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Calories Burned on Rowing Machine: Weight Loss, Workouts, Tips 

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Most people want a workout that is more productive but less energy-consuming. Are you looking for the same? You are in the right place. This article is all about calories burned on rowing machine.  

We will share with you how effective is rowing for weight loss, how many calories you can burn from it, and some rowing workouts. Also, we will be busting some myths about rowing throughout the article.  

a woman trying to burn calories on a rowing machine
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How Many Calories Can I Burn Using a Rowing Machine?

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To figure out the effectiveness of rolling for weight loss, we will calculate how many calories you can burn through a rowing machine.  

According to Harvard Health, a person weighing 135 pounds burns 106 calories in 15 minutes of moderate intensity rowing. While an average person weighing 165 pounds burns 131 calories in 15 minutes of moderate-intensity rowing.  

Rowing Boost Weight Loss 

How effective is rowing for weight loss? 

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Rowing is high-intensity physical activity to enhance calorie expenditure. We know that weight loss boils down to a single formula: burn more calories than you take in. Rowing helps you burn those additional calories in a small time. So if you hardly make an hour for exercising at the gym, you should practice rowing for effective weight loss. 

Calories Burned on Rowing Machine vs. Running 

As you’re not dealing with any winds or terrain changes, it is unlikely you will fluctuate in speed and power on a rowing machine. This results in burning 520 calories per hour. 

As you’re only running at 5 miles per hour, the calories being burnt won’t be anywhere near the number if you were sprinting. However, long-distant running at a slower tempo still burns nearly 600 calories per hour. 

Overview of Calories Calculator: How to Use Rowing Machine Calorie Calculator 

There are a lot of calorie deficit calculators shared on the Internet. To calculate properly how many calories you burn while rowing, you have to enter your weight and rowing time. It’s going to provide you with calories burned rowing at different intensities.  

What Impacts Calories Burned on a Rowing Machine? 

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Generally, the stronger you are, the more calories you can burn in the same amount of time. Also, the number of calories burned during a full-body workout depends on the weight of a person, and the workout duration and intensity of the rowing machine training. 

1. Weight 

Harvard Health reports that people with different body weights burn different amounts of calories within the same period of physical activity. But on average 120 to 170 calories are burnt through a moderate rowing workout

2. Workout Duration 

Your muscle cells demand energy for physical activity. The longer your rowing machine workout, the more calories burned.

3. Exercise Intensity 

Now it’s time to bust a popular myth about rowing: the faster you row, the more calories you will burn.  Rowing is all about power. The more power you apply, the further you’ll see yourself go. It is the most  efficient way to row. 

Our Guide To Rowing Machine Calorie Burning: How To Burn the Most Calories While Using  a Rowing Machine 

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Rowing is a matchless option for building muscle strength and endurance. It helps gain major muscles and improves performance. You might be thinking about what muscle strength and endurance have to do with weight loss. There is a direct and clear connection between these benefits of rowing. 

Rowing increases muscle strength that ultimately boosts your ability to exert maximum force in a short duration of time. Rowing also increases endurance which is your body’s ability to sustain an activity for an extended period of time. When all of these factors add up, they increase your power and now you can spend more calories with less exhaustion.  

Not only this but muscle strengthening through rowing also boosts the metabolism for a longer time. So increased muscle strength means increased demand which your body tries to fulfill through burning calories. In this way, a few days of rowing workouts can improve your cardiovascular health and benefit you for longer periods. 

The best thing about the rowing machine is that it is approachable. Even if you were a newbie, you can easily perform this full-body workout. But some people think that indoor rowing is easy. This is a myth. 

While hopping on the rowing machine, you may think “Man, it’s so simple. I don’t even need an instructor.”  This is the first misleading thought that comes to mind. But your form matters! You can’t get the most out of rowing if you were applying the wrong rowing technique

Useful Tips To Boost Your Rowing Machine Calorie Burn

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1. Add Variety To Your Workout Plan 

You need to keep variety in your workouts so that your body doesn’t get so used to one rowing exercise that you don’t develop a variety of elements in your body. Variety happens to come in many different elements. Rowing hit on many of these from strength, and endurance, to strength endurance, coordination, agility, or balance. You can boost all of these elements using the rowing machine as a training tool.  

Take your damper up

For example, you can take your damper up, that’s going to give you a decent amount of strength work. If you take it all the way down, you’re going to have to work on speed. If you give yourself a long-distance workout, that’s going to be an aerobic-based workout. And if you go with short, high intensity, you can be working either phosphocreatine or anaerobic energy systems all of which are very necessary for you to work to create a full enjoyable picture of health.  

Each level has its own workout

So the beauty of rowing workout is that it offers different sets of workouts for people with varying  experiences. For example, there are different plans for a newbie or a pro. There is a difference in guidelines and workout time in each plan. So the best approach is to choose the plan depending on one’s experience with a rowing machine. 

Focus on technique if you are a beginner

If you were a newcomer, try this beginner rowing workout. Your only goal should be focusing on the rowing technique for the entire duration of training. With time, get comfortable with the workout and slowly increase the intensity.  

For this beginner guide, you will only start with a 20-minute moderate-effort rolling workout. This exercise routine will help you get used to the rowing rhythm. 

Start with 5 minutes of warm-up at the rate of 20 strokes per minute. Then do a 10-minute main workout with 24 strokes each minute. Cool down for 5 minutes at around 20 strokes per minute. 

Perform this rowing workout every three days every week, until you feel that you are getting the hang of it. 

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Based on our testing, this is the best rower for beginners. For less than 500$, this silent water rower will last you for years. It also comes with a 12-year warranty.

  • Affordable
  • Quiet
  • Amazing warranty
See latest price See all Rowers below 500$
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2. Include Endurance Training 

One of the reasons why rowing is an effective physical activity for weight loss is that it improves heart strength. If you are a beginner, you might be focused on this idea. But it is a fact that the higher the heart rate, the more calorie burn during the workout. 

Use heart rate to set your workout intensity

A person’s heart rate is a good indicator of the intensity of the workout. Normally, the heart rate fluctuates  between 60 to 100 beats per minute. But as a person starts exercising the heart gets pressure and starts pumping more. This increases the heart rate until it reaches the required fat-burning extreme. At this point, the person’s body starts burning fat instead of carbs and proteins which helps lose weight faster

So if a person has a strong heart and a high maximum heart rate, his ability to perform a high-intensity rowing exercise increases. This helps his heart rate to speedily reach the heart-burning extreme and start burning more fat. This is how a strong healthy heart contributes to weight loss and thanks to a rowing machine that helps achieves this target. 

So add endurance workouts to your fitness plan. It’s a great way to train your heart rate, medium pace and therefore burn more fat

Workout plan for intermediate level

If you have leveled up to an intermediate rowing workout plan, now it’s time to go hard. Use this exerice routine. You start with fewer strokes per minute for a longer time and end with higher strokes per minute for shorter times. 

So, start with a 10-minute warm-up with only 20 strokes per minute. Now you have to perform 5 rounds at medium pace. 

The first round will be 5 minutes of 22 strokes per minute. The second round will be 4 minutes with no more than 24 strokes per minute. Round 3 will be of 3 minutes with 24 strokes each minute. Round 4 will be only 2 minutes but with 27 strokes per minute. The last round is of only 1 minute with 28 strokes per minute. 

After performing all of these rounds of moderate rowing, now you will need to cool down for 10 minutes at the stroke rate of 10 strokes per minute.  

This workout provides 15 minute of maximum-effort training. Therefore, it burns more calories and tones larger muscles of the body. You will have to perform this 15-minute rowing session for at least four days per week to see progress. 

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3. High-Intensity Interval Training 

Add maximum-effort interval resistance training to your workout plan. We provide you with the most effective workout that can shred your extra pounds in just a few days. 

Now that you have progressed to an advanced workout plan, this will bring more heat to your resistance training. In this workout, alternating intervals of high-intensity rowing followed by a rest period are performed. This high-intensity training delivers oxygen to working muscles more efficiently and reduces fatigue. This workout is for experienced rowers only! Don’t perform the entire duration of this rowing machine workout without at least six months of solid rowing experience. 

First, do a warm-up of 10 minutes. Now perform round one of 7 minutes with a 26-28 strokes per minute rate. Then rest for 5 minutes doing around a 18-20 stroke per minute rate. Now perform round two similar to round one. Do 5-minute rests and then exercise for seven minutes.

Now cool down for 10 minutes with a stroke rate no more than 20 strokes per minute. During rest periods you can row at a slow pace to keep the blood flowing throughout your body. 

Now as you are at an advanced level, you should practice this maximum-effort workout plan at least five times a week. But if you want to lose weight more speedily, we suggest you add some more cardio exercises to your schedule. This will boost your metabolism to the next level and you will burn fat faster. 

4. Nutrition 

Let’s take a look at your nutrition. What are the things that are going into your body regularly? Do you have a healthy diet? No matter how many calories you burn, if you’re taking in too much food, you will put on weight. Make sure to follow a healthy diet and keep in check your daily water and protein intake to maintain your health. 

How many calories do 20 minutes on a rowing machine burn? 

Indoor rowers can burn over 300 calories in 20 minutes if you perform a HIIT workout on the rowing machine. 

Are 20 minutes of rowing enough? 

A 20-minute workout can release endorphins and burn enough calories to make you feel good for a whole day.  

Is a rowing machine good for weight loss? 

An indoor rowing machine is an excellent physical activity to lose weight and get in shape. If you want to know more about rowing, check out our article about Resistance on Rowing Machine Settings: How to Choose the Right Type & Level 

How long does it take to burn 500 calories on a rowing machine? 

Depending on your age, heart rate, weight, and intensity of rowing workout, it can take you 35-60 minutes to burn 500 rowing calories. 

What is a calorie? 

A calorie is an energy source that a body can get from food. The more calories a food contains, the more energy you can get from this food. 

How to burn a calorie? 

There are a lot of options to burn a calorie and keep a healthy body weight. For example, running, rowing activities, cycling, swimming, and jogging are excellent ways to burn a lot of calories per hour.


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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