How to Lose Weight Using a Rowing Machine

The rowing machine is an excellent choice for losing weight. Not only is rowing a great way of burning extra calories, it has a host of secondary benefits that will help you melt away the pounds. Rowing is a flexible workout that scales easily to your level of fitness. It is a total body workout that builds muscle and improves your cardiovascular system, and it’s a low impact workout which lowers the risk of injury. To maximize your weight loss using the rowing machine, here are a few practical pointers you might want to keep in mind:


You want have a healthy food intake which does not make you gain weight. A balanced diet will allow you to exercise more, recover faster and gain muscle mass while keeping your metabolism high. Making sure you get all the nutrients you need while not going over your calorie budget will greatly enhance the effects of your rowing exercise.

Proper Rowing Form

To prevent injury, you want to make sure you use the right form while going through the rowing motion. In the starting position of the rowing motion, called the catch, you want to bend your knees and lean slightly forward while gripping the handles and keeping your arms straight. After the catch you initiate the drive, where you pull the handles back by extending your legs only, while keeping a straight back. During the finish, you lean a little back and you pull the handles into your body by flexing your arms. In the recovery phase, you extend your arms forward again, bend your back forward again and bend your knees until you are back in the starting position ready for the next catch.

How Much Can You Lose?

Depending on the intensity of your workout and assuming you weigh 150 pounds, you will burn about 300 to 900 calories per hour. Since losing a pound means burning about 3500 calories extra, this means that exercising on the rowing machine will let you burn off this many pounds per month:

(Number of workouts per month x calories burned per hour x length of the workout)/ 3500

If we assume you burn 300 calories per hour during a light workout, 600 calories during a moderate intensity workout and 900 during high intensity workout, this has the following effect on your weight if you work out 20 times a month for 3/4 of an hour:

  • Light: 20x300x(3/4)/3500 = 1.3 pounds lost per month
  • Moderate: 20x600x(3/4)/3500 = 2.6 pounds lost per month
  • High:  20x600x(3/4)/3500 = 3.9 pounds lost per month

Workout Regimen

Whatever exercise regimen you decide to follow, make sure it’s suitable for your personal level of fitness. High intensity interval training is the type of workout that yields the best results for weight loss, since it improves your cardio vascular system the quickest, builds the most muscle and even helps you burn calories long after you finished working out. However, if you’re just starting to work out, it is advisable to start slow and build up your stamina and strength before you raise the intensity of your workouts. You can start with light intensity endurance exercise and gradually work your way up through moderate intensity endurance workouts to high intensity interval training.


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