How much rowing is too much?
In a previous post How Effective Are Rowing Machines, we discussed the benefits of rowing for weight loss, toning up and sculpting great abs. We still stand by the rowing machine as a cornerstone of an effective workout.
However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If you have fallen in love with the rowing machine and are now starting to feel a little worse for wear, read on.
Is it OK to use a rowing machine every day?
There’s nothing wrong with rowing every day. Rowing combines strength, endurance and cardio training, and is the perfect exercise to do on a regular basis. However, it will be hugely beneficial to work in other forms of exercise, weight training for example, to get the most gains in your strength and fitness.
How long should you row a day?
Rowing is a fantastic full body workout and we strongly encourage everybody to give it a go, but that is not to say that you should go crazy on it! In our last post, we discussed the calories a person can burn during a 30 minute set on a rowing machine.
There is a reason that we used 30 minutes as a guide. Rowing is a very intense exercise and, as such, you do not need to spend any longer than half an hour doing it. In fact, extending your set much beyond 30 minutes can actually cause harm.
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What happens if you row 1000 meters every day?
Youtuber Meg Yuan set herself the challenge of rowing 1000m every day, for a week. You can check out the video of her incredible feat here, and find out about the positive and negative results:
What happens when you do too much rowing
There is a point at which exercise stops being beneficial because your muscles reach a growth saturation point of what can be achieved in a single session, and your body becomes overworked and liable to injury.
One of the main benefits of a rowing machine is that it enables customisable HIIT, this type of workout gives you more bang for your buck in terms of workout effectiveness within a relatively short time frame. So be smart about your rowing session and choose power over duration.
Proper form when you are rowing is a game changer
A rowing machine is a very accessible piece of equipment because the adjustable resistance gears mean that anybody – of any fitness level – can use it. However, while anybody can do a rowing motion, not everyone can do it correctly.
Form is incredibly important when rowing because of the risk of strain and injury.
A problem with rowing machine use is that people sometimes feel the pain of improper form but write it off as being part of the burn of intense exercise or even a sign of hard work!
Moreover, pain from poor form does not tend to begin from stroke one, rather it builds up over time – and, going back to our last point, can be worsened by overuse of the rowing machine.
For more info on how to easily improve your rowing, check out our guide: How to row correctly
So – are rowing machines dangerous?
This does not mean that rowing machines are inherently dangerous, only that you should spend some time getting acquainted with rowing techniques.
There are plenty of online resources, from articles to instructional videos, that will guide you through the safest way to row.
It can also be worthwhile having a one-off session with a personal trainer to watch you row and give you tips on how to perfect your form.
Yes, this can be a bit expensive. But the health benefits that you will get from being able to safely perform this highly beneficial exercise will be more than worth it.
Moreover, proper technique will maximise the effectiveness of your training session in term of muscle growth, saving you time and injury over the long run.
Why you might not want rowing as your only exercise
In our last post, we said that the repetitive motion of rowing makes it ideal for mentally checking out while your body gets on with the work. This is why a 30-minute set is perfect for catching up with your favourite podcast.
However, there are a few things about the repetitive nature of rowing to be aware of.
- Bad form repeated = recipe for disaster – if your technique is wrong then you are going to do damage to the same area with each stroke, which will add up to a painful injury. Make sure you nail your rowing form and then you can row as much as you want.
- It gets boring – We love our rowers but that endless motion can get a little… repetitive. This can be demotivating if you are someone who likes their attention to be fully taken up by what they are doing.
- It’s not the optimal way to build your body – continuously doing the same workout is not as effective as drawing upon a variety of exercises for the purposes of muscle growth.
And that last point is one of the main reasons you might not want to row every single day, and might also work in some other exercise you like. Our bodies are very good at adjusting to stress (which is what all physical exercise essentially is) and will quickly adapt to moves.
This is not to say that rowing will not help you to reach your fitness goals, only that combining it with a range of cardio and strength exercises will make the journey more interesting and faster.
Conclusion: So, can I row every day or not?
rowing can be a fun, rewarding life-long pursuit!
None of what we have discussed in this post should be taken as trying to put you off using the rowing machine (we stand by our previous post that recommended everyone try it), we only wish to convey the danger of approaching this machine incorrectly or holding it up as the only exercise option.
Good physical health requires variety and good mental health (including commitment to your training programme) needs the same sense of spice. As with any form of training, it’s better to do it over a long period of time, rather than get burnt out after a short burst.
Enjoy your rowing, add some variation into your training – such as a dumbbell or skipping routine every few days and rowing can be a fun, rewarding life-long pursuit!
Excessive rowing: Resources and further reading
- Air rowers VS Water Rowing Machines – which one wins?
- You can grab a great free pdf on the health benefits of rowing from BritishRowing.org
- A weighty study by NCBI on the effects of indoor rowing on your body
- World rowing (pdf) – Injuries possible with over-use of rowing