Why you should add rowing to your workout

If the idea of riding a stationary bike, elliptical machine, or treadmill sound boring to you, the rower might be a fun alternative that not only burns calories, but can also make you stronger.

Rowing for 30 minutes at a moderate pace can burn around 200 to 300 calories, depending on your body weight and composition (via Self). The rower can be used in a variety of ways, from a light cardio workout to high-intensity intervals, and doesn't require any settings change in order to work harder or take a break, unlike treadmills or bikes, which require the user to adjust as they go. 

It can also be a great way to come back from injury while staying fit. "Because rowing has virtually zero impact, it's a fantastic option for anyone who is rehabbing an injury," professional rower Michelle Sosa told Self

The act of rowing can be an extreme workout, or it can be used as a gentle tool for mindfulness. Because it relies on repetition of the same smooth movement over and over, rowers can use the time on the machine to focus on the breath, keeping movements as fluid as possible, and can even treat it as time spent in meditation (via Healthline).

Rowers offer more bang for your buck

Unlike treadmills or bikes that use leg muscles and a small amount of core activation for power, the rower targets all of your major muscle groups as you workout, helping build muscle as you burn fat. For a runner looking for a cross-training workout, or someone hoping to do some upper body work on top of their cardio exercise, the rowing machine is a great way to activate less frequently used muscles while bringing your heart rate up. 

"The rowing machine is unique in its ability to target 85 percent of your body's muscles in order to perform the full movement or stroke properly," Annie Mulgrew, founding instructor of CITY ROW, told Women's Health Magazine UK. You're essentially doing an ab crunch with every stroke you take, while also doing a leg press and an arm row — all classic strength-based movements that can help you build and tone muscle while burning calories.