12 Alternative to Rowing Machine (Benefits, Pros & Cons)

The rowing machine is an excellent to-grab option when you need cardio strength and potential. However, if you cannot meet the budget factors, alternative options are available to meet your health target needs. Most people research various possible sources to determine an alternative to rowing machine options.

Rowing machine at home has several alternatives. It includes bodyweight rows, push-ups, lunges, inverted rows, resistance bands, jumping rope, treadmill, kettlebell, elliptical machine, and many more. These alternatives to a rowing machine can provide similar cardiovascular workout strengths to people.

To clear most of the mind queries about the quick and satisfactory access to these alternatives. Here we will provide you with more popular options for personal health activities. Let’s find out about the essential details in the section below.


Most Common Rowing Machine Alternative

Rowing machines are a great and exceptional way to benefit in terms of cardiovascular fitness and muscle building. These exercises are even more effective for fat reduction. However, not everyone can perform rowing adventures, especially with specific injuries or physical limitations. On the other side, some people need help to access the machine or equipment.

Alternatives such as inverted rows, resistance bands, Jumping ropes, treadmills, kettlebells, and many more can provide similar cardiovascular benefits. Not only this it can prove less impactful on the joints. Additionally, incorporating various types of exercise into a workout routine. It can prevent boredom and promote overall fitness in a very budget-friendly way.

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13 Exercises for Rowing Machine (Guide & Preventive Measure)

1- Bodyweight Rows

Bodyweight rows can be a great alternative to using a rowing machine. They target many of the same muscle groups as rowing, including the back, shoulders, and arms, while also engaging the core. Bodyweight rows can be performed using a barbell, TRX straps, or even just a sturdy bar or table. You’ll need to position yourself underneath the bar to perform a bodyweight row. Then pull your chest up towards the bar, keeping your body in a straight line.

It can be made more accessible by using a wider grip, lowering the feet, or doing the exercise on an incline. Furthermore, bodyweight rows can be a good option for those unable to use a rowing machine due to injuries or physical limitations.

2- Push-Ups

Push-ups can be an excellent alternative to a rowing machine targeting the upper body muscles, specifically the chest, triceps, and shoulders. However, push-ups alone may provide different cardiovascular benefits or calorie burn than a rowing machine workout.

Rowing machines simultaneously work the upper and lower body muscles and provide a good cardio workout. While push-ups work primarily on the upper body but do not involve the lower body, it’s not considered a cardio workout. Additionally, rowing machines can work on various muscle groups, such as the back, legs, and core, whereas push-ups primarily target the chest, triceps, and shoulders.

lady is doing push ups exercise

3- Lunges

Lunges can help to improve balance, stability, and flexibility. Like rowing, lunges are an exercise option that focuses on special muscle groups simultaneously. However, more than lunges is required to provide the same cardiovascular benefits or calorie burn as a rowing machine workout.

Rowing machines are a mental and cardiovascular exercise that simultaneously works the upper and lower body and provides a good cardio workout. While lunges primarily target the lower body, they are not considered cardio exercises.

Full infographics of Lunges exercise

4- Inverted Rows

Inverted rows are an excellent alternative to the rowing machine for targeting the upper body muscles and building strength in the back, shoulders, and arms. Additionally, it’s a compound exercise that works on the core muscles, providing a good balance workout.

This exercise can be modified to be more challenging by using a narrower grip, elevating the feet, or adding weight to a backpack. They are low-impact and can easily be modified to suit an individual’s needs.

women doing Inverted Rows

5- Resistance Bands

These workout equipment experiences are specified with a significant focus on working out at home, at the gym, or even on the go. Resistance bands can be an alternative to a rowing machine targeting the upper body and back muscles. The bands can perform various exercises such as rows, pull-downs, and flyes that mimic the rowing motion.

It would help if you took the risk of incorporating different rowing alternatives, like the resistance bands that focus on special muscle groups and achieve overall fitness.

full instruction of doing Resistance Bands exercise

6- Jumping Rope

Jumping rope can be an excellent alternative to the rowing machine for cardiovascular fitness and calorie burn. It’s a full-body workout exercise that can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any unique accessories or equipment. However, it may provide a different level of upper body workout than a rowing machine and may not be suitable for everyone. You will find it worth adding as a rowing alternative to target different muscle groups and attain fitness.

Jumping rope may provide a different level of upper body workout than a rowing machine, But it is popular and primarily targets the lower body and core strength.

Jumping Rope Exercise

7- Treadmill

A treadmill can be an excellent alternative to a rowing machine for cardiovascular fitness and calorie burn. Treadmills provide a cardiovascular workout by running or walking to raise the heart rate and burn calories. Treadmills can also be used for interval training, increasing the intensity of the exercise and burning more calories.

Additionally, treadmills can be adjusted to different inclines, providing a workout targeting the lower body and core muscles. However, Treadmills primarily target the lower body, like the legs and glutes, compared to rowing machines that also work on the upper body, back, shoulders, and core muscles.

women doing Treadmill exercise

8- Kettlebell

While kettlebells can be an excellent addition to a workout routine, they may not be an ideal replacement for a rowing machine. However, it can still be practically used for people’s needs. Kettlebells are primarily used for strength training and can target various muscle groups, including the back, shoulders, legs, and core.

However, kettlebell exercises replicate a different motion than rowing and may target other muscle groups as effectively. You will be worth the overall workout experience.

girl is doing Kettlebell exercise

9- Elliptical Machine

Elliptical machines often have moving handlebars that can provide an upper-body workout similar to the one provided by a rowing machine. This will work on the upper body muscles, specifically the back, shoulders, and arms, similar to the rowing machine.

An elliptical machine can be an excellent alternative to a rowing machine for cardiovascular fitness, calorie burn, and targeting the full-body muscles. It’s a low-impact exercise that can be adjusted to different resistance levels and inclines, allowing for a more challenging workout.

A guy is doing Elliptical Machine exercise

10- Thrusters

Thrusters and rowing machines are two different exercises that can provide a full-body workout and burn many calories. These two exercises require a lot of energy and are considered full-body workouts.

It can burn a lot of calories and improve cardiovascular fitness. However, the muscle groups targeted by these exercises are quite different. The rowing machine provides a cardio workout that Thrusters can’t replicate.

A girl is doing Thrusters exercise

11- Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling, also known as stationary biking or spinning, can be a great alternative to rowing as it provides a cardiovascular workout that targets the legs and core. This cycling is a low-impact workout, which makes it easy on the joints.

It works the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles in the legs and also engages the core muscles to maintain proper form and stability. Additionally, indoor cycling is a highly adaptable workout, with resistance levels and different training programs like hill climbs, interval training, and endurance rides. It can cater to different fitness levels and goals.

A guy and women doing Indoor Cycling exercise

12- Kayaking

Kayaking is a fun and engaging way to work out the upper body and core muscles and can be a great alternative to rowing. In kayaking, the upper body muscles, such as the shoulders, back, and arms, propel the kayak forward. The core muscles are also engaged to maintain proper form and stability.

Kayaking is a cardiovascular workout that can help to improve endurance, strength, and balance. It can be done in various types of water, from calm lakes to fast-moving rivers, and it can be enjoyed in a recreational or competitive setting. Kayaking is also a great way to explore nature and enjoy the outdoors.

3 guys doing Kayaking

How the Rowing Alternatives Prove Helpful for People?

Rowing machines are a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness, build muscle, and burn calories. They provide a full-body workout that targets the upper body bound explicitly for the back, shoulders, and arms. As well as the lower body, specifically the legs and core portions. The rowing motion is smooth and low-impact, making it suitable for people of all fitness levels and abilities.

Some of the most obvious and prominent health benefits of using a rowing machine include:

Improving Cardiovascular Fitness

Rowing is a cardiovascular exercise that raises the heart rate and improves conditional activities related to the heart. In addition to this, it can help to improve overall cardiovascular fitness so that you can meet your health and fitness target.

Building Muscle

To attain muscle strength, rowing is the ultimate option available. You have to be regular to achieve your required power and potential support. The rowing motion works for multiple muscle groups at the same time. Thar is a very significant activity that will help build muscle and increase muscle endurance.

Burning Calories

Rowing is a high-intensity exercise, so you can easily attain fat reduction benefits. The primary reason for its popularity falls from the perspective that it can burn a significant amount of calories in a relatively short time. That attracts people to its practical benefits and advantages.


The rowing motion is low-impact, which makes it a suitable option for people with joint pain or injuries. So even older adults can effectively go for its pick because of its reliable, convenient, and comforting activities.


This is one of the most authentic and precise advantages one can enjoy. You can concisely adjust the rowing machine to different resistance levels for the interval training sessions. This will let you describe the most basic health and fitness targets. This factor makes the machine versatile for different fitness levels to attain reliability.

As for alternative workouts, some beneficial and advantageous options are depicted below;

  1. Bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, and squats can target similar muscle groups as the rowing machine.
  2. Cycling, swimming, or using an elliptical machine can provide similar cardiovascular benefits and be less impactful on the joints. So even the elderly people seek compelling advantages from it.
  3. Resistance band exercises such as rows, pull-downs, and flyes can target upper body muscles like a rowing machine.
  4. Jumping rope, treadmill, and stair climbing are great rowing alternatives to get more familiar with health authentications.

It’s important to note that no single exercise can replace the rowing machine in terms of benefits and muscle groups worked out. It’s essential to include various activities in your workout routine to target different muscle groups and achieve overall fitness.

The Final Statement

Rowing is a full-body workout that can be challenging and effective for building muscle and burning calories. The rowing motion primarily works the back, legs, and arms but also engages the core and other stabilizing muscles.

Either you are performing rowing or using any of the alternative options available for it. You are up to the tasks that will prove authentic and compelling health advantages. In the section above, we have tried our best to provide the most practical and targeted points for you for all these basic needs here.

So that you can seek help and make your training session more precise and worthwhile

This is Martin, from Void Bike I have started work in June With Void Bike as a Content Writer. It's an agency which provides you Customize reviews about exercise products. I have completed my Computer Science Degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2019. And now working with Void Bike as a Full time content writer.

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