The rowing machine vs treadmill argument is a favourite topic among people who want to lose weight fast. Is one truly more effective in this aspect than the other?

To help settle this long-standing debate, I’ve identified relevant weight loss factors that highlight key differences.

Let’s see which exercise equipment will end up the weight loss champ.

Caloric Burn

Burning more calories is perhaps the ultimate goal of most weight watchers. But here’s the thing.

Rowing and running on a treadmill burn relatively similar amounts of calories.

Specifically, a 70-kg person burns about 294 calories in a 30-minute rowing or treadmill workout.

Of course, this figure still depends on your fitness level, gender, age and current body weight.

Also, you can boost calorie burn on either gym equipment by varying your exercise intensity.

For example, you’ll burn more calories on a rowing machine using its adjustable resistance level.

In the same way, treadmill workouts on an incline or at a faster speed will enhance your weight loss progress.

The question now is, which of these intensity adjustments suits you best?

You see, while intense treadmill runs can burn calories quickly, not everyone has the lung capacity or leg strength for them.

On the other hand, rowing faster or at a higher resistance won’t affect your breathing as much.

A manageable, less demanding exercise helps keep you going. Moreover, indoor rowing machines are low-impact gym equipment or joint-friendly.

To sum up, both machines help burn excess calories. But I also think, for this rowing machine vs treadmill comparison factor, the former is best for long-term weight loss.

Rowing Machine vs Treadmill Workout

Fat Loss and Muscle Building

Toning the body is not all about getting a slimmer physique. It is also about converting more body fat into energy and muscle for a more successful weight loss.

You see, as you build up more muscles through body fat loss, you also burn more calories.

So, when considering the rowing machine vs treadmill showdown, which is more effective for muscle building?

Well, in this case, the rower is arguably the better choice for strength training.

Pulling on the rowing handle and adjusting the resistance work your joints and body muscles more than treadmill running.

Specifically, the push-and-pull action targets your shins, hamstrings, quads, chest, deltoids, biceps and core muscles.

Cranking up the rowing machine damper enhances the effects on your lower and upper body, too.

Increasing the treadmill resistance or speed does not have the same muscle-building potential. However, it can give you a better cardio fitness workout than a rower.

There are ways to build muscles with a treadmill, though. For instance, you can pair your treadmill workout with ankle weights, a weighted vest, resistance bands, or dumbbells.

Arm Workout

An arm workout is a vital element of your weight loss plan. You’d want to shape up your arms and turn the flab to fab.

But the treadmill mainly targets your lower body muscles. And this machine lacks a component that will train your arms.

That’s why, for this round of rowing machine vs treadmill, the rower takes centre stage.

As you push and pull its handlebar, you get to stretch not only your leg muscles.

You will work out your back, shoulders and arms, too. Getting a full-body workout is essential to reach your goal weight.

After all, you’d want a balanced physique at the end of your weight loss journey.

More importantly, targeting multiple muscles is one way to protect them from overuse.

Rowing Machine vs Treadmill Differences

Rowing Machine vs Treadmill: The Verdict

I’d say both gym machines help you burn extra calories and lose weight.

But they have distinct features that make them better for your fitness goals.

For instance, the treadmill is an excellent cardio equipment option for burning more calories.

Adjusting the resistance or speed of this exercise machine helps shed the extra pounds quickly.

However, your weight loss progress will slow down and eventually reach a plateau. In this case, you have to shift to muscle development and toning.

With more muscle mass, you get to continue burning calories, maintain your healthy weight and look good. And the rower will be more helpful for you at this point.

This comparison highlights an important fact: workout diversity is key to weight loss success. We don’t have to settle on one exercise equipment.

Instead, incorporate exercise variations to target as many body parts and keep your motivation up!

Keen to find the best equipment for your weight loss training? These buying guides for indoor rowing machines and treadmills should help.

Rowing Machine vs Treadmill Infographic