Rowing burns serious calories without putting added stress on your joints. It allows you to control the movement and pace and is a great exercise for active recovery. It’s sometimes recommended as an exercise option for people with early stages of osteoarthritis.
It’s a common misconception that rowing works only your arms. In reality, rowing is a full-body workout.
According to the American Fitness Professionals Association, the rowing stroke consists of 65–75% leg work and 25–35% upper body work (1).
The major muscle groups it targets are your:
Rowing is also known to strengthen your upper body muscles, including your:
- abdominal muscles
Your leg muscles are primarily engaged during the drive part of the stroke, or when pushing off the foot stretcher.