10 Reasons Why You Need a Rowing Machine in Your Home Gym

Rowing machine from behind

There's been a ton of hype about rowing machines in recent years, leading to stoic skeptics asking the same question: are rowing machines worth it?

Survey says YES!

Rowers are versatile, effective, and ideal for home gyms—especially in areas with cold winters, eh? 🇨🇦

In this article, we'll explore nine reasons why you need a rowing machine in your home gym and the benefits of this popular training tool. Let's row!

Rowing workouts hit every part of your body. They're an effective full-body workout on one machine.

Let's dive into more detail about which muscles a rower works and how:

  • Quadriceps: These muscles at the front of your thighs help extend your knees during the leg drive phase of rowing.
  • Hamstrings: Engaged during the leg push and knee extension.
  • Glutes: Activated during the leg drive, contributing to hip extension.
  • Hip Flexors: Assist in the recovery phase as you return to the starting position.
  • Abdominals: Stabilize your body and help maintain an upright posture during rowing; they are engaged throughout the movement.
  • Latissimus Dorsi (Lats): Assist in the initial pull of the handle, helping you bring it towards your torso.
  • Rear Deltoids: Assists in the pulling phase of rowing.
  • Trapezius: Engaged to stabilize your shoulders and upper body during the rowing movement.
  • Biceps: Assists in the final phase of pulling the handle towards your body.
  • Forearms: Grip the handle and help control its movement throughout the rowing stroke.
  • Cardiovascular System: Rowing is an excellent cardiovascular workout that engages your heart and lungs, improving overall cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
  • Brain: Let's not forget the mental focus and determination you need to push through a tough workout. Don't be surprised if your mind gives out before your body.

When it comes to calorie-torching muscle engagement, the rowing machine is unmatched in a home gym.Let's steer away from the full-body intensity and focus on another benefit of rowers: low-impact exercise.

Air rowers, in particular, have resistance based on your effort: the harder you pull, the harder it pushes you.

As such, you can take it easy and get a light workout between your intense weightlifting sessions to promote blood flow and recovery.

The low-impact nature of the rower is also beneficial for joint health, supporting athletes of all ages and abilities. If your running days are behind you, rowing is a great alternative for cardiovascular training without damaging your ankles or knees.

Most rowers are designed to be space-efficient and compact, so you can tuck it out of the way in your garage gym or combo laundry room/lifting paradise.

Most rowers are designed for vertical storage, which can be an issue in basement gyms with low ceilings. The Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower is innovatively designed to be easily broken down into two pieces and tucked away. We're all about getting the best bang for your buck when buying home gym gear, but we love this type of workout too.

We get it: you're busy. Maybe you have a crazy work schedule or kids in a ton of extracurricular activities. With a rowing machine in your home gym, you can get in a full-body, calorie-scorching workout in a matter of minutes.

Eight minutes of intense intervals on this bad boy, and you'll feel the burn (now and later, thanks to the afterburn effect of HIIT!).

Check out our list of our best rowing machine workouts here.Rejoice in the data overload, fellow fitness tracking nerds, because rowing progress and metrics are easy to analyze.

And no, you don't need any fancy tech to do it.

Monitoring metrics like distance, time, and calories is an effective way to track your improvements, set goals, and stay motivated. Today's PR could be tomorrow's warm-up!

...more realistically, it will likely take a few months. 🤷Every elite athlete was once a beginner.

Read that again.

There's no shame in being a gym newbie or a late bloomer when it comes to training. And with a home gym, there's no risk of gymtimidation. A rower is a versatile tool that's suitable for all fitness levels.

Scale your training to suit your level. Maybe you can only do 20-30 second working intervals right now, but with time and practice, you'll be rocking those 60-90 spurts.

Your age, weight, gender, and experience level don't matter—the rower is ready for you.As a full-body exercise, rowing can help improve your posture. The use of rowing machines has been explored in several studies for this purpose—actual studies, not bro science. 🤨

Rowing engages the entire body, including the core and upper body muscles. According to research from a little school called Harvard, strengthening these muscles contributes to better posture.

Another study evaluated the impacts of rowing on scoliosis with positive impacts on spinal curvature. And yet another study showcased the positive effects of rowing on posture for surgeons who spend hours hunched over the operating table.

As for joint health, another (you guessed it) study showed significant improvements for people with arthritic knees after a 12-week rowing program.

So, if you work a desk job or have joint issues, a rowing machine is worth it for your home gym. Of course, proper form and medical advice are essential for success.Exercise is a powerful way to combat stress and practice self-care—and rowing is no exception to the rule.

Many home gym heroes and functional athletes find the act of rowing rhythmic and meditative. They find their flow, and everything else fades away, similar to a runner's high.

And then there's the rest of us who struggle the whole time. But hey! The struggle builds mental fortitude and endurance, so it's a win-win.Picture this: it's early in the morning. You're motivated to get in some cardio. You step outside, and... it's dark and freezing.

You, my friend, are in Canada. Or the Northern States (we see you, Michigan). 👀

Adding a rowing machine to your gym is the perfect opportunity to cross-train during the colder months so you don't lose your cardiovascular endurance when running, rugby, and patio hopping season rolls around again.

It's also a great way to keep up your cardio to support your winter training. Like for hockey. If only the Toronto Maple Leafs had rowers at home…While rowers have a reputation for being intense, calorie-scorching torture machines, they're also ideal for active rest and recovery days.

Scale back your intensity and try a gentle steady-state row to get your blood flowing to those over-taxed muscles.

Learn more about rowing for active recovery here.Still have questions about whether a rower is right for your home gym? Here are a few other considerations: Yes, rowing is suitable for weight loss and body recomposition. The full-body engagement is a calorie scorcher! Rowing on a rowing machine will help with muscle building, but it shouldn't be your primary form of resistance training. Progression is essential for consistent muscle growth. Consider your goals, budget, training style, feature requirements, and resistance preference.

May we not so subtly recommend the Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower? Begin by securely placing your feet in the foot straps while seated on the machine. Grasp the handle with an overhand grip, ensuring your back remains straight and your shoulders are relaxed.

Initiate the motion by pushing off with your legs, engaging your core, and tilting slightly backward. Once your legs are fully extended, lean back a bit further and pull the handle towards your lower ribs, ensuring your elbows stay close to your body.

Reverse the sequence by extending your arms, leaning your upper body forward, and bending your knees to return to the initial position. Maintain a smooth and controlled movement, avoiding abrupt motions or curving your back.

Yes, rowing can aggravate existing joint issues, especially if your form slips. This is why it's crucial to talk to your health specialist before starting a new training program. Rowers are worth adding to your home gym for their versatility, functionality, and efficiency. Rowing is a great low-impact exercise for improving posture and cardiovascular health while engaging your entire body.

Consider adding a rowing machine to your home gym setup to accomplish your goals, day or night, rain or snow.