Rowing Can Help You Burn Belly Fat, but You’ll Need to Take Things Up a Notch — Here’s How


Close up of unrecognizable female athlete having sports training on rowing machine in a gym.

Rowing is an efficient way to burn calories, as well as build strong and defined muscles — but is it enough to help you shed stubborn belly fat, compared to other forms of cardio like running? The short answer is yes. “Rowing is a great low-impact option if you cannot run because it also offers you a full-body workout,” Lyuda Bouzinova, an ACE-certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and cofounder of Mission Lean, told POPSUGAR.

That said, you can’t do any one exercise to target the fat in your midsection, specifically. Instead, you’ll need to work to elevate your heart rate, which will help you shed fat all over. “Basically, anything that raises your heart rate can help you burn calories and shed the fat around your middle,” Lyuda said. “But you have to commit to doing that activity consistently and at a high intensity. If you want to change your body, get comfortable feeling uncomfortable in your workout.”

So, just how hard do you need to work while rowing? “You’ll want to be at 55 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate — which can be estimated by subtracting your age from 220 — for 20 to 30 minutes, four to five days per week,” she said. In order for weight loss to be sustainable, it’ll take weeks or months of training to see results, depending on how much fat you want to lose.

High-intensity interval training is particularly effective for burning fat, and you can do intervals on the rowing machine, too, Lyuda explained — simply alternate short periods of very high-intensity exercise (up to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate) with more moderate periods of rowing.

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