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 body sculpting series. Now that we’ve conquered core work, sculpt and tone your lower body with the moves below.

Rowing Lower Body 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.)

Reverse Lunge

Sets/Reps: 3×15

  • Stand about one foot from the back of the rower; facing away from the machine.
  • Place your left foot on the seat to start.
  • Slide your left leg back, bending your right knee into a lunge.
  • Return to start.

Single Leg Step-Up

Sets/Reps: 3×15

  • Stand with your body facing towards the side of the rower.
  • Place your foot on the rail and step your left leg into a reverse lunge to start.
  • Press up into your right food to step up onto the rower rail.
  • Bring your knee toward your chest.
  • Resturn to start.

Lateral Squat


Sets/Reps: 3×15

  • Stand behind the rower with your left foot aligned directly against the backend.
  • Place the arch of your right foot on the seat.
  • Squat, sliding your right foot to the front of the rower.
  • Return to start.

Hamstring Slide

Sets/Reps: 3×15

  • Prop your left heel up on the rower’s seat with your foot flexed.
  • Slide your leg forward by bending at your hips.
  • Return to start.