Rowing for Weight Loss – Calories Burned & Workout Plans

We all know about boat rowing, but today we will have a precise idea about rowing as an exercise that imitates boat rowing movement using a rower. Flywheel rower is the most popular type of budget friendly rowing machine. Rowing is an easy and excellent choice for burning calories as well as losing weight.

This article will let you know about rowing in your weight loss journey, some exercise plans, few famous rowers, and a clear rowing concept.

Some Significant Impacts Of Rowing

Rowing is excellent cardio that can fasten calorie burn as well as weight loss. It’s a moderate to high-intensity exercise depending on your resistance level.

Some critical impacts of rowing are as follows:

Boosts Weight Loss

Weight loss requires a calorie deficit, which occurs with a proper diet plan and regular exercise. If you burn five hundred calories each pay, it will make a good change in your weight gradually.

For burning calories and making calorie deficit in the body, regular rowing can contribute vastly.

The Extent of Burned Calories

The amount of burned calories through rowing may vary as it depends on many factors such as the rowing machine, body weight, intensity, etc.

Here is a list of ten adults with different weight and their amount of burned calories with specific time-lapse.

Please note, the numbers are not exact as the amount of burned calories will depend on gender, age, metabolism, fitness level, health condition, etc.

Weight Of RowerLow-intense
Moderate Intense
High intense
135 lb (61 kg)53/214107/427130/519
145 lb (66 kg)58/231116/462140/561
155 lb (70 kg)61/245122/490149/595
165 lb (75 kg)66/263131/525159/638
175 lb (79 kg)70/280140/560170/680
185 lb (84 kg)74/294147/588179/714
195 lb (88 kg)78/312156/623189/757
205 lb (93 kg)81/326163/651198/791
215 lb (98 kg)86/343172/686208/833

From this table, we can see that the number of calorie burn changes with the level of intensity.

Promotes Fat Loss

Rowing mobilizes fat and uses it as energy and helps to lose fat. A right combination of proper diet and consistent rowing helps to lose fat, which results in weight loss.

A balanced diet will provide fewer calories, which will be easy to burn, and if you are will to lose weight, you have to reduce your daily calorie intake. There should be more vegetables and protein, drinks without calories as water or coconut water, and no processed food in your diet chart.

According to studies, aerobics, resistance training, and a good diet are the optimal way to lose fat. As rowing is mainly cardio and a moderately intense exercise, you have to tag it with resistance training to get the optimal result.

Comparison With Running

As rowing and running are too different cardio from each other, there may not be an exact comparison between these two.

However, the amount of burned calories by each can be a factor of comparison between running and rowing. Generally, running burns calories a bit more than rowing.

A study found the following result while comparing running and rowing:

WeightExercise IntensityDurationCalorie burned
175 poundsRunning for 7 minutes/km1 hour616 calories
175 poundsModerate rowing1 hour560 calories

As we can see, running burns some more calories than Rowing through the calories burned from Rowing will depend on the intensity, body weight, and rowing machine.

As Rowing is a lower impactful workout than running, it’s more suitable for people with a history of injuries and other shortcomings.

Here you get the top 9 budget-friendly treadmills for indoor running.

Other Dynamic Benefits

There are many other benefits of Rowing other than boosting weight loss. Some of them are:

Whole-body exercise: Rowing engages almost all the entire body’s major muscles, such as the upper back, hamstrings, biceps, core, Latissimus, and quads.

However, in other cardio exercises like walking, running, cycling, etc., it doesn’t engage this much muscle as Rowing at a single time. The engagement of all these muscles makes Rowing a full-body workout and helps to lose weight quicker.

Moreover, nearly 60% of rowing power develops through the legs and the rest of the 40% through the upper body.

Builds muscles: Besides weight loss, Rowing also helps to gain powers as it impacts all the significant muscles except the chest muscles only.

The strength training methods are lifting weights, using bands, and bodyweight from low to moderate intensity of six to thirty reps/set. However, repetitive low-intense Rowing for a long duration can also promote muscle building.

Improves heart health: Studies found that Rowing also boosts the heart’s health and helps control blood pressure, heart rate while resting lowers bad cholesterol and makes good cholesterol higher, resulting in a healthier life and fit body. These positive impacts on health help decrease heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetics.

According to health experts, Rowing thirty minutes for five days/week can meet the recommendations of 150 minutes of medium intense workout/week.

The way of Rowing

Proper Rowing requires some essential techniques;
otherwise, you may not get the best result from it.
There are four exclusive phases of Rowing which are-

  1. The catch
  2. The drive
  3. The finish
  4. The recovery

The basics of Rowing are as follows:

  1. The first step is to sit over the pad and to secure feet with straps
  2. After that, turning on the electric tracker though some rowers turn on the tracker automatically just after staring Rowing
  3. Grasp the paddle loosely with thumps and wrap around it
  4. With a straight arm, start the catch position, lean onwards on the hips with the shoulders forward, hips and shins near to vertical.
  5. Then, push with legs and swig the body-back in an upright position to drive work.
  6. With a pull of arms, step into the finish position, keep your shoulder relaxed and move hands directly from the flywheel.
  7. Now move your arms forward, angle-forward your torso, and bend the legs to enter the recovery phase.
  8. Recap the above steps as per your required duration

The generally followed sequence of Rowing is:

  1. Leg, back, arm during the catch, drive then finish phases
  2. Arm, back, and legs on the recovery phase

Proper Rowing needs time and practice. Therefore, before heading towards advanced Rowing, you should practice the essential Rowing regularly.

Some Rowing Workouts

Rowing has different phases, and the intensity varies from person to person. In the beginning, the power should be lower, and with time the intensity and reps should be increased.

Here is a below outline for rowing for beginners immediate and advanced level:

For Beginners:

In the beginning, you should start rowing for a lesser time and intensity. For example, moderate Rowing for twenty minutes. With time you should increase both duration and intensity according to your goal and fitness requirements.

A general outline is here which you may follow at the beginner level:

  1. First of all, a warm-up for five minutes with 20 strokes per minutes
  2. Then step forward to your main workout for 10 minutes with 24 strokes per minute
  3. Finally, move to cool down phase for 5 minutes with 20 strokes

There will be a total of 440 stokes within 20 minutes in this entire rowing workout.
At the earlier stage, do this entire set of work out for three days every week and increase the intensity gradually as per your capability.

For Intermediate level:

When you are comfortable with the beginner’s rowing outline, you should head towards the intermediate level.

Here is an outline for intermediate Rowing:

  1. First, a warm-up for 10 minutes with 20 strokes/minute
  2. Then come five rounds with different intensity:
  3. Round 1: keep Rowing for 5 minutes with 20 strokes/minute
  4. Round 2: row for 4 minutes for 24 strokes/minute
  5. Round 3: row for 3 minutes for 26 strokes/minute
  6. Round 4: row for 2 minutes for 27 strokes/minute
  7. Round 5: row for 4 minutes for 24 strokes/minute
  8. Step into Cool downstage rowing for 10 minutes with 20 strokes/minute

We have to execute the above rowing outline for four days each week for the intermediate level workout.

This rowing plan consists of 30 minutes of Rowing with 766 stokes/minute with different intensity with warm-up and cool down for 10 minutes each. Workout with higher power will increase the capacity of exercise over time.

The intermediate level workout burns more calories and builds more intensity than the beginners’ level.

For Advanced level:

The advanced level workout consists of high intense rowing and resting intervals. According to research, HIIT can increase VO₂ max, which means the highest rate at which you can deliver oxygen to the working muscle more efficiently. A Higher VO₂ maximum reduces fatigue and tiredness and helps to do workout for a long duration.

However, you should have a minimum of six months of rowing experience before heading towards the advanced level.

An outline for advanced level can be as the following one:

  1. Warm-up first of all for 10 minutes with 20 strokes/minute
  2. Head to round 1 and row for 7 minutes with 26 to 28 strokes/minute
  3. Rest for 5 minutes with 18 to 20 strokes per minute
  4. A step towards game 2 for 7 minutes with 26 to 28 strokes/minute
  5. Again rest for 5 minutes with 18 to strokes/minute
  6. In round 3 row for seven other minutes with 26 to 28 strokes/minute
  7. Cool down for 10 minutes with 20 strokes/minute

This workout includes 51 minutes of Rowing with 1126 to 1188 strokes/minute. Go through this outline for five days a week for advanced level rowing.

In the rest period, you should row lightly and make you prepared for the next intense round. Take a lot of water or other energy fluids to keep you hydrated during a high-intensity workout.

The process to increase intensity:

When you head towards the advanced level of Rowing, you will be willing to increase the power of Rowing gradually. There are several standard methods to increase the intensity of Rowing.

For increasing rowing intensity, using intervals is one of the best methods. For instance, the interval method may include a rest period followed by high-intense Rowing for the time being and repeating the same cycle for specific reps.

You can also go for cross fit, including other exercises between intervals and Rowing such as a row for 5 to 6 minutes and then do fifteen pushups and repeat.

These methods can increase the intensity of Rowing without affecting the duration of the workout.

Types of Rowers

There is a wide variety of rowers in price, intensity, resistance, and other secondary options. Popular rowing machines are as follows:

Flywheel rowing machine:

The most popular and widely used one is the flywheel rowing machine in which there is a fan blade which creates resistance with the intensity of Rowing. The resistance level increases with harder Rowing

The harder you row, the more the resistance.

Hydro Rowing machine:

With this rowing machine, you will get the experience of real boat rowing through the water. Its flywheel is water submerged, which replicates the actual Rowing experience and makes the workout more enjoyable.

Magnetic Resistance Rower:

This kind of rower has a magnetic resistance system that adjusts the resistance level. This rower is the quickest one.

Hydraulic Rowing Machine:

This type of rowing machine provides resistance through the air or liquid-filled piston. These rowers are the most affordable and compact ones. However, these machines will not offer the experience of real Rowing.

It would help if you chose your suitable rowing machine according to your necessity and fitness goal from the available ones. You can also give a trial in a local gym or equipment store.


Rowing has numerous benefits like burning calories, promotes fat loss, thus boosts weight loss. Moreover, Rowing is an excellent alternative to cycling and running as well.

There are some particular techniques for Rowing, and if you are a beginner, you should gradually step towards the advanced level rowing. Several types of rowing machines are available in the market from which you can pick the most suitable one for you.

Last Updated on January 2, 2024