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Rowing Machine Body Transformation

Last Updated on October 28, 2021 by Jeff

rowing machine body transformation

A rowing machine can aid bodybuilding and weight loss in a full-body workout, but you may be wondering whether it is enough to completely transform the body. 

While it is a multi-beneficial exercise machine, like with any workout, it depends on how you are doing it.

We explore the benefits of a rowing machine, and how to best use it to get in shape. 

How a Rowing Machine Can Transform your Body

Rowing machines have multiple benefits that can help you achieve whatever fitness goal you’ve set out for yourself. 

We explore the main benefits that will assist you in transforming your body. 

Weight Loss

You can burn anywhere between 150-350 calories per hour while rowing, depending on factors such as your body weight, and the intensity of your workout. You can also effectively use the rowing machine for toning.

The rowing machine provides an effective cardiovascular workout that is ideal for weight loss and calorie burn, plus it builds muscle mass which results in a deeper calorie burn that continues long after your workout is over.

Muscle Building

rowing machine transformation

Rowing machines do not just have cardio benefits. You can use a rowing machine for muscle gain throughout the body. It works about 86% of all muscles in the body, which makes it an almost full-body workout in just one simple movement. 

The rowing motion targets the lower body, including the glutes, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and the upper body, including the arms, and chest. A rowing machine also works abs

A rowing machine also builds shoulders, in a highly effective way.

This results in an increased muscle mass, and toned muscles, which works in tandem with weight loss to reshape and transform that body and increase overall fitness. 

Mental Health

Exercise is known to increase serotonin levels and improve overall mental health, and rowing falls firmly within this feature. With a regular exercise routine, you will find that your stress and anxiety levels decrease, and it can often aid in managing chronic mental illnesses such as depression. 

It can also lead to improved sleep, and being rested can in turn also have a positive effect on your mental state and wellbeing. Transforming your body can also lead to increased confidence, which is a positive change in day-to-day life. 

Low Impact

If you have issues with your joints and muscles, are recovering from an injury, or would just like to ease into an exercise that is not too hard on your body, the rowing machine is the perfect low impact option. 

With the machine allowing you to be seated, the motion being under your careful control, it is a supportive workout for the body. For this reason, it is one of the most popular options for those in recovery, and beginners.


A home rowing machine is incredibly convenient, as it provides a total body workout in just one piece of equipment. 

The rowing machine is also not very big and bulky, as compared to other popular options like a treadmill or a vertical climber, which means it will not take up too much space in your living area. 

When it comes to sticking to your routine, having a rowing machine at home is a no-excused way to ensure you don’t skip a workout. It does not require a trip to the gym, nor does it depend on weather conditions as outdoor workouts do. 

How to Transform Your Body with a Rowing Machine


It is important to build and stick to a strict rowing routine. If you are using a rowing machine to transform your body, either with weight loss or muscle building, consistency is key to see results. 

You should ideally be on the rowing machine for between 20-60 minutes per day (depending on your goals, or whether you are doing other exercises), for 5-6 days a week. At least one rest day should be taken to prevent injury or burnout from excessive exercise.

rowing machine to get in shape

Lifestyle and Diet

Exercise alone is not likely to transform the body, as it should always be accompanied by healthy habits. 

This includes a healthy and balanced diet, which will differ according to your needs and goals. If you are looking to lose weight, a calorie deficit is the most effective way to do so. If you are building muscle, this might either mean a calorie deficit, or a calorie excess. It is best to consult a medical professional to find out what would work best for you. 

It is also vital to get adequate sleep. You should aim for between 7-9 hours per night, which will aid in increased energy, and less stress, which ultimately contributes to your fitness journey. 

Challenge Yourself 

While a rowing machine is designed to support your body while exercising, you should never reach a comfort zone with the intensity of exercise you are doing. 

When you feel as though the speed or resistance you are rowing at is becoming effortless, it’s your cue to either up the speed or turn up the resistance dial. Pushing the body beyond what it is comfortable with is what drives up the heart rate, and this leads to a calorie burn. 

Likewise, pushing the muscles beyond comfort leads to small muscle tears, which is what increases muscle mass. 


While it might be low impact, the rowing machine requires you to do play a small part in preventing injury or joint pain in two simple ways. 

Firstly, your back must be straight when exercising. A hunched posture can lead to serious back pain or injury, which can lead to long-term issues. 

Secondly, your foot must be flat against the pedal. Avoid pushing with solely your toes, or your heel, as this can lead to foot cramping or strain. 

Workouts for Transforming Your Body with a Rowing Machine

If you want to push yourself beyond that comfortability to transform your body, you might reach a point where you want to go beyond just rowing. 

We give you two types of workouts, one suited to weight loss and one suited to muscle building, which can be used as-is or as a springboard for other custom workouts. 


A High-Intensity Interval Training workout is designed to alternate between short and intense bursts of movement, and short periods of rest or moderate movement. The continuous rise and fall of the heart rate lead to optimal calorie burn, which carries on after you are done exercising. 

Start by rowing at a low speed and a high resistance for one minute. Then, row as fast as you can at a low resistance for 30 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 15 minutes. 

You can play around with this by adjusting resistance levels or interval periods. You can also take it up a notch by adding in a 30-second interval of star jumps, or burpees (off the rowing machine). If you are looking to work a specific part of the body, like using the rowing machine for glutes, you can incorporate all glute exercises.


Rowing machine workouts do not necessarily require you to be on the rowing machine throughout – you should get creative to have variety. 

Adding in other strength workouts to rowing is an effective way to maximize muscle building. If you are wondering: “Will the rowing machine make me bulky?”, this is a more effective way to do it. 

  • Row at a moderate speed for one minute
  • Do 20 weighted squats
  • Row at a high speed for 30 seconds
  • Do 10 pushups 
  • Row at a moderate speed for one minute
  • Do 20 bicep curls
  • Row at a high speed for 30 seconds
  • Do 20 lunges 
  • Row at a moderate speed for one minute
  • Do 30 tricep dips
  • Row at a slow speed for two minutes (cooldown)

You can change this in an endless amount of ways. Mix up the order, play around with resistance levels, increasing or decreasing repetitions, adding in different moves, and more. Changing it slightly every day ensures that you will not grow bored with your rowing machine. 

Rowing Machine Body Transformation (FAQ) 

Can you get in shape by just rowing?

Yes. However, this requires a consistent workout regime over a long period, with a healthy diet and lifestyle, to see results and transform your body. 

How long does it take to get in shape from rowing?

This depends on several factors, including how often you work out, what your diet and metabolism look like, and how intense your workouts are. It can generally yield results in 2-3 weeks when you are following a diet plan and exercising at least 30 minutes a day, for 5-6 days a week. 

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