Indoor And Outdoor Exercise Guide To Rowing

Whether you want to hit the open water or prefer the comfort of a gym, it’s easy to build rowing into your fitness routine.


Health benefits of rowing

Many people consider rowing, whether in a boat or on an indoor rowing machine to be an ideal form of exercise. Rowing provides a full-body workout, exercising muscles not just in your arms but also in your chest, legs, abdominals, and back.

Though the action of rowing is a simple continuous motion, the sport is quite versatile. While rowing is a low-impact activity that’s easy on your knees, you may also use rowing exercises for a higher-intensity workout and interval training.

Some health benefits of rowing include:

  • Improved joint health, due to the range of motion that rowing provides
  • Weight loss or maintenance, as a high calorie-burner
  • Stress relief, through better overall fitness and well-being

If you have a medical condition or if you have been inactive for a long time, consider speaking with your doctor before you dive in.

Indoor rowing

Most gyms and fitness centers include rowing machines among their standard equipment. The purpose of a rowing machine is to allow indoor rowers to mimic the motion of rowing a boat. The rowing machine accomplishes this by using a sliding seat. This allows for compression and extension of your legs with each stroke, as you simultaneously work your arms and back.

People with lower back pain or other injuries must be especially careful to develop good technique to prevent further damage.


Some common technique errors indoor rowers should note down include:

  • Flexing the knees too early in the recovery phase, since this may force the rower to lift their hands over their knees, and could cause an injury.
  • In the drive phase, letting the seat slide back too far before the oar handle moves back.
  • Using a resistance setting that is too high or pulling with too much force, since this may also injure the back.

All beginners should start with 15 minutes of moderate indoor rowing on a lower resistance setting. This should include a five-minute warm-up, and five-minute cool-down of easy rowing. As your fitness level increases over several weeks, you may increase your exercise time.

Outdoor rowing

Moving your rowing habit outdoors can be a bit more challenging logistically. You’ll need access to a boat with oars and a body of water. Because of this, your best bet is to begin with the guidance of a rowing club or team. You may also check with your local gym or community center for classes or recommendations.

Since outdoor rowing takes place on open water, be sure to follow any safety precautions the club recommends. Keep in mind that outdoor rowing may be more expensive compared with rowing in a gym. Most rowing clubs require a membership fee for use of boats, facilities, and instruction.

When you row outdoors, you get the same fitness benefits as when using a rowing machine but with the added bonus of exhilaration. Add to that the camaraderie you may experience by rowing in a team or group, and you’ve got a prescription for health and happiness.

Whether you choose to row indoors in a gym or outside in a boat, rowing may be an excellent addition to your workout. Take the first step and get involved with rowing today! You may become fitter, faster, and healthier tomorrow.

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