How Long Should I Row For? (Weight Loss & Muscle Building)

Rowing machines are designed to simulate the movement and feel of rowing in a boat. Rowing is much lower impact than running and burns around the same amount of calories. These excellent exercise machines can be found in all reputable commercial gyms and some home gyms. 

Using a rowing machine regularly could see you losing weight and becoming shredded with a safe and well-fueled routine. Wondering ‘how long I should row for?’ We have plenty of tips down below.

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  • Your Workout Goals  
    Having a concrete goal written down is key. By determining what your end goal is, you can work backward and find out how much and often you need to row each week to reach it. 
  • Your Possible Pace  
    Your possible pace, in this instance, is your stamina and desired strokes per minute. If you want an intense workout with a high number of strokes per minute, your sessions will be smaller and vice versa. 
  • Number of Calories You Want To Burn  
    By knowing how much you want to burn per session or week, you can work out how intense and long a workout session needs to be. Your rowing machine should have a tracker on its monitor to help you keep track. 
  • Kind Of Cardiovascular Benefit You Want  
    If you would prefer to focus on the anaerobic benefits of working out, you will want quick and fast workouts that shred calories and fat. For aerobic or steady-state workout benefits, longer rowing sessions at the same pace would be better. We recommend using a mixture of both to fully realize the benefits of rowing.
  • Time Frame Of Your Goals  
    When you know your end goal, you will most likely have a deadline in mind. Knowing a time frame for achieving your goal also decides how much rowing you do per week and how long each session should be. 
Man in Black Exercising with a Rowing Machine

How Long Should I Row For? (Different Fitness Goals Compared)

Rowing For Weight loss 

Wondering how long should I row for weight loss? That depends on your weight loss goal and desired time frame. For example, someone who wants to lose 16 pounds in two months may need to row for 30-60 minutes per day.

However, extending the deadline to four months turns that into 15-30 minutes per day. Consider your schedule and starting fitness carefully to see if your weight loss goal is realistic for you. We also recommend eating and resting well to support your lifestyle change. 

Rowing To Build Muscle 

How long should I row to build muscle? We recommend using a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises in your regular rowing routine. It is also best to supplement your training routine with weight training to see muscle gains.

For lean muscle, using HIIT training and sprints along with a healthy diet and rest can bring excellent results. You may want to consider adding a few rounds of push-ups, sit-ups, and kettlebell rows to your everyday routine, as well

A rowing machine utilizes more muscle groups than running on a treadmill, so you will likely see better results for muscle building.

Rowing To Burn Calories 

Many people who wonder how long should I row on a rowing machine also want to know how many calories can be burned on a rower. Consider carefully how many calories you want to burn each session and how much time you have for each session. 

HIIT and endurance training are both good ways to burn a lot of calories in a single workout. If you are struggling, it is possible to follow a pre-set workout on the machine itself, or one found online.

Rowing for Anaerobic Conditioning 

Anaerobic conditioning involves training at a higher intensity for a shorter period. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, involves rowing as fast as you can for a set time and then rowing slowly to recover for the same amount of time.

Performing sprints and HIIT shred calories and fat and can be more efficient in terms of time. This style of training is not recommended every day, but mixing it with aerobic activity can bring excellent results. 

Rowing for Aerobic Conditioning 

Aerobic training, or steady-state training, is a much longer and consistent style of training than anaerobic conditioning. With this type, you work out at a consistent pace and resistance level for anywhere from 30-90 minutes. 

Some people consider this style a meditative and therapeutic way of training on the rowing machine while burning many calories and digitally going long distances. 

person using a concept2 model d rowing machine

How Much Weight Will You Lose If You Row Every Day?

How much weight you lose when rowing each day will depend on a variety of factors, including: 

  • Your starting weight 
  • Your starting fitness 
  • The consistency of your routine 
  • How intense the workouts are 
  • Your diet while training 

To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit in your daily routine; in other words, burn more calories than you take in. This can be achieved through a healthy diet, regular workouts, and plenty of restIf you are unsure where to start, we recommend consulting with your doctor and certified fitness professional. 

In losing weight, consistency and effort are essential. If you eat healthily, create a calorie deficit, stay hydrated, and work hard in training, you should see results. 

Workout Time 


Calories Per Session 






600 - 900 


900 - 1800 

Seeing Results – How Long Does It Take? 

Many people wonder, with rowing machines, how long it takes to see results? However, the timeline will vary depending on your goal and what your training schedule is like. It is easy to lose motivation if it seems as though you are getting nowhere.

One way to help stay on track is to take a picture of yourself in the same mirror at the same time each morning before eating – you will surely see a difference after a few weeks when comparing the photos. Getting proper rest, fuel, and consistent training will all bear fruit; just be patient and kind to yourself. 

woman wearing black sports bra

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Does rowing tone your arms? 

Rowing is a whole-body workout and can indeed tone your arms. The act of pulling the handlebars towards you and pushing back and forth will help tone your arms over time. 

Does rowing burn belly fat? 

Rowing can burn belly fat effectively alongside a healthy diet and consistent training. Be wary of what you eat, and make sure to use proper form while exercising to see results. 

Should you eat before rowing? 

Eating a nutritious meal with plenty of fuel 2-4 hours before rowing is an excellent way to keep your energy levels up and prepare your body. A small snack 1-2 hours beforehand is okay as well.  

What should I eat after rowing? 

There are a variety of ways to refuel after a rowing workout, including sports drinks, cereal bars, fruit, sandwiches, and more. It is recommended to have a proper meal 2-4 hours after a rowing workout. 


Rowing can be a fun and efficient way to work out at home or the gym. How long you're on a rowing machine will depend on your goals as well as other factors. By pacing yourself and being consistent, you can see significant improvement in your overall health and wellbeing. 

Last Updated on January 19, 2023

Paul J

Paul J

Paul J is is an ex-professional footballer who has seen a gym or two and is an expert at knowing what is required for home gym setups. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually going for a run in the park or out for coffee.