Rowing Machine vs Elliptical: Which Cardio Machine Is Better?

Rowing Machine vs Elliptical: Which Cardio Machine Is Better?

Explore the benefits of rowing machines vs. ellipticals to find the best cardio machine for your fitness goals and workout style.
Image of rowing vs elliptical machine

When you hit the gym, you might wonder whether to choose the rowing machine or the elliptical for the best workout. Suppose you aim to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. In that case, it’s important to consider which machine can best help you achieve that goal.

Both the rowing machine and the elliptical are excellent for boosting your heart rate, but they have distinct differences. We’ll break down how each machine works, the benefits they offer, and how they compare to each other. This will help you choose the equipment best cardio machine for your needs.

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What’s The Core Difference in Rowing Machine and Elliptical Workouts?

Rowing machines are all about strength and endurance. Incorporating nearly all major muscle groups, they deliver a full-body intensive workout that torches calories and builds muscle simultaneously. On the other hand, elliptical workouts focus on low-impact cardiovascular exercise, targeting mainly lower-body muscles while incorporating some upper-body movement for a balanced approach.

Why Choose a Rowing Machine for Cardio and Strength?

A rowing machine brings cardio and strength training together, creating a powerhouse workout. It targets up to 85% of your muscles, enhancing both power and endurance. The rhythmic rowing action promotes heart health, torches calories, and promotes significant muscle development – a trifecta of benefits in one robust package!

How’s An Elliptical Machine Beneficial Despite Lower Muscle Engagement?

Don’t underestimate the elliptical! It compensates for lower muscular engagement with a stellar cardiovascular workout and exceptional joint protection. The low-impact nature reduces the stress on your joints, perfect for recovery exercises or for individuals with mobility issues. It still engages your upper body, albeit less aggressively than rowing, offering a balanced, total body workout.

What’s The Impact Of Rowing Vs. Elliptical on Weight Loss?

The rowing machine takes the crown in terms of calorie burn due to the intensive full-body engagement. However, elliptical can be a superb tool for sustained weight loss as it promotes regular, enjoyable, low-impact exercises. Keep in mind, that consistency is key in weight loss, so choose the one you’re more likely to stick with.

What’s Easier to Use: A Rowing Machine or An Elliptical?

Comparatively, ellipticals have a lower learning curve. The motion on an elliptical is more intuitive and mimics natural walking or running, which most people find easier to adapt to without specialized training. The risk of using incorrect form is lower, and it’s simpler to achieve an effective aerobic workout.

Using a rowing machine, however, is a bit more challenging. This is largely because the rowing machine requires a specific technique to be both efficient and safe, minimizing the risk of injury and maximizing the workout benefits.

Image of a person  using an elliptical machine with a fitness trainer. Source: Pexels

The correct form includes timing your pulls and pushes precisely: the power primarily comes from the legs, not the arms, and your legs should do most of the work before your arms begin pulling. The tendency to pull with the arms too early, setting the resistance too high, or not maintaining a level chain are typical errors that can reduce the effectiveness of the workout and increase discomfort.

The rowing machine requires careful attention to form, ideally under the guidance of someone experienced. The rewards of mastering a rowing machine, however, can be significant, outpacing what many people achieve on more straightforward equipment like ellipticals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Got more questions about the Rowing machine vs the Elliptical? Check out some commonly asked questions about this topic:

Which machine offers a full-body workout?

Rowing machines engage more muscle groups compared to ellipticals, providing a comprehensive workout.

Which machine is gentler on joints?

Elliptical trainers typically offer low-impact workouts, making them a great choice for those with joint concerns compared to rowing machines.

Are rowing machines harder to use?

Rowing machines may have a steeper learning curve initially, requiring proper technique for optimal results.

Rowing Machine Vs. Elliptical: Which One Should You Choose?

Your choice between a rowing machine and an elliptical boils down to personal preference and fitness goals. Want high-intensity and full-body muscle work? The rowing machine has your name on it. Need a low-impact, gentle yet effective cardio exercise? Then, the elliptical is your friend. Ultimately, your fitness regimen should serve you best – catering to your needs, capabilities, preferences, and long-term objectives.

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