Which Is Better for Burning Calories: Elliptical Trainer vs. Rowing Machine?

Which burns more calories: elliptical machines or rowing machines? Read on to find the benefits of each and decide which is right for you:

Benefits of Both

Both machines are effective total body workouts that employ a huge number of the body’s muscles to get the work done. The more muscles used, the more calories burned, so either machine is an excellent choice. Both the elliptical and rowing machines are easy to use and have similar features, such as pre-determined interval or resistance workouts and heart rate monitors. Finally, both are low impact exercises, reducing the risk of injury. They are actually great choices when working in some light exercise if you are recovering from injury as well.

Calories Burned

Because the rowing machine actually uses more of the body’s muscles during the workout — think about how hard your hips, glutes, abs and back must work — the rowing machine tends to burn an average of 800 calories per hour, while the elliptical burns a still amazing average of 700 calories per hour. When you row, your abs engage significantly, a benefit that you don’t get from the elliptical. Rowing also puts more of the workload on your back, making it easier to squeeze shoulders together, working the lats more than the elliptical. Therefore, not only does the work completed in your sweat session amount to more calories burned, but using the rower will help your body keep a higher metabolism than the elliptical can do. That sure makes the rower sound like the best choice, but the superior option is to cross-train!

Cross Train for Quicker Results

While the thought of burning 100 additional calories in an hour sure is tempting, your body will respond more quickly if you decide to cross-train. In other words, if you are thinking that you’ll religiously row like crazy, you may want to rethink that! Although you will burn more calories on the rower, your muscles will grow accustomed to the work if you do the same exercise day in and day out.  So, vary up your machines and you’ll work different muscles, stabilizers and body parts, no matter how similar the movement.

Work Harder for More Calorie Burn

The age old idea of long workouts at a relatively easy pace for fat burn is a thing of the past. Studies show that intensity is key when you want to sizzle fat and calories. So, hop on the rowing machine and challenge yourself! Warm up for 5 minutes at a comfortable pace that begins to make your heart pump.  Visualize your legs or arms working harder and you’ll really put the pressure on those specific body parts. Next, go for some intervals. Row hard 25 times at an all-out pace, then rest at an easy pace for 10. Repeat as many times as necessary. Try rowing for 15 minutes, then jumping on the elliptical, and counting strides for your intervals — pull 25 times on your right arm, then slow down or reduce the resistance for 10 before you repeat. 


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