Will I Gain More Muscle, If I Choose To Use The Rower?

Does a rowing machine have a real impact on muscle gain, or should I save money and just run?

If you’ve been asking the question:

Will I Gain More Muscle, If I Choose To Use The Rower?

Here are 12 Quick Answers from Professional rowers, experts, coaches, fitness teachers, cardio specialist, enthusiasts, runners etc.

12 Answers

Akash Sunethkumara, Martial artist, Student, Artist, Cat Lover, Fitness Freak

Of course. Just look at any professional rower. They define what is known as the V shape body that almost all males are striving to achieve. Rowing exercises work out your lats which when well developed give rise to that elusive V shape.
So, when your lateral develop, muscle gain is undeniable. Furthermore, in order to do the row, your triceps, biceps, deltoids and trapezius muscles are employed. This in turn causes them to become developed.
Overall, rowing is a great exercise and buying that rowing machine is surely an investment.
P.S: Don’t forget proper meals after working out, else you’ll just be burning and not gaining 😉

Jonathan McMahon, Mover and Juggler

I’m not sure what you mean by earn money but if your goal is to get better at running you should run. The rowing machine helps improve your upper body endurance unlike running.
And can you make gains on the rowing machine? Not strength gains, if that’s your goal then you should keep reps under 6 and lift heavy weights. The rowing machine is mainly used for cardio. But the best thing to do to get better at running is to run


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Edward Sargisson, Founder,, Software Developer, Ultrarunner

I rowed for a club for 18 months and I’m an ultra-runner now so maybe I can help.

When I rowed I got quite fit and my upper body got fairly well developed (at least for me). It wasn’t huge body-builder type muscle but functional, useful muscle. Part of this was likely from my working on my rowing over the winter with some lifting (squats, romanian deadlifts, etc.).

Now I’m a runner and all my muscle development is in my legs. I’m a trail runner and that seems to build very large calf muscles.
My upper body is puny by comparison.

So, like all things in exercise it depends what you want to achieve.

If you do take up rowing I would encourage you to get a modicum of training in good form so that you don’t do bad things to your back.


Al Kelly Jr., Security Consultant

Well the short answer is that the row machine can have impact on your muscular gain. I for one do use the row machine but only for a warm-up.

It’s hard to gain muscle while doing extensive cardio. It really depends on what you are trying to achieve.

I have seen few results when individuals are trying to incorporate cardio program with muscular development. We call that hybrid training but you need to be discipline.

Again it all depends your overall health, genetics, dieting etc.

If you are into crossfit I would say the row machine is your friend.

Now the second part to your questions doesn’t make sense to me. Can you be a little more clear?

Akash Sehrawat, Author | Health and Fitness Expert | Blogger |

To build muscles, you need to do progressive weight training mainly with compound exercises like squat, deadlifts, bench press and shoulder press. These should be your core movements. If you are a beginner you can start with 1 to 2 sets each 2 to 3 times a week. Maintain your rep range between 8 to 12 for best results. Building muscles only happen when you progressively overload your muscles. Rowing is a good for your cardio fitness and would only fatigue your muscles and won’t cause hypertrophy. Instead of running i would suggest High Intensity Interval training. Hope it helps!


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David “Mac” McDougal, is a nationally competitive Masters rower.

Jonathan is right on: power lifting builds muscle mass. Rowing also builds muscle mass and strength (on this I respectfully disagree with him); but it is terribly inefficient compared to lifting.


Theodore DeConne, Personal trainer, student and life enthusiast.

Rowing machines have a lot of long term benefits. You activate a lot more core stability and strength on a row machine.  You engage a lot more of your upper body. There is much less stress on the joints. It Is A Very beneficial Form Of cardiovascular training. It can also be used as resistance if the resistance is set according. If you’re going to be consistent then I would definitely get one. If its going to be another piece of machinery to hang laundry on then i wouldn’t get one, or find a gym that has one. I know myself I wouldn’t get one but that’s just because I’d rather buy myself a barbell set or one of the training boxes. But if your looking for a good muscular and cardiovascular workout a rowing machine will do the trick.

Collin Gorham, Professor of wrestling in Goiania, brazil

Develops lean muscle, in your back especially. I prefer rowing to running any day.

Karandeep Malik, I am a rising tide 🙂

I would also suggest you to save your money. If you are so very keen on rowing exercise, you can arrange for dumbbells and do one arm dumbbell row. That also has somewhat similar impact

Mark Colaci, Humble contestant in a game called Life.

Endurance and cardio exercises won’t cause hypertrophy, the same way as doing heavy weight sets of 8-12 reps per set.


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Jackson Arokiaraj, Fitness Freak, UFO abductee!!



Yes rowing exercises help u gain muscles but the actual impact of muscle gain is achieved with dumbbells and barbells,

Btw Running improves your stamina not your muscles!!!..

CrossFit Rowing Video

CrossFit Rowing Coach Shane Farmer gives everyone some tips and drills to perfect their stroke as the CrossFit Games progress. Don’t get left behind in the games when a coach like Shane is handing out great info like this!

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