Treadmill vs. Rowing Machine

Nov 12, 2021

You're ready to make an investment on health and bring fitness home with a cardiovascular machine. You've narrowed it down to two options: a calorie-burning treadmill or a full-body rowing machine. But which one do you choose?

They both provide exceptional workouts, which is important considering cardiologists recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day to help prevent heart disease.Treadmills and rowers have unique features that set them apart. Depending on what your goals and specific needs are, either could be a great fit for your home gym.

What are the design differences between a treadmill and a rower?

A treadmill has a large flat deck usually with cushioning that is intended for running, jogging or walking. It generally has a larger console area with features like cup holders or larger reading racks for books and electronic devices. They have a folding frame design and transport wheels for easy storage when the treadmill is not in use.

A rower, also known as ergometers, has a smaller console often without a reading or device rack. Users sit on the padded seat and hold onto the retracting handlebars, then slide forward and backward on the slide rails to simulate the action of watercraft rowing. It burns calories through the resistance of movement to increase stamina and work the full body.

Why choose a treadmill?

Treadmills are a great way to get cardiovascular exercise. They allow you to track your progress and can be more consistent than outdoor running. You can run rain or shine. Plus, they are easy to use.. Many treadmills come with more advanced console features compared to rowers. On the console you will find many settings you can use to help track and customize your workout. There will be a setting for speed, incline, programs and more. There are even treadmills with interactive touchscreen displays with premium entertainment features, such as the new XTERRA Fitness TRX5500. Rowers typically have more limited console features with necessary tracking, but lacking the entertainment features or advanced programs that treadmills have.

There is great workout variety on a treadmill. While a rower provides a full-body exercise by working both the arms and legs, mixing up your workouts on a treadmill is possible and can work different muscles and keep your fitness routine exciting.

Why choose a rower?

The full body rhythmic nature of rowing makes it wonderfully efficient at burning calories while also developing flexibility and strength. Rowing is impact-free and the intensity is completely user-controlled. While rowing machines can seem a little complicated compared to treadmills, they're in fact simple and extremely effective. Once you get proper form down, you'll be surprised at how easy and enjoyable your rowing workout can be!

One of the greatest benefits of exercising with a rowing machine is receiving a fully body workout. The full body movement and resistance is effective for building strength in both arms and legs. It's a great size and weight for a home gym. It is lighter than a treadmill and many have folding frames or can easily be stood upright, making it perfect for home gyms especially if space is limited.

The bottom line:

Both treadmills and rowers offer great opportunities to improve your health and fitness in the comfort of your home. The best way to set yourself up for success is finding a physical activity you enjoy, whether that's running on a treadmill or rowing on an ergometer. There are so many great options for an effective and enjoyable home workout, pick the one that best suites your needs and desires.

Still can't decide? Buy both and maximize your home workouts.