Hate The Treadmill? Try These Great Rowing Workouts!

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The treadmill is an awesome workout tool but most people don’t like it. It can be due to the repetition, or it could be due to a variety of other factors that make the treadmill seem boring, lacking, or strenuous.

Working out shouldn’t feel like a chore. Today we’re going to show you the benefits of a rowing machine over a treadmill, as well as a few great rowing workouts to liven things up a bit.

Treadmill vs Rowing Machine

Young woman doing exercises on fitness machine

The debate between the treadmill and the rowing machine is one that has been going on for years. Both are great devices with wonderful specs, and both provide a great cardio workout. Both can lower risk of disease, reduce obesity and diabetes risk, improve heart health, cut stress, reduce risk of several types of cancers, give you more energy, and promote weight loss. The rowing machine and the treadmill also burn a similar number of calories for a similar amount of exercise intensity. A 6-mile run burns about 200 calories in 20 minutes for a 155-pound person, while a moderate rowing session of 20 minutes can burn about 190 calories. Despite the similar calorie burn, rowing offers a better total body workout, training muscles in both the upper and lower body, on top of being a good cardio workout; and seeing as muscles burn more calories than fat, training your muscle will help you burn more fat and slim down in the long run.

Running, on a treadmill or otherwise, has been associated with joint damage in the hips and legs over time. This can be much worse if one has a higher BMI. With rowing machines, this problem is eliminated, as they put less stress on your joints, lowering your risk for joint-related pain. So the rowing machine seems to work better, as it reduces risk of injury over time over a treadmill, and is able to provide a full body workout.

The three workouts we have put forward range from easy and basic, to much more advanced. This gives you an opportunity to try rowing as an alternative to the treadmill, regardless of whether or not you have experience working out.

Basic Rowing Workout

Girl working out on rowing machine

Starting off with a basic exercise if you are a beginner is a great way to build strength and be able to do more advanced exercises in the future. Starting off with advanced exercise before you’re ready can result in serious injury.

For this exercise, warm up for about 5 minutes, and then row for 1 minute, and then rest for a minute. This is an easy form of interval training that doesn’t tire you out as easily. It’s great for beginners and works well as a muscle-building workout.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Rowing Workout

Women in Sport professional personal trainer working out

HIIT workouts are a great way of burning a lot of fat and building a lot of muscle in a short amount of time. The Huffington Post put it better when they explained it like this:

“HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods.”

Row for 3 minutes as a warm up. Then row as fast as you can for 60 seconds, then follow it up with a 60 second rest period. It’s similar to the basic workout but much more intense.

Circuit Training Workout

Group of people jumping rope in a fitness class

A circuit workout, or circuit training, is an exercise that involves a set of exercises to do as one rep (repetition). For instance, doing 10 jumping jacks, 10 burpees, and 10 sit-ups, before starting again with 10 jumping jacks would be one rep.

This type of workout trains various areas of your body, as the different exercises usually target different areas. Studies have shown circuit training to be effective in increasing muscular and cardiovascular endurance.

A good rowing circuit workout on a rowing machine would be to start off with a warm up before doing a 500-meter sprint, followed by 10 push ups, 10 crunches, and 10 squats; before starting back again with the 500-meter rowing sprint. Repeat this circuit 3 to 6 times.

While treadmill workouts shouldn’t be ignored completely, it is good to note that a rowing machine is more beneficial to your body in the long run as it trains more muscles and reduces joint damage. They also provide a much-needed change of pace for someone who would otherwise not want to do the same kind of running exercise daily!

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  1. By Stac on Sat Aug 05 2017

    This is great. Just got a rower and not sure where to start so this is a great help!

    • By Jhady Arana on Wed Aug 09 2017

      That’s awesome, are you enjoying it?