When it comes to getting a complete body workout, few machines compare to the rowing machine. This cardio powerhouse works muscles in the body from head to toe, making it a go-to choice for anyone looking to get in shape (or stay that way).
This blog post will discuss what muscles are targeted with a rowing machine and how you can get the most out of your workout! We will cover three primary areas: the upper body, lower body, and core.
The Upper Body
The upper body does not get a free ride on a rowing machine. It works practically every muscle in your arms, chest, and upper back. Below is a list of muscles that are worked either directly or indirectly via stabilization:
Directly Worked Muscles
These muscles are all worked primarily activated when the arms are being pulled back against the resistance of the “paddles.”
- Latissimus Dorsi (also known as the lats)
- Trapezius (particularly the middle and lower traps)
Indirectly Worked Muscles
Rowing requires some powerful full-body moves. These muscles provide stability to the arms and upper back for efficient movements.
- Rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders (subscapularis, teres major, infraspinatus, and supraspinatus)
- Muscles of the wrists and hands from both gripping and pulling
The Lower Body
The lower body muscles are worked hard on the rowing machine as they provide the power necessary to “move the boat.” The legs muscles are primarily used to push through the feet as the legs are rapidly extended. Then, the same muscle groups are used as the legs return to the original starting position, only this time eccentrically (when the muscle is being worked and lengthened simultaneously). These include:
The core is constantly engaged on a rowing machine because it stabilizes the body and balances you. Below are some of the primary muscles targeted in the core:
- Transverse abdominis (lower abs)
- Rectus abdominis (six-pack muscle)
- Erector spinae muscles (the muscles along each side of the spine)
- Obliques (sides of abs)
Another thing to note is that you can typically use a rowing machine with either two hands or one hand at a time. This means that if your goal is to focus more on core strength than anything else, then a one-armed workout can amplify your core workout (particularly of the obliques). Just don’t forget to switch!
An Excellent Full Body Workout (and Low Impact to Boot!)
The lists above are all primary muscles worked on a rowing machine. As you can see, this machine provides a complete body workout that is sure to leave you feeling sore the next day without being too hard on your joints! To get the most out of your rowing machine workout, be sure to use proper form and mix up your routine regularly. This will help target all of the muscles listed above and ensure that you get the most out of your time spent on the machine.
Rowing in the Comfort of Your Own Home
Now that you know how effective rowing workouts can be, it’s time to consider getting a rowing machine for your own home. Being able to work out at home on a high-quality piece of equipment can help you crush your goals this year and beyond. This is thanks to the flexibility and access to online fitness communities that make any excuses for skipping a workout practically nonexistent.
Not sure which rowing machine is right for you? It’s time to sit down and write down a wish list. Then look up some reviews or try some of the machines at your local gym to make the best choice. It’s time to uplevel your home gym with a rowing machine.