• Elliptical Trainer vs Rowing Machine
What Is The Best For You?
🏆 Best Fitness Reviews 🏆
Rowing Machines VS Elliptical Trainers

Table of Contents

Elliptical VS Rower: What is the Best One for You?

ellitpical machine
Elliptical vs Rowing MachineComparison Table
Full Body Workouts
Anyone Can UseDefining Usability
No Impact WorkoutsGreat for joint health
Calories BurnedAverage calories burned by a 155 pound person during 30 minutes
Entry PriceLowest price to buy one
$150 to $200
$50 to $100
Learning curveHow easy it is to master
SafetyHow safe is it to use
PortabilityHow easy it is to move around

Elliptical trainer or rowing machine? What to choose?

In order to maintain a good physical condition and keep fit, most people find it difficult to choose the fitness equipment that might be best suited for them. This time we’ve taken a look at the elliptical trainer and the rowing machine. Although they both have benefits for the body, it’s always difficult to choose which one to train with. How are elliptical trainers and rowing machines different and what are their main advantages and disadvantages? 


📝 To find out more, continue reading… 


Based on a calories burned chart by activity and weight article published by Harvard Medical School.

Harvard health publishing school
Calories burned on ellitpicals and rowers during 30 minutes workouts
30 Minutes Physical Activity 125-pound person 155-pound person 185-pound person
🥇 Elliptical 270 335 400
🥈 Rower 210 260 311

As you can see, the elliptical burns more calories than the rowing machine for the same time segment. On average, a person with 155 pounds (70 kg) can burn up to 670 calories per hour on the elliptical trainer. As on the rowing machine, a person with 155 pounds,  could burn up to 520 calories per hour. Please keep in mind that these values are variable, because the speed and intensity at which you train will directly impact the number of calories consumed. This information should be viewed as a general guideline, not as a rule.

🏆 Differences between an elliptical trainer and a rower

The elliptical trainer is a fitness machine that helps to work many muscles. An elliptical machine consists of a flywheel to which two long pedals are attached. And it is from these pedals that the user leans with his feet to work all the muscles. In addition, the exercises require the use of the wrists, which pull with one arm and push with the other. Ellipticals allow you to do a complete workout with smooth, shock-free movements while maintaining a standing posture.

As far as the rower is concerned, it is also a training device that allows the muscles to work, but within a certain range of motion. It is best known as a cardio-training device that allows you to keep fit from a sliding seat placed on a rail with a footrest and a console that controls the exercises. With a rowing machine, you will therefore keep a seated position. It does not strain the joints or the back. And it allows you to train at your own pace without forcing yourself. Using a rowing machine, your muscles will be worked in traction, but also in stretching. Thus, they will become more flexible without being transformed into a body builder.


Elliptical Trainer VS Rowing machine: The Rower In Depth

If you already know about rowers in depth you can skip this part.

The rowing machine is a fitness equipment with a metal rail and a sliding seat. It allows you to reproduce rowing movements with a propulsion phase (pulling) and a recovery phase (return).



First patented in 1872 by W.B. Curtis as a way to help water athletes stay fit on land, this popular gym equipment combines bodybuilding and fitness.  It works more than 85% of the body’s muscles and thus acts on almost the entire body. The rowing machine covers two main types of apparatus: the Scandinavian rowing machine and the central draft rowing machine.



The Scandinavian rowing machine (double oars) consists of one oar on each side. It requires greater synchronization of the limbs and to reproduce rowing movements quite similar to those of rowing. Generally unsuitable for tall people, the Scandinavian oarsman favors focused work and faster movements than those of the center-pull oarsman.



The center draft rower is easier to maneuver than the Scandinavian rower. It requires a symmetry of rowing movements and favors a complete work of the body.

A cardio-training device, the rower is inspired by rowing and the principle of movement it uses (it allows the same movements to be reproduced). The flagship equipment of sports halls, the rower can also be practiced at home if you have enough room to install it.


During a session, you will be able to use many muscles in depth:

  • ✔️ Abdominal strap
  • ✔️ Buttocks
  • ✔️ Quadriceps
  • ✔️ Biceps and triceps
  • ✔️ Back
  • ✔️ Shoulders
  • ✔️ Legs

Depending on the type of training you are doing, you can row to lose weight, improve your abilities and/or develop your strength.

Rowing is therefore beneficial for both your physique and your health. You will be able to refine yourself while strengthening your muscles and avoiding a number of injuries. Rowing is also effective for developing flexibility. 


Another advantage of this sports equipment is that, unlike other accessories such as treadmills, it does not cause pain to the joints. The risk of injury is therefore minimal.


In addition to these benefits, rowing provides cardiovascular and endurance work outs. This activity is therefore ideal for working on your breathing and heart and for preventing the development of diseases related to overweight (type II diabetes, for example). During a rowing session, your body will also draw on its fat reserves, an action that leads to weight loss.


By opting for a rowing machine, you will be able to train at your own pace and notice positive results quickly (usually after 3-4 weeks of training), as long as you are regular in your workouts.

To practice rowing, you don’t need to be a professional. This sports equipment is suitable for everyone regardless of age and level of sport. On the other hand if you have any kind of back problem, it is better to choose other types of fitness machines.

Elliptical vs Rowing machines

The advantages and benefits of rowers in detail

As mentioned above, the rower is accessible to everyone, whatever the sporting level and whatever the objective: loss of excess weight, endurance work, muscular strengthening and even warming up before a sports session.


Here are a few tips depending on the situation:


If you’re an amateur: you’ll need to adjust the intensity and pace of your machine to get off to a smooth start.
If you are overweight: this sports equipment is also made for you. It is not a shock to the joints and thanks to the sitting position, you will be able to practice it without pain.
If you are sedentary: this equipment is also ideal for getting back into sport at your own pace.

Rowing is one of the most effective weight loss sports (up to 700 calories can be eliminated in an hour). Of course, this number depends on the regularity of your training and the lifestyle you adopt at the same time. Indeed, if you eat a balanced diet, you will lose more than if you do not pay attention to your diet despite regular sports sessions.

No matter what sport you are about to do, warming up by rowing is a good solution. And right after your workout, don’t hesitate to take up rowing as well.

Rowing is a cardio sport that increases the heart rate. By exercising regularly, the risk of heart disease and stroke decreases.

Unlike sports such as jogging, football or tennis, indoor rowing, if performed correctly, does not put stress on joints, bones and tendons. Thanks to the sitting position, the effort is made in a “relief” position (like cycling, swimming or pool gym), i.e. without the body weight acting on the joints. Back and knees are thus preserved. This is why this sport is generally recommended for overweight or obese people as well as for people recovering from or returning to sport after illness.


By strengthening the muscles of the upper back (trapezium, large back, large round) and the lumbar vertebrae, the rower can prevent back pain often associated with muscles that are not very much used and weakened (office work, prolonged sitting, etc.). To correct bad positions and to prevent back pain, rowing is beneficial! This starts with a good warm-up to prepare the body for the physical effort that will follow. This way, the effort will not have an impact on the back. But before starting any kind of sports with back pain it is of major importance to talk with a doctor. Also, if you already have any kind of medical monitoring back problem, rowing machines are not recommended.

A rowing session relaxes the muscles, relaxes the whole body and releases the tensions of the day. The relaxing effect makes you feel good and helps you to get back to sleep. Rowing helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It boosts self-esteem, improves concentration (work, school, etc.). All of these elements bring a significant comfort to your life.

The range of motion combined with the alternation between flexion and extension of the legs and arms help to increase flexibility and joint mobility.


The rowing machine is a perfect tool to quickly get back in shape and stay in shape! Just one session per week, even a short one (20 to 30 minutes), will already do you good.

Some sedentary people, with the help of their age, have such weak respiratory capacities that their cells do not oxidize fat reserves properly. Not only are they unable to sustain a moderate effort for more than 15 minutes – they become out of breath and tired – but their metabolism is also reduced. Sport does not help them to eliminate fat efficiently. Rowing helps to improve this situation with visible progress in just a few weeks of training at a moderate pace.

✔️ Advantages and possible constraints of a Rowing Machine ❌

The main advantage of a rowing machine is that it provides a complete workout. Both the cardio, the lower and upper limbs as well as the trunk will be worked on. And just like the elliptical trainer, it allows you to do exercises without impact. You just need to sit comfortably and use your legs, arms and muscles without exerting yourself. What’s more, this machine gives you the freedom to train in complete freedom. Both the intensity of the exercise and the speed depend on your own pace and endurance.


However, it is still recommended that you sit down properly to avoid back pain. That’s why it’s important to keep your back as straight as possible. And although this device allows you to work your whole body, it will obviously strengthen your arms. This is not necessarily the goal of everyone.

According to a study, a rowing exercise program can be a safe and helpful exercise activity with positive effects on body composition and physical fitness for the visually impaired

👍 Rowing Machine Pros:

✔️ A fun activity
✔️ A machine suitable for everyone
✔️ Customizable training
✔️ Great For losing weight
✔️ Minimal risk of injury
✔️ Develop your respiratory and cardiovascular endurance
✔️ Works many muscles
✔️ Burns calories and fat reserves

👎 Rowing Machine Cons:

❌ Learning Curve
❌ Occupies much space
❌ Pretty bulky if it’s not foldable
❌ Not suitable for people with back pain
❌ The risk of becoming monotonous


Elliptical Trainer VS Rowing Machine: The Elliptical In Depth

elliptical trainer

An elliptical trainer is a cardio training device. It reproduces the natural movements of walking and running while avoiding the impacts of actual practice. The movement of the legs is accompanied by movements of the arms, which allows for coordination training. The user stands on the pedals and maintains his balance with the help of vertical handles similar to ski poles. The pedals and handles are connected to a flywheel that provides resistance and harmonization of movement throughout the exercise. It is a complete exercise that allows you to work the entire muscle mass while limiting impacts on the ground, because the feet never take off the pedals.

Let’s dive deep into what muscles are worked on elliptical machines. The leg muscles are stressed by the push of the pedals. At the same time, the arms are mobilized to push and pull the handles. All in all, it’s a team effort! Even better, you can distribute the effort between the upper and lower limbs as you wish. Finally, as this exercise involves a slight rotation of the waist, it allows you to work the small oblique and large oblique abs. A good way to achieve a gentle sheathing.


The elliptical trainer allows you to work :


  • ✔️ the buttocks
  • ✔️ the thighs
  • ✔️ the calves
  • ✔️ the arms
  • ✔️ the shoulders
  • ✔️pectorals
  • ✔️ abs

This is easy. Simply put, it is a cardio training device designed for everyone and especially for people who want to keep fit. 

Elliptical vs Rowing machines

The advantages and benefits of ellipticals in detail

If and only if you don’t suffer from any heart problems, the elliptical is a real machine for strengthening the heart. The elliptical trainer can quickly increase your heart rate. Without you even realizing it, the effort is evenly distributed between the muscles of the arms, legs and abdominal muscles. No pain will prevent you from reaching your maximum heart rate.


On the other hand, if you are a beginner, have a heart deficiency or are over 50 years old, be careful. To avoid attacking your heartbeat, ask for advice. A sports coach at the gym where you practice will be able to program the machine at your own pace. In any case, consult your doctor before registering. In any case, you will be asked for a certificate of no contraindication.


Unlike running (and therefore the treadmill), the elliptical trainer distributes your body weight evenly over both legs. This spares your joints, while at the same time making a movement whose amplitude approaches the runner’s stride. This is one of the most talked about elliptical benefit. Many athletes use this device to get back in shape after an injury.


The elliptical is a very safe machine to use, even if it may seem difficult at first. Unlike a treadmill, an elliptical trainer does not have a belt, so the user is responsible for the way they walk and use it. However, as mentioned earlier, these types of heart machines only move when the user does.


The elliptical trainer, as well as sports and physical activity in general, is the most effective prevention against diabetes. Keep in mind that rowing machines also provide benefits and help with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by a dysfunction of insulin in the body that usually appears from the age of 40 onwards and affects nearly one in 10 adults. Insulin is a hormone whose role is to make sugar (glucose) available to cells so that they can use it as a source of energy. In type 2 diabetics, insulin no longer fulfills its role properly and sugar builds up in the blood. This is known as hyperglycemia, which is an increase in the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood.



Diabetes can lead to serious complications, such as heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness and even amputations. Beyond genetic factors, factors related to a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity, including overweight or obesity, are believed to be the main causes of diabetes.



Training on an elliptical trainer has a positive effect on blood glucose levels (glycaemia). This is because when we are physically active, our muscles need energy and will draw on our body’s sugar reserves, resulting in lower blood glucose levels.



Training and physical activity also have benefits on insulin. Sport makes our bodies more sensitive to insulin, which means that it takes less insulin to move the same amount of glucose from the blood to the cells, and thus helps to counteract some of the effects of diabetes. Sports and training can reduce or delay the risk of type 2 diabetes and provide better natural regulation of blood glucose levels.

One study compared the elliptical trainer to walking or running, whether outdoors or on a treadmill, or even using a home bike. It was found that elliptical trainers put a lot more strain on the quadriceps than other forms of exercise.


Knowing that most people have weaker quadriceps than the muscles in the back of their thighs, using an elliptical trainer is a good idea. This equipment therefore helps runners and cyclists to have more balanced leg muscles.

Contrary to what many people think, it is quite possible to do a crazy session with an elliptical trainer.

As you’ll see later in the workout I’ve concocted for you, you can do the HIIT Tabata with this equipment.

This means that it is easy to burn calories, and therefore fat. Good news for you.

Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio training, is a key part of a balanced fitness or weight-training program. When you do aerobic exercise, your cardio vascular system and lungs have to work harder to supply the body’s muscles with more blood and oxygen.

An elliptical trainer, like a regular exercise bike, gives you a good aerobic workout that can strengthen your heart and heart rate, lungs, and muscles. This, in turn, can help you build endurance.

With an elliptical fitness machine, you can perform intensive interval training as well as continuous cardio training.

The elliptical with handles is one of the few cardio machines that can offer you a workout for your upper body and lower body (thighs, calves…). The key to maximizing the benefits of the upper body (arms, abs) is to distribute your weight and resistance evenly. In other words, pump your arms as fast as you move your legs.


When done properly, the elliptical can target your buttocks, hamstrings, quadriceps, chest, back, biceps, triceps and abdominal muscles.

On a fitness machine like the elliptical trainer, you can change both resistance levels and pedal inclination. By doing so, you can target different muscles of the lower body, including the quadriceps, buttocks, hamstrings and calves.


As you increase the incline, you can feel the back of your lower body burning. If you adjust the pedals lower, you can feel your quads working harder. Also, because the pedals go in opposite directions, you can change the direction of your stride and focus more on your hamstrings and buttocks.

In this article, our experts explain the details of an elliptical trainer workout.

✔️ Advantages and possible constraints of an Elliptical Trainer ❌

First of all, the elliptical trainer is a device that allows you to exercise while maintaining a good standing posture. If you’ve already spent your day sitting for hours, this device can only be good for you. This way, you can train keeping your body upright without having to run. In addition, the elliptical trainer is a device that will not damage your joints. It’s the ideal device for those who want to stay in shape without compromising their back or knees. The elliptical also allows for general mobility of your feet that push on the pedals and your arms to operate the device. By engaging your muscles and paying attention to your posture, you will also be able to strengthen your abs.


Despite this, using an elliptical trainer can still cause fatigue. This is because the movements are performed in a regular and repeated manner. However, it is quite possible to program the sessions using certain features such as the IFit. Otherwise, the elliptical trainer is also a device that could take up a certain amount of space. This is not always practical to install in a small room. Anyway, there are currently foldable shapes that take up less space, but can cost much more.

According to a study, Elliptical training may offer an affordable upright training option for ambulatory individuals with chronic stroke in both clinical and community settings

👍 Elliptical Trainer Pros:

✔️ Ideal for the maintenance of your physique
✔️ Ideal if you want to lose weight
✔️ Easy to use when the manual is included
✔️ High quality for some models
✔️ Built-in training programs to help the trainee during his workout
✔️ Tough and robust, therefore durable
✔️ With a large enough surface area for some
✔️ Suitable for easy storage for some models
✔️ With a large control screen for some models
✔️ Adapted to act on different parts of the body, depending on the model

👎 Elliptical Trainer Cons:

❌ The best devices have too high selling prices
❌ Some elliptical trainers have wired connections, which makes them somewhat difficult to use
❌ The assembly of some ellipticals is quite complex and can cause inconvenience
❌ Others are quite heavy and therefore difficult to move
❌ Some elliptical trainers, even though they are among the best elliptical trainers, are not foldable and take up a lot of storage space
❌ The flywheel of some models has a low weight, making the device uncomfortable
❌ Some have a poor price/performance ratio according to the customers’ opinion

Elliptical VS Rower: What to choose?
This is a tough decision, but ultimately it will depend on your fitness goals.
ellitpical machine

So what should we choose? An elliptical trainer or a rowing machine?

Taking into account the different points mentioned above, there is not really an obvious choice to make between a rowing machine and an elliptical trainer. They are two different yet complementary devices. So it all depends on your convenience and the result you would like to achieve.



On the one hand, rowing requires a certain amount of effort that will make you sweat a lot. This will result in a considerable loss of calories. It is therefore a device that is well suited to those who want to lose weight. And secondly, it is a device that can help you avoid cardiovascular disease. As for the exercises, they can be adapted to your rhythm and your endurance.



Elliptical trainers, on the other hand, allow you to build up your entire body. You will thus be able to develop your cardio but also your pectorals. Your muscles, triceps and buttocks will be used as well. Otherwise, it is a practical way to strengthen the abdominal belt.



So, the most important thing is to feel comfortable during training and to choose the right equipment according to your objectives. You surely know your body as well as the parts you would like to improve. In any case, there is no machine that can work all muscles 100%, but it is up to you to determine the most suitable exercise. It’s always important to seek the advice of your doctor before doing regular sessions.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

About Our Site
Naxus Fitness is fully dedicated to help everyone, from complete novices to experienced veterans, with fitness tips and recomendations. We excel in product reviews and go through extensive analysis based on expert criterias on every single review we do.

Subscribe to our list

Don't worry, we don't spam

Compare items
  • Total (0)