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Improving Cardiac Efficiency with Indoor Rowing

rowing trend

Group rowing classes are really hot right now. Club owners are adding rowing to their HIIT classes and integrating rowing into many different parts of their offerings for a high-energy, fun and inspiring environment. It’s a relatively new trend that every club owner should consider.

We all know that regular cardiovascular exercise helps improve cardiac efficiency, but did you know that regular cardiovascular exercise on an incline is a more efficient form of performing the same exercise?

Because you are working against gravity, exercising on an incline uses more muscles that work simultaneously and so there is an increased demand for oxygen. To meet that increased demand, the heart pumps harder and moves oxygenated blood out to those working muscles. Add more reps to the mix and all these components contribute to improved cardiac efficiency, an important benchmark of overall fitness.

According to Susan Francia, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Women’s Rowing, “rowing on an incline is very versatile — you can do a full-body workout with different variations, like the side-to-side row or a bicep curl.”

She adds, “The other advantage is easy muscle group isolation — great for training while injured. You can row only using upper body and core, or you can perform squats without upper body movement. It has a very smooth motion and it’s almost like rowing on the water.”

Regular indoor rowing, for example, burns about 600 calories an hour and is a fantastic way to functionally train. Consider greater cardiac efficiency than regular rowing on a horizontal plane, by rowing against gravity in an inclined position.

If you are looking to purchase an indoor rower, here are some things you should look for:

  • can accommodate a user limit of 400lbs
  • high quality durable materials that need minimal maintenance
  • ergonomically designed to put less stress on the joints
  • adjustability feature that can accommodate all fitness levels and ages
  • has a small footprint
  • can fold away, if that is a consideration

If burning 600 plus calories an hour still doesn’t float your boat, also consider that rowing is a low impact sport and will therefore incur less injuries than those higher impact sports or activities.


Carrie Binder is sales operations manager at Total Gym. For more information on Total Gym products visit totalgym.com or contact Carrie at 858.764.0034.

Carrie Binder

Carrie Binder is in the sales department at Total Gym.

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