This 20-Minute Rowing Machine Workout Will Get You Sweating In Seconds

If you're searching for rowing machine workouts but have no idea where to start, this 20-minute routine is the perfect place to begin.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Photo: Westend61/Getty

If you usually stick to the treadmill or elliptical for your quick and dirty cardio sessions, you're probably well aware of the fact that they're the most in-demand pieces of equipment at a busy gym. But instead of giving up on getting a sweat in, head for the rowing machine that's typically relegated to the back corner. Note to gyms: The rower deserves so much more cred and space than you're giving it. (BTW, the stair climber is also an underrated piece of workout equipment.)

If you've never used a rower before and think it's just an upper-body workout, you're totally wrong. Rowing machine workouts offer a full-body burn from shoulders to calves. Plus, you don't have to have been on a collegiate crew team to do rowing exercises — this beginner-friendly rowing machine workout will take you from rookie to pro in minutes. And it's pretty much guaranteed to get your heart pumping since it was crafted by Anna Cummins, an Olympic rowing gold medalist.

Simply set the damper (a device on the side of the flywheel that controls the drag) between 3 and 5, choose pace mode, and row, aiming for the recommended speeds throughout this rowing machine workout. And be sure to take note of the form tips below.

After 9 minutes, stand up and stretch those hard-worked muscles — or, for an added challenge, do walking lunges for an active shake-out following the first half of the routine. Then sit back down on the rower for the second half of your session. You'll have an awesome workout checked off your to-do list while everyone else will still be waiting for a treadmill to open up. (

20-Minute Full-Body Rowing Machine Workout

rowing workout plan
rowing workout.

Rowing Exercise Form Tips

Follow these pointers to avoid injury while on the rower and maximize results from your rowing machine workouts.


A. Place feet in the stirrups. Strap height should hit roughly at ball of foot.

B. Hinge at hips and bend knees so they're directly over ankles.

C. Take a light grip around the handle and keep wrists straight.

D. Extend arms long in front of body, keeping shoulders down and back. Don't hunch.

E. Hinge forward from hips and bend knees until they're over ankles.


F. Push through feet and extend legs long without locking out knees. Avoid pressing through only toes or heels — aim for entire bottom of foot.

G. Lean back slightly with core engaged, shoulders relaxed.

H. Draw elbows back without lifting handle so it comes just below chest or at top of ribcage.

I. To prepare for next stroke, straighten arms first before bringing chest and knees in.

Now that you know how to row and have a rowing machine workout to get you started, you might consider buying one for yourself. Here are a few that your home gym is begging you to buy. (See also: The Best Home Rowing Machines, According to Customer Reviews)

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles