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A rowing machine is one of the best tools you can use to get into the best shape of your life. A rowing machine has been proven to be one of the most effective types of workout equipment for those looking to lose weight and put on muscle. One of the main reasons for this has to do with a rowing machine involving both your lower and upper body [1].

Because of this, it can be seen as a total body workout that will deliver excellent results. One of the main questions people have when they are looking to get into rowing is how long they need to use it.

While there is no easy answer to this question, there are certain things that you can use to figure out your right answer.

How Long Should You Use A Rowing Machine?

a man working out on a rowing machine

1. What Are Your Fitness Goals?

This is perhaps the most important question you need to answer to get to the bottom of this. Figuring out how long you should use a rowing machine is all about knowing where the finish line is.

You need to figure out what your intended fitness goals are to come up with the right fitness plan. Doing some reverse engineering is the best way to approach anything fitness-related. You figure out what your fitness goals are and then you figure out what you need to do to accomplish them.

If your goal is to put on lean muscle, your fitness plan is going to look decisively different than someone that is only looking to lose weight.

2. Will You Be Dieting At The Same Time?

Another often overlooked thing that you have to consider when you are coming up with your exercise plan is whether or not you will be dieting simultaneously.

The healthier you are eating, the less work you’ll need to put in the gym. If you are going to be starting a rowing program without addressing diet, you will find that you have to put a lot more work in to compensate. No matter what your fitness goals are, you need to start with your diet.

The more effort you put into optimizing what you put in your body, the better your results will be. A lot of what you do will be based on how many calories you are consuming regularly.

If you are consuming fewer calories, you’ll need to burn fewer calories throughout your workouts.

3. Are You Rowing For Heart Health?

Maybe you don’t have a specific fitness goal you are looking to achieve. Maybe, you are getting into rowing for its cardiovascular benefits. If this is the case, you’re going to want to closely monitor your heart rate.

Keeping your heart rate up throughout your rowing workouts is crucial to building up your cardiovascular health.

4. Do You Want To Build Strength?

If you are looking to put on more muscle and build strength with your workouts, you’re going to want to stick to shorter and faster-paced workouts. This can be a good way to build up your fast-twitch muscle fibers.

If you’ve ever seen long-distance runners, you will likely notice they are rather slim. You’ll find many of them don’t have large muscles at all. This is because their muscles experience atrophy and their long-distance running forces them to lose valuable calories and other vital nutrients that they need to pack on muscle.

Thus, you can avoid this by sticking to shorter and faster-paced rowing workouts. It would be ideal to keep your rowing workouts anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes in duration for strength training.

This can help you get in a fast-paced workout that will allow you to build muscle.

5. Are You Solely Looking To Improve Conditioning?

If your goal is not to build strength but to improve your conditioning, you will want to increase the duration of your workouts. Instead of getting quick bursts in during the day, you should change to getting in longer workout sessions. You want to add some time to your workouts.

Ideally, you want to get anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes for better conditioning. Instead of plowing through your workouts and working out at a feverous pace, you want to work out slower and more deliberately.

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This can improve your conditioning and allow you to consistently push yourself further and for longer every time.

6. How Quick Are You Looking To See Results?

Not only do you need to consider what the finish line looks like, but you need to know when you expect to cross the finish line. Knowing when you want to reach your end goal is crucial to know how to schedule and coordinate your workouts.

After all, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds in a year, you’re going to have a very different daily workout plan than someone that has the same goal in half the time. Because of this, you need to factor in your time frame for achieving your goals before you even begin.

This can give you plenty of information to build a road map towards achieving it.

7. When Are You Going To Be Working Out?

One of the most important things to consider when it comes to getting any type of exercise into your daily life is consistency. At the end of the day, all that matters is consistency. You won’t achieve the fitness goals that you want if you aren’t consistent with your workouts.

Because of this, you need to factor in when you will be working out. This can make a big difference for a lot of people.

Some people may not have a full hour to put into a rowing machine. Whereas, some people may have plenty of time for slower-paced workouts. Figure out how much time you have and when you will be working out. This can give you enough information you need to figure out the right schedule and level of intensity to utilize.

If you’re planning on working out very late at night, you won’t want to work out with such intensity that it will negatively impact your sleep.

Whereas, if you are working out in the morning, that won’t be an issue for you.

8. Follow Programs

One of the best things you can do when you are trying to figure out how long to row is to follow professional programs. Find a program that you like and stick to it.

As mentioned previously, consistency is everything. The most important thing is maintaining the consistency that is needed to get the results you are seeking. You can find a lot of fitness programs specially designed to deliver the results you want.

There are some rowers have have built in guide workouts or even gaming platforms that can help guide you on your fitness journey. Hydrow and Ergatta are two great options for guided rowing workouts.

So, How Long Should You Row?

As you can tell, there is no easy answer to this question. There is no answer at all.

The only way to figure out how long you should work out on a rowing machine is to figure out the answers to all of the questions posed above. Once you figure out your fitness goals, you can reverse engineer the right approach. Until you have your goals in place, you won’t have nearly enough information to get an answer.

Once you figure out your goals and the timeline you have to work with, you can come up with a good strategy to leverage. Following a professional rowing program can pay off for those that don’t want to do it themselves. The most important thing is to find a routine that works for you.

Find something that doesn’t discourage you from working out daily. The less of an annoyance and a disturbance you make your rowing sessions, the more likely you are to continue with them.