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Calories Burned On A Rowing Machine

Last Updated on October 28, 2021 by Jeff

An indoor rowing machine is the perfect fitness machine to use if you want to tone your body, burn calories, and lose weight. 

Whether you use this equipment at a public gym or have a rowing machine for home use, it will provide you with a low-impact cardio workout and burn many calories.

To know more about the calories burned while using a rowing machine, and what determines the rate at which you burn them, read our useful guide below. 

We also include some helpful tips on how to liven up your workout and maximize your calorie expenditure while rowing.

Our Guide To Rowing Machine Calorie Burning

Calories Burned On Average While Using A Rowing Fitness Machine

Calories Burned On A Rowing Machine

Your rowing machine should have a fitness monitor attached to it which will calculate the estimated calories you burn while using your machine. 

The more expensive rowing machines have more accurate monitors and calorie calculators, but they are still giving estimated readings and are not 100% accurate. This is because the user’s weight and the intensity of their rowing can influence the calorie-burning rate. 

Rowing at a more comfortable pace for 30 minutes burns approximately 210 calories for a person weighing 125 lbs and approximately 311 calories for a person weighing 185 lbs. With more energetic rowing, the numbers increase to roughly 255 for the former and 377 for the latter.

A formula to calculate how many calories you will burn while rowing:

Women: (Age x 0.074) – (Weight x 0.05741) + (Heart Rate x 0.4472) – 20.4022] x  Duration/ 4.184.

Men: (Age x 0.2017) – (Weight x 0.09036) + (Heart Rate x 0.6309) – 55.0969] x Duration/ 4.184. 

Factors Which Determine Your Calorie Burn Rate While Rowing

The number of calories that you burn through rowing will vary based on factors such as exercise intensity and duration, your weight, BMR, age, and also your health and fitness levels. But the three main factors are weight, duration of workout, and intensity of rowing. 


The heavier you are, the harder your body will work to do an activity, and the more calories you’ll burn. 

If you are overweight and unfit, your heart rate and calorie expenditure will be higher than that of a fit person.

Duration Of Workout

When you do any type of exercise for an extended period, it will result in more calories burned than a shorter exercise duration. 

Intensity Of Exercise 

The intensity at which you exercise affects the number of calories you burn. Energetic rowing will always burn more calories, and faster too, than slow-paced rowing.

Using A Rowing Fitness Machine As Part Of A Weight Loss Regimen

If you are planning to use a rowing machine for weight loss, remember that the key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. 

Reduce your calorie intake by watching what you eat, and increase the number of calories you burn by taking part in vigorous exercise, and you’ll start to burn fat and finally see the weight loss you desire.

An indoor rower, called an ergometer,  mimics the movement of rowing a boat on the water and offers an effective low-impact cardio workout, burning more calories than other conventional exercise equipment and in less time. 

For optimal results, incorporate a healthy eating plan into your weight loss program, along with your rowing workouts.

Slow And Steady Wins The (Weight Loss) Race

Rowing steadily at a moderate intensity is known as steady-state rowing.

To use the steady-state rowing method, row at a medium or moderate speed while keeping your maximum heart rate between 65 – 75% for the entire duration of your workout. 

This range is known as the “fat-burning zone” because, while you are in it, fat is targeted more as an energy source for your body.

 People who are using a rowing machine to lose belly fat should employ this method.

Frequency And Duration Of Rowing For Maximum Calorie Burningrowing machine calorie burning

Your fitness level and goals will determine how often to use a rowing machine.

If your goal is to burn the maximum amount of calories as part of a weight-loss program, you should aim to use your rowing machine for at least half an hour or more per session. In just half an hour on an indoor rowing machine, you can burn up to 300 calories. 

But this is not the case for everyone, because your workout duration is not the only factor that affects the number of calories burned. For example, a person weighing 200 lbs burns 336 calories in 30 minutes of moderate rowing, whereas a person weighing 120 lbs burns only 168.

Useful Tips That Will Help To Maximise Your Rowing Machine Calorie Burn

Some tips to help you get more out of your rowing workouts and burn calories faster and more efficiently:

Increase Your Rowing Stroke Rate

Concentrate on getting the flywheel of your rowing fitness machine to spin faster to create more power. Keep yourself at 24-30 strokes per minute to burn the most calories. 

Introduce Variety Into Your Workout Sessions

Vary the intensity of your workout by alternating your routine every couple of weeks. 

Performing the same routine repeatedly will lead to your body finding it easier to do, and once you have reached that level your heart rate will be lower while rowing. This will result in you burning much fewer calories.

Incorporate HIIT Into Your Routinerowing machines calories burned

High-intensity interval training, commonly referred to as HIIT, results in Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). 

Known as the “afterburn effect”, it is when your body increases its rate of oxygen intake to account for the oxygen loss caused by a strenuous workout and helps return your body to a resting state.

This effect can raise metabolic rates for hours after a workout has ended and can continue to burn another 100-200 calories long after you finish your rowing routine.

Row as hard as you can for 30 seconds with maximum effort, and then immediately after this, row for about 60 seconds at a much slower pace to lower your heart rate again. Repeat this cycle up to ten times and in under 20 minutes you’ll be burning over 300 calories

What “Burning Calories” Actually Means

A calorie is a unit of measurement that is used to measure the energy that is used by the human body. When doing any form of activity whatsoever, you are using energy. The number of calories used correlates to the amount of energy exerted.

Your body burns calories when performing any of your daily functions such as walking around, eating and digesting food, and all other internal bodily functions too. All of your daily activities cause calories to be burned, but at different rates.

Calories Burned Through Physical Activity Are The Easiest To Increase

Your basic bodily functions such as breathing, cellular activity, etc contribute to approximately 70% of your calorie expenditure, and this is referred to as your metabolism or Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

The remaining 30% of your calorie expenditure consists of activities you are more aware of such as eating and digesting food, any physical activity such as walking or doing housework, and of course any exercise routine that you engage in.

To burn more calories, you must raise your BMR and your level of physical activity. You can increase both of these by working out on equipment such as your rowing machine.

Rowing Machine Calorie Burning (FAQ)

Do I get a good cardio workout with a rowing machine?

Yes, you will get a cardio workout while using a rowing machine, and a bonus is that it will be a lower-impact workout than other forms of cardio exercise such as using a treadmill.

How does using a rower help with weight loss?

An indoor rowing machine, also called an ergometer, can assist you with your weight loss goals because it gets your blood pumping, raises your heart rate, and burns calories effectively. Some people use a rowing machine for back fat reduction and to target stubborn belly fat, too. 

Will a rowing machine tone my abs?

You can tone your upper body as well as your abs by using a rowing machine because rowing targets multiple muscle groups.

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