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machine workout
push ups
leg strength
calorie burner
health benefit
rowing machine
chest area
body position
muscle group
Can A Rowing Machine Tone Arms, Legs And Abs?
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Can A Rowing Machine Tone Arms, Legs And Abs?

What health benefit can you realize from a rowing machine?

Tone arms? Yes. Build leg strength? Absolutely. What about the abs? Rowing is a very good core exercise and really a tremendous full body movement. Rowing may be the best body weight training exercise there is. Legs, back, core, shoulders and arms are all involved in the rowing movement. The chest area is the only major muscle group not specifically targeted while rowing. So don’t forget your push ups after completing your rowing machine workout.

Let’s break down the physical benefits of a rowing machine.

Tone arms. The main rowing drive is produced by the legs but the oar handle is connected to this drive force through the hand grip. Additionally, the finish of each stroke is completed by the arms drawing the oar into the midsection. So arms are involved in the gripping the oar (forearm and hand strength) and finishing the stroke (forearms and biceps). Not a bad start.

Leg strength. The legs get the main workout when rowing. It’s like body weight squatting over and over and over. The quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves all play a part in creating the drive force. This total leg involvement is what makes rowing such an efficient calorie burner. The big muscles of the legs and butt really burn the energy when working continuously.

Abs and core. When the legs apply pressure during the stroke, the core must tighten to keep the back from collapsing. This transmits the power through the arms to the oar handle. The entire core works every stroke to maintain body position. In addition, the stroke involves a constant rocking back and forth. The upper body reaches forward during the recovery portion of the stroke and rocks back through the drive phase reaching a slightly laid back position at the finish. Back and forth every stroke. You’ll never see an oarsman with belly fat.

Back and shoulders. The large muscles of the upper back take over from the legs to finish every stroke. The legs initiate the power and the back takes over about mid-stroke to finish the drive. The posterior deltoid (back of the shoulder) works with the upper back to maintain a strong body position, preventing a collapse or rounding the shoulders.

Endurance. Rowing is the ultimate high intensity interval workout. Every stroke is a tiny burst of all out effort superimposed upon a constant, steady state workout. You burn a lot of calories rowing. You work almost the entire body as well.

Can a rowing machine tone arms, legs and abs? Tone is probably an understatement. Rowing will build strong legs, back, arms, shoulders and core. It is the ultimate fat burning exercise and a very efficient use of workout time. Burn calories, shed fat and build muscle all at once.

Street Talk

Sherry B.  

Never thought about getting a rowing machine before. Sounds like it would be a really good way to strengthen pretty much the whole body plus burn some calories...just what I should do!

  about 9 years ago
Joan S  

Thanks Mark. Sounds like I need a rowing machine. Enjoyed your article.

  about 1 decade ago

Ya can't go wrong with a rowing workout

  about 1 decade ago
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