a woman works out on a rowing machine in an attempt to lose weight

Is 30 Minutes of Rowing Enough for Weight Loss or Muscle Gain?

TechAwards is a reader-supported website. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.

A rowing machine is one of the best ways to exercise. It’s one of the few machines that provide a full-body workout. While rowing machines have been around for a long time, they’ve gained in popularity recently.

More and more people are opening their eyes to how effective rowing machines can be. A lot of this has to do with fitness manufacturers pushing the boundaries on rowing machines and entering them into the digital age.

If you’ve recently purchased a rowing machine you aren’t alone. Many people are jumping into rowing head first. However, you may be wondering how long you need to row.

Is rowing 30 minutes enough?

In this article, you will learn how to determine the duration of your workouts while rowing.

Tips For Optimizing Your Rowing Workouts:

1. How Much Time Do You Have?

This is the most important factor that needs to be considered when you are trying to figure out how long to spend rowing. You need to factor in the total amount of time you have for several reasons. For one, it’s going to dictate whether or not you get on the machine daily.

A lot of people fall into the trap of making unrealistic expectations and having schedules that they cannot fit into their normal daily routine.

Instead of this, you need to figure out how much time you have to spend exercising daily. Once you have a pre-determined amount of time that you are willing to allocate to rowing, you can figure out how much time you should spend on the rowing machine.

2. What Are Your Fitness Goals?

a personal trainer coaches a client on a rowing machine

This is another major factor that needs to be considered before you can answer this question. Knowing what your end goals are is crucial to understanding how to achieve them.

You cannot come up with a process to getting to your end goals without having them pre-defined. This is why it’s so important to have pre-defined end goals that you can strive towards.

Your goals will dictate the processes that you need to follow to reach them.

  • Your Goal Is To Build Muscle

If your goal is to build lean muscle, your optimal rowing sessions will look vastly different than someone that is looking to burn fat and lose weight.

If you are looking more to put on lean muscle, your rowing sessions should be modified to introduce more strength training into your exercises. This is something you can do very easily with a rowing machine.

Likewise, you will want your rowing sessions to be shortened into smaller bursts that incorporate high-intensity interval training.

  • Your Goal Is To Burn Fat and Lose Weight

If your end goal is to burn fat and lose weight, you’re going to have a completely different approach to your rowing workouts. When you are looking to lose weight, your primary objective will be to burn calories.

The simplest way to lose weight is to burn more calories throughout the day than you take in. The longer you work out, the more calories you will burn.

Thus, you will want your sessions to be longer in duration. Longer workout sessions can be a great way to ensure you are putting your body at a caloric deficit to achieve your desired weight loss objectives.

  • Your Goal Is To Be Healthy

One of the best reasons to get into rowing is to do it for your general health.

Whether you are already a healthy person or you are looking to make a New Year’s resolution, rowing can be a great way to get a total body workout into your routine. Rowing can help in many ways. It happens to be a total body workout. It can also be a moderate or vigorous exercise. With rowing, you control the intensity of your workouts.

Because of this, you can dictate how hard you want to work out and for how long. If you are simply looking to incorporate rowing into your daily routine to improve your cardiovascular fitness, rowing for 30 minutes per day is going to be more than enough.

Experts recommend that you get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio every week [1].

3. How Many Days Per Week Will You Be Working Out?

This is another thing that needs to be considered when you are trying to come up with the right schedule for your rowing workouts. If you are working daily, you may be able to shorten each session.

Whereas, if you are only planning on working out 3 days per week, your sessions will need to be longer. For those looking to pack on muscle, it’s not recommended to work out daily.

After all, you will be working your muscles too hard which can hinder your results. Your muscles will need time to repair after intense workouts.

It’s during the repair phase in which your muscles grow.

4. What Kind Of Rowing Machine Do You Have?

close up of a water rower
Water rowers are one of my favorite style of rowing machine…They’re quiet, provide the perfect amount of resistance, and feel like you’re actually rowing.

Believe it or not, but the rowing machine you have can dictate the effectiveness of your workouts. Some machines have different features.

However, the most important thing to consider is the different resistant types.

You will find some feature air resistance, some feature magnetic resistance, some feature water resistance, and some have a combo. Another thing to consider is the length of the rail. Usually, the cheaper rowing machines have a shorter rail which can limit the effectiveness of each row. Without being able to get a full extension on your rows, you won’t be activating all of the muscles that you should be.

This is why you want to get a machine that has a full-length rail that allows for maximum extension. When you get one that allows you to extend fully, you will get a much better and more complete workout because of it. This means you won’t have to work out as long because each stroke will be much more effective and efficient. When you aren’t able to extend fully, you’ll need to do twice as many strokes to get the same effect.

However, the rowing machines that deliver the best rowing experience are typically much more expensive. Therefore, that is something you need to consider. Your budget will play a role in determining what type of rowing machine you get and what kind of rowing experience you get from it.

RELATED READING: Is Hydrow or Aviron Better? 

Bottom Line: Is 30 Minutes On A Rowing Machine Enough?

As you can tell, there is a lot that goes into the answer to this question. Rowing is one of the most intense exercises you can perform. It requires your entire body.

As a result, it’s an exercise that can give you a quick and efficient workout. It’s not an exercise that you will need to spend hours doing just to get results. You can certainly get a highly effective exercise in only 30 minutes. However, your fitness goals will dictate whether or not 30 minutes is enough.

Likewise, you want to consider how much time you have to work out.

The truth is, whatever you can do consistently will yield the best results. If you only have 30 minutes before work, you can easily fit in an effective rowing workout in that amount of time. Figure out your goals and work backward. Try to think about what you want to accomplish with your rowing exercises.

If your goal is to build stamina and cardio, you’re going to want longer workouts. If your goal is to gain strength, you’ll want shorter and more intense workouts.

References:

  1. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults