There are many ways to build and tone muscles, but did you know that one of the best methods to develop those parts is to use a rowing machine? Lots of gym buffs have added the highly-esteemed device to their regimen due to its aerobic fitness capabilities.

If you are one of the many who are wondering what rowing machine muscles used are toned and built up, there is no better way to obtain more information on the device than this post.

The parts of the body that the rowing machine tones and develops include the upper body, the torso, and the legs. This nifty equipment gives those parts a solid workout and in turn, also helps develop strength, improve the cardiovascular system, and reduce fat.

Not too sure what the rowing machine can do to your body? Find out more by reading the rest of this piece.

What Are The Benefits Of Rowing Machines For Muscle Toning?

Many fitness buffs praise the rowing machine benefits for toning and muscle building. Users appreciate that it provides low-impact workouts and delivers a solid aerobic exercise that utilises all major muscle groups.

To tone the muscles, you have to shed excess fat, and rowing machines excel in that regard. A reduction in the body’s fat percentage means your muscles become more visible and feature a toned appearance.

Another benefit of using a rowing machine is that it also offers a reliable kind of resistance training that helps in gaining more muscle strength. Once combined with less fat percentage, the muscles appear more defined and structured.

To take advantage of the indoor rowing machine workouts, you can include the device in your HIIT (high-intensity interval training) regimen.

Other than giving a full body workout, rowers also provide a nice cardiovascular workout. Since it does well in burning calories, spending a good amount of time in a rower can also help you lose body weight. Any type of cardio exercise helps boost the number of calories that get burned during a routine.

The Muscles That Rowing Machines Use During Workouts

A good rowing stroke to gain muscle mass

As mentioned previously, the rowing machine works out the upper body, torso, and legs. Having said that, it will not develop every muscle that your body has.

Rowing machine muscles used typically come from the arms, legs, and back. Your legs will push while your arms and body will do the pulling. To bring back the sliding seat in the initial position, your legs will perform a moderate curling motion.

The lower back has a crucial role during rowing machine use as well since you have to use this part to maintain the body in a safe position during strokes.

Here are the rowing muscles activated during a workout.

1. Biceps

The biceps, also known as the biceps brachii, is a sizable muscle that is located on the front of the upper arm, situated between the shoulder and elbow.

2. Trapezius

Rowing muscles work the trapezius, which is a muscle that is found at the base of the neck and goes throughout the shoulders. It also extends in the middle of the back.

3. Rear Deltoid

The rear deltoid can be found at the shoulder’s rear. The rear deltoid or posterior deltoids are also one of the 3 muscle locations situated within the general deltoid muscle.

4. Rhomboids

In addition, rowing muscles work the rhomboids, which are a big muscle group found in the upper back. It’s composed of the rhomboid minor and the rhomboid major, and they make up the shoulder girdle which contains the shoulder blade.

5. Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is a flat, wide muscle that dominates the bulk of the lower posterior thorax.

6. Erector Spinae

The erector spinae muscles, also known as spinal erectors, are a cluster of long muscles that stem close to the sacrum. It extends upright throughout the back.

7. Glutes

Other rowing muscles activated during rowing machine use are the glutes. The glutes are found in the buttocks. The gluteus maximus gives the part its form while 8 other muscles are found beneath it.

8. Hamstrings

The hamstring muscles are a 3-muscle group that extends throughout the back of the thigh, from the hip down to the knee.

9. Calves

The rowing muscles work the calf muscle, too. The back of the lower legs is the spot where you can find the calves. It originates below the knees and further extends down the ankle.

10. Quadriceps

The quadriceps also referred to as the quads or the quadriceps femoris muscles, are a 4-muscle group that envelops the thighs’ front and side parts.

Other rowing muscles activated during rowing machine use include a variety of stabilising muscles as well.

What Rowing Machine Type Is Good For Toning And Building Muscle?

If you want to tone or build up your muscles, you may have wondered which type of rowing machine is best to use. To achieve a toned look or come up with bigger muscles, you have to reduce fat percentage and work those muscles.

A rowing machine comes in various types and the types differ when it comes to the resistance they deliver. You have to get a rowing machine that has adjustable, strong resistance. Furthermore, you need a model that allows you to perform full rowing movements.

To achieve your goal, you have to use the right rowing machine. In this case, water and air resistance-type rowing machines are the best units for developing muscle.

Water and air resistance-type rowers deliver rather boundless resistance that climbs up to the power that users provide. Water and air resistance rowing machines are great to use during HIIT workouts thus resulting in better muscle growth.

1. Water Rowing Machines

Water rowers are exercise equipment that mimics the motion and feel of rowing a boat on the water. These units feature a big water tank located in the front or beneath the machine. The water in the tank generates resistance whenever the user pulls on the handles.

If you want to reduce the intensity of the workout, it is possible to take the water tank away. Water rowers also make for a quieter option since these machines utilise water rather than mechanical systems to work.

2. Air-Driven Rowing Machines

This is the most common rowing machine. It delivers resistance by propelling air using a flywheel. The harder a user pulls, the faster the fans rotate, and the more resistance the user has to work against.

Many air rowers also include an adjustable damper. The damper setting allows users to manage resistance levels by reducing or increasing them. It is basically a lever that allows plenty of air to get inside the housing of the flywheel. More air means users get to work harder.

However, unlike water rowers, air rowing machines are loud so if you have family or mates living with you, water rowers are a more suitable option.

Muscles require a compulsion to motivate them to develop – this means all the muscles need a regimen that will challenge them. Resistance and the number of repetitions are factors that often challenge the body, and those factors are offered by rowing machines.

How Long Should I Use The Rowing Machine To Gain Muscles?

Hit the rowing machine daily if you want to see results. Dedication and motivation are needed to reach your ideal form. You have to get in the habit of using the equipment for half an hour at the least, every week. Continue with the regimen for several months and you can expect to see visible changes in the size and definition of your muscles.

You can build muscle by rowing in intervals. This means performing rows at high intensities as much as you can for 1 minute, resting for a bit, then going over the cycle again. Rowing in intervals gives your upper body and back an excellent workout and it’s a dependable way to develop muscle size.

Perform interval training 5-6 times a week with efficient rowing strokes and you will see definite changes in the size of your back and upper body muscles.

You can also supplement your rowing routine with weight training if you want a more ripped look. Motivate yourself each day to get the gains you’re after.


Think a rower is suitable for your fitness goals? Then invest in a high-quality unit, get in the 30-minute habit, and marvel at the rowing machine muscles used. You will definitely notice visible changes following several months of regular use. Maximise rower use also by including it in your HIIT workout routine.

1. Can you lose weight by just rowing?

A rowing machine is known for burning plenty of calories in a short period. It’s considered to be a type of cardio exercise, hence it can help burn calories and allow users to maintain a calorie deficit. Users can also maximise the workout by including it in their HIIT routine and consuming a diet with appropriate amounts of protein to gain lean muscle.

2. Will rowing give me broad shoulders?

The rowing machine was not made to give your body bulk, specifically around the shoulder area. The energy typically used on a rower is delivered by the legs. Rowers can help you burn calories, gain strength and provide a good cardiovascular workout instead.