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Work your core and more while burning calories.
Rowers are possibly the most efficient exercise machines available; they give you a full-body workout while burning significant calories. However, because they involve multiple movements, rowing machines are also the most likely to be used incorrectly. As with any cardio machine - machines that increase heart rate and respiration - the best way to burn calories is to "up" the intensity and time you spend.
Row, Row, Row
Rowing machines come in two varieties: with bars that simulate ores or a cable and hand attachment you pull back. In either case, you'll sit at the forward part of the machine with your feet placed on footpads and your knees fully bent. With your arms extended, grab the handle or bars and lean your torso toward your thighs at the one O'clock position. Keep your arms extended as you push with your legs until they are almost straight without locking your knees. At this point, lean your upper body back to an 11 O'clock position. Follow that by pulling your hands toward your ribcage while keeping your elbows as close in as possible. For the return, do everything in reverse order. Always remember to lean forward with your arms extended at the end of the move.
Feel the Burn
According to Harvard Health Publications, rowing at a moderate pace for 30 minutes burns about 210 calories for a 125-pound individual and 311 calories for a 185-pound individual. For vigorous rowing, those numbers are 255 and 377, respectively. Using the calories burned calculator available on ExRx.net, 30 minutes of "extreme" rowing would burn almost 50 more calories for someone at 125 pounds and more than 70 additional calories for someone at 185 pounds. So, obviously, the best way to burn calories on a rowing machine is to engage in extreme rowing, but that is easier said than done.
Go By the Numbers
If you've ever used a rowing machine, you know that it just feels harder than cardio machines that use mostly leg work. For this reason, CrossFit coach Becca Borawski notes that many people ignore the readouts that would give them an idea of their intensity. She explains that your stroke rate is the number of times you go through all the motions of rowing, while your split time measures the force of each stroke. A higher stroke rate gives you more of a cardio - or calorie-burning - workout, while a lower stroke rate will involve more muscle.
Weight Loss Guidelines
Because rowing involves the entire body, it is much more taxing than other cardio. Therefore, if you want to last for the 30 to 50 minutes Concept2 recommends for weight loss, your maximum stroke rate should be no more than 20 to 30 strokes per minute. As with other cardio, you can also try intervals: doing a moderate pace of less than 20 strokes, then every five minutes doing 20 to 30 strokes for one minute.