Rowing machine vs. exercise bike: which workout is more effective? (2023)

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In recent years, advances in artificial intelligence in the fitness industry have radically revolutionized the way we train and reinvented the concept of training at home. Couple that with the global pandemic that has left the vast majority of us with no choice but to work out from home and you have a new era of fitness.

The industry was already on the rise, but COVID-19 fueled the fitness fire that accompanied it. Brands specializing in connected fitness equipment (such asWatercourse and Peloton) have successfully figured out how to combine our love of community and achieving our fitness goals with our desire for screens and technology.

These same brands are taking the fitness industry by storm, using the right technology, styling and programming to encourage people to invite their gear into their homes. This allows people to recreate the experience of working out in a high-end gym or gym right from their own living room.Connected fitnessis undoubtedly the future of fitness.

What you will learn in this article:

Today's connected cardio machines

Benefits of intelligent rowing machine training

Benefits of intelligent exercise bike workout

Smart Exercise Bike Vs Rowing Machine: What's Your Training Solution?

Peloton vs. Ergatta rowing machine

What is better for losing weight?

Which is better for building strength?

What is the best choice for people with knee and/or back problems?

What's the biggest challenge?

The verdict: Which device offers a more effective workout?

So the decision boils down to this:

So the question becomes; What is the best equipment investment for those looking to bring the gym experience into their home? Indoor cycling and indoor rowing are two of the hottest fitness trends right now, but not everyone can afford to have one of each piece of equipment. And do you even need both?

In this article, I'm excited to start researching smart exercise bikes and smart rowing machines. We review the benefits and experiences each can offer, then let you decide which option will have the biggest impact on you, your home, and your fitness goals.

Today's connected cardio machines

Before we dive into the nuances and comparison of rowing and spinning from home, let's first talk about what it means to own a connected fitness machine.

Cardio machines aren't what they used to be, they're not the most feared piece of equipment in the gym. Why? Because today they are interactive, fun and offer users new ways to challenge both their mind and body.

Most smart devices come with a screen that not only records all your data and stats, but also streams live and on-demand workouts, making you feel like you're positioned front and center on an exercise machineBike or rowing studio. You get access to a professional teacher who will push you to achieve your goals while providing you with an amazing experience.

Connected fitness equipmentfun, motivating, effective and the perfect way to recreate the gym or studio experience in your own living room. The arrival of AI technology in the fitness space further increases the value of these devices, allowing them to create fully customized programs tailored to your unique needs and goals.

To say it's an exciting time to be in fitness would be an understatement! Next, let's discuss the benefits and spinning and rowing from home.

Benefits of intelligent rowing machine training

So many benefits with indoor rowers!

Done right, indoor rowing machines can do thathelp you lose body fat, build muscle and improve your overall fitness. And it's a great way to experience a different type of workout that you might not have given much credit to in the past. By the way, don't worry if you've never rowed before, you don't have to be a competitive rower to take advantage of these intuitive devices.

Indoor rowing use86% of your body's musclesin a single workout. If that's not convincing enough, take a look at the followingTraining benefits of a rowing machinefor more evidence.

It's a full body workout

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

Considering that you engage 86% of your muscles in a single row workout, suffice it to say that this is a true total body workout. According to theAFPA(American Fitness Professionals Association) row strokes are 65-75% lower body work and 25-35% upper body work.

Rowing targets the following muscles:

  • upper back
  • Waffen
  • abdomen/core
  • Chest muscles
  • Quads
  • calves
  • Gluteus muscle

It is accessible to people of all fitness levels and abilities

Unlike some forms of cardio, which are inherently intense, rowing can be as intense or as low-impact as you make it. Row faster to increase the intensity, row slower to tone things down a bit. This is a suitable exercise for everyone from beginners to experienced athletes.

It has a low impact

To piggyback on my final point that it's accessible to all fitness levels, rowing is very low impact, making it a safe workout for people of all abilities and physical needs. Unlike running, which is a very strenuous activity that puts a lot of stress on your joints, rowing is virtually impact-free, reducing your risk of injury.

It helps improve your cardiovascular fitness

As a cardio exercise, rowing helps strengthen your cardiovascular system, which includes the heart, lungs, and blood flow. This system is responsible for transporting important nutrients, such as oxygen, throughout your body. The intensity of a rowing workout is great for improving your heart strength and reducing your risk of developing heart problems.

Next, let's discuss the benefits that come with indoor cycling.

Benefits of intelligent exercise bike workout

There are so many benefits of an indoor cycling machine!

Indoor cycling courses are on a smart ergometerchallenging and exciting. These tend to be immersive, sweaty workouts that really get your heart pumping. Indoor cycling has become a mega trend in recent years thanks to popular cycling studios across the country. However, when Covid-19 struck, more people were forced to take their spin obsession home with them.

Spinning is a high-intensity experience, both inside and outside the studio. Whether you're a veteran of the spinning class or brand new to the concept, there's something for everyone in cycling programming. Below are some of theTop advantages of smart ergometers.

Improved cardiovascular fitness

Indoor cycling is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. Spinning turns the heart rate andgets your blood pumping, which has been shown to improve your overall physical health and stamina.

It has a low impact

Similar to rowing, cycling is gentle. Cycling is considered to be one of the most accessible forms of exercise because it doesn't require any jarring of the body or joints. In fact, it is a popular rehabilitation tool for those who have suffered injuries.

(Video) Is Exercise Bike or Rowing Machine Better?

It's a full body experience

While you might assume that only your legs or lower body are working as you pedal, the truth is that you engage a large number of muscles in your body during this experience. This is especially true for much of the programming that comes with smart exercise bikes these days. You use fusion workouts to incorporate ways to challenge your whole body.

Cycling targets the following muscles:

  • Kern
  • Return
  • upper body
  • Gluteus muscle
  • Knee tendons
  • Quads
  • calves

Next, let's start comparing cycling and rowing when it comes to specific goals and physical needs.

Smart Exercise Bike Vs Rowing Machine: What's Your Training Solution?

Choosing between smart home gym equipment can be difficult when you're not sure where to start, not to mention that it's a hefty investment you don't want to screw up. I'm going to give you a few things to consider when comparing the following criteria:

  • Best for losing weight
  • Best for strength training
  • Best choice for people with pre-existing injuries (back, neck, knees, etc.)
  • most challenging

Peloton vs. Ergatta rowing machine

Find out which machine works best for you - the Ergatta Rower vs. the Peloton Bike.

read vs. Comparison

What is better for losing weight?

Both machines offer an effective way to burn calories and lose weight, but is one better than the other?

You can generally burn the same amount of calories with a rowing machine and an exercise bike, and that number depends on your unique body, how hard you work, and for how long.

Duration of exercise is where you might see the biggest impact when it comes to comparing these two popular exercise modalities. In general, you can spin longer than you can row. This is due to the extra work you have to do especially with your upper body when rowing. Most rowing workouts last around 20 minutes and cycling workouts can easily last 30-45 minutes or longer, during which time you would accumulate a higher calorie burn.

If your number one fitness goal is to lose weight then I would recommend an indoor smart bike as it can help you burn the most calories with the least extra effort.

Which is better for building strength?

Rowing and cycling are cardio-based workouts that primarily work your heart. However, both are total body workouts, which means they activate and recruit muscles from all over the body, helping to tone and tone them.

Both machines will primarily work your lower body, meaning your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. And while cycling also has the ability to engage your core and upper body muscles, rowing does so more efficiently and in a more targeted manner.

Rowing uses both upper and lower body muscles to push and pull, giving you a more holistic, full-body workout, unlike an exercise bike, which can work some extra muscles, but not directly.

So if building and toning muscles are your biggest goals, then rowing is the best choice between the two. It's a true total-body workout experience that gets your body energized from head to toe.

What is the best choice for people with knee and/or back problems?

Knee and back problems are incredibly common and can be a deterrent for some, but as long as you choose to exercise gently, non-disruptively, you may still be able to continue working on your fitness.

Rowing and cycling are both low-impact workouts that avoid any intense pressure on your knees and back. However, rowing tends to be a more intense workout that requires using your back to push and pull, which actually serves to strengthen your back. However, if you have a bad back or a history of back problems, then you might find rowing a little too aggressive and irritating. The same goes for knees when rowing, as you need to be able to fully bend your knees while rowing, which can be challenging for those with limited knee mobility and range of motion.

Cycling, on the other hand, tends to be less aggressive on the back and knees. As long as you have enough mobility in your knees to flip them while pedaling, the impact on the knees is very small and can even be therapeutic for those with stiff or "bad" knees.

If you have knee or back problems, cycling is probably the safest option for you.

What's the biggest challenge?

If you're looking for a challenge, you'll be happy to know that both indoor spin bikes and rowing machines offer you plenty of opportunities to push your body and mind to the limit! Especially when you factor in the programming, equipped with smart exercise machines, and kick-ass instructors who will push you throughout your workout.

It's like when I comparedTraining experience between CITYROW GO and Peloton, it all depends on what you are looking for!

However, most people would agree that rowing is a more challenging workout than cycling. Cycling is quite easy to "invent" and does not require much skill. Anyone able to normally hop on a bike and start pedaling. Rowing tends to have a slightly longer learning curve to get into a good rhythm, and since it engages 86% of your muscles, you'll be challenging your entire body in new ways while perfecting your form and technique.

Rowing winsthe nod for the most demanding workout.






Gaming inspired


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

Compete against others


The regular messenger


Ergatta against other rowers

Go to






Studio inspired


rowing instructor




(Video) FACEOFF: Exercise Bike vs Treadmill vs Rowing Machine

CITYROW vs Ergatta

The verdict: Which device offers a more effective workout?

Choosing between a smart rower and a smart bike is a tough decision and definitely not one to take lightly. You want to make sure the choice you make fits both your fitness goals and your fitness style.

Both options will add tremendous value to your life, there is no doubt about that. And the best part is that nowadays, investing in a smart device means you're joining a community and gaining access to a full library of fun, exciting, and effective workouts

So the decision boils down to this:

Is your main goal to lose weight?

Exercise bikes are easier to hold for longer workouts, which means more calories burned.

Do you want to build and define your muscles?

Rowing machines train your entire body and challenge your muscles in new ways.

Do you have back or knee problems?

Although training on the rowing machine is ineffective, it can still put a considerable strain on your joints. Choose a smart bike if you have joint problems.

Finally, think about what you enjoy the most!

For fitness to be a habit and something you look forward to, you have to enjoy it. So keep that in mind when making your decision!

About the author

Tami Smith, CPT, Nutritionist

Tami Smith is a Certified Nutritionist and ACE Certified Fitness Instructor specializing in prenatal and postnatal fitness. She studied business administration and earned her bachelor's degree in business administration. Tami is a mother of two and a women's health advocate. Her passion is helping people live fit, healthy lives through proper nutrition and exercise!

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