Spin Bike VS Rowing Machine: Which Exercise is Best for Fitness? (2023)

Rowing Machine VS Spin Bike – Introduction

Spinbike vs Rower: Which Exercise is Best for Fitness?

Getting fit and losing weight often means choosing between two options.

Due to time constraints, your budget, available space, or just personal preference, you'll likely have to choose between things like:

  • Exercise at home or join a gym
  • do cardio or lift weights
  • Free weights or bodyweight exercises
  • Low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet
  • Time-limited eating or three meals and snacks per day

Ultimately, all of these options can help you get fit and lose weight, but unless you have an endless supply of time, money, and energy, you may have to choose one option over another.

In most cases, this will be the diet or training approach that you can stick with.

After all, your results depend almost entirely on itconsistency.

Whether you train at home or at a gym, a decision you're likely to face is choosing between using a spin bike or a rowing machine for your cardio workout.

This is not an easy decision!

To help you with your choice, in this article we will show the advantages, pros and cons of spin bikes over rowing machines so that you can choose the best one for you.

Spinbike 101

Spinning bikes are stationary exercise bikes that use a large, heavy flywheel for resistance.

They have mechanical friction or electromagnetic brakes, so you can adjust the pedaling resistance quickly and easily.

Most spin bikes are built like road bikes.

They have narrow saddles, sporty handlebars and are usually equipped with toe clips.

However, unlike a regular bike, the pedals and flywheel are fixed, meaning you can't stop pedaling and freewheel forward.

Spin bikes are great for a variety of workouts, including:

  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Sprint-Intervall-Training (SIT)
  • Low-Intensity Steady-State Cardio (LISS).

There is also onlinespin classesto follow, and you can mimic an outdoor bike ride by imagining a route and changing the resistance up and down to simulate hills and flat sections.

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

Rowing machine 101

While spin bikes come in a fairly standard design, rowing machines are more diverse.

For example, there are machines with hydraulic arms, fans, water tanks, and rowing machines that use electromagnetics for resistance.

Although braking systems vary, the basics of rowing remain the same.

You sit in a seat, hold the handles, and bend and straighten your legs while pulling with your arms.

Like spinning bikes, rowing machines can be used for a variety of workouts, including HIIT, LISS, and SIT.

Spin bike vs. rowing machine

Now that you know a little more about these different pieces of exercise equipment, let's take a look at their impact on fitness and weight loss to see which is the best!

muscles trained

Contrary to what you might think, these two pieces of fitness equipment train your lower and upper body.

While spinning is primarily a lower body exercise, sprints and climbs require you to use your arms and core as well.

When rowing, however, the lower and upper body are equally stressed.

It's practically a full body exercise.

In fact, the only muscles that rowing doesn't use much are yourschest and triceps, and that's easily fixed with a sentence or twopushups.

Winner: Rower!

muscle building

While neither spinning nor rowing will give you massive muscle, both have the potential to increase muscle size and strength, albeit modestly.

Using a spin bike will tone and strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes while giving your upper body a small but rewarding workout.

In contrast, rowing works your entire lower body, core, arms, and back.

Of these two, rowing is possibly the better muscle builder as each stroke somewhat mimics itBarbell deadlift, this is one of theThe best exercises to build muscleyou can do

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

However, spinning could develop your legs more, especially when doing high-resistance climbs and sprints.

Winner: Rower, but just barely

fitness effects

Both exercise machines have the potential to increase your fitness.

You can use it to train aerobically and anaerobically, depending on your preference.

They can be used for short, intense workouts like HIIT, or longer, slower workouts like LISS.

Provided you use them frequently, consistently, and at the right intensity, you can row or row your way to improved fitness.

Winner: It's a tie!

Calorie and fat burning

Like all forms of exercise, rowing and spinning also increase your calorie consumption.

Both involve large muscle groups, which means it takes a lot of energy to perform these exercises.

However, because rowing uses more overall muscle mass, it has the potential to burn more calories per minute.

But of course, the actual number of calories burned depends on how hard and how long you train.

Winner: Rower!

user friendliness

Spinning bikes are easy to use.

Once you've adjusted the height of your saddle and handlebars, all you have to do is buckle your feet and start pedaling.

There are no tricky techniques to master and you can position your upper body in almost any position for a comfortable and productive workout.

In contrast, rowing is a more coordinated activity, and for safe and effective training, you must learn how to row properly.

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

The trick to rowing is to start each stroke with a powerful leg kick and only pull with your arms when the grip goes above your knees.

Using your arms too early reduces power output, makes your workout harder than necessary, and could even tire your arms, causing you to end your workout early.

That's not to say rowing is difficult or that you need to hire a team coach to teach you how.

Most people can master the row in a few workouts.

However, it is a more technical exercise.

Winner: Spin Bike!


Comfort is very subjective and depends on your spinning bike or rowing machine and how you use it.

Some people find that spin bike saddles are too tight and narrow, and that long workouts cause unnecessary pain.

However, any discomfort can be alleviated by using a gel saddle cover or cycling shorts and stepping on the pedals from time to time to give your butt a rest.

Rowing seats, on the other hand, are usually wider, padded, and more contoured for comfort.

However, you cannot move easily when your butt starts to hurt.

Again, you can buy an aftermarket gel seat pad that will make your workout more comfortable.

So it's impossible to say whether you'll find a spin bike or a rowing machine more comfortable.

In most cases, however, comfort will improve as you get used to your choicetraining device, and there are always steps you can take to reduce the discomfort.

Winner: It's a tie!

space required

Rowers are long and low, while spinning bikes have a smaller footprint but are taller.

(Video) Spin Bike VS Rowing Machine: Which Exercise Is Best forFitness

However, most rowing machines can be stood upright or even folded for easier storage, while spin bikes typically cannot.

However, spin bikes usually come with caster wheels so you can easily move them around should storage require it.

Finally, measure your workout space to see how much space you have and whether a spin bike or rowing machine is best.

Winner: It's a tie!

noise during use

Depending on where you intend to use your exercise equipment and who you share your home with, noise can be a real problem during use.

For example, treadmills are notoriously loud, and all that pounding can annoy not only your roommates, but your neighbors as well.

Spinning bikes are usually very quiet. The flywheels spin smoothly and even mechanical friction brakes make very little noise.

The only sound should be a slight whirring and your breathing becoming increasingly difficult!

In contrast, some rowers can be noisy, particularly those who use a fan for resistance.

Electromagnetic rowers are quieter, so it really depends on the type of rower you use.

Winner: Spinbikes (but some rowers are pretty quiet too)

Spin-BikevsRowing machine – final thoughts

Choosing between a spin bike and a rowing machine is not an easy thing; both can help you get fit and lose weight.

Rowing and spinning offer many of the same benefits and have a similar number of disadvantages.

Both would be good choices for a home gym.

Ideally, the best way is to decide between these two different machinestry them both.

Not for a day but for a couple of weeks to see which one you prefer.

(Video) Rowing Machine vs Spin Bike

A long term trial like this is arguably the best way to determine which one is right for you.

Whichever one you choose, provided you use it regularly, consistently, and at the right intensity, you'll be rewarded with a great workout and improved fitness and weight loss.

After all, there's a reason these two machines are so popular!

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Which is a better workout rowing machine or spinning bike? ›

Rowing is a full body workout; it uses all the main muscle groups, whereas cycling is heavily leg focused. That's why, at higher intensities, rowing burns much more calories than cycling on a stationary bike.

What burns more calories rowing or spinning? ›

A 50-minute rowing class can burn up to 1,200 calories, twice as many as spinning.

Should I get a rower or air bike? ›

With that said, the rower is much more suitable for steady-state cardio as you can easily row for 30 or more minutes, while the air bike is a better option for HIIT workouts where you need to give your maximum for a short burst of time, then rest and repeat.

What exercise is better than rowing? ›

Burn the Most Calories: Running

Rowing at a moderate pace burns about 504 calories. That's not a dramatic difference, but if your main goal is calories burned, Holland says running tends to be the better workout, especially because it's easier to integrate sprinting into the mix.

Can I get in shape with just a rowing machine? ›

Yes, absolutely. If you are working to lose weight, look no further because a rowing machine can help. Rowing is an excellent way to get in shape because it works to strengthen your muscles and cardiovascular system, all in one convenient workout, to help improve your overall health.

How many times a week should I use a rowing machine? ›

In terms of time, weight loss is best achieved with consistency, so aim for at least 30 minutes per day on a rower, anywhere from 4 to 6 times a week. Make sure you're getting enough rest days, especially if you're just getting started!

Should I row or spin? ›

While most spin classes are 60-90 minutes long, classes at Total Row are only 30-45 minutes. Because rowing workouts are usually more anaerobic and incorporate many more muscles, its calorie-burn is significantly higher (we've seen research suggesting 2x as many calories burned per 50 minutes!!).

Is rowing or biking better for knees? ›

While rowing machines and exercise bikes have similar health benefits and are great cardio options, they each have aspects that are better or worse for certain individuals. If you have back or knee problems, riding an indoor cycling bike might be better for you.

Is rowing good for the knees? ›

It's easy on the joints.

Rowing is a low-impact sport, so it's perfect if you're nursing an injury. With your feet planted on the footpads and your hands locked on to the grips, there's little to no impact on the ankles, knees, hips, elbows and shoulder joints.

What are the disadvantages of rowing? ›

If you aren't using proper form, using an indoor rower can lead to back pain or injury that can put you out of commission for weeks. Because they are relatively large machines, many rowers aren't easy to move and can't be folded up for storage when not in use.

Is a rowing machine the best overall workout? ›

Rowing. It's one of the best, most complete, full-body workouts that a person can do — and yet so many people have yet to try it because it's not super easy.

What is better rowing machine or peloton? ›

It depends on your priorities. If you're looking for a rowing-first experience that best replicates the water-based workout, then Hydrow is the frontrunner. However, if you're already part of the Peloton community, you'll find the seamless transition between products and the variety of classes worthwhile.

Is rowing a good exercise for seniors? ›

Recent studies have proven that a older person using a rowing machine helps for building physical strength and stamina, stimulating growth of bone and bone mineral density increase. Indoor rowing is perfect for people aged 40, 50, 60 and even older.

How long does it take to see results from rowing machine? ›

You can expect to notice more definition in your muscles within the first week of daily rowing machine workouts. It takes about 90 days to get an amazing rowing body transformation result. Rowing is a learned movement.

Is 20 minutes of rowing enough? ›

Rowing workouts around 20 minutes in length

Studies show that endorphins, the neurochemicals that release during exercise and make you feel good, regularly kick in around the 20-minute mark. A workout around 20 minutes can give you a full-body burn that leaves you feeling good for hours to come.

Will rowing flatten my stomach? ›

Yes, when used effectively, a row machine will help lose belly fat and tone your stomach. There are several ways that a rower can be used to target the midsection. The best is to incorporate other exercises such as push-ups, pikes, and planks.

What should you not do on a rowing machine? ›

Rowing machine setup mistakes and how to fix them
  • #1: Rowing only with your arms. ...
  • #2: Pulling with your arms too early. ...
  • #3: Bending your knees too early on the recovery. ...
  • #4: Collapsing your chest forward. ...
  • #5: Rushing the drive. ...
  • #6: Leaning too far back in the finish. ...
  • #7: Leading with your butt on the drive.
Feb 17, 2021

What resistance should I row at? ›

Generally, that is between 4.5 to 6.5 on the resistance setting; however, every machine varies so it's a good idea to calibrate the drag factor each time you use the erg to work out.

Is it OK to row everyday? ›

While we recommend having a rest day between workout days a few times per week, if you're smart about how you train, you can row everyday without overdoing it. It's a good idea to alternate between light days and hard days.

What kind of body does rowing give you? ›

The beauty of a rowing stroke is that it activates the lower body (like your quadriceps and glutes), upper body (like deltoids and lats), and core muscles (the coveted abdominal muscles) all at once. Many believe that rowing is all about leg strength, but as you can see, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Is 30 minutes of spinning a day enough? ›

Exercising on the bike for at least 30 minutes a day will build up your cardiovascular and muscular endurance. By putting in consistent effort, you'll notice an improvement in your aerobic capacity, enabling you to bike longer or on more intense rides.

Is spinning 20 minutes enough? ›

World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults aged 18-64 years should indulge in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week to stay healthy. What many do not know is that a daily cycle ride of only 20 minutes is sufficient to achieve this target!

Is spinning better for your knees? ›

Spinning is a low-impact exercise that places less stress on your joints, which makes it ideal for older adults with knee or hip issues or those recovering from orthopedic injuries.

Why do my knees hurt after rowing? ›

You might notice it as a knee click when you're rowing. IT brand friction occurs from repeatedly bending your knees. The normal movement of the IT band during flexion and extension irritates nearby tissues, causing pain on the outside of the knee.

Is rowing good for arthritis? ›

A rowing machine used to simulate the action of rowing a boat can provide a great cardiovascular and strength workout for people with arthritis — working both your upper and lower body.

Does rowing machine build bone density? ›

Any exercise that loads the bones sufficiently can increase bone mass. Numerous scientific studies have confirmed that rowing fulfills this criterion and is an effective means of building BMD.

What exercise machine is best for arthritic knees? ›

Elliptical pros

Low-impact exercise typically puts less stress on your joints than high-impact exercise. This makes the elliptical a safer option if you have a musculoskeletal condition such as low-back pain, knee or hip pain, or other health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis.

Does rowing hurt your back? ›

Studies have shown that back pain is very common in rowers. Research indicates that 30-50% of rowers will experience some type of lower back pain during a 12-month period, and low back injuries account for 15-25% of all rowing injuries.

What exercise is best for knees? ›

To help strengthen your knees, focus on moves that work your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and hip muscles.
  • Half squat. ...
  • Calf raises. ...
  • Hamstring curl. ...
  • Leg extensions. ...
  • Straight leg raises. ...
  • Side leg raises. ...
  • Prone leg raises.
Dec 13, 2019

Is rowing better than spinning for weight loss? ›

In general, bikes and rowing machines burn equal calories.

However, rowers are frequently used for HIIT workouts and offer the benefit of after-burn, where the body continues an accelerated rate of burning calories long after the workout. Taking this into consideration, HIIT rowing burns more calories than biking.

Can rowing reduce belly fat? ›

2.2 Rowing Can Shed Your Overall Body Fat

Compared with other forms of exercise machines, using the rowing machine is an efficient way to blast calories and slim you down everywhere — including your belly.

Is rowing or cycling better for knees? ›

While rowing machines and exercise bikes have similar health benefits and are great cardio options, they each have aspects that are better or worse for certain individuals. If you have back or knee problems, riding an indoor cycling bike might be better for you.

Does spinning flatten your stomach? ›

Yes, cycling can help lose belly fat, but it will take time. A recent study showed regular cycling may enhance overall fat loss and promote a healthy weight. To reduce overall belly girth, moderate-intensity aerobic exercises, such as cycling (either indoor or outdoor), are effective to lower belly fat.

How long does it take to see results from rowing? ›

You can expect to notice more definition in your muscles within the first week of daily rowing machine workouts. It takes about 90 days to get an amazing rowing body transformation result. What is this? Rowing is a learned movement.

Which machine is best for belly fat? ›

The following are among the most popular and effective workout machines used for reducing belly fat.
  • Treadmill.
  • Elliptical.
  • Stairmaster.
  • Stationary bike.
  • Rowing machine.
Nov 10, 2020

What body parts benefit from rowing machine? ›

The beauty of a rowing stroke is that it activates the lower body (like your quadriceps and glutes), upper body (like deltoids and lats), and core muscles (the coveted abdominal muscles) all at once. Many believe that rowing is all about leg strength, but as you can see, this couldn't be further from the truth.


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