DOMYOS 100 rowing machine

Which muscles does a rowing machine work?

Rowing is an all-around workout that engages nearly 90% of the body! But what muscles does it work exactly? Read more to find out.


The rowing machine is a piece of fitness equipment that has its origins in rowing. It was designed by rowers looking to continue training during winter.

Thinking of picking up rowing? This machine is definitely one of the best ways to get a great workout in. It offers a near-complete workout, engaging nearly 90% of your body.

Discover the wonders of a rowing machine – more precisely, the muscles that a rowing machine works out!

DOMYOS 500 rowing machine

Bulking up your body from top to toe

There is nothing like a rowing machine for bulking up and toning the whole of your body. Rowing works muscles in the upper and lower parts of the body, right throughout your training session.

There'll barely be much rest with a rowing machine! Unlike the cross trainer, you won't have the chance to rest your arms. But then again, that's why you started working out on a rowing machine in the first place, isn't it?

Let's take a closer look at the muscles that a rower will work out.


1. Strengthens your abdominal wall

In any sport and even in everyday life, the abdominals play a vital role in helping you keep your balance. They help you maintain your posture to avoid suffering injury.

The abdominals comprise several parts. Unlike workout staples such as the crunch, which only works the rectus abdominis, the rowing machine also works out different muscles in the abdominal wall, such as the pecs, abs, and obliques.

Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, the abdominals do a lot to support the body and it is crucial to take care of them to protect against chronic pain.


2. Upper body muscles

The back, shoulders, arms and forearms are all covered.

The movement you make in drawing the handle towards you results in all the muscles in your back contracting:

1. The large dorsal muscle
It is the largest muscle in the back. It partially covers the trapezius muscles and extends to the mid-lower section of the back.

2. The trapezius
They are in charge of stabilizing and controlling the movements of the neck and shoulder blades.

3. The Rhomboids
They are between the spine and the shoulder blades and support the traps when the shoulders are back.


Similarly, the arms are called on when drawing the handle towards you and when taking it back to the starting point. In the process, the following muscles will contract:

4. The Deltoids
When you release the handles: they are located in the shoulders and are essential for performing the stroke.

5. The Triceps
Especially when you begin to relax your shoulders and straighten your arms.

6. The Biceps
They are located between the shoulder and the elbow and contract when you bend your arms in your direction.

DOMYOS 120 rowing machine

3. Lower body muscles

When you watch someone row you can see how hard the arms are made to work. The legs are not spared either though.

They provide support when it comes to drawing the handle back and returning it to the start position. They support the upper body.

The buttocks and legs help with your balance and gradually develop in shape. The lack of any load means you can work and tone the muscles in them without them bulking up.

Rowing calls on the whole leg:


1. The Glutes
They are put to use when you perform a stroke.

2. The Hamstrings
They are at the back of the thighs and put out a lot of energy when your knees are bent and you return to the basic position.

3. The Quadriceps
These are the largest muscles in the lower body. They are stressed during the rowing movement, especially when you push your body backwards.


4. Working your heart

The rowing machine also gives your heart a good workout. It's a piece of fitness equipment that fits firmly into the “cardio” category. It draws on the cardiovascular system.

When you row your heart rate and body temperature both increase, making you sweat. As with all cardio activities, you will burn a large number of calories during your session.

Rowing boosts stamina, leading to improved performance in sports requiring intense effort and bursts of speed, such as football, rugby, tennis and other demanding sports such as running, surfing and sailing.

It will also improve your breathing (respiratory capacity) and your heart (cardiovascular capacity).

DOMYOS 500 rowing machine

The rowing machine will help strengthen your back, firm up your arms, tone your legs and develop your abdominal wall. 

On top of all that, the stamina work will improve your breathing and your heart rate. And all that on just one piece of equipment.

Get going with one today!


Similar articles:

DOMYOS 100 rowing machine

How to Use My Rowing Machine Most Efficiently?

Using a rowing machine is one of the best ways for a great upper and lower body workout. How to make the most out of your session? Find out more.

domyos rower 500

3 Rowing Machine Programmes for A Full Body Workout

Are you a long-time fan or new to rowing and want to add a few strength training exercises to your routine? We've got just the programme!


4-Week Rowing Machine Weight Loss Programme

Are you new to fitness and wanting to get in shape and lose a few pounds? How about giving the rowing machine a try?