Rowing Machine vs. Exercise Bike: What’s the Better Workout?

Rowing Machine vs. Exercise Bike: What’s the Better Workout?

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Are you hesitating to choose between an exercise bike and rowing machine because you don’t know which one is best for you? If so, you have come to the right place.

The rowing machine seems to be more demanding, but is it better than the exercise bike?

The exercise bike and rowing machine are both highly effective exercise equipment that will help you lose weight and build muscle quickly.

These machines are ideal to work out without the joint problems associated with most of the other exercise machines on the market today. They have a lower impact on your joints.

This article provides a comparison between the stationary bike and rowing machine.

What’s Better for Weight Loss: Rower or Stationary Bike?

The rowing machine and exercise bike offer highly effective cardio workouts to burn fat fast. You can increase the resistance of both machines and increase the intensity of your workout.

On the exercise bike, you make a wheel rotate with the strength of your legs while on a rowing machine, you do the same thing with your arms.

One hour’s training on the rower lets you lose between 400 to 800 kcal depending on the intensity of the workout [1]. You will lose almost the same number of calories by working out an hour on an exercise bike.

But there is a big difference between working out on a rower and a stationary bike.

The rower is more demanding than an exercise bike. You may work out a maximum of 20-30 minutes on a rower due to the great effort you have to insert. Moving the flywheel of a rower is more difficult and demanding because of your position on the machine, significant knee bending, and the two-step movement.

The exercise bike is more comfortable and less demanding than a rower. You can work even one-hour without any problem on a bike – Echelon offers our favorite biking experience and their workouts can be great for weight loss – see their latest prices at their website.

If your goal is to lose more weight in a short time, you may want to consider stationary bike. But, if you’re looking for the machine that can help you lose weight, while also toning, then we’d give the rower the clear edge, and suggest starting with the Hydrow rower for the best experience – get more details at their website.

People with Back and Knee Problems: Rower or Stationary Bike?

Although the rowing machine is a great product to strengthen your back muscles, it isn’t the best equipment if you already have back problems [2].

It’s very demanding for your back. Sitting on a rower isn’t the best posture for people suffering from back issues. The rower will force your knees to bend completely.

If you suffer from knee problems, the rower isn’t the best machine for you.

The stationary bike puts very little strain on your back. If you already have back problems and need to choose between a rower and a stationary bike, you should opt for the exercise bike.

Although the exercise bike puts some strain on your knee, you can reduce the resistance of the machine to manageable levels.

If you are looking for exercise equipment to rehabilitate after knee surgery, the exercise bike is the most recommended because it doesn’t cause any knocks to your joints.

The stationary bike is the best for elderly people with back and knee problems.

What’s the Better Fully Body Workout?

Both the rower and exercise bike are cardio fitness equipment. They help strengthen your heart muscle and tone other groups of muscles in your arms and legs. The rower places more importance on your arms while the exercise bike places more importance on your legs.

Here are some of the muscle groups strengthened by these two exercise machines.

The exercise bike strengthens your thighs, buttocks, and leg muscles. You need to tone these muscle groups to lose weight fast and maintain an ideal weight over time.

The rower uses more of your body muscles than the stationary bike. When you use the rower, 60% of the effort will come from your legs. The balance is from your arms and the pendulum movement. The advantage of a rowing machine is that it uses more muscle groups in your body than an exercise bike.

Here are some of the muscles used by a rowing machine:

  • Thigh muscles
  • Leg muscles
  • Gluteal muscles
  • Arm muscles
  • Calf and anterior tibial muscles
  • Abdominal muscles
  • Back muscles
  • Shoulder muscles

The rowing machine gives a whole body workout while the exercise bike works out the muscles of the lower body.

If you are looking for a whole-body workout machine, you should definitely opt for the rowing machine.

Who Should Consider a Rowing Machine?

rowing benefits

A rowing machine is ideal for people:

  • Who want the most efficient workout possible
  • Who wants to work out the whole body
  • Having limited space to store the machine
  • Who wants to improve their cardiovascular system
  • Who enjoy the rowing action of the machine
  • Who are overweight and want to lose some weight
  • Who wants to become rowing pros


Rowing Machine Advantages

  • Great for ab and bum workouts
  • Increased intensity with injury
  • Improves your posture with regular workouts
  • Toned legs and arms
  • Ability to learn new skills
  • Compact design
  • Easy storage
  • You only need 15-20 minutes a day – Ideal for busy people
  • Rowing workouts are great for the heart and lungs
  • Reduce belly fat
  • Energy expenditure: 400 to 800 kcal per hour

Which Rower is Best?

If you’re looking for the best rowing experience possible, then we recommend considering the Hydrow. Their connected rowing workouts are the best in the business, and even feature rows on some of the most scenic waterways in the world.

They’re also offering some pretty solid discounted prices.

Learn more at their website:

Who Should Consider an Exercise Bike?

biking benefits

An exercise bike is ideal for people who:

  • Have a lot of weight to lose
  • Doesn’t have a lot of space
  • Have a limited budget
  • Wants to improve their aerobic fitness
  • Wants a quiet workout – the stationary bike is quieter than the rower
  • Lives in an apartment – due to the quietness of the workouts
  • Are recovering from joint injuries or knee surgery
  • Wants an exercise machine that’s easy to use
  • Wants a machine that places no stress on the joints
  • Have limited storage space

RELATED READING: Are Echelon bikes any good?

Advantages of Stationary Bikes

  • Very easy to use – you just sit on the bike and ride it
  • Tones your leg and bum muscles
  • Good for rehabilitation after joint injuries or knee surgery
  • Requires very little space to use and store
  • Very quiet compared to similar machines on the market
  • Wide range of training possibilities
  • Cardio and interval workouts
  • Energy expenditure: 400 to 800 kcal per hour
  • Suitable for beginner and advanced users – no training is required
  • Stationary bikes are best for effective weight loss compared to rowing machines
  • Exercise bikes are safer than rowers due to the simplicity of the exercises
  • You can work out in relative comfort

Which Exercise Bike is Best?

Echelon is our top pick when it comes to exercise bikes. They’re connected workout experience is amazing, and they’re also one of the most affordable options available.

They currently have 4 bikes and pricing points to pick from…oh, and they also have a pretty awesome connected rower:

Learn more and check current Echelon bike prices.

Summary: Picking the Right Machine for You

Whether you are searching for a rowing machine or stationary bike to lose weight fast, you have to stick to a proven workout and diet routine to lose weight quickly.

The stationary bike is ideal for any type of use such as weight loss, muscle toning, maintain your weight, and rehabilitation after surgery.

You can work out for 30 minutes or one hour per day depending on your weight loss goals. But the maximum session on a rower is about 20-30 minutes because it’s more demanding.

Both machines are compact and could be stored in a small space.

Price-wise, there isn’t a big difference between the two machines. But if you want to lose more weight in a short time, you should opt for a stationary bike. You can work out for longer periods on a bike and lose more weight in a short time.

If you want a machine that provides a whole-body workout, and is the most efficient use of your time, then the rowing machine is your best bet, and we’d suggest starting with Hydrow – see our Hydrow review to learn more.