Rowing Machine Vs Treadmill – Detailed Comparison

Rowing machine vs treadmill? Many people ask this question so they can better understand what piece of equipment to use. We have this article which compares the advantages of the rowing machine and treadmill.

Rowing Machine Vs Treadmill: For Weight Loss and Cardio

These machines demonstrate two completely different methods of burning calories.
The specific cardio benefits you get will depend on how aggressively you use each device.

You will need to run at least 5 mph on the treadmill for the number of calories burned to be the same as those burned on the rowing machine.

However, once you add an incline to your treadmill program, the total calories burned will be higher even for a vigorous rowing session.

Since running is basically throwing your entire body through space over and over again, it requires some of the highest energy outputs of any physical activity.

Rowing Machine Vs Treadmill: To Gain and Tone Muscles

Unlike a treadmill, rowing machines work your entire body – upper, lower, and core.
The treadmill primarily works the leg muscles. Since you stand tall while running, you will also need to engage your core to some degree.

You will increase your strength and muscle tone in your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, but it won’t be as much as on a rowing machine.

The rowing machine works many more muscles than the treadmill. Rowing builds the muscles of the back and arms, especially the biceps, shoulders, and legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves). In terms of muscle gain, there’s no question, the rowing machine is the winner.

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Rowing Machine Vs Treadmill: Reliability

Treadmills are inherently less reliable than rowing machines because they require electricity, have large motors, and have a walking belt.

The walking belts are the surface you are running on, and they tend to wear out and need to be replaced depending on how heavy the use is.

Treadmill motors are another part that can malfunction, which is why treadmill manufacturers often don’t offer a long-term warranty on motor units.

Rowing machines, on the other hand, don’t require electricity, don’t have belts for walking, and don’t require motors. The rowing machine is a winner in terms of reliability.

Pros And Cons Of The Rowing Machine And Treadmill

Rowing Machine Pros And Cons


  • It is less expensive
  • A rower doesn’t require electricity
  • It is a low-impact activity


  • Less natural movement may take some getting used to
  • A Lot of Noise

Treadmill Pros And Cons


  • At a speed of at least 5 mph, you can burn more calories.
  • Natural, simple and familiar movement
  • Treadmill running is effective.


  • It is louder than the rowing machine
  • More massive than rowing machines
  • Higher impact means a higher risk of knee injuries.


So which exercise equipment should you choose? Treadmills and rowing machines are great devices for raising your heart rate and reaching the fat-burning zone. If weight loss is your only goal, a treadmill is probably the most effective option.

However, we prefer a full-fledged fitness boost, for which the rowing machine is a much better option. The low impact but high intensity of this exercise means that almost anyone can do it, without worrying about joint pain or strain.

A variety of muscle groups can be built with the rower, including the arms, legs, back, and core. Instead, the lower body muscles are used primarily in the treadmill, which makes the exercise less balanced.

You can add manual weights to convert running into a full-body exercise, but this will only increase the impact of each step. This high-impact exercise is very intense for most people and will likely cause joint problems.

Rowing machines are much better at combining cardio and muscle building. This increases your calorie-burning potential, as you’ll burn fat during training and throughout the day. It is a more balanced full-body exercise that is ideal for losing weight in a more controlled manner.

People Also Ask

Which is better rowing or treadmill?

In terms of calories burned, jogging on a steep incline treadmill will burn more calories than rowing on a machine.

However, for general weight loss, the rowing machine is the best option because it provides the same cardiovascular exercise as the treadmill, but it also builds more muscle.

What is better for you running or rowing?

The results have shown that rowing activates more muscle groups than running. It will work your upper and lower body, strengthen your arms, and strengthen your back.