Rowing Machine Vs Treadmill – Which Is Better for Home Use?

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Last Updated on October 21, 2022 by admin

There is a lot more to working out than simply going for a run or lifting weights. Most modern gyms are packed with many training tools, machines, and equipment. This gives gym-goers plenty of options to choose from for just about every type of workout they could ever want.

These training tools and pieces of equipment are all geared toward helping people work out more efficiently. It doesn’t matter if the aim is to build muscle, lose weight, or simply become a fitter version of yourself; the necessary tools to help you smash your fitness goals are readily available.

That being said, two machines have become quite popular when it comes to working out. They are the rowing machine and the treadmill.

And while both machines can offer a great workout, it can be a bit difficult to decide which one is better for home use. This is especially the case if you have a specific fitness goal in mind and you’re trying to work out at home.

This article will show you the various advantages and disadvantages of both exercise machines, as well as how effective they are at helping you achieve certain fitness goals.

The Rowing Machine

Rowing machines are designed to mimic the action of rowing a boat to propel it forward. Typically, you sit in the sliding seat and then grasp the bar (which represents the oar).

Working out in a rowing machine involves two movements: the first is using your legs to push back from the machine. The second movement involves pulling the bar in front of you until it touches your stomach. The position is then reversed until you get back to the starting position.

Compared to treadmills, rowing machines can be a lot more complex to start with. That’s usually because it can be a bit tricky to get the right form from the beginning.

The rowing machine can be set to different resistance levels using a damper. Choosing a high damper increases the resistance of the machine and makes it feel like you are rowing a heavier boat. A lower damper makes your exercise a lot easier.

The rowing machine provides a full-body workout, as the handheld bar and sliding seat ensure your entire body gets a workout if your form is correct. Every stroke requires your hamstrings, calves, quads, abs, and glutes.

Your upper body muscles such as your pecs, obliques, triceps, biceps, upper back, lats, and deltoids are also heavily engaged. Unlike the treadmill, which works just the lower body, a rowing machine engages your entire body.

The Treadmill

Rowing Machine Vs Treadmill – Which Is Better for Home Use?

The treadmill, which is also known as the running machine, is a piece of traditional workout equipment seen at nearly every gym.

Running on a treadmill is not the same as jogging around your neighborhood, even though they both offer an avenue to work out. When you run outside, you have to contend with many external influences such as people, obstacles, traffic, and the weather. With a treadmill, all of those distractions are removed, so you can solely focus on your workout regimen.

A treadmill allows you to adjust the incline and speed of your run to offer the perfect level of endurance. You can choose to take a gentle stroll or simply run flat out at the highest speed; it is all up to you.

Nevertheless, one of the limitations of using a treadmill is that the effects are mostly targeted at your lower body. The primary muscle groups used when working out on a treadmill are the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quadriceps.

The muscles in the upper body don’t get direct activation as there is only a slight strain on your arm, pectorals, shoulders, and back muscles.

One way to counteract this is to carry weights while on the treadmill. However, this still doesn’t change the fact that working out on the treadmill is primarily for your lower body.

By their design, treadmills are very accessible. You can find treadmills equipped with handrails, allowing you to start your workout at a careful slow speed. This can be a massive advantage for fitness newbies as it lets them start working out regardless of ability.

Rowing Machine vs Treadmill: Which is Better for Weight Loss?

One of the major reasons people work out is to lose weight, so figuring out which exercise machine performs best in this category is important.

Oftentimes, weight loss is simply reduced to the number of calories burnt. However, there are quite a lot of factors that can influence an individual’s weight loss journey.

When it comes to weight loss, the go-to activity has long been running on a treadmill, and for good reason. It is highly effective!

Studies have shown that you can burn a lot more calories per hour on a treadmill compared to a rowing machine.

However, fat loss is an entirely different matter. Using a rowing machine can help you build up a lot more muscle compared to a treadmill, and muscle tends to burn a lot more calories.

Since muscle weighs a lot more than fat, most people tend to not see too much of a difference when they weigh themselves. But your overall fitness will benefit a lot from using a rowing machine, thanks to the extra muscle mass.

Rowing machines and treadmills are both great choices for weight loss since they are great for cardio (more on that later). Most people tend to believe that the treadmill offers a better opportunity to lose weight, considering they are bound to see a drop in their overall weight.

However, the rowing machine is the better weight loss choice since it leads to more stable weight loss over a long period.

One of the best ways to lose weight is to build muscle at the same time you are engaging in cardio. It also helps the weight stay off. 

If you simply want to lose fat, then the treadmill is the option to go with. But if you plan to burn fat, improve your overall fitness, and build muscle, the rowing machine presents as the better choice.

Rowing Machine vs Treadmill: Which is Better for Cardio?

Apart from being a muscle workout, a rowing machine workout can be considered a high-intensity exercise. What this means is that it is wonderful for fat burn, cardio, and general fitness. By simply looking at what the two exercise machines offer, you can tell that the rowing machine offers better full-body activation.

That being said, there are other elements you need to consider before deciding on either workout machine when it comes to cardio exercises.

Both rowing machines and treadmills offer high-intensity cardio workouts. But when it comes to choosing the best cardio exercise, running is always top of the list. This is why it is safe to say that treadmills are generally better for cardio.

However, when you examine the exercise a bit closer, especially after the workout is over, the rowing machine potentially keeps the heart rate elevated for extended periods.

Keep in mind that effective cardio workouts depend on the intensity of the exercise. Both exercise machines can alter their resistance and provide the option to elevate your heart rate into the cardio zone.

A rowing machine might take a bit longer to get you to the cardio zone. On the other hand, the treadmill lets you simply jump on and begin your workout. In short, when it comes to cardio, treadmills are better than rowing machines. But do not discount rowing machines as they can offer excellent cardio potential.

Rowing machine vs Treadmill: Which is Better Overall?

Rowing Machine Vs Treadmill – Which Is Better for Home Use?

Taking into account all the factors we’ve covered so far in this article, which exercise equipment is best for you?

Rowing machines and treadmills are both great exercise equipment that increases the heart rate and burns fat. The machine you choose for your home gym typically depends on your goals.

If your goal is primarily to lose weight, then the treadmill is usually the most effective option to help you smash this goal.

But if you want to promote all-around fitness, then the rowing machine presents as a better option. Exercises on the rowing machine are low-impact, meaning just about anyone can engage in it, without concerns of strain or pain on the joints.

The rowing machine works several muscle groups, which ensures you get as close to a full-body workout as possible. On the other hand, the treadmill focuses on the lower body muscles, making for a less balanced workout.

The major concern associated with using a rowing machine is the required learning curve, particularly when it comes to executing the correct form. Usually, a treadmill doesn’t have a steep learning curve. Just about anyone can simply get on it and begin running.

A rowing machine also requires you to start your workout slowly. That means it doesn’t burn as many calories. A treadmill lets you go as fast or as slow as you want right from the start of the workout.