How Long to Row on a Rowing Machine?

If you are new to rowing on dry land, you are probably wondering how long to row on a rowing machine? The fact is that there are a lot of questions to ask about getting the best workout possible from a rowing machine.

And the truth is, there may not be any pat answers to any of your questions? That is because we all have different goals and start out with different fitness levels.

Because I have no idea if you are in shape or seriously out of shape, I will go over a few things to consider as you decide how long to row.

how long to row on a rowing machine
How long you row on a rowing machine depends on your fitness level

How Long to Row on a Rowing Machine?

To make a long story short, I can tell you there is absolutely no particular best amount of time to row on the best rowing machine for the money.

However, I can tell you something more important than how long to row on a rowing machine.

Rowing Workouts Take Less Time to Get a Full Body Workout

It simply doesn’t take nearly as long for a rowing workout as it does most other activities to get the exercise you need.

Because a rowing machine workout is a full body workout! And rowing doesn’t build up to a full body workout either. It works your entire body right from the beginning.

In fact, compared to running (which is considered the granddaddy of exercises), rowing activates close to twice as many muscles. So, you know right off how long to row on a rowing machine cannot be compared to how long to run or even cycle.

How Many Calories Can You Burn on a Rowing Machine?

Believe it not, it’s possible to burn as many as 400 calories in a 30 minute rowing workout. That is because you are working so many muscles during each stroke.

Of course, that will depend on your weight and how fast you row. However, you need to know that this full body workout activates your hamstrings, glutes, arms, quads, back muscles, and core muscles.

Can you see now that that how long to row on a rowing machine may not be as important as the intensity and heart you put into a workout?

When you give it your all, you will work a lot of muscles and burn a lot of calories in a short period of time.

Is 30 Minutes on a Rowing Machine Enough?

Using a rowing machine for 30 minute workouts 4-5 days a week is plenty of exercise for most people. 30 minutes is an especially good time to shoot for when you are a beginner at rowing on a machine.

is 30 minutes on a rowing machine enough

I found that my rowing workouts became steadily longer and more intense as I became accustomed to the rhythm of rowing, and increased my strength.

I started nice and easy with 20 minute goals and within a couple of weeks; I was up to 30 minutes. After a couple of months, I was doing 45 minute workouts some days and short HIIT workouts others.

We all establish different deadlines for ourselves in order to meet our objectives. The amount of time you spend rowing on an indoor rowing machine will depend on your own goals.

Don’t forget that rowing requires significantly more time and effort for the person who wants to lose 8 pounds in a month than losing 8 pounds in 3 monthes.

How Long Should You Row on a Rowing Machine to Lose Weight?

First of all, you need to know that losing weight always requires that you burn more calories than you eat. With that in mind, it’s possible to lose weight with no exercise.

However, what would happen if you cut 300 calories out of your diet each day and then burned 300 calories rowing most days of the week?

And it’s highly likely that you can burn 300 calories in 30 minutes of rowing on a machine. That makes a 5-600 calorie deficit most days of the week.

So, the answer is this: you need to row on a rowing machine 30 minutes most days of the week to lose weight.

The best way to think about your rowing when losing weight is to think about your heart rate.

To burn the most calories and get the most from your workout, get your heart rate up to between 60 and 85% of your maximum heart rate as possible. Here’s how to figure your max heart rate: subtract your age from 220 and that’s your maximum safe heart rate for exercise.

If you will get your heart rate up and hold it for 20-30 minutes each time you row, you will be burning a considerable amount of calories and losing weight.

Should I Row Every Day?

Wondering if using your rowing machine every day has any advantages?


Even though regular physical activity is essential to your health and well-being you should not stress the same muscles day after day.

A better approach is to work out every day, but only row every other day. Try rowing one day, and something like yoga or walking the next day.

The key is to not over train, but give your body a day for recovery time. If you are into building more muscle mass, it is extremely important to have rest days because these are the days your muscle builds.

Pros and Cons of Rowing on a Rowing Machine


Rowing machines provide the ultimate workout because you get both aerobic and strength training at the same time.

Rowing is a no impact on your joints exercise.

When you row for as much as 30 minutes you engage, tone, and strengthen your upper back, arms, glutes, legs, shoulders, and core muscles.

According to this study, rowing machines has a positive effect on improving fitness, maintaining a healthy weight, and lowering cholesterol. Rowing, like any regular exercise, can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and an array of cancers.

Rowing on a rowing machine can burn extreme amounts of calories, especially when using a HIIT protocol.


Like almost any exercise, or physical activity, without proper form and using a rowing machine correctly, it is possible to experience lower back pain.

Bottom Line on How Long to Row on a Rowing Machine?

If you are not new to regular exercise, and already in good shape, I would start out with 30 minutes on a rowing machine.

If that’s you, I would focus more on increasing intensity of the workout rather than the time. Once I got to all the speed and intensity I want, I might try for more time. However, increasing time does not necessarily go for HIIT workouts, because HIIT should always be short and super intense.

On the other hand how long you should row on a rowing machine as a beginner, is much different.

If you are out of shape, or simply not used to exerting yourself with exercise, you may want to try for only 10-15 minutes a session for a week or two.

Forget speed, and concentrate on rhythm and proper form. You will find that with rowing rhythm and good form, you will naturally go for more minutes each workout.

When it comes to how long to row on a rowing machine, the only way to truly know what’s best for you is to be honest with yourself and open to what your body is telling you.

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