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Is Rowing Machine Resistance Training?

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

Rowing is a total-body exercise that will build main muscle groups in your arms, legs, and core while increasing your cardiovascular endurance.

But Is it a resistance training machine? This blog article will answer this question and everything you need to know about rowing machines.

people doing resistance training on rowing machine
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Keep reading for more!

The row machine is a resistance exercise that you do while sitting. This means that your back and knees don’t have to work as hard. This works the glutes and quadriceps in the lower body, the deltoids and lats in the upper body, and the core muscles (coveted abdominal muscles).

How Is Rowing Machine Resistance Training?

Compared to other workout equipment forms, using a rowing machine is an efficient way to burn calories and slim down all over, including your tummy. This is due to the fact that it is a resistance machine.

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There are two ways that clearly demonstrate how a row machine is resistance training:

How the Rowing Machine Is Used?

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One of the key reasons why rowing machines are used for resistance training is because of how they are used.

Rowing is a great full-body exercise, but each rowing machine has a different screen that displays information such as how long you should be rowing, your split time, the distance traveled, and your strokes per minute, as explained more below:

The Rowing Motion:

From start to finish, the rowing action contains four phases: a starting position, a transition, an ending position, and another transition back to the start; all these are resistance exercises done in a seated position, as follows:

Step 1: Catch

Sit upright on the rowing machine, arms straight, back straight, and knees and ankles contracted so that your shins are about vertical. Use your lats to draw your shoulders and stabilize your core from this posture. This involvement will aid in the protection of your lower back. Then, bend forward slightly while maintaining your back straight.

Step 2: Drive

Begin by pressing with your legs while keeping your core braced and contracted. Lean back to around 45 degrees while your legs are straight.

The last action involves pulling the handle towards your body, a few inches over your belly button. Take note of the following body movement sequence: legs, core, hips and shoulders, and arms.

Step 3: Finish

This is the resting posture opposite the catch position, although you won’t stay here long. The arms and hands are dragged in toward the body, the elbows are tucked in against the chest, and the legs are stretched out.

Step 4: Recover

Repeat the driving actions in reverse order to return to the catch position. Extend the arms, swing the hips forward, and bend the knees to bring the body over the legs.

The Rowing Machine Workouts

resistance training rowing workout
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Rowing machine workouts explains why row machine are resistance training equipment. The following are examples of rowing machine resistance workouts:

Beginner 19-Minute Pyramid

This exercise provides proof that a row machine is a resistance machine. While this is a novice exercise, you’ll feel it.

It’s a falling pyramid followed by an ascending pyramid at particular strokes per minute (spm). Throughout the process, you’ll learn to control your strokes and maintain your strength while burning calories.

  • 1 minute @ 28 spm
  • 2 minutes @ 26 spm
  • 3 minutes @ 24 spm
  • 4 minutes @ 22 spm

Beginners should aim for 20-minute exercises three times a week in the beginning. I would also suggest a lesser intensity to allow you to concentrate on the technique.

It takes much mental attention to get your body to perform the proper thing while learning to row. Intensity may be increased when proper technique becomes second nature.

Row and Push-Up

Many individuals wish to row because they believe it will help them strengthen their upper bodies. However, it is a resistance exercise; if you perform it correctly and apply the most efficient power to your stroke, your legs (particularly your quads) will burn.

By including push-ups to test your biceps and triceps, this exercise tries to balance out the burden.

Reversed Tabata Rowing Workout

Doing a Tabata workout reverse is a resistance exercise to change things. Row for 10 seconds like a tornado is following you, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat for another eight rounds.

Distance Intervals

This workout includes distance intervals as well as a one-to-one work-to-rest ratio. Make it a resistance workout since you determine the intensity, but keep a consistent SP throughout each training session.

  • Row 300 meters.
  • Rest for 1 minute.
  • Row 100 meters.
  • Row 200 meters.
  • Rest for 1 minute.
  • Row 200 meters
  • Rest for 1 minute.
  • Row 100 meters.
  • Rest for 1 minute.

1-Minute Drills

One of the benefits of rowing is the amount of variety in the exercise. That’s exactly what this exercise accomplishes.

  • Perform three 1-minute rows, increasing the pace with each repetition.
  • Perform three 1-minute rows, slowing down with each one.

Making it a resistance workout since the slower you row, the more difficult it is to work. Keep it in mind while you work on increasing your power and intensity.

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54-minute Pyramid (advanced)

This pyramid workout is a resistance exercise designed for expert rowers or those who want to put themselves to the test. It will put your stamina and technique to the test.

Tip: Aim for a stroke rate of 20 spm (SR).

“on” means as fast as you can go at 20 spm.

“off” indicates active recovery at 20 spm (easy paddle pace)

Here is an example with a shorter version:


This resistance exercise works your whole body, while the rowing segment increases your heart rate.

  • Rowing for 30 calories
  • 30 kettlebell swings with one arm (15 per arm)
  • Plank for 30 seconds
  • Rep 3-4 times more.

EMOM (Every minute of the minute)

Because you mix rowing intervals with additional workouts like lunges, bent-over rows, or thrusters, EMOM is a resistance workout. Do 1-minute intervals with a 30-60 second break in between. Aim for three to four circuits. You’ll be drenched in sweat in no time.

Tip: Committing to consistency over a longer time is more crucial than burning out after just a few weeks of doing out every day!

In terms of intensity, depending on your objectives, you may perform various exercises on a rowing machine, including ones that concentrate on endurance, even total-body  burn and strength training.

Rowing is a full body resistance training

Is rowing resistance training? The rowing machine Is a resistance workout since it is a full-body exercise that may be used to blend strength and cardio because the resistance helps increase physical strength.

It also improves your posture by strengthening your posterior chain and core muscles. I hope you found this article informative. Thank you for your consideration!

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