Does a Rowing Machine Work Your Abs?

Rowing machines are fun to use. You can put on a favorite show and start toning your muscles at your own pace. If you like rougher workouts, put on some music, increase the rower’s resistance, and start pushing on it as hard as you can.

These push and pull movements are practical for your legs, arms, upper back, and chest. But what about your core?

Do rowing machines benefit abs?

The short answer is yes, but you have to use your rower correctly. Otherwise, your abs won’t look as good as they could, and you increase your risk of injury.

So, read along below:

Is a Rowing Machine a Good Exercise for the Abs?

can you get a six pack from rowing?

Rowing machines provide a good exercise for abs because they contract and distend your Rectus Abdominis. That’s the center part of your core.

Here’s what happens:

Your obliques also act as assisting muscle groups here. When you lean back, your abs will have to contract to support your straight-back position. Even better, your lower back has to employ, too, and those repeated contractions will strengthen your lumber area.

Side-note: Having a strong back is essential if you’re looking to strengthen your abs. If you get freakishly strong abdominal muscles, your weak back won’t be able to support them, and that’s how injuries happen.

That’s the lean-back part. 

Now, let’s see what happens when you push forward.

You’ll go from a slightly reclined position to a slowly curled one during this movement. Your abdominals will have to contract to help you push against the rower’s resistance, much like during a weighted crunch movement.

At the end of the motion, you’ll sense a tiny extra pulse on your abs.

Notice how your lower abs work more during this part of the exercise. If it’s your first time on a rowing machine, your cramps might last for a few hours.

Pro tip: Considering that your rowing machine exercises your abs comprehensively, it’s wise to do a few – or more – targeted stretches after your routine to avoid injuries and pain. For instance, you can try a cobra pose or side leans.

Can You Get a Six Pack from Rowing?

will a rowing machine work my abs

You may not know this, but you already have a six-pack; the problem you need fixing isn’t building those bulges which your body made when you were in the womb.

The issue is making those abs visible.

And yes, rowing can uncover that sexy six-pack because:

  • It strengthens your muscles. Bigger muscles are better defined, and that’s why you can see them.
  • It decreases the accumulated fat stored in your abdominal area. These layers of fat hide your core muscles. So when they disappear because of the intense exercises you’re doing, your abs can shine.
  • It accelerates transit, which means it reduces the bloating that hides that beautiful six-pack.
  • It improves your posture because rowing strengthens your lower back. That posture is essential because your belly looks taut when you’re sitting up straight. When you’re crunching forward, you’re hiding those abs under your skin folds.

Hey, don’t stop reading here.

Although rowing works wonders for your abdominals, there’s plenty you can do to make your six-pack look even more appetizing:

  • Use your rowing machine for specific exercises that target your abs. For example, you can do some plank abductions on the rower after your regular rowing routine. Afterward, if you still have some strength left, consider other abs-targeting exercises:
    • Planks
    • Crunches
    • Back bows
    • Russian Twists
    • Windshield wipers, and so forth.
  • Keep your core contracted throughout your workout. Contracting your abs feels like pushing your abs inwards as you’re breathing out the air in your lungs. Keep this contraction for the duration of your workout to make your abs work harder. 
  • Eat healthily. Remember that bloating hides those perfect abs that nature has already created for you. So, say goodbye to saturated fats and empty carbs. Replace unhealthy meals with nutritious options, such as fiber-rich vegetables, lean protein, and nut-based fats.

Do Rowing Machines Build Lower Abs?

do rowing machines work lower abs?

Yes, rowing machines can build lower abs because: 

  • Pushing with your feet against a weight (your rower’s resistance) activates those muscles.
  • Crunching forward contracts your lower abs.
  • Leaning back puts pressure on your lower abs because they have to support your upper body’s entire weight. This extra pressure means additional exercise that tones your lower abs.

Warning: If you want to reap the best results for your abs, keep a correct posture. If you’re rounding your back too much: 

  • Your abs will work against a smaller force, which means they won’t get as quickly toned as you’d like.
  • Your lower back will take much more pressure than needed and while it sits in an incorrect position. As such, you’re increasing the risk of injury for your lumbar area.

In Conclusion – Does Rowing Give You Abs?

While we can agree that nature gives you abs, not rowing, we can also agree that working out on a rower makes those abs more shapely and visible. However, you should maintain a correct position throughout your workout – or you could endanger your back.

From that point of view, you should also choose the best rower for your needs.

Yes, different rowing machines have different effects on your body. 

So, if you want a rower that strengthens your abs, you can pick one that offers a higher resistance. That added weight makes your abdominals work harder and strengthens your lower back. By comparison, a rower with lighter resistance gives you better cardiovascular training but doesn’t have a high fat-burning potential.

As you can see, you should always start from your fitness goals to review if a specific fitness machine will be a sound purchase.

Mary D. Brown

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