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Is a Rowing Machine a Good Workout?

The Calorie-Torching Gym Workout You Need to Stop Avoiding

When you arrive at the gym during peak hours, it can feel impossible to nab a spot on your favorite elliptical or treadmill: instead you spend half an hour standing and waiting before you're even able to start your workout. But while you're standing around waiting, your secret workout weapon is ready for you — you just don't know it yet.

If you've ever looked at the unloved rowing machine (also known as an ergometer) sitting in the corner, it's time to give the machine a second glance. Armed with the facts and know-how, this simple piece of equipment is a great tool to add to your exercise arsenal. If you're still not swayed that rowing is for anyone but a serious Ivy League crew team, here are five reasons to try out an erg workout tomorrow.

1. It burns serious calories: If you're working to lose weight, a 30-minute rowing session is a great way to add variation to your routine. This cardio workout allows a 130-pound woman to torch 115 calories in 15 minutes, similar to what you would burn on an indoor bicycle or elliptical.

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2. It's a full-body workout: While it may seem that rowing only engages your arms, it's actually a great cardio workout that incorporates your entire body, including your stomach (can you say six-pack abs?). Make sure you are using the correct form, and you'll be targeting nine muscle groups, including ones that don't get the same love from other cardio exercises.

3. It's low impact: While high-intensity workouts like running can leave you feeling beat up afterward, an erging session burns calories without the same risk of injury. Jump on the rowing machine, and prepare for a tough workout that will leave you feeling great afterward.

4. It is straightforward: If you're afraid that a rowing workout will get monotonous or boring, it's time to reconsider. An interval workout is a great way to stay challenged on the machine, plus it is a great way to boost fat burn during your sweat session.

5. The machine is always open: Since many people don't have a basic education on the right way to use a rowing machine, it often sits unused at the gym. Instead of waiting around for a bike or elliptical, jump on the ergometer, and get your workout finished even faster.

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