When faced with the option between the rowing machine and stationary bike for your workout, choosing one over the other can be a challenge. Both the rower and bike are excellent cardio fitness machines which share similar benefits to your body. However, there are differences, and you can see that comparison here.
You can train for longer when biking.
Although rowing allows you to have a whole-body workout, the upper body muscles are primarily responsible for movement. This means if your arms tire out after 15 minutes of rowing, that's it. You're done with the training until you are relaxed enough to start again. In some cases, you may be too exhausted to get back to the rowing machine.
When biking, you will likely work out for longer because you are mainly working with your thigh and leg muscles. On a good day, you can train for 45 minutes or more. So, you get to train for an additional 30 minutes if you opt for biking over rowing, so you shall have had a more effective workout.
If you are busy, have minimal time for exercise, and are looking for high impact training, then rowing might be the ideal choice since you are likely to get more from a 20 minutes rowing workout.
Rowing strengthens more body muscles.
Did you know that 60% of your strength comes from the lower body, 20% from your core, and 20% from the upper body when rowing? You will be using your leg, thigh, abdominal, gluteal, calf, arm, back, and shoulder muscles every time you row.
Biking, on the other hand, mainly involves the use of the lower body muscles. The main muscles you'll strengthen during your workout will be your thigh, buttocks, and leg muscles. When choosing which workout is best for you, you should consider which body muscles you need to strengthen most.
Biking is still possible even if you have lower-body injuries.
One disadvantage rowing has over biking is if you have a back or arm injury, it will be impossible for you to keep rowing. The rowing machine can be quite demanding on the back and arm muscles, so you need to be in top shape to keep rowing. Otherwise, you may strain or cause more damage to your back or arms if you opt to row if you are in pain.
The stationary bike puts a limited strain on the back muscles, so you can still work if you have a back problem. Additionally, if you have a knee injury or if you have undergone surgery, you can use biking for rehabilitation as long as you use moderate resistance when pedalling. This is one reason the bike is recommended for the elderly or people with back and knee problems.
What are your weight loss goals?
If you seek to lose weight and strengthen your muscles, you should set goals. How quickly would you like to lose weight? How much weight, and which part of your body has more body fat?
Before deciding between rowing and biking, it is important to note that you are likely to lose 400-800 kcal after an hour rowing or biking. The calories you lose will depend on the intensity of the workout.
The difference is how comfortable you are on the machine, and how long you can go, even with high-intensity training. The rower demands greater effort because moving the flywheel is more difficult. However, you will work out for a shorter time.
So, if you are looking to lose weight faster, a more comfortable machine is ideal, which in this case, biking has the edge over rowing. However, if you don't care how long it takes for you to lose the extra weight, but are happy to tone your muscles simultaneously, then rowing is an excellent choice.
Biking and rowing have little impact on joints.
If you want an exercise routine that has low impact on your joints, either rowing or biking will work perfectly. The advantage of going for low impact exercises is that there is little risk of injury during the workout. So, you are likely to keep working out without worrying about the possibility of hurting yourself while exercising.
The downside of biking is you can get away with pedalling on low resistance, which unfortunately affects your workout quality. When using the rowing machine, you either row or you don't. Sure, you can adjust resistance levels on both machines, but rowing slowly can be quite a strain. So, the discomfort of using low resistance in a rowing machine will help you achieve your goals much faster.