Rowing Machine Tips to Lose Weight

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So, you want to lose weight but are planning on using a rowing machine to do so. Whether that’s your favorite form of working out, it’s the only thing you have available, or you don’t want to stand up while exercising, it’s a great choice.

Rowing is a wonderful form of physical activity that strengthens the entire upper body while burning a nice amount of calories. We have the best rowing machine tips to lose weight right here so you know exactly what to do to accomplish your goals. Let’s get started!


First, we need to clarify that there are 4 different main types of rowing machines: Regular, Water, Folding, and Magnetic. Let’s take a look at each to help you decide which ones would work well for you.

Regular – These are typically broken down into “air” or “flywheel” rowing machines and feel very similar to what regular outdoor rowing feels like. Air models use resistance supplied by wind, while flywheels offer resistance by the act of pulling back on the handle.

Both provide very smooth and consistent experiences, which in turn, makes for more efficient movement and calorie-burning. Flywheels are used by professionals oftentimes and are even what is used during indoor rowing competitions around the world.

Water/Hydraulic – Water rowing machines are also great alternatives if you like outdoor rowing, as they’re made to replicate how a boat moves through water. As you can imagine, the resistance in these models is sourced by the water itself.

Not only are they very similar to outdoor rowing, they’re also very quiet, so you can use them at all hours. It’s also important to mention that these are often made with wooden frames which are not only bulkier, but also significantly heavier so we don’t recommend these if you need something portable or ideal for limited spaces.

Folding – Folding machines aren’t functionally all that different from regular ones. The only difference is that they’re made to fold up and be stowed away easily! Oftentimes, they’re also more compact in size and lighter in weight, making them ideal for tighter spaces.

Magnetic – If the splashing around of the water in hydraulic rowing machines are still too loud for you, then try a magnetic alternative. These models are virtually silent, offering a smoothness no others really provide. These use a magnetic brake system which are incredibly efficient, while others use a combination of both magnetic and air resistance (which are a bit noisier).


One of the most effective ways to lose bodyfat is by performing intervals through cardio exercise. This can easily be done on a rowing machine, if it’s something that interests you. Here’s how to do it:

Try starting out with a 15-minute workout if you’re not used to the machine or aerobic activity, in general.

Make sure you warm up before, doing stretches to keep your muscles flexible and to help lower the risk of injury. Your warmup should be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes long.

Next, try rowing for a minute straight at a steady, comfortable pace. You should be able to have a conversation at this point, but should still be somewhat of a challenge that you’re not bored. After a minute, you’re going to go as fast as you can for 15 seconds. At this level, you’re going to go all out and should not be able to talk.

You’ll then go back to another minute at your comfortable pace and repeat with the 15 seconds of intense rowing. Repeat this pattern until you’ve been at it for 15 minutes (or more, if you would like).

Advanced – If you’re more advanced or experienced and have greater stamina, the previous workout may be a bit too easy for you. If that’s the case, no problem, we have you covered! Take a look at this alternative:

Instead of going for 15 minutes, you’re going to increase your workout time to 30. You’ll of course want to continue with the warmup before anything else.

After you’re finished warming up, you’ll start out at your comfortable pace, for 1 minute, just like the last workout. However, instead of rowing as fast/hard as you can for 15 seconds, you’re also going to increase this length of time to 30 seconds. So you’ll have your intervals at 1 minute of “rest” and 30 seconds of all-out intensity. Repeat until you reach 30 minutes.

Increasing Intensity

As you begin to pick up more experience, you’ll want to find ways to boost the intensity of your workouts to keep the results coming and to keep challenging yourself. Aside from rowing intervals, which we just covered, another fun way of changing it up is by using exercises between rowing intervals.

A common combination looks something like this:

Row for 5 minutes, get off the rowing machine and do 10 pushups, then repeat the 5 minutes of rowing, and so on. Our personal favorite is doing 2 minutes of rowing, then getting off the machine and doing 10 jump squats, and then repeating until you finish the duration of your allotted workout time.

This way, you’re placing special attention on the upper body through rowing, and the lower body with your jump squats. It will definitely leave you body feeling sore, but feeling accomplished – not to mention, it’s going to scorch calories away to help you lose weight at a healthy but fast pace.


Now that you’ve had a read through our guide, do you have a good idea of how to approach weight loss through using a rowing machine? Follow these methods and the pounds are sure to melt off, while keeping your metabolism and the rest of your body’s functions in a great position.

We hope our guide has been of some help to you and that you are able to accomplish your weight loss goals. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you again soon!


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Shayanne Weeks

Shayanne is a freelance writer and personal trainer based in LA, California. Describing herself as a nomad, she has lived in Boise, Idaho and Seattle, Washington as well as Guadalajara, Mexico. As an extremely active person, she loves to train people, teach yoga, and ski. She enjoys sharing her love for teaching others through her “how to” fitness guides and workout equipment reviews. Shayanne is addicted to surfing and yoga and practices both everyday.
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