Welcome to your ultimate guide on obtaining the most fulfilling and invigorating workout with a rowing machine. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just stepping into the realm of fitness, incorporating a rowing machine into your regimen can elevate your exercise routine to new heights.

Rowing machines, or ergometers, mimic the action of rowing a boat. This seemingly simple activity is, in reality, a powerhouse of a workout that offers a plethora of health and fitness benefits. Using a rowing machine engages a multitude of muscle groups, efficiently providing a full-body workout and making it an excellent choice for a comprehensive fitness routine.

Let’s dive into the myriad of rowing machine benefits. First and foremost, it offers a fantastic cardiovascular workout, escalating your heart rate and enabling you to burn calories effectively. In addition, rowing is a low-impact exercise, meaning it’s easier on your joints while still providing a vigorous workout.

Moreover, the rowing machine is a strength-building marvel. With each stroke, you’re working your legs, arms, back, abs, and glutes. This means you’re not only improving your cardiovascular fitness but also building muscle strength and endurance simultaneously.

Increased flexibility is another notable benefit of using a rowing machine. The smooth, rhythmic rowing motion helps to enhance your range of motion, allowing your joints to move freely and efficiently.

In conclusion, a rowing machine workout is a holistic approach to fitness, providing an all-in-one solution for cardiovascular health, strength building, and flexibility improvement. As a runner, incorporating rowing into your routine could be the game-changing strategy you’ve been on the hunt for.

Stay tuned as this article unravels the optimum techniques for using a rowing machine, the best workouts for runners, tips to incorporate rowing into your running routine, and how to choose the best rowing machine to suit your needs. Let’s row towards an enhanced fitness journey together!

Fit girl using row machine

Why Runners Should Use Rowing Machines

As a runner, you are always on the lookout for ways to enhance your performance and maintain your physical health. With a rowing machine, you can access a range of benefits that extend beyond the track or trail.

Non-impact Cardiovascular Exercise

Rowing machines offer efficient, non-impact cardiovascular exercise. This means you can elevate your heart rate and improve your aerobic fitness without placing undue stress on your joints. Unlike running, which can lead to knee and ankle injuries due to continual impact, rowing provides a smooth and fluid movement that is gentle on your body.

Full Body Workout

The rowing stroke engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, turning your workout into a comprehensive, full-body experience. Your legs, core, and upper body are all activated, ensuring that you get the most out of every session. This total body exertion not only optimises calorie burn but also promotes functional fitness, which is beneficial for your running routine.

Strength Building

Rowing machines are excellent tools for building strength. The resistance provided by the rower, whether through air, magnetic, or water resistance, forces your muscles to work harder with each stroke. This increased effort promotes muscle growth and strength, particularly in the legs and core – essential areas for runners.

Increased Flexibility

The dynamic nature of the rowing motion can also contribute to increased flexibility. The full range of motion involved in rowing – from the powerful leg drive to the final arm pull – can help to improve joint mobility and overall flexibility. This is crucial for runners as it can enhance stride length and running efficiency while reducing the risk of injury.

Incorporating a rowing machine workout into your fitness regime can therefore provide a wealth of benefits. From non-impact cardiovascular exercise to strength building and improved flexibility, a rower can be a powerful ally in your running journey.

Remember, the key to reaping the full benefits of a rowing machine is to use it correctly and consistently. So, why not give it a try? Your body and your running performance will thank you for it.

Indoor Rower Proper Form

How to Use a Rowing Machine

Proper Form and Technique

A rowing machine can be an effective tool in your fitness armoury, but it’s crucial that you maintain the proper form and technique to maximise its benefits. Firstly, secure your feet on the footplates with the straps tight enough to hold your feet in place. The starting position, also known as the ‘catch’, should have your knees bent and shins vertical. Your back should be straight, and your arms should be reaching forward to grasp the handle.

Your rowing motion should be a fluid, continuous movement. Initiate the ‘drive’ phase by pushing with your legs, then lean back slightly and pull the handle to your lower ribs. During the ‘recovery’ phase, extend your arms, lean forward from the hips and bend your knees to return to the starting position. Remember, your power comes from your legs, so let them do most of the work!

Setting Resistance Levels

When setting the resistance levels on your rowing machine, it’s important to strike a balance. A resistance level that’s too high could strain your muscles and lead to injury, while a level that’s too low won’t provide the challenge needed to increase your fitness. As a rule of thumb, beginners should start with a low to moderate resistance level and gradually increase it as their strength and stamina improve.

Some rowing machines, such as those with water resistance, allow you to adjust the resistance by adding or removing water. Others use air, magnetic or hydraulic resistance, each with their own method of adjustment. Consult your rowing machine manual for specific instructions.

Monitoring Your Heart Rate

Monitoring your heart rate during your rowing machine workout can provide valuable insight into your cardiovascular fitness. Most fitness experts agree that aiming for 70-85% of your maximum heart rate during high-intensity workouts is a good target.

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, if you’re 30 years old, your maximum heart rate is 190 beats per minute. Therefore, your target heart rate zone during high-intensity workouts would be 133-162 beats per minute.

Many rowing machines come with built-in heart rate monitors. Alternatively, you can use a separate heart rate monitor or smartwatch. By keeping track of your heart rate, you can ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workout without overexerting yourself.

Remember, every individual is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another. Pay attention to how your body feels during your workout and adjust your resistance levels and pace accordingly. When used correctly, a rowing machine can provide a comprehensive workout that improves cardiovascular fitness, builds strength, and increases flexibility.

Best Workouts for Runners on a Rowing Machine

Incorporating a rowing machine into your workout routine can offer a new dimension of cardiovascular and strength training. Let’s explore three effective workouts that you, as a runner, can perform on a rowing machine to improve your performance.

Interval Training

Interval training involves alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity workouts. This type of training can increase your aerobic capacity, making it an excellent choice for runners.

On a rowing machine, you can start with a 5-minute warm-up at a steady pace. Then, row as fast as possible for 1 minute. Follow this with 1 minute of slow, recovery rowing. Repeat this cycle 10 times. Finish with a 5-minute cool-down at a steady pace. This 27-minute workout can effectively boost your cardiovascular fitness.

Endurance Training

Endurance training helps build stamina, a critical component for long-distance runners. A typical endurance workout on a rowing machine might involve rowing at a moderate pace for an extended period.

For instance, after a 5-minute warm-up, keep a steady, moderately paced row for 45 minutes. This long, consistent effort will help to improve your endurance and mimic the sustained effort required in long-distance running.

Strength Training

Strength training targets specific muscle groups, helping to improve overall power and prevent injury. This workout is especially beneficial for runners, as it aids in enhancing speed and agility.

Using a rowing machine for strength training allows you to engage your legs, arms, and core simultaneously. Start with a 5-minute warm-up. Then, perform 3 sets of 10 rowing strokes at maximum effort, taking a 1-minute rest between each set. Finish with a 5-minute cool-down.

Remember, the key to effective strength training is focusing on the quality of each stroke rather than quantity. Ensure you’re using the proper form and technique to engage the target muscles and prevent any injuries.

Make the most of your workouts by incorporating a mixture of interval, endurance, and strength training on your rowing machine. This variety will not only keep your workouts interesting but also ensure you’re reaping the full range of rowing machine benefits.

Choosing the Right Rowing Machine

Factors to Consider

Choosing the right rowing machine for your fitness regimen is a pivotal decision. A gamut of factors needs to be considered to ensure an optimal workout experience, with the selection process being far from one-dimensional.

Firstly, you should consider the type of resistance offered by the machine. The most common types of resistance are air, magnetic, hydraulic, and water. Each has its own unique feel and different benefits. Water resistance, for instance, offers a more realistic rowing experience, mimicking the sensation of rowing in the water.

Secondly, the size and design of the machine are important, especially if you’re considering a rowing machine for your home. Ensure that the machine fits your space and that it’s not too cumbersome to move around if required.

The machine’s durability and build quality should also be taken into account. A solidly built machine not only lasts longer but also provides more stability during intense workouts.

Finally, consider the machine’s features and price. Advanced features like heart rate monitoring, pre-set workout programs, and data tracking can be beneficial, but they also contribute to the machine’s cost. It’s essential to strike a balance between the features you want and your budget.

As a runner, you need a rowing machine that provides a robust cardio workout while being gentle on the joints.

You can find more detailed reviews and comparisons on these machines by visiting our rowing machine reviews page.

Remember, the best rowing machine is not necessarily the most expensive or the one with the most features. It’s the one that fits your needs, budget, and space, and that you’ll enjoy using regularly. So, take your time, do your research, and make an informed choice.

Muscular leg view on rowing machine

Tips for Incorporating Rowing into Your Running Routine

As a runner, incorporating a rowing machine into your routine can seem daunting. However, with a balanced approach, injury prevention, and a focus on maximising benefits, it’s easier than you might think.

Balancing Rowing and Running

Striking a balance between rowing and running is crucial to avoid over-exertion and injuries. Rowing is an excellent cross-training exercise for runners, as it works for complementary muscle groups and provides a break from the high-impact nature of running.

Consider incorporating rowing sessions into your routine two to three times a week. On these days, keep your running lighter or use them as your rest days from running. This way, you’re still getting a cardio workout without the added stress on your joints.

Preventing Injuries

Getting a full-body workout from a rowing machine is a fantastic way to stay fit, but it’s vital to prevent injuries. First, ensure your form is correct. Improper technique can lead to muscle strains or even more severe injuries. Secondly, don’t push yourself too hard, too soon. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your rowing workouts, giving your body time to adapt.

Lastly, remember to warm up before each session and cool down afterwards. This will prepare your muscles for the exercise and help to prevent strain or injury.

Maximising the Benefits

To maximise the benefits of your rowing and running routine, consider alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity rowing sessions. High-intensity workouts can help improve speed and power, while low-intensity sessions can boost endurance and promote recovery.

In addition, you can also mix up your workouts on the rowing machine to target different muscle groups and prevent boredom. For example, you can use the rowing machine for arms-focused workouts one day, and for legs or core workouts on another day.

Remember, consistency is key when trying to see results from any workout routine. So, stick with it, and over time you’ll likely see improvements in your running performance and overall fitness level.

Incorporating a rowing machine into your running routine can provide a host of benefits, including increased cardiovascular fitness, enhanced strength, and improved flexibility. By balancing your workouts, preventing injuries, and focusing on maximising benefits, you can make the most of this versatile piece of equipment.


Incorporating a rowing machine into your running routine can be a game-changer for your overall fitness. As we have explored, these machines offer a multitude of benefits, such as non-impact cardiovascular exercise, full-body workouts, strength building, and increased flexibility. Whether you’re aiming to increase your endurance, build muscle or improve your cardiovascular health, the rowing machine is a powerful and versatile tool for any runner.

It’s essential to ensure you are using the rowing machine correctly, meaning proper form and technique should always be maintained. By setting the right resistance levels, monitoring your heart rate, and tailoring your workouts to your specific needs, you can expect to see significant improvements in your running performance and overall fitness levels.

Remember to consider various factors when choosing the best rowing machine for your needs, such as the machine’s size, cost, and type of resistance. With a myriad of options available, it’s crucial to find one that suits your specific requirements and fits comfortably within your home or gym environment.

Adding rowing into your running routine should be done carefully to ensure balance and prevent injuries. A good rule of thumb is to listen to your body and adjust your workouts accordingly. This way, you can maximise the benefits while minimising the risk of overtraining or injury.

Overall, a rowing machine is an excellent addition to any runner’s training regimen. With its versatile nature and numerous benefits, it’s no wonder that more and more runners are turning to this effective piece of equipment. So whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting out, give a rowing machine a try – your body will thank you for it!

Remember, it’s not about being the fastest or the strongest; it’s about being healthier, fitter, and happier with every stride and stroke you take. Now go forth, and row your way to better running!