Rowing Is Back!

Get on board, because the old-school rowing machine could be your ticket to the perfect body.

Rowing machines are a staple in most CrossFit boxes. Trendy fitness classes are being created in their honour. Even Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are sharing serious screen time with them on House of Cards. Yes, this is true, rowing machines that used to collect dust at gyms are coming back in a big way—and that’s sweet news for your physique.

People are starting to recognize the erg—short for rowing ergometer—as a one-up on more popular cardio machines.

More precisely, rowing is a whole-body, strength-meets-cardio activity. In one stroke, you engage your hamstrings, calves, glutes, quads, abs, lats, shoulders, biceps, and  triceps—in other words, when rowing, you use 70% of all the muscles in your body.

rowing machines that used to collect dust at gyms are coming back in a big way

Rowing will definitely tone you up. But this is not all: Research shows you can burn more calories in one session on the erg than on the elliptical or bike when sweating at the same level of intensity, since you’re using all those extra muscles. Besides, similar to cross-country skiers, regular rowers have some of the highest VO2-max levels in general, meaning they’re aerobically fitter than most athletes.

Some people consider rowing the SAT of fitness, because it’s a great test of your endurance and power. If you are superstrong but don’t have a ton of aerobic endurance, you’ll feel it in your lungs. If you have endurance but not strength, you’ll feel it in your limbs. In other words, rowing will show you what your weakness is. Until it becomes your strength. So have you decided on your new gym bestie?

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Written by Jenny Nickelson

Jenny Nickelson has been a sports enthusiast since childhood. Because of her deep love to water, she started training swimming in early years. Today she swears on variety and does it all: from swimming, running and cycling to fitness, skiing, dancing and mountaineering.

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