How Many Calories Do You Burn on a Rowing Machine?

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The basic principle of losing weight is burning more calories than you are intaking.

You can accomplish that by either consuming fewer calories or burning more, or both.

Rowing is a great physical activity for health that helps you lose weight, but the question is, how many calories do you burn on a rowing machine?

The answer depends on different factors and needs some elaboration before fully grasping the benefits of rowing machines.

Factors That Affect How Much You Burn

To find out how many calories do you burn on a rowing machine, you have to consider different factors.

Two people with the same rowing exercise may burn a different number of calories. That’s because various factors control the calorie-burning process.

Some of these factors are internal, while others act externally to help or hinder the weight loss process.


Intensity refers to the pace and vigor you row on a rowing machine. The more intense your workout, the more calories you will burn.

Moderate intensity workout does not burn as many calories. However, it increases your endurance, which helps you increase your aerobic intensity.

A rowing workout at a faster pace is not easy, but it increases your heart rate, helping you lose weight faster than with a steady pace.

If you want to achieve the fastest results, you may row at a higher pace for a maximum time and take fewer breaks between your workout sessions.


Rowing exercise for longer durations will burn more calories than a shorter session of just five to 10 minutes.

Also, you need some time to warm up, so just doing a 10-minute session without any other exercise will not be as beneficial.

The best practice is to do a warm-up, an intense training session, and a post-workout routine to lose the most calories.


When you start training, you lose the most weight even with a little exercise. With time, it becomes harder to lose additional weight.

Also, the more weight you have to lose, the harder it will be to work out and the more calories you will burn during your rowing exercises.

All other parameters being equal, the person with more weight will burn more calories for the same amount of rowing workout.

Rowing Technique

Using an indoor rowing machine properly matters in burning more calories and losing weight faster.

If your movements are not coordinated, it won’t be easy to do intense training sessions, and you will tire more.

In comparison, you will burn more calories with the better movement of hands, legs, and upper body during energetic rowing.

Plus, your stroke rate (strokes per minute) will also contribute to burning additional calories with a better technique.

learn how many calories do you burn on a rowing machine

Does Rowing Type Affect How Much You Burn?

A suitable rowing machine is a wonderful tool to lose weight and burn calories fast. However, like any other tool, it depends on how you use it.

You can do two basic types of workouts on an indoor rowing machine: HIIT and steady-state rowing.

HIIT burns calories faster, but both types benefit individuals’ cardiovascular health and overall fitness levels.

HIIT Rowing

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is when you go all-out in your exercise and give 100% of your energy.

It consists of intense, quick exercise sessions with a recovery period in between.

You can either take small breaks from exercise or decrease the intensity during the recovery period.

During high-intensity interval training, your heart rate increases, resulting in more calories burned in less time.

One way to do it is to start vigorous rowing for 30 seconds to increase your heart rate.

Then, you can follow that with a 60-second moderate rowing activity to reduce your heart rate.

Doing these reps 10 times will help you burn more calories than steady-state rowing for 30 minutes.

Steady-State Rowing

Steady-state rowing is done at a moderate pace for an extended period and does not get your heart pumping, but it has its own benefits.

This type of rowing builds endurance and helps in healthy muscle growth, which also comes in handy for HIIT.

Instead of vigorous effort, you focus on endurance training.

If you’re a beginner, it’s better to do steady-state rowing exercises first. That way, you will build stamina and learn to coordinate your body movements.

At a steady state, you will row at a medium pace, keeping your maximum heart rate at 65 to 80% of your target heart rate, a range called the fat-burning zone.

How Does a Rowing Machine Help Burn Calories?

The benefits of rowing differ for rowers depending on maximum effort and workout duration.

Also, the type of exercise on a suitable rowing machine and the number of positions increase the calorie per day burned.

Fat Loss

You can lose stubborn body fat through a rowing routine when coupled with a proper calorie diet. The fat loss then results in weight loss.

During vigorous exercise, your body moves fat and consumes it like energy, enabling your body to shed weight.

Remember that you can only achieve your goal of losing body fat by consuming a protein-rich diet and increasing your intake of vegetables and fruits.

With such food choices, you will decrease your calorie intake. At the same time, rowing will increase calorie-burning, resulting in a speedy weight loss process.

Drinking zero-calorie fluids such as water also speeds up the process and keeps you hydrated during your workout sessions.

Full Body Training

Another reason rowing is the best exercise to increase your calorie burn rate is that it provides a full-body strenuous workout.

That results in shedding fat and consuming energy from your entire body. It also improves your metabolic rate, resulting in more weight loss.

Due to the dynamic nature of rowing workouts, your upper, middle, and lower body is actively engaged in exercise, even at a moderate pace.

Although around 60% of rowing power comes from the legs, your upper body is sufficiently involved in losing fat because you’re using its major muscles.

Compared with running, walking, and cycling, the rowing routine provides a complete workout for the body.

Multiple Positions

Finally, one of the big reasons rowing is so effective in burning more calories per day is the range of motion it provides to the user.

An indoor rowing machine simulates the motion of rowing on water, which is an exceptional physical activity.

There are four motion points of rowing that each helps in a different area of the body. These motions are called the catch, drive, finish, and recovery.

The Catch

The catch or the start is the first position on a rowing machine. You sit with your knees bent with a firm grip on the handle.

From here, you start the stroke by pushing on the foot paddle. This position works your shins, thighs, and hips.

The Drive

The drive is the second position you achieve by pushing on the foot paddle, keeping your back straight and your core stable.

Before reaching the full extension, you pull on the handle, involving your upper body in the exercise.

The Finish

The finish position is when you’re at the farthest end of the machine with your legs fully straight and your arms pulling on the handle.

You then bring the handle on your torso, involving your biceps and triceps.

The Recovery

This is the last position where you bring your body back to the starting position, keeping your arms straight and your body stable.

Here, one stroke is complete, and you inhale to start the next stroke.

How Many Calories Do You Burn on a Rowing Machine?

Rowing is an effective way to burn calories fast.

If you work out for one hour at a moderate pace on a suitable rowing machine, you can burn between 550 to 650 calories.

However, this does not mean everyone will burn the same number of calories; your weight and technique also affect the weight loss process.

You’ll also have to decrease your calorie intake, increase your exercise intensity, and add resistance training to your routine.

You can achieve results faster than expected with a good exercise routine through a rowing machine workout.

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