Elliptical Vs Rowing Machine (Burn Calories, Use & Workout)

If you are in the mood of improving your aerobic capacity then you are supposed to get a good cardio machine. It also helps a lot in losing body fat and decreases the risk of many diseases. You can choose any machine for this purpose but rowing machines and elliptical machines are the best options so far. No doubt that both these machines offer good results, but if you want to know what is a better elliptical or rowing machine and which one can offer more benefits in a short time, then here are some comparisons

Should I get an elliptical or rowing machine, this might be confusing to you. The main difference between the elliptical machine and the rowing machine is that a rowing machine is a good option for arm and back workouts and on the other hand the elliptical machine is excellent for performing lower body workouts. If you are a beginner then you should start working out with a rowing machine. On the other hand, an elliptical machine operates with a greater resistance so it is generally not recommended for beginners.

Elliptical Vs Rowing machine

What burns more calories? An Elliptical OR Rowing machine

Most of the time when people are taking a look at the workout program then what amount of calories are burned, is most probably the first factor that they consider. Or more simply you can say that they just want to do a workout that helps them to get rid of a greater amount of calories in a limited amount of time. The main reason behind this is that they want to maximize or improve their fitness on a busy day.

An elliptical or rowing machine can help you to achieve your goal but if the ultimate goal of your exercise is slimming down then the elliptical will help you to burn slightly more calories as compared to the other one. A study done at Harvard School of medicine says that an 84 kg person utilized approximately 400 calories on an elliptical machine and another person of similar weight used 294 calories after doing a moderate-intensity workout on a rowing machine. So there is a big difference in the calories burnt.

This simply means that an elliptical trainer has an edge when it comes to burning calories. Similarly, if the exercise is done vigorously then the difference between calorie expenditure would be similar. But when it comes to building more muscles working out on a rowing machine is the best option

What is easy to use Elliptical machines OR Rowing machines

If you are thinking about which one is easy to use, the elliptical or rowing machine then you need to know that an elliptical machine is comparatively a preferable option. It is very easy to use and operate. All you need to do is put your feet on the pedals and start pedaling by moving your feet in a repeated forward and backward motion.

After doing this the user can grab the handles of the elliptical machine easily and start moving his arms which is a very easy process. Compared to this, exercising on the indoor rowing machine would require more practice and effort. It is very important if you want to prevent yourself from getting injured. You can use a rowing machine by following the steps mentioned below:

  • Begin the exercise with your arms such that they reach forward. It is very important to keep your back straight and during exercising your knees should be bent
  • Then the exercising body is supposed to push itself backward with its legs. So in this case the body should lean back when you are pushing yourself backward
  • When the exercising body is at an angle of 45 degrees then it is supposed to pull the bar back towards the chest region
  • Now start your motion in the reverse direction, during this time try to keep your arms straight, and after that, you have to bend your knees
  • Always consider consulting a fitness coach if you are a beginner
what is better elliptical or rowing machine

Which is a more effective Elliptical OR the Rowing machine

When it comes to effectiveness then you need to know that both these machines are amazing cardiovascular trainers. They help you out to give you a full-body workout at the low impact that will manage your heart rate and muscles properly hence they allow you to exercise for a longer duration.

In comparison, however, we come to know that elliptical machines are more effective on cardiovascular health and they would probably give you a more intense aerobic exercise that you can maintain for longer durations. Since ellipticals are easy to use, this is also a reason that allows you to exercise for longer durations.

Muscles Involved

The first thing that you need to know is that the actual purpose of these machines is not strength training. No doubt that they give strength to your muscles but both the machines are meant for training your lower and upper body. If you are thinking about which gives the best overall exercise rowing machine or the elliptical machine, then that depends on your strength and duration of exercise.

You need to know that a rowing machine does not focus your chest and triceps a lot, but the elliptical machine is very good at training your chest and triceps. On an elliptical machine, this is simply achieved by the back and forth motion of the handles.

On the other hand, if you are in the mood to train your core stability then, in that case, the rowing machine is the perfect option for you. During each stroke performed by the exercising body, your core is trained very efficiently. Remember to keep your torso straight and balanced because this will help to strengthen your core as well.

Exercise Impact and Exercise Intensity

A famous and certified strength trainer and specialist, Stew Smith say that these machines will give the user a low impact workout and they are not concerned with the exercise intensity. So this simply means that during exercising there is not much pressure on the joints of the exercising body as compared to other cardio exercises.

Moreover, he also states that rowing is not an easy cardiovascular exercise. If you are looking for something that makes you sweat well enough then, in that case, you can choose a rowing machine but it might be difficult to use for beginners. If you are looking for a tough cardio machine for yourself then you should choose a rowing machine. If you are a person suffering from any medical condition then don’t forget to take advice from your doctor about which exercise machine to use

The Diversity of Training

You might be thinking about which machine offers more diversity in training, the elliptical or the rowing machine. Well, there is a difference between both machines in this case. The elliptical machine proves to be providing more diverse training as compared to the rowing machine. The elliptical machine allows the exercising body to move forward and backward, so this simply means that one can focus on various muscles by moving back and forth.

Moreover, you can also choose to train your upper body on the elliptical machine. If you are not in the mood for your upper body training then all you need to do is to leave the handles of the machine. Both machines offer different kinds of training and you can choose from them.

Weight loss

When we talk about weight loss then you need to know that it is all about the number of calories that we burnt in a specific time. In addition to this, a few things will surely impact the amount of weight a person is losing by exercising on an elliptical or rowing machine. And those few things are the initial body weight, the strength applied while exercising, the intensity of exercise, and the poster in which a person is doing exercise.

elliptical or rowing machine

As already mentioned in this article, elliptical machines are more preferred for burning an extra amount of calories as compared to the other option. But you also need to keep in mind that it is not very easy to establish good form using an elliptical machine as compared to a rowing machine.  It will surely take a bit longer to use an elliptical machine for burning excessive amounts of calories and ultimately continuing a weight loss journey.

Another important thing that you need to know is that the level of intensity that somebody applies for doing exercise on any one of these machines will have an important effect on the amount of weight the exercising body will be losing. So this is a reason that some people can increase the strength of their rowing machine as compared to elliptical ones, and only then they will be able to maintain their weight loss routine.

So this simply means that an elliptical  trainer is a more  preferred option when it comes to weight loss but you should use a machine with which you are more comfortable otherwise it would not be an easy task to lose weight and adjust yourself to something that you are not comfortable with

Endurance and Strength

In case you do not aim to lose much weight and your primary focus is getting into shape then in this case you are supposed to prefer only strength and endurance exercises. And for this goal, you can choose to exercise on either an elliptical or rowing machine. They provide you with a variety of intensities to exercise with and that is why the user can easily strengthen his joints and muscles.

As we know that these machines provide low-impact exercise so if you stay and exercise longer then you will get more benefits. You should keep in mind that both these machines can provide you with a full-body workout but rowing machines primarily focus on upper body exercise while the elliptical trainer would primarily focus on both upper and lower body training. So this simply means that an elliptical trainer is better for endurance while a rowing machine is a perfect option for muscle gain and build especially muscles of the back and shoulder


It is up to you which kind of exercise machine you are choosing, depending on your needs and comfort level. If you aim to lose weight and want to burn calories then it is recommended for you to use an elliptical trainer because it will help you to get into shape more easily. On the other hand, if you like a tough workout, primarily to improve your strength, muscle build-up, and endurance then there is no better option than a rowing machine

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