Rowing Machine: Transformation you are looking for

In gyms, all the machines have a purpose to train a specific muscle group or to involve more of your cardiovascular system. You can gain mass, you can choose to lose weight or to have good tonus.

For all of these objectives, you can find a machine that will help you. If you choose to gain muscle, you will use the bench press, the dumbbells, and the weight lifting machines. If you want to lose weight the right choice it will be to use the treadmill, elliptical bike or to participate in gym classes.

We think that you already saw the number of rowing machine in a gym has started to grow in the gym and start to add rowing in their training routine. If you are curious about how the rowing machine can help you, we will break it piece by piece to create the big picture.

Now, where does the rowing machine stand? What kind of workout can it provide?

Muscle groups used

First, we need to understand what muscle groups are involved when you are rowing. To row, you will need to do strokes. A stroke is the entire biomechanical movement that is performed from start to end. There are 4 stages of a stroke:

The Catch. Is the first step where the user catches the handle, with shins kept vertical and will begin to pull. Starting from this position the muscle used are Erector Spinae, Gastrocnemius and Soleus, and Hamstrings.

The Drive. This is the next movement where you start pushing the legs and shoulder muscle are contracted. As you go further your Biceps are starting to pull the handle, the back muscles are more involved as the handle is coming more closer to the abdominal zone. In “The Drive” movement most muscle groups are used.

The Finish. After “The Drive” is coming “The finish“, where you have handlebar under your chest, in the abdominal area, with your legs fully extended. In this state, the abdominal muscle stabilizes the core and the biceps and almost all back muscles are contracted.

Recovery. It is the last position to complete the stroke. In this movement, the triceps are used to push the arms forward and the core is leaning also forward. Here the muscle used to complete the movement are Traps, Hamstring, Calves, Delts, Triceps, Forearms and Abdominal.

As you can see, doing a complete stroke and going through all these 4 phases of the complete rowing movement, all muscles are involved. The entire body participates to do a stroke.


For rowing to be effective, you must know what you want to achieve. You want to burn calories, have good endurance, to increase the cardio fast, or to gain some muscles and to look defined and toned.
Don’t get me wrong, the rowing machine is doing all of these, but there are specific training to help you to achieve quicker you precise goal.

Burn Calories: Total Body Workout for 20 minutes

A good workout plan is the one from Anna Cummins, who is a rowing instructor for Concept2. The proposed plan is to do 2-3 minutes sets and between minutes 9 and 10 to stretch and rest. It is an awesome workout, it will not take to much from your time and where every muscle it will be used.
Select the damper option to level 3 to 5 and keep up the pace in a split per 500m, according to the table below:

Build muscle: Pump and row pyramid

Rowing has been intercalated with Crossfit and interval training to gain as much as possible. This training is a combination of rowing and strength moves to build muscle and improve your fitness

 For start you will need to warm up for 5 minutes and do the exercises in the following order:

  •  Row, 100 meters, as fast as you can
  • Bodyweight squat, 5 reps
  • Pushup, 5 reps
  • Feet-elevated mountain climber, 5 reps


That is the round one… Repeat for the following rounds, resting as needed, but adjust the number of reps according to the directions below.

Round 2: Row 200 meters, then do 10 reps of each move 

Round 3: Row 300 meters, then do 15 reps of each move 

Round 4: Row 200 meters, then do 10 reps of each move 

Round 5: Row 100 meters, then do 5 reps of each move 

Finish with a 60-second plank.

As you can see there are a lot of exercise and training plans that can help you achieve your goal. You will need to find your motivation and stick it to the plan no matter what.

But all the time, be careful at what you are eating and diet plan.

Food and diet plan

To lose weight, to gain muscle or any other type of workout you will need to watch your diet and the food that you are eating. The experts are saying that to lose weight the rule is 70% diet and 30% exercise. We don’t know if this ratio is really accurate, but for sure, at least the ratio is 50% – 50%. You can’t have one without the other.

The first step is to cut calories, more exactly to give up fried foods (e.g. french fries), fast food and all white bread. So no more KFC and McDonald’s for you 🙂
It’s up to you to say stop, I can change what I am eating and start to choose healthier food. The first step that you should do is to start to cook for yourself. 

You will say that you don’t have the time to do it, but there are a lot of recipes that can be done under 20 minutes. The lunch can be prepared with a night before or you can wake up a half-hour earlier and start cooking.
We are not saying that it is easy, but it can be done only by you and it is done for yourself.


You will find on the internet a lot of testimonials, but we are not sure that they are just stories used for publicity.

Instead of searching and trying to see if there are true stories, you can check Daniel Marquardt, which was a 350lb investment banker. This was his weight in 2012, and by 2014 he competes as a 2014-2015 U.S. Rowing National Team candidate.

Of course, this is one of the success stories. But, in fact. This is what we need, a success story to see that is possible. That someone has reached this milestone. And if someone already did it, this means that anyone can. 

After you will hit your milestone, your goal, you will see that all the things that you did on the road till here deserved the sacrifice.

Set your goal and start working for it.

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