Rowing Machine (4 Types of Muscles Works, Pro’s & Help)

Many individuals wonder what regions the rowing machine exercises because they want to know if it is an efficient workout or if they should use a specific variation of cardio equipment.

You’ll be pleased to find that the rower is one of the most made significant contributions machines available, and it outperforms several others, as well as the walker and elliptical, in a variety of ways.

Various muscle groups are stimulated different phases of the rowing action you are in: the catch, the drive, the finish, or the recovery. You’ve probably hit all significant groups of muscles by the conclusion of a whole stroke.

Rowing Muscles Engaged in Four Processes

To comprehend what muscles a rowing machine works, it’s vital to realize that, as previously said, the rowing stroke has four unique sections. Your posture is in a new role at each level, and as a result, various muscles are recruited.

Here’s a quick rundown of each level, followed by a description of the specific muscles being treated.

Phase 1: The Catch

The catch is the first step of a rowing stroke, during which you are stooped forward near just in front of the apparatus. To accomplish so, you must cross your legs forward to your chest while keeping your lower leg vertical to the ground. It will build your triceps, thighs, and lower back while you are in that posture.

When performing the catch action, bring your arms and elbows forward together keeping your shins down vertically. Back muscles will also provide you with sturdy assistance and motor coordination.

Phase 2: The Drive

The drive occurs when you push out of the catch area and bring the bar back. As you fully straighten your legs and bounce your weight into an upright position, you must push your foot off. Your forearms, elbows, and crossbar should be tight to your ribs at the trailing edge.

The drive will help you build a strong your legs, shoulders, stomach, and back, but particularly your hamstrings and glutes. When driving with your hips, your forearm should be at an angle of 45 degrees.

Phase 3: The Finish Stage

The finish is when you snuggle the crossbar into your chest at the end of the drive. To maintain bodily stability throughout the final phase, you must activate your core. The momentum will help you to completely stretch your legs and bring the handle forward to your chest. Simultaneously, your right arm will spin in a rowing action.

The last phase will focus on strengthening your torso, which is made up of five core muscles: transverse abdominis, interior abdomen inclination, exterior abdomen oblique, pyramidal, and transversal abdominis. During this period, your shoulders will also contract, and your muscle fibers will help with stability.

Phase 4: Recovery

The rehabilitation stage is the most important step of the rowing action, which reverses the preceding three phases. To begin, stretch your arms forward to the crankshaft while maintaining them straight to the pavement. Shift your weight until you’re again inside the catch position, while your thighs pull you forward.

The process of recovery will need you to manage your movement and engage various muscle groups simultaneously. Your triceps, upper legs, and calves will all work together to get you back to the beginning position. This is where you stretch your arms, lean forward, and bend your knees, gliding forward over the rowing apparatus and recovering to the capture position. The procedure then begins again.

Sure. If you look at the alternate stages of rowing above, I’m sure you can spot at minimum some of the unique groups that are activated in each step of rowing.

For example, in the initial Catch phase, you’re developing your tris, elbows, traps, abdomen, and thighs. The legs, body swing, and arm squeeze through components of the Drive phase and all engage separate muscle groups.

In the Finish level, the stabilizer muscles (side back) and biceps are added to the mix. The triceps, as well as the abdominal and wrist muscles, are included again in the Recovery stage.

Muscles a rowing machine work:

If you usually walk straight past the pedaling apparatus at the gym, you might even want to try it out the next time you go. Rowing not only provides good aerobic exercise but also targets a surprising amount of muscle areas, making it a perfect addition to your strength-training regimen.


Rowing also strengthens the specific areas of the dorsi muscle in your back. “After pushing through your legs in the rowing stroke, you set yourself up to be in a better position to push with your back and lats,” The idea is to pinch your neck and shoulders together while you drawback on the grips with your arms.

Just remember to employ the appropriate technique to get the most out of each stroke. “People frequently get the second quarter of the movement incorrectly by trundling in before extending their arms again,” Crawford explains. “Think legs, core, arms; arms, core, legs to guarantee appropriate technique and sequencing.”


Rowing is also regarded as a significant leg workout. “Your major leg muscles in rowing produce your power,” she says Bustle, referring to the quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings.

This is because you straighten your knees and continue pushing mostly on outposts to drive your body backward. “Think about all the musculature you use when you squat, that is what rowing accomplishes over a long period.”


To properly train your muscles when rowing, focus on solid technique, therefore watch the video above to learn how to make a perfect rowing stroke. You’ll note that you’re intended to lean back slightly at the end of the exercise – this is known as the finish, and it’s the phase that stimulates your abdominal muscles, according to Crawford.

You’ll also engage your core, glute muscles, and serratus anterior groups as you go forward throughout the wave. Chang adds that this move compresses your body like a swinging, which enables you simply end up power for the next movement.

Biceps and Glutes

During the stroke, your hips hinge open, which, according to Chang, works the leg muscles in the same manner that a deadlift would. That’s why you’ll be uncomfortable throughout your entire abdomen the next day after rowing, not just your arms.

Rowing engages the deltoids, which are located in the upper of each shoulder. Then there are your biceps, which, according to Chang, provide around 10% of the overall force of your row when you bring the paddles inwards towards your sternum. Consider this a comprehensive weight training session.

Rowing Machine Advantages

Rowing machines provide obvious muscle advantages. By how large part of your muscles will be functioning, it is considered the ideal workout. It’s fantastic for losing weight, improving physical equilibrium, and healing from an accident. This section delves further into the benefits of rowing equipment.

Cardiovascular and Strength gains

Rowing is good for your muscles as well as your brain (CNS). Because rowing provides such a thorough exercise, it also has a positive effect on maintaining your heart rate raised. This activity is also utilized in exercises because it develops the lungs, allowing them to utilize oxygen more efficiently.

Rowing works not just your muscles but also your nervous systems. Rowing works your entire body, so it keeps your heart rate raised and your lungs working hard. Aerobic exercise gets its name from the fact that it enhances your immune function to use oxygen efficiently. While many people prefer strength training to aerobic exercise, research has shown that neither can lower the microvascular complications (CVD) on its own.

When aerobic and strength activities are integrated (like in rowing), CVD risk variables can change in as little as 8 weeks. Rowing is also an excellent cardiovascular activity for anyone suffering from joint discomfort or injury.

Fat Oxidation

The rower machine is an excellent technique to fast burn calories. If you’re running low on time but still want to get good exercise, one of these pieces of equipment can help. Majority of them let you to personalize your workout by providing varied levels of resistance.

The rowing machine workout will also enhance the “afterburn effect,” in which your muscle fats will continue burning long after you have completed the activity. Rowing activity may consume more than 300 calories in 30 minutes for the typical individual.

Not many pieces of equipment are great for counting calories and caloric expenditure, but a piece of rowing equipment certainly checks both boxes, thanks in part to the fact that it works so many of your muscles.

It increases strength and endurance

Rowing’s mix of strength and cardio will aid in the development of both strength and endurance.

Power is your capacity to produce maximal force in a short period, such as when jumping, sprinting, or hitting a heavy bag or a softball.

Rowing correctly requires you to utilize your leg muscles to move your strength back and your shoulders and arms to row, both of which demand power.

Endurance refers to your body’s capacity to keep up with an exercise, such as rowing, for an incredibly long time. Rowing counts as both cardiovascular and muscular endurance.

It has minimal influence

Rowing eliminates a number of fat while putting little load on your joints. It is a wonderful session for dynamic treatment since you can control your mobility and intensity.

It is occasionally advised as a kind of exercise for persons in the beginning phases of osteoarthritis. In 2014, research of 24 persons conducted over 8 weeks discovered that joint forces and moments, or revolutions, in the forearm, arm, spinal, and thigh improved by 30%. (3Trusted Source). High-impact activities like running and plyometrics are not the same.

So, does a rowing machine help you gain muscle?

That is another often asked topic, by what regions does the pedaling machine train. No, the rower device training will not give you bodybuilding-type muscles with bulging biceps, massive quads, and an immense wingspan.

And if you’ve seen a competitive rower, you know they’re in excellent shape…long and slim with tremendous distinction in their arms, legs, and abdominal areas. Looking at the data above, this comes as no surprise, as each stroke engages all of these muscles. Now double that by hundreds upon thousands.

To assist increase your definition, you may sharpen up regions everywhere across your body while burning a lot of fat. So, the rowing machine provides an excellent workout…you can lose fat, they’re terrific for the abs, biceps, triceps, forearms, quads, and every significant strength in your body, and also the lot of the minor ones, will be put to work with each movement of the equipment.

How Does Muscle Targeting Differ from Other Machines?

The rowing machine provides an excellent all-around exercise and may easily compete with other popular cardio devices.

For example, it provides a greater upper body exercise than a treadmill while putting less strain on your legs and joints.

It is analogous to an elliptical, which likewise provides a back and legs exercise while being less impactful than a treadmill.

An indoor exercise cycle, like the treadmill, does not provide an upper body workout, therefore the rowing machine has an advantage there as well.

So, when it comes to simply muscle engagement, the rower’s apparatus is undoubtedly at or towards the top of the list. It’s a full-body exercise, and some of the smaller muscle fibers that are recruited during your workout have not been targeted, even on an exercise machine, since the action is so different.

You may have observed that many gymnasiums now include pedaling equipment as part of the group fitness regime, recognizing the efficacy of the workout they deliver. Concept 2 Model D’s and E’s may well be spotted at fitness centers all across the world, and they can be interconnected with each other for contests or just tracking your performance and efficiency.

The growing prevalence of rowing machines is a tribute to their unrivaled ability to get you in outstanding physical and cardiovascular form, with complete body muscle targeting being a key component of that.

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