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Rowing Machine Exercise to Lose Weight: Burn Calories


Do you want to lose weight? You may be reasonably careful about your diet…..or maybe you don’t watch what you eat at all. Meanwhile that extra layer of fat you seem to have accumulated slowly gets bigger and bigger. So what to do? Well, as pretty much everyone knows by now, there are basically two ways to lose weight:

  1. Eat Less Fattening Food
  2. Exercise More to Burn Calories

And what is one of the best all around exercises for both strength, stamina, and weight loss? Rowing using a rowing machine to burn calories! I’m going to show you how many calories you can burn from rowing and the most effective ways to use a rowing machine.

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What Are Calories


Calories are units of energy. Our bodies need energy to perform day-to-day activities and come from the foods we eat.


Our metabolism burns calories by breaking down our food and transporting the nutrients to where they are needed: carbohydrates break down into glucose and sugars, fats into fatty acids and protein into amino acids.


Our bodies then make a choice: use the food now for energy or store it to use later on.


The average person needs around 2,000 calories a day but this will change based on your height, weight, age and daily physical activity. So, the more you exercise, the more calories you will burn which leads you to lose weight.


For reference, one pound of fat equates to 3,500 calories. This means that you can lose one pound of fat (1) a week by burning an extra 500 calories a day.


How Many Calories Are Burned Rowing on a Machine?


The number of calories that you burn from rowing is based on your diet plan, body weight and how hard you train:


  • If you weigh around 125 pounds, you will burn around 420 calories per hour rowing at a moderate pace. At an increased intensity, you will burn around 510 calories per hour.


  • If you weigh around 155 pounds, you will burn around 520 calories per hour rowing at a moderate pace. This will increase to around 630 calories per hour at an increased intensity.


  • If you weigh around 185 pounds, you will burn around 620 calories per hour rowing at a moderate pace. This will increase to around 750 calories per hour at an increased intensity.


  • If you weigh around 240 pounds, you will burn around 650 calories per hour rowing at a moderate pace. At a very vigorous pace, more than 1,000 calories can be burned per hour.


I found these numbers from the Harvard Health Site but please note that these are just estimates and will be different based on the factors I mentioned earlier.


Rowing For Calories Vs. Rowing For Meters


I row to burn calories but some people row to reach a certain distance. While it may look like we are doing the same thing, there is slight, but key, difference between us.


When you row for meters, every time you pull back the handle, your machine will show your distance traveled. When you stop rowing, the display will briefly continue to increase the number of meters you row.


On the other hand, when I row for calories, I see the number of calories you’ve burned increase. When I stop, the number of calories I burn stops straight away


So, the key to rowing for calories is focusing on the stroke. Pull it back hard to burn calories as quickly as possible.


Each stroke should equal another calorie burned. This may even go up to two calories burned per stroke – if you can do that, you’re a beast!


Aim for around 20-25 strokes per minute for 1,500 calories per hour. This will keep you at the 1 calorie per stroke mark.


I found an awesome video that explains this a little more. Click here to watch it.


Best Rowing Workouts To Lose Weight


Before starting any exercise, I always warm up to loosen my muscles and increase my heart rate. For rowing, I start slowly for around 5 minutes and before starting my workout.


Here are a number of ways to use a rowing machine to burn calories but here are my top 3.


Interval Training


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a series of sprints that are broken up by lower-intensity recovery periods. You will burn a lot of calories during the sprinting phase but continue to burn them when the workout is slower.


Sprint for 20-30 seconds followed by a slower resting period for 40-60 seconds. Repeat the sprint/slow/sprint/slow routine for 20-25 minutes. It may not take long but you will burn a hell of a lot of calories.


The best thing about HIIT is that you will continue to burn a large number of calories long after finishing the workout. HIIT will also grow your muscles and make you stronger.(2)


Endurance Training


This is when you row for long periods but at a much lower intensity. Set a low resistance level and row with a steady rhythm. Because the pace is a lot slower, you can continue to row for much longer.


Aim to row for around 30 minutes but after a couple of sessions, you can increase this to between 45-60 minutes.


Several endurance training sessions a week will improve your overall health and burn thousands of calories. Endurance training also reduces your recovery time which burns more calories in the long run.


Power Strokes


The final way to burn calories by rowing is using power strokes. After warming up, complete 3 sets of fast, hard strokes that explode you backwards.


Maintain the same rhythm throughout the routine, pushing hard with your feet and pulling strong with your arms and core.


Do 10-20 power strokes at around 22-24 strokes per minute before 10 recovery strokes. In the next set, do 10-20 power strokes at around 24-26 strokes per minute before another 10 recovery strokes. The final set should be between 28-30 strokes per minute.


The next time you wake up, do you want to look in that mirror and feel great? From what you’ve learned about burning calories to lose weight from rowing on a rowing machine, I know you can do it. If you’re over 60 and want to know about some of the best rowing machines for seniors, go here.

Go here to see a review of the best home rowing machine .


  1. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/calories-burned-rowing-5813.html
  2. https://profitnessreview.com/rowing-machine-calories-burned/