Rowing Machine Muscles: Where You Will Get Strong

12 Muscle Groups that You Can Strengthen with Rowing:

A great thing about rowing is that it is an all-body workout. You are working your legs, your arms, your back and your abs all in the same workout – without having to consciously think about it. The same goes for exercising on a rowing machine: muscles in most parts of the body are involved in the movement.

Diagram of Muscles Used in Rowing
courtesy of

Get a Better Workout in Less Time with Indoor Rowing:

Of course, this means that you can strengthen and tone your entire body instead of just your legs or your arms. It also allows you to get more exercise done in less time. Whether you don’t have a lot of time or you simply want to be more efficient in your workouts – this is good news.

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Rowing Strengthens Opposite Muscle Groups:

Rowing is not only an aerobic workout, it strengthens your muscles at the same time. Body builders know that when you train one area of your body, you need to equally strengthen the opposite muscle group as well (ie. your abdominals and your back muscles).

Whereas many pieces of exercise equipment target one body part, the rowing machine encompasses everything, strengthening all major muscle groups so that you achieve a balanced all-body workout. Not to mention, recumbent bike rowers and push-pull rowers build 2 pieces of gym equipment into one.

Get the Maximum Muscle-Building Benefit When You Row:

To make sure your muscle groups receive the most benefit. you want to be using the correct posture and form while rowing. Keeping your back straight and erect on both the pull and the return will help strengthen your abs and back muscles.

It is also important to involve the legs significantly in the initial segment of each row. Make sure you push with your legs before you even begin your pull. Then pull all the way to your chest to maximize your arm movement and work your triceps.

Summary of Rowing Machine Muscles Worked During Exercise:

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Forearms
  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Buttocks
  • Upper Back
  • Lower Back (can even help with back pain)
  • Abdominals

Another part of your body that benefits from rowing is your bones. According to Dustin Ordway, author of Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better: A Guide to Moderate Exercise, increased blood flow to and through the bones actually strengthens the bones.

Whether you do rowing exclusively or add it to your current weightlifting or endurance training routine, it can enhance the look of your physique as well as balance out the strength and tone of your body.


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