At Total Row, we truly believe rowing is the major fitness component missing from your routine! Rowing has been termed the “perfect exercise” for good reason. We’ll start out with a few rowing facts: (1) Rowing is a complete cardio workout, improving your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds; (2) Rowing utilizes nearly every major muscle group in your body, 9 out of 11 to be exact; and (3) Rowing torches calories, allowing many people to burn up to 900 CALORIES AN HOUR from rowing alone. As a bonus, you get all 3 of these benefits with little to no impact to your body.
Let’s break it down:
Within the vast world of “cardio” workouts (exercises specifically intended to increase your heart rate), there are two words to familiarize yourself with – Aerobic (using free oxygen) and Anaerobic (the absence of free oxygen).
An aerobic exercise is one that stimulates the heart rate and breathing cadence so that the work is sustainable for an extended period (think slow jogging or cycling). Aerobic exercise is great for improving overall physical fitness and has also been proven to better mental and emotional wellbeing (like fighting depression and anxiety). Aerobic exercises have been proven to strengthen your heart, lower your cholesterol, improve immune functions, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Anaerobic exercise consists of work that is short-lasting, high-intensity, and requires oxygen at a rate that is not sustainable (think sprinting). The benefits of anaerobic exercise include increased fat loss and continued calorie burn at rest.
The most successful training plans will use a base of aerobic work to develop general fitness and mental health, with anaerobic bursts used to ignite fat loss and build a deeper strength. In our classes at Total Row, we balance steady-state cardio and longer tempo work (aerobic training), with high-intensity interval training (HITT) that will send your heart rate and calorie burn soaring.
Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulders, triceps, back, and biceps; these are all the major muscle groups used in a single rowing stroke. In terms of effectiveness per repetition, rowing is about as good as it gets. Not only does rowing demand effort from nearly every muscle in your body, but the breakdown of the work mimics many movements we use every day; 60% of the power is generated by your legs, 20% by your core, and the final 20% from your arms and upper back.
A calorie is simply a unit of energy. For your body to function, it needs energy (i.e. it needs calories to “burn”). Depending on what you’re doing and the intensity with which you’re doing it, your body will use a different number of calories. So, if your goal is to lose weight, you need to expend more calories than you consume (Note: There are many factors to losing body fat/gaining lean mass, and this is a simplified example).
Aside from your body’s basic functions, there are two simple ways to “burn” a calorie: through cardio workouts and through strength training. The beauty of rowing is that by combining intense cardio with full body strength training, you compound the effects, generating a substantial increase in calorie burn per unit of time. Because rowing targets 9 out of 11 muscle groups on each stroke, and calories (units of energy) are spent each time a muscle contracts, a single rowing stroke is a superior calorie-burner to more isolated strength training, like the bench press or squats. By utilizing both intense cardio + strength training simultaneously, you compound the effects of doing each individually, resulting in a major calorie burn!
This is the what makes indoor rowing such a special exercise. Not only is it highly effective, but it’s available to almost anyone! Whether you are recovering from injury, are pregnant, have bad knees from running, or need cross-training for another sport, rowing has you covered.
At Total Row, you will have access to fun, high-quality classes on world-class equipment, taught by some of the best instructors in the Atlanta area. We are excited to share the numerous benefits rowing offers, and we hope to see you in one of our classes soon! We offer a free week so you can fully experience our different class types: TR 45 (50% rowing + 50% strength exercises), TR Circuit (8 rounds of 6 stations), and Row 45/Row 30 (100% rowing). You can go online to sign up for your free week!
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