Rowing Machine vs. Elliptical vs. Treadmill – Which One is Right for You?

Jeff Baldelli
Written by
Last update:

Which is Better for Weight Loss, Rowing Machine vs. Elliptical?

Rowing machines and ellipticals both offer you a chance to do cardio while not putting too much pressure on your joints. Both also offer you a chance to work other muscle groups. So which is better for weight loss? Well, ellipticals move you through a full range of motion while rowing machines only move you through a half range of motion. This means that you’ll want to choose an elliptical for your cardio work when you are developing a weight loss regime.

If you are still not convinced, it might be because you have heard that rowing machines help you build muscle mass, while the elliptical only burns fat. While this is true, you don’t want to choose a rowing machine for building muscle mass, since you’re trying to lose weight. So stick with the elliptical.

Treadmills also offer an interesting way to think about your weight loss needs. While a rowing machine or elliptical can be shorter in length and allow you to burn more calories quickly, the treadmill gives you a way to exercise for a longer period of time without as much stress on your joints on either your knees or your muscles in your lower back.

If you want to go long, a treadmill is the way to go. Opt for the treadmill when you just want to burn fat, but not build muscle.

What is the Difference Between Rowing Machine, Elliptical Bike and Treadmill?

Many people believe that it’s easier to burn calories with a rowing machine than the other two.

This is not so true because all three of them burn the same amount of calories.

Others believe that an elliptical machine is the easiest to use. In this case, either the treadmill or rowing machine would be easier to use because they give you a more stable surface to stand on and the elliptical machine requires you to balance as you use it.

Another good reason for exercise using a rowing machine is that because you aren’t using your arms, the weight of the machine can be supported with your abs.

The number of calories burned will be dependent on the workout you do, but what matters most is that you stick with your workout and get your workout routine down. You don’t want to stress about getting your workout done. You want to work on achieving a relaxed workout routine that will help you achieve your fitness goals.

You also want to monitor your workouts using a heart rate monitor so that you stay within your target heart rate range known as your “fat-burning zone”.

The Rowing Machine

Of all the cardio machines out there, the Concept 2 rowing machine is one of the powerhouse, heavy-duty options. The Concept 2 is adjustable and can accommodate users of all sizes. It is used for high intensity interval training, or HIIT rowing, as well as aerobic endurance training.

The rowing machine utilizes thick, padded handles that can be adjusted for height. These handles are attached to oars with molded foam handles that fit comfortably in your hands. These handles can also be adjusted for height. If you have bad circulation, you should be able to customize your rowing machine to best suit your needs. The handles have a slide mechanism that makes it easier to grab them and place them on the machine. This slide mechanism also makes it easier for users with weak hands.

The machine itself is big, so it’s definitely not for you if you have a small workout space. The frame is durable and strong, so it’s not going to break from normal wear and tear. As the Concept 2 website says, it’s “built like a tank”.

The rowing machine utilizes a chain that connects the handle to the flywheel in the back. The machine requires an adjustable damper to control the resistance. Adjusting the damper at your own pace allows you to adjust stroke speed and maintain resistance.

The Treadmill

A treadmill desk is one of the most common pieces of gym equipment in the world. The treadmill is a versatile exercise machine in the sense that you can configure it in many different ways. It can serve as a sprinting device one day and a walking device the next.

The treadmill is an adaptable piece of equipment that lets you choose your preferred speed and distance. If you add on a console, you can track your distance, speed, calories burned, and other information.

The treadmill is also popular for its convenience. It is portable, so you can use it anywhere with adequate floor space.

Even though it is convenient, the treadmill can be inconvenient at times. You need to stand still while using it, and you can’t use it outside. It also may not tolerate cold temperatures well.

For anyone looking for a strong cardiovascular workout, the treadmill is an excellent choice. It offers a convenient way to exercise without having to go to the gym.

The Elliptical

The most significant advantage of the elliptical machine is its low impact on the knees and the joints. And because it is low impact, an individual can accomplish more rigorous fitness training with less risk of injury.

The elliptical machine is also an excellent piece of equipment for those with joint or knee problems who can’t exercise on a high impact machine like the treadmill or the rower.

Another feature of the elliptical machine that makes it ideal for a spacious home or commercial fitness center is its size. An elliptical machine does not take up a lot of space, which is a great feature for those with very little room.

Also, the elliptical machine is easy to store, making it a great option for someone who travels often or has limited storage space inside the home.

One major downside to the elliptical machine is that it has no impact on muscle tone. This is because the machine has a very smooth motion and does not use any momentum to get the blood circulating through the body.

The best feature of the elliptical machine is that it is generally easier to use than many other weight machines. Most people find that the elliptical machine is a comfortable machine to use for an extended period of time, and it is a machine that you can change the settings to accommodate your workout level and build endurance.

Workout Difference Between Rowing Machine vs. Elliptical vs. Treadmill? The Good and the Bad!

Rowing Machine (the good):

  • Good for winter mornings or evenings
  • Can get a really nice full-body cardiovascular workout
  • Builds both strength and endurance
  • Great form of exercise for the back and shoulders
  • Increase aerobic power and endurance
  • Builds muscle (besides the obvious lower body muscles)
  • Builds better endurance than a normal workout
  • Urge to get going, because you’re already running!
  • Wider and shorter stride than both the Elliptical and Treadmill
  • Provides a burn in the thighs that other types of cardio don’t
  • Do it by yourself
  • There are some models of the rowing machine that will track calories burned, distance covered, and speed

Elliptical (the good):

Full body workout works your chest, thighs, hips and butt, and your arms are movment as well.

Great for Joints and May Be the Best Cardio for Your Joints

Warm up, cool down and interval training.

Builds Better Aerobic Power and Endurance than a Normal Workout

Urge to get going, because you’re already running!

Can break up the monotony of always going outside!

Rowing Machines

Rowing machines provide excellent arm and leg resistance, which makes them well suited for cardio and muscle building. The catch here is that it uses your body weight for resistance. This limits the amount of weight lost. Some people may find that the rowing motion is also awkward, which they may not find enjoyable.

However, if you enjoy rowing and want to lose weight, this is a good choice for you.

The resistance on a rowing machine can be regulated by setting the pounds of weight applied per stroke.

Start with a heavier weight that causes you to work harder. This tells you what your body can do and then you can adjust it to meet your needs.

Rowing for weight loss does burn a lot of calories, but you need to be willing to spend a lot of time on the machine to make it effective. This isn’t ideal for someone who wants to do other things after a workout, or wants to consume fewer calories overall because they’re exercising a lot. If you have a few hours a day to keep up with this, you’ll be very happy with this form of exercise.

Elliptical Bikes and Elliptical Trainers

Generally speaking, elliptical trainers and elliptical bikes are designed to give your body the same workout that it would get from jogging or running. However, a vital difference is that elliptical bikes or elliptical trainers don’t put as much stress on the lower body joints, as “running motions” are replaced by arm and foot motions. The result is that many people find elliptical bikes or elliptical trainers are more comfortable and less strenuous than running.

When you use an elliptical bike or elliptical trainer, you remain stable on an ergonomically designed, seat-like machine that offers a smooth, natural, pivoting motion. Much like a jogging or running motion, your feet and hands move back and forth, with resistance created by a flywheel, magnetic system, or a fan that provides increased resistance with increased speed and arm resistance. You can also increase or decrease the level of resistance.

The natural, weight-bearing motion these machines offer allows you to burn fat while strengthening your thighs, ankles, calves, and core muscles. Because elliptical machines are free of impact, you can exercise for prolonged periods of time without the pain and injuries that may occur with high-impact exercise.