An indoor rower, or rowing machine, is a machine used to simulate the action of watercraft rowing for the purpose of exercise or training for rowing. Indoor rowing has become established as a sport in its own right. The term also refers to a participant in this sport.
Modern indoor rowers are often known as ergometers, an ergometer being a device which measures the amount of work performed. The indoor rower is calibrated to measure the amount of energy the rower is using through their use of the equipment.
Indoor rowing primarily works the cardiovascular systems with typical workouts consisting of steady pieces of 20–40 minutes, although the standard trial distance for record attempts is 2000 m, which can take from five and a half minutes (best elite rowers) to nine minutes or more. Like other forms of cardio focused exercise, interval training is also commonly used in indoor rowing. While cardio-focused, rowing also stresses many muscle groups throughout the body anaerobically, thus rowing is often referred to as a strength-endurance sport.
In addition to the high levels of fitness attained, rowing is an intense calorie-burning exercise. The late Dr. Fritz Hagerman, Professor of biomedical science and a leading researcher in rowing physiology, determined that “…you burn more calories in rowing than any other activity. Cross-country skiing comes closest. At standard submaximal levels of exercise, rowing will burn calories at a rate 10-12% higher than running, and 15-20% higher than cycling.” Although rowers with less ability and training will burn fewer calories, the ergometer is an excellent tool for use in a weight-loss program.
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