How Indoor Rowing Can Help You to Lose Weight

Updated: Jun 9

5 Ways to Optimize Your Indoor Rowing routine for Weight Loss

At Regatta, we believe in bringing purpose to your exercise and achieving long term health goals. Losing excessive weight has been medically proven to reduce risk factors across a multitude of diseases and co-morbidities. This can be achieved with exercise designed to maximize caloric burn, and indoor rowing is perhaps one of the most efficient at providing this result.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity is one of the major risk factors for severe COVID-19 cases. A high BMI is associated with a higher risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which complicates the treatment of COVID-19. (1)

Apart from that, being overweight increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which are also classified as risk factors of severe illness.

Regular exercise, on the other hand, seems to be beneficial in reducing the risk of complications in people with COVID-19. According to research conducted by Professor Zhen Yan at the University of Virginia, exercise releases an antioxidant called extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD), which can help to prevent or reduce the severeness of COVID-19 cases.

When it comes to weight loss, indoor rowing offers one of the most effective cardiovascular workouts.

The following post will help you to understand why indoor rowing is one of the most efficient exercises for weight loss and how to optimize your training routine for optimal results.

How can indoor rowing help you lose weight?

  • Indoor rowing activates all major muscle groups including the legs, the core, the back, the arms, and the shoulders. This makes indoor rowing superior to cycling or running, which mainly works the muscles of the lower extremities. The more muscle groups you use during a workout, the more calories you burn.

  • The fact that you use large muscle groups will also help you to burn fat AFTER your workout. Exercise causes micro-tears within the muscle. During the recovery process, the body requires energy (aka calories) to repair these tears. This is also known as the afterburn effect of exercise.

  • Indoor rowing does not only work out the cardiovascular system, but it also helps you to build muscle mass. Lean body mass burns more calories at rest than fat mass. A pound of muscle burns around 6 calories per hour, while a pound of fat only burns approximately 1–2. That's why indoor rowing helps to boost your metabolism.

How can you optimize your indoor rowing workouts to lose weight?

#1 Try to work out in the morning

Morning workouts kickstart your metabolism. To further optimize your weight loss results, you can try to do your indoor rowing sessions in a fasted state. When you are fasting, your glucose levels are low, and your body has to use fat for fuel.

#2 Have a cup of coffee before you exercise

Drinking coffee can help to improve athletic performance. According to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, consuming 1–2 hours before working out can help you to work out longer and harder. This will allow you to burn more calories during your indoor rowing session.

Apart from that, coffee helps you to boost your metabolism naturally. A study published in the American Journal of Nutrition showed that the consumption of 100 mg caffeine increased the resting metabolic rate by 3–4% for up to 150 min.

#3 HIIT it hard

According to research, HIIT sessions result in a significantly higher reduction of subcutaneous fat than traditional cardio training. One reason for this is that HIIT workouts typically burn more calories than steady-state cardio.

Besides, HIIT workouts can help you to increase your EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). EPOC raises your metabolism up to 24 hours after you have finished your training session.

Click HERE to learn more about the health benefits of HIIT.

#4 Optimize your post-workout meal

The macronutrients you consume after your workout have a significant effect on your weight loss progress. For example, eating a meal high in protein after finishing your workout will help you to optimize muscle growth and improve the recovery process.

Apart from that, protein will help to feel full faster and thus avoid overeating after a strenuous workout.

Last but not least protein increases your post-meal metabolism as your body needs more energy to digest protein than fat or carbohydrates.

# 5 Switch up your workout routine regularly

If you do the same exercise with the same intensity over and over again, your body becomes very efficient at it. This might sound positive but can it impact your metabolism negatively. Why? If your body works too efficiently, you burn fewer calories.

Apart from that, excessive cardio can burn muscles and reduce muscle mass. During intense cardio workouts that last 90 minutes or longer, the body might start to burn muscles for energy, which is the opposite of what you want when you're trying to lose weight.

Keeping your body guessing by changing exercise intensity, volume, etc. frequently will help to avoid this. Plus, adding bodyweight exercises or yoga to your indoor rowing routine can help to target different muscle groups and thus increase your metabolism.

Click HERE to learn why Yoga and Indoor rowing are a great exercise combo.

For more information and sample workouts, please also refer to this article by Concept2.

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*A word of warning: if you're suffering from any chronic or acute condition, please discuss with your physician if indoor rowing is a safe exercise for you.


(1) Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)