How Many Calories do You Burn on a Rowing Machine?

Losing weight entails creating a caloric deficit, and studies recommend a 2025% daily calorie reduction. That means you’ll have to ingest 500 fewer calories or burn those calories through your workouts.

Rowing is an excellent place to start.

This exercise employs your entire body’s muscles, which means you’ll burn calories at a faster pace. Besides, rowing also strengthens your muscles, improves your cardiovascular capacity, and decreases your body fat percentage.

But how many calories do you burn on a rowing machine?

Read this guide below to find out.

Calories Burned While Rowing Indoors

The calories you burn rowing indoors depend on the following factors:

  • Your weight: Heavy people have to work harder to row, which means they burn more calories.
  • Time: When you work out for longer, your body has more time to burn more calories.
  • Intensity: Vigorous exercise demands more energy than light exercise. So while rowing harder is more challenging, it will also bring you faster results.

Let’s see exactly how many calories you burn while rowing. According to METs to Calories Calculator, you can expect to burn the following amounts if you’re 150 pounds:

Effort/TimeFor 10 minutesFor 20 minutesFor 30 minutesFor 1 hour
Moderate80160239478
Vigorous97194290580
Very vigorous136272409818

You should also know that it takes about 4 minutes to row 1000 m if you’re rowing at a moderate pace. Thus, if you’re wondering how many calories you’ll burn on your rowing according to distance, read the ballpark figures below:

  • Calories burned while rowing 1000m: 32 calories
  • Calories burned while rowing 2000m: 64 calories
  • Calories burned while rowing 5000m: 160 calories

However, just like we said before, these are ballpark figures. Your weight loss while rowing depends on other factors:

How to Lose Weight Faster while Rowing

how to lose weight faster on a rower

According to research, rowing is one of those exercises that burns your body fat and uses it as fuel while you exercise. Besides, if you also start eating healthily, you can accelerate your fat-burning potential.

As a result, you can speed up your weight loss even more than the numbers above suggest.

Another tip is to add some resistance training or weight lifting to your daily workout schedule. After all, physical trainers advise you not to row every day. So, you can do resistance training in your in-between days to supplement the aerobic exercise you’re getting on your rower.

Again, science says that’s the best way to lose weight faster.

But how exactly can you lose weight faster while you’re rowing? Try these tips below:

Compared To Running

Many people who want to lose weight quickly will think about running. However, running has its own set of challenges, such as more pressure on your knees and higher aerobic intensity.

With that in mind, you will burn more calories running.

A 175-pound person will burn:

  • 616 calories/ hour running at moderate intensity
  • 560 calories/ hour rowing at moderate intensity

As you can see, the difference in calorie burn is almost negligible. Rowing can be a better solution than running because:

  • You benefit from a full-body workout
  • It’s low-impact
  • You get some resistance training, not just an aerobic workout

HIIT Rowing

calories burned on a rowing machine

HIIT rowing implies alternating high and low-impact intervals. This strategy’s primary advantage is its afterburn effect, which allows your body to burn more calories long after your workout is over.

Thus, HIIT ends up increasing your basal metabolic rate. 

Just imagine how much more food you can eat thanks to that accelerated metabolism.

If you want to try HIIT rowing, you can:

  • Open YouTube for a myriad of suggested workouts,
  • Purchase a rower with built-in programs or built-in iFit membership, or:
  • Row as fast as you can for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds at a moderate pace. Rinse and repeat for as long as you can or up to 30 minutes.

By comparison, steady-state rowing, aka rowing at a steady pace, burns fewer calories. If you’re rowing vigorously enough, so your pulse gets to 70-75% of your maximum heart rate, you can technically reach the fat-burning zone.

Here’s the problem:

That fat-burning zone doesn’t last after you finish your workout, so HIIT is better for that afterburn effect. Still, steady-state rowing also helps you burn significant amounts of calories, and it strengthens your cardiovascular health.

Other Tips to Increase Calorie Burn while Rowing

You can make the most of your rowing machine if you:

  • Concentrate on the stroke rate. Don’t just try to slide up/down on that rail as fast as you can. Instead, make sure that the flywheel spins faster to create more resistance. From that perspective, keep your stroke rate at 25-30 strokes/minute to maximize calorie burn.
  • Alternate workouts. If you do the same workout day-in and day-out, your body gets used to it. Unfortunately, the result is that your body will slow down its energy consumption. That means your metabolic rate will decrease. That’s why it’s an excellent idea to keep your body guessing with varied workouts.
  • Maintain a proper form. Keeping your body in a neutral position allows your muscles to get the maximum amount of work done. For instance, keeping your shoulders down ensures your chest and arms will work 100% when you’re pulling that rower. If you keep your shoulders up to your ears, those shoulders will take a lot of the extra pressure. So apart from underworking your upper body, you’re also increasing your risk of injury.
  • Choose a suitable rowing machine. There are different rowers on the market, and they’re not all created equal. You need a rowing machine specifically designed for weight loss. Thus, reading our article about the best rowing machines for your needs is an excellent starting point.
Mary D. Brown

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