Choosing between two related things isn’t always black and white. In this case, deciding which exercise is better—rowing or running, is not that easy either.

If you’re the kind of person that values their time above everything else, then you’ve probably wondered why running takes so much time. Imagine running for 30 minutes every day only to discover you failed to work out several upper body muscle groups. It can feel a bit like a letdown, doesn’t it?

Then there’s rowing. Great exercise overall, works for multiple muscle groups across the body and is a proven way to build stamina. But then again, what if you don’t have an outdoor body of water suited for rowing near your home? The good news is you don’t need to reside near a lake or river to enjoy the many benefits of rowing. But more on that later.

For now, let’s see how rowing stacks up against running as an exercise.

Running is an excellent form of physical activity!

For the most part, we have been conditioned from a very young age to recognize running as the best for all body types, especially if you want to keep your entire body in top shape. And it’s true. Running is a great way to stay active and keep those gnawing calories at bay.

The main drawback here, however, is that running only targets mostly your lower body muscles. So if you want to get an excellent whole-body workout, you’ll still need to throw in some extra exercises here and there to work your arms and other sections of your upper body.

Have you thought about why running is such a highly recommended activity? Well, it mostly has to do with its convenience. One, it’s undeniably great cardio. And two, you don’t need special equipment to do it. But what happens when it’s no longer convenient?

Many people lose interest in running, primarily due to their hectic schedules. Or perhaps they moved to a new location, and the environment is not conducive for running. But if you’re used to the daily workouts and suddenly have to give it up just because it’s no longer convenient or conducive, what then can you do to pick up the slack and maintain fitness?

The case for rowing

Rowing vs. running: which one is a better exercise - Live2Row Studios

Rowing has gained popularity in recent years as an alternative to running because of its convenience. Although most people view it as a recreational activity, it’s no longer exclusive for elite rowing teams and hobbyists.

Despite this fact, the exercise tends to raise a few eyebrows whenever it’s advisable as a viable alternative to overrunning. The main concerns tend to revolve around space and the cost of the equipment.

Still, when you consider that rowing can target most of your body’s muscle groups in a single session, it isn’t a bad exchange for a stationary exercise. Plus, today’s rowing machines are more budget-friendly and don’t require too much space to set up in your home.

Rowing 101: Everything You Need to Know - Live2Row Studios

Many consider rowing to be one of the most enjoyable and convenient forms of full-body exercises. But beyond the usual positive effects on burning calories, improving cardiovascular health, and toning major muscle groups, rowing is an ideal exercise for basically any age and fitness level because it’s low-impact.

The low-impact nature of rowing keeps your body in tip-top shape without placing too much strain on your joints.

Operating the Rowing Machine

If you’re feeling intimidated, don’t be! It’s easy as one and two. No, really. You only need to memorize two steps to master the machine. Here’s how you can conquer the rowing machine in no time:

1. Position yourself — Start by securing your feet to the footpads using the straps attached. Then with your knees bent, slide to the top part of the machine. Once you’re comfortable, use an overhand grip to grab the handles securely.

2. Row — Make sure you maintain good posture as you slowly pull backward using your legs. While you’re driving in reverse, straighten out your legs and stretch your arms towards your ribs with your elbows facing outward.

It’s effortless. Just think about rowing a small boat in the middle of the ocean where it’s calm and refreshing. However, make sure you maintain proper posture and that you’re rowing with your entire body and not just your arms. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of the exercise.


Although many seem to enjoy being outdoors and running with the wind in their face, it’s just not always possible, nor convenient. More importantly, you might not have an extra hour or so to dedicate to performing various exercises to make up for the muscle areas that running can’t target.

So if you’re pressed for time and want something more convenient, performing low-impact exercises like rowing is a fantastic idea. What’s more, rowing can target muscle groups that running can’t, which means it’s merely a more efficient exercise option.

Ready to get tap into the benefits of rowing exercises? Sign up for our rowing classes today at Live2Row Studios. We offer both in-studio classes and virtual classes so you can get your workout on from the comfort of your home. Call (407) 970-1855 now to get started.