Does rowing help with weight loss?

weightlossrowingAccording to the Center for Disease Control, the best exercise for losing weight will help you to burn calories as well as improving your endurance and strength. Rowing does all that by strengthening your arms, legs, and back, it builds your endurance up through the consistent use of your entire body and lungs for extended periods of time, and you will burn 3.5 to 7 calories every minute at a moderate pace. Fast paced rowing can burn over 7 calories a minute.


According to the National Institutes of Health, before you begin any type of exercise program, speak to your doctor, especially if you haven’t been in any physical activity for a good while. They can advise you on what type of exercises are best for you, what type of pace to use, and how long you should exercise for, as well as what to look for when it comes to the effects of exercise on your body. If you happen to have any knee issues, rowing may actually be better for you than running or jogging because there isn’t any hard impact when rowing. Once your doctor has given you the OK, be sure to warm up before you begin rowing. This increases your body temperature, it prepares your muscles for activity an improves your flexibility and reduces the chance of any injuries to your bones and muscles.

Ideal Rowing:

Ideally, it is better for you to be able to row outdoors on a lake or river so that you receive the variety and benefits of nature as well as sunshine. If you are able to combine exercises with a commute, you won’t have to take any more time out of your day in order to do it, and you will do it at least twice a day to get to and from school or work. Unfortunately, many of us do not live near bodies of water. So, the next best thing is to begin using a rowing machine, which is readily available at many schools, community fitness centers, gyms, and health clubs.

How to Calculate Calories:

  • The amount of calories that are burned actually depend on the effort, weight, and time when using a rowing machine. If you want to know how many calories you have burned, here is an accurate way to do that.
  • Determine your weight in kilograms. You can do this by dividing your weight by 2.2. Say, if you were to weigh 150 lbs, divide that by 2.2 and you will get around 68 kilograms.
  • Determine the effort you have put in rowing by multiplying your kilogram weight by the amount of time you spent rowing. If you row for 20 minutes and you weigh 68 kilograms, simply multiply 68 by 20 and you will have an effort of 1360.
  • Choose the expenditure of energy, which Ace Fitness states that it depends on the number of watts you row : 50W=0.06, 100W=.012, 150W= 0.15, 200W= 0.21. The watts should be readily available on your rowing display. If it isn’t, use 0.06 as the expenditure for easy effort and 0.12 for moderate.
  • Multiply your effort by the expenditure of energy to determine the calories you have burned during your workout. If your effort was 1360 and it was an easy expenditure, multiply 1360 by 0.06 which will give you 81 calories. If the exercise was moderate, multiply 1360 by 0.12 will give you 163 calories.


checklistAssuming that the weight stays the same at 68 Kilograms and it has been 20 minutes of exercising, this is how other exercises stand up to rowing, when it comes to calories burned:

  • High Impact Aerobics: 163 Calories
  • Low Impact Aerobics: 122 Calories
  • Calisthenics, like Push-Ups: 108 Calories
  • Cycling at 10 mph and under: 163 calories
  • Cycling at 14 mph: 245 calories
  • Running at 5 mph: 163 calories
  • Running at 10 mph: 380 Calories
  • Light swimming: 136 calories
  • Moderate swimming: 190 Calories
  • Walking at 3 mph: 81 calories
  • Hard weight training: 136 calories
  • Yoga: 81 calories

Weight Loss:

You concern yourself with the calories that are burned with a rowing machine because you want to lose weight. Rowing, just like any other exercise, can be a very effective way to manage your weight only if it is done regularly and if you have a sensible diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, 3,500 calories is equal to one pound.

Assuming that your weight is 150 lbs and your physical activity and diet don’t change, you would have to row at a moderate pace for 430 minutes in order to lose one pound. If you regularly exercised, you would have to row for about an hour every day in order to lose that one pound in a week.

It could be simpler to combine rowing with cutting out all the high calorie foods that you consume to help achieve your weight loss.


  • If you moderately rowed for 20 minutes, four times a week, you will use about 650 calories.
  • Cutting out your daily morning donut (260 calories), will give you 1,300 calories weekly from your diet.
  • Cutting out your french fries at lunch during your weekday (365 calories) will give you about 1,825 calories.
  • If you add the calories that you have burned with what you have cut out ( 650 + 1300 + 1825), you have lost 3,775 calories which is plenty of calories to equal one pound.

See, isn’t combining your exercise and diet so much easier than having to work out for 430 minutes?

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