Rowing machine or exercise bike: which is better? (2023)

Are you hesitating between a rowing machine and an ergometer and don't know which one to choose? Rowing seems more challenging, but is it more efficient than the exercise bike for losing weight? What about muscle building? And to strengthen your thighs, buttocks and legs? Isn't rowing contraindicated if you have knee or back problems? To help you make the right choice, read our comparison and discover the differences, pros and cons of the stationary bike versus the rowing machine!

1) Exercise bike or rowing machine for weight loss?

The two fitness machines, the ergometer and the rowing machine, offer an efficient cardio workout to burn calories (and fat!). Both devices offer the advantage that you can vary the intensity of the training by increasing the resistance of the device and thus burn more calories.

Rowing machine vs. exercise bike: Which fitness equipment burns the most calories?

You burn the same number of calories with the rowing machine and the exercise bike. The two machines are actually based on the same principle: you spin a wheel using the power of your legs (and your arms for the rower).

1 hour workoutcalories burned
Exercise bike, low to high intensity400 bis 800 kcal
Rowing machine, low to high intensity400 bis 800 kcal

As shown in the comparison table above, theThe calories burned depend on how long you exercise and how hard you exercise. For example, in an hour of intense exercise on a rowing machine or stationary bike, you burn about 800 calories, but with more moderate exercise, you burn only 400 calories.

But isn't the exercise bike more effective than the rowing machine when it comes to losing weight?

In fact, even though they can help you burn that many calories, there's a big difference! It's much easier to train 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour or even 2 hours on a stationary bike than on a rowing machine!A workout on a rowing machine typically lasts 20 minutes, while a workout on an exercise bike lasts at least 30 to 45 minutes.The rowing machine is more demanding because of the position, the strong knee flexion and the movement in two steps (or even 4), which requires a great effort and then a relaxation to get the wheel spinning, while the movements on the exercise bike are constant and the position comfortable and not demanding.

If your main goal is to lose weight, we recommend that you opt for an exercise bikebecause you can easily switch between extended cardio workouts of an hour or more and 20-minute HIIT workouts to burn calories and fat efficiently (cfHow to lose weight on a stationary bike).

Lose 1 kg per month.1 hour of exercise bike 3 times a week allows you to lose 1 kg per month or you can achieve the same by rowing 3 times a week for 30 minutes for 2 months.

2) Exercise bike vs. rowing machine: Which muscles are used?

The exercise bike and the rowing machine arecardio fitness equipment, I. e. they train the most important muscle in the body,the heart!In addition, they help to tone the muscles, toning them up, but not making them swell like weightlifting would.

The second common benefit of the rowing machine and the stationary bike is that both will help you with thisstrengthen your legs, thighs and glutes.If you want to lose weight, it's important to work on your muscles to tone the softest parts of your body and have a more athletic physique.

(Video) Which Is The Best Exercise: Cycling vs. Rowing

The rowing machineuses more body muscles than the exercise bike. It is generally said that when rowing, 60% of the power comes from the legs, 30% from the pendulum movement and 10% from the arms. Here are the muscles that the rower trains:

- Leg muscles (hamstrings)

- Hamstrings (quadriceps and hamstrings, located on the front and back of the thighs)

- Gesäßmusculature

- Calf and anterior shin muscles

- arm muscles (biceps, triceps)

- Muscles at shoulder level (deltoids)

- Back muscles (large back, trapezius and rhomboid muscles)

- abs

The advantage of the rowing machineversus the stationary bike is that it works the muscles of the arms, shoulders, back and abdomen, while the exercise bike basically works the muscles of the lower body.

Is the rowing machine more efficient than the exercise bike for strengthening hamstrings?

Both fitness machines are effective for strengthening the thighs. Both allow you to increase the resistance to make the hamstrings work harder because the higher the resistance, the harder the muscles work!

However, the exercise bike mainly trains the leg and thigh muscles, which means that your strength is concentrated in this part of the body. If after 20 minutes on the rowing machine you tire your arms, then the training stops, while on the home bike it is mainly the legs and thighs that work and if you can extend the training to, say, 45 minutes, it means that you save 25 minutes compared to the rowing machine and have more work on your leg and thigh muscles.

(Video) Is Exercise Bike or Rowing Machine Better?

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.Muscles don't come without effort! If you want to train and tone your muscles, you need to increase the resistance on your exercise bike or rowing machine! The benefit is that you burn more calories at the same time!

3) Exercise bike or rowing machine for knee or back problems?

The ergometer puts little strain on the back and therefore presents itselfno back problems.In addition, the exercise bike makes it possible to work on the knees very gently and therefore very gently when pedaling with moderate resistancesuitable for both prevention and rehabilitation after knee operations.It is an ideal fitness device for rehabilitation because it does not cause any impact on the joints.

The rowing machineis very hard on the back. While it strengthens the back to some extent, for people who already have back pain or who don't have good posture, intensive use of the rowing machine can increase the pain. Also, the rowing machine forces you to fully bend your knees, which is usually the casecontraindicated for people with knee problems.

The exercise bike is therefore more suitable for older people and people with back or knee problems than the rowing machine(see our article aboutthe exercise bike against back problems).

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.When training on a rowing machine, you need to have the right technique to avoid back pain! Push with your legs first, then push the seat back and lastly pull with your arms, then repeat in reverse (extend your arms, slide the seat, and then bend your legs).

4) What are the other pros and cons of the exercise bike and the rowing machine?

The rowing machine and the stationary bike arecardio equipmentwhich provide heart and cardiovascular benefits, improve physical fitness and endurance, help with weight loss and strengthen legs, thighs and butt. However, the two machines correspond to two very different types of use that we present in the table below.

Comparison table of the advantages and disadvantages of each cardio machine:

Exercise bikes: pros and cons

(Video) Rower or Bike: Which is Better For Your Home Gym?

• Easy to use, diverse training options

• Cardio and interval training

• Muscles of legs, thighs, buttocks and arms

• Energy consumption: 400 to 800 kcal per hour

• Gentle on the joints

• Suitable for everyone (beginners and advanced)

Rowing machine: pros and cons

• Requires experience to get the right movement and position.

• Demanding cardio or interval training

• Muscle legs, thighs, buttocks, arms and shoulders

• Energy consumption: 400 to 800 kcal per hour

(Video) Rowing Every Day For 30 Days (Weight Loss Time Lapse)

• Stress on the hip, knee and ankle joints

• Suitable for athletes and hobby rowers

In general, the home trainer is suitable for almost any type of use, be it for maintaining shape, for weight loss, for rehabilitation, for prevention or for strengthening the thigh, leg and buttock muscles. Amateur or professional cyclists prefer a spinning bike, an exercise bike or a semi-professional ergometer. However, if you want to exercise 30 minutes to 2 hours a day, a home ergometer is a perfect choice, such asDKN AM-3iFor example. Experienced rowers will appreciate the paddler to feel the sensations they know and to continue training at home in bad weather, measuring their performance along the way.

Don't forget that ideally you should be exercising on your exercise bike or rowing machine for 30 to 45 minutes 2 to 3 times a week. So you can fully exploit the advantages and positive effects of exercise on your body and your health!

Rowing machine or exercise bike: which is better? (1)

David Anderson

fitness writer

David Anderson is a professional trainer with 15 years of experience in the sports and fitness industry. Since 2016 he has been writing about fitness and giving training tips and advice.

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