It’s hard to find a cardio machine that works your body harder than an indoor rower. It requires equal effort from your upper and lower body, extreme cardiovascular fitness, and ridiculous muscular endurance to blast out rep after rep. Plus, since it’s a non-weight-bearing piece of equipment and you are using your entire body, targeted muscle-soreness won’t be an issue. In fact, you can expect an all-over burn.

And it’s great for fat loss, too. A 185-pound guy can burn 377 calories by rowing vigorously for only 30 minutes, report researchers at Harvard University. But it’s not just great for a quick cardio burst. You can target specific muscle groups and use the rower as a universal sculpting machine with the exercises in our new series. 

Get ready to make the rower your new favorite workout machine. Rowers use 80 percent of your muscles with every stroke to burn 540 calories per hour with minimum impact. Plus you can’t cheat like with spinning, ellipticals or treadmills. There’s no resistance knob, no cruise control and no handles to hold onto when you get tired.

Take on the following our following body sculpting series. First up – core work; starting with core work will allow faster and better movement for the rest of your workout. Complete the following workout below and see the results that follow.

Rowing Core Workout


Warm-up by rowing for 500 meters at a warm-up, steady pace that is around 50 percent of your max effort. (Master the stroke.)

Oblique Crunch


Sets/Reps: 3×10

  • Stay seated and straighten your legs.
  • Leaning back at 45 degrees, remove your left foot from strap and let it hover, place your fingertips behind your head with your elbows out to side.
  • Raise and rotate your torso to your left to bring your right elbow to meet your left knee.
  • Return to start. Switch sides. That’s one rep.

Plank Pike

Sets/Reps: 3×10

  • Start facing away from rower in plank with your palms on the floor about one foot in the front the back of rower and your feet on the seat. 
  • Pull feet in towards your hands, lifting your hips high.
  • Lower to start.

Double Plank Knee Tuck

Sets/Reps: 3×10

  • Start in a push-up position with your feet on the Rower seat, your back flat and your hands placed under your shoulders.
  • Pull both knees into your chest and fully contract your abs.
  • Push your legs back to the starting position and repeat.


  • Begin in plank position with your hands on the Rower seat and your feet on the floor.
  • Slowly roll the seat forward, stretching your body into a straight position. Go down as far as you can without touching the floor with your body. Breathe in during this portion of the movement.
  • After a second pause at the stretched position, start pulling yourself back to the starting position as you breathe out. Go slowly and keep your abs tight at all times

Elevated Climber – Burnout


Sets/Reps: 3×10

  • Start with body perpendicular to the rower in plank with your palms on the floor and your feet on the rail.
  • Pull your right knee toward your chest.
  • Return to start.
  • Row at 500 meters at 75 to 90 percent of your max heart rate.
  • Hop off rower and do same sets/reps.
  • Row another 500 meters at the same split time.