between sets by 15-30 seconds or add in an additional set.

For the intermediate level:
If you’re at an intermediate level, try the 500-400-300-200-100-meter test with 1 minute of rest in between sets. It’ll be difficult, but it’ll become easier to power through since each successive set is slightly shorter than the next.

For the advanced level:
If you’re feeling confident about your rowing abilities, try the 2000-meter test. This will be tough, and you’ll likely find yourself as exhausted as you’ve ever been. It’s a challenge, but an effective one. You’ll have gotten in a great workout in a short amount of time.

Other rowing workout variations:

  • 2 X 1000 meters: It’s difficult, but it’s often easier than the 2000-meter row.
  • 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 10 minutes: the beauty of this method is that it goes by quickly, so you won’t get bored, and still get a great workout!