Is Rowing the Best Full-Body Workout?

Is Rowing the Best Full-Body Workout?

Rowing workout may look intimidating at first but it is a proven ass kicking full body exercise that will get your whole body pumped up with so many health benefits.    

We collaborated with rowing professionals to create a fantastic rowing workout session that will make you sweat overboard. We are going to also discover surprising health benefits of rowing for your body. 

3 full-body benefits of rowing

Many people tend to have the wrong concept that rowing is to strengthen only the upper body part. However,  it actually requires you to push with your legs engaging your core, making it an incredibly efficient full body workout. 

Here are some benefits of rowing.


You can burn a lot of calories. 

You set the intensity, just like with indoor riding, so you'll need to hold yourself responsible. But rowing is a workout unlike any other if you maintain your form and intensity.

According to Harvard Medical School, depending on your body weight, 30 minutes of strenuous rowing burns 300 to 440 calories. That amounts to around 30 minutes of stationary riding at a speed of 14 to 15.9 miles per hour, which is a relatively quick bike session.

This is the reason why many people use rowing to support weight loss efforts. 


Rowing is a kick ass cardio and high intensity interval workout.

Your lungs and heart will thank you for this workout that alternates short bursts of intensive exercise with rest periods.  

High intensity interval training (HIIT) may enhance how your cells perform, particularly when responding to insulin, according to a review of 2021 studies (which helps remove glucose from your bloodstream).

But most importantly, most individuals may safely attempt HIIT, and people seem to persist with HIIT exercises. And maintaining consistency is necessary to maximize the advantages of exercise.


Rowing increases endurance, which improves general health. 

It goes without saying that the longer you can run, swim, or row, the more cardio you can do. Additionally, it improves your cardiovascular health and decreases adiposity, or the distribution of adipose tissue throughout your body.

However, increased endurance can also help with:

  • Increasing lung capacity
  • Lowering a chance of depression
  • improving bone health
  • Boosting confidence and self image 

Rowing checks off those endurance requirements. You might notice changes in all of the aforementioned areas over time.

So let's get going and hop on that rowing machine!

A 20-minute rowing workout with intervals

84 percent of your body's muscles are used during a rowing workout, according to Annie Mulgrew, program director at City Row in NYC and certified fitness instructor.

However, most individuals only know how to sit and, uh, row on a rowing machine. To maximize the benefits of your rowing workout, combine it with other exercises to create an interval rowing program. The movement of the water is not the only factor.

Are you prepared to act now? Try Mulgrew's 20-minute interval routine, which she developed based on her City Row classes.

Let’s get started! 

You'll begin with isolations and a warm-up. After that, you'll transition into a pyramid-shaped circuit that alternates between strength moves off the rower and sprints on it.

You'll see that the duration needed to row 500 meters is referred to as the split time. Your split time will be shown on the machine's screen so you can keep track of it.

This effective regimen burns fat, increases endurance, and is genuinely enjoyable. It combines quick intervals on the rower with strength exercises done off the machine.

Correct rowing form: how to do it

It's important to master appropriate rowing form before you begin, which might be challenging. Mulgrew breaks it down in these four easy stages.

There are proper and improper ways to execute the ideal row. But you might try the following instead of approaching your neighborhood pirate:

  1. Start in a catch position with your knees bent, your back straight, your butt back, and your arms out in front of you.
  2. Leaning back nearly simultaneously with pushing back through your legs. Avoid leading with your hips as much as possible.
  3. Pull the bar to the top of your upper abs (or just below your bra line if you have one) while maintaining a 45-degree bend and lifting your elbows. Known as the drive, this position should be held for a full second before the return.
  4. Straighten your arms in front of your torso for the return.
  5. Keep your core tight as you step forward with a hip hinge.
  6. To get back into the catch position, bend your knees.

How to perform the interval exercises effectively

A rowing-focused workout requires you to get your row exactly right. However, if your technique is poor when performing the intermittent movements in this program, you could be missing out on advantages or, worse yet, risking injury.

Push-up with shoulder taps

Push-ups concentrate your effort on your shoulder and chest muscles. The advantages are maximized by including shoulder taps. Following are included in one rep:

Push yourself up. (Here are some pointers for performing the ideal push-up.)

Hold the high plank position at the top.

Right hand on left shoulder, tap.

Engage your core to maintain your hips level as you tap your right shoulder with the left hand.

(Pro tip: It will be simpler if your feet are wider.)


Walk-outs encourage your core to contract while working your shoulders and upper arms.

Place your feet hip-width apart as you stand.

Hands should be on the floor in front of your feet when you stoop.

Walk hands forward while engaging your glutes, bracing your core, and keeping your back flat (as if you were doing a plank).

Reverse the direction and walk your hands back to the starting position until they are beneath your head.

Air squat

You may strengthen your core and develop your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps by performing air squats.

Place your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart as you stand.

Put your hands in front of your chest in a prayer stance or extend your arms straight out with your palms facing down (whichever is more comfortable).

Squat down, bringing your hips back as you bend your knees. Make sure your shoulders and chest remain straight.

Drive yourself back up to a standing position while maintaining your weight in your heels.

Triceps dip

Keep those triceps in mind!

Dips can be done on a bench, box, or even the rowing machine. While maintaining your arms straight and heels on the ground, turn away from the object and place your hands on the edge.

Keep your torso as upright as you can as you lower your body until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.

until your arms are straight, press back up.


As long as you row safely, rowing can be healthy for your entire body.

Yes, it has a low impact. However, a review of research published in 2020 found that rowing, as an Olympic sport, had a somewhat high rate of injury, particularly to the back, rib cage, and shoulders.

The reviewers advise strengthening your leg extension outside of rowing. To increase your power for leg extensions, try performing exercises like squats and lunges.

Starting off makes it unlikely that you'll be performing at an Olympic level, but now is as good a moment as any to perfect your form while keeping the resistance low. Your risk of injury might be lower as a result of this.

It could be advantageous to resume your rowing adventure under the guidance of a trainer who can help you maintain proper form if you're returning to workout after an injury. Here is helpful advice on having excellent rowing form.