I like rowing. As a 6 foot tall female CrossFitter, it’s one of the very few movements whereI have an advantage over smaller athletes (the other 2 being wall balls and box jumps.)

Rowing is a lot like running – any one can strap on a pair of shoes and run. Anyone can strap into a rower and row. But there are certainly ways to be a more efficient rower (just like there is good form and technique to be an excellent runner.)

Rowing is a full body exercise and it keeps the heart rate elevated. Unlike a bike, which only has resistance in one direction, rowing has resistance in both directions (forward and back) making you much stronger and increasing the rate at which you burn calories.

Unlike running, which can often lead to overuse and joint issues, the rower is low impact. It’s a very natural movement and there is minimal stress applied to any part of the body. 

Did you know that the rowing movement activates over 90% of the body’s musculature AND promotes the strengthening of the smaller stabilizing muscles throughout the abdomen, back, and hips?

Strength and stability in these areas helps athletes maintain proper form and technique in all of the varied movements we do in CrossFit. Having these muscles fine-tuned can help maintain higher paces and stronger power outputs for longer periods of time.

Plus, if you’re maybe looking to drop a few pounds, rowing delivers great bang for your buck in terms of energy expenditure. Since rowing involves muscles throughout the body, caloric expenditure rises quickly.

During maximal 6-minute efforts, athletes have recorded caloric expenditures of 36 cal/min. While this may be achievable in other sports, keep in mind that the the full-body nature of rowing means you’re burning more calories at any given effort level.

Another benefit? Those monitors don’t lie. They hold you accountable for every single stroke. Unlike a barbell lift or a box jump where you don’t get to see the actual output of your efforts, the rowing monitor will know if you gave it your all that stroke or not. You can use this to your advantage to train for other movements though – the rower teaches you not only how to pace yourself, but how to go all out when you need to.

It’s getting colder in Wisconsin – which around here means we run less and row more. Much like many people need to learn to like running (or at least tolerate it), some people need to learn to love rowing. Don’t fight it – there are a lot of great advantages to that rowing machine!

WordPress Lightbox