The Best Ways to Burn Calories on the Rowing Machine

Rowing is a great calorie burner and muscle toner.
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Burning calories with a rowing machine is great for women trying to lose or control their weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. You can burn up to 1,000 calories in one hour on a rowing machine. However, burning this many calories doesn't just happen with any rowing workout. You'll have to exercise hard during your session and keep the pace up throughout.

    Step 1

    Set the resistance on the rowing machine. You'll burn calories most effectively if you choose a resistance that matches your ability. If you're new to exercise, choose a lower resistance, such as a level 2 or 3. If you're already used to a regular workout, you might be able to move to a level 3 to 5. You'll know you have the right resistance when you can do about 20 to 25 strokes per minute without compromising your form.

    Step 2

    Use the rowing machine properly. If you don't, you may be overestimating your calorie burn, which is highest when you do not have to slow down to readjust your position. Strap your feet securely to the pedals of the rowing machine, hold the handles with your palms facing down and pull the handles toward your chest as you straighten your legs and back out as your bend your knees. Keep your back straight, not hunched, and your stomach muscles engaged throughout your session. Row in one continuous motion and don't stop and restart when you get to the starting position. Keep your movement fluid, which helps prevent injury and maximizes your calorie burn.

    Step 3

    Stay at a moderate to vigorous rowing intensity for one hour at a time. At a moderate intensity, you'll be winded but will be able to have a conversation with someone next to you. If you're exercising vigorously, you'll be breathless and you might feel your heart beating faster. Slowing down toward the end of your workout or taking breaks during your session reduces your total calorie burn.

    Step 4

    Row using interval training. Intervals increase your calorie burn and can help shorten the amount of time you need to row for good benefits. To do intervals, alternate rowing at a moderate intensity with rowing at vigorous pace for a total of 45 minutes to an hour. The moderate portions of your routine should be longer than the vigorous ones. For example, row at a brisk pace for three minutes and then go all out for one minute. Move back and forth between the two for your entire workout.


    • Talk to your doctor before starting a new rowing routine.


    • If you have trouble finding time for a full one-hour workout, try breaking your exercise time into several smaller 10- to 15-minutes sessions, which still offers similar benefits.


    • Avoid combining a slow stroke rate with a high resistance, which can lead to a back injury.

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