Elliptical vs Rowing Machine: Which Is The Best For A Low Impact Workout?

rowing machine vs ellipticalIf you’re after low-impact aerobic exercises, then you should look at rowing machines and ellipticals. These cardio workout machines are good for people who are recovering from lower body injuries and thus cannot stand high-impact workouts. These machines allow you to continue getting fit without sacrificing the amount of calories you’re burning. However, the two have marked differences that may make one better than the other on certain occasions.

First let’s talk about the rowing machine.

The rowing machine is ideal if you want to spend less on a workout machine. Usually less expensive than a typical elliptical training machine, it also doesn’t take as much space. Another advantage of the rowing machine is it works your entire body. It’s a good cardio machine that is also great if you want to improve your muscle strength. Being a low-impact machine that can make you burn as much as 800 calories an hour, if you do vigorous rowing, it’s ideal for people who are too overweight to balance themselves on ellipticals.

The marked disadvantage of this machine is that it soon becomes boring for many people.

What about the elliptical trainer?

If you’re recovering from an ankle or knee injury, chances are you can’t get back right away to your daily jogging or running routines, because the impact on hard pavement is too hard on your recovering muscles, tendons, ligaments, or joints. An elliptical trainer is the likely substitute if you want to continue burning calories even if you’re injured. Also, some people just hate running or jogging outdoors, so an indoor calorie-burning workout machine is good option.

The cons of ellipticals is they eat bigger space. So your indoor gym should be spacious, especially if you have other equipment pieces there. For many people, a stationary bike is a better option because it takes smaller space and it’s more convenient.

Which burns more calories?

Data varies, but according to the Harvard School of Public Health, elliptical burns a bit more calories. On average, an elliptical burns about 630 calories per hour, while a rowing machine allows you to burn 520 calories an hour. However, a rowing machine prompts you to activate more muscles during the workout. Thus, you’re still burning calories after working out.

Which is safer?

Both machines put significantly less impact on knee and ankle joints during the entire workout. But it’s worth noting that depending on how vigorous your workout is, you’re still subjecting your joints to some repetitive stress. For this reason, some elliptical users can suffer from hip and lower back pain. On the other hand, rowing can also put significant cumulative stress on your ankles and knees depending on how hard you’re doing it.

Which works more muscles?

Ellipticals are basically cardio machines that work mostly the lower body. Hardly does an elliptical work your muscles for strength gains. If your goal is just to lose weight and improve cardiovascular endurance, then this is the right machine for you.

Rowing machines, on the other hand, have muscle toning benefits aside from fat loss benefits. Because rowing involves resistance aside from plain motion, you’re working your muscles more, particularly the arms and shoulders. However, be careful you don’t perform sets without proper form lest you’d suffer from back strain.

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