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Elevate Your Cardio With Rowing Workouts

by grace gallagher - January 12, 2021

If you're looking for a low-impact activity that still burns major calories, you'll want to try rowing workouts. "Rowing machines may just threaten to take the cardio crown away from treadmills and ellipticals, and for good reason. Rowing uses every major muscle group, including your core. Work on your abs while sitting down? Yes, please. In fact, because it works your entire body, you're likely to see results much faster than when using a stationary bike," Juliet Kaska, a Vionic Innovation Lab member tells Lively. Read on to find out all the answers to your questions about rowing machines including how long and how often to work out.

Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.

Can you lose belly fat on a rowing machine? 

If you're trying to lose stubborn belly fat but haven’t had much success, you could try rowing. "Any kind of cardio workout is going to shed weight, but it’s important to remember that 85% of weight and fat loss comes from your diet. So if you really want to lose weight, keep rowing, but also make those mindful changes to your diet," Kaska tells Lively. If you love rowing, you may find you're able to do it for longer (especially if you’re listening to music or a podcast), and the longer you perform cardio, the more calories you'll burn.

 rowing workouts

What is a good rowing workout?

To get the most out of your workout, Kaska advises that you make sure you have the correct form before you begin so you don't waste energy or wind up with sore wrists. "The better your technique, the more efficient and effective the workout will be. Your body will get stronger, faster, and you'll have far less risk of injury," says Kaska. "I always recommend working with a trainer, either in person or virtually, for one or two sessions to properly teach you good form and alignment."

How long should you work out on a rowing machine?

For starters, any time spent working out, even five minutes, is better than no time at all. You can start with a few minutes and add one a minute or two each workout. Many people have less than a half hour to spare and wonder if working out on a rowing machine for 20 minutes is enough. "If you have a lot of weight to lose, 20 minutes may not be enough. But if you’re just starting out, 12-20 minutes is a great starting point to build your strength and endurance," says Kaska. "Better to keep great technique for shorter periods of time than push past the point of being correct and efficient. If you're already working out, 20 or more minutes is great. Remember, the more you (safely) train, the more calories you'll burn, and the quicker you'll get to your goal."

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Is it okay to row every day?

If you buy a rowing machine or you just love the low-impact workout, you may be wondering if it's okay to row every day, but it’s actually best to give yourself days off, Kaska says. "If you're just starting a workout routine, I'd recommend rowing every other day for one to two weeks to build up your strength and technique. If you’re already working out, I'd still recommend rowing every other day and cross training with your normal cardio routine."

Looking to get started on your rowing journey? Check out this rowing workout, created by Kaska. 

rowing workouts

Full-Body Rowing Workout

Routine: 60 minutes broken into 3 cycles. Each cycle starts with 1-minute of rowing, adding resistance each time. Followed by a full-body strength training session (listed below).

Strength Training Exercises

What you'll need: exercise mat, one set of medium weights and one set of heavy weights

  • 1 minute of "suitcase" squats with heavy weights
  • 1 minute of push-ups 
  • 1 minute lunge with knee drives
  • 1 minute of burpees
  • 1 minute of bicycle crunches
  • 1 minute of side plank lifts (30 on each side) 
  • 1 minute of deep knee bend squats holding heavy weights 
  • 1 minute of triceps kickback with medium weights
  • 1 minute of alternating lunges with heavy weights
  • 1 minute of overhead presses with medium weights

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