Informational Guide

Exercise Bike Vs. Rowing Machine

In this guide, we’ll run through everything you need to know about exercise bikes vs. rowing machines so you can determine the best suited for you.


Choosing a piece of exercise equipment that is great for cardio, muscle building, and burning calories can be challenging. Narrowing down your search between exercise bikes and rowing machines can be even harder, especially when you're uncertain of the differences between the two. Not to worry though, we're here to help! In this guide, we'll run through everything you need to know about both so you can determine the fitness equipment best suited for you.

While rowing machines may look intimidating, they're much more beginner-friendly than you think. They also provide a fantastic workout when you get the hang of them.

What is a rowing machine?

Rowing machines mimic the rowing of a boat – similar to the ones that you see in the Olympics. It can be used as part of a low-impact workout, high-intensity sprint intervals, and so much more.

person sitting on rowing machine

How does it work?

When using a rowing machine, a lot of power comes from the legs. You’ll also use your core when pushing back and your arms to pull the handles.

What type of person would benefit from using a rowing machine?

Since rowing machines are low-impact, they're great for beginners. They're also ideal for older adults that need a full-body workout with less injury risk.

What part of the body greatly improves with rowing?

Rowing machines not only provide upper body conditioning but also give the lower body an excellent workout.

Are rowing machines good for fitness?

Absolutely, they can help with:

  • Improving aerobic fitness and strength
  • Providing a full-body workout while burning calories
  • Increasing endurance

If you're interested in purchasing a rowing machine, here are some options to get you started.

Exercise Bike Overview (Fitness Benefits Discussed)

Whether you're trying to lose weight, improve your overall strength or your general fitness, an exercise bike is an excellent piece of equipment to add to your exercise routine.

exercise bikes lined up

What is an exercise bike?

Exercise bikes are similar to regular bikes, but they're stationary. It comes with a saddle, pedals, and some form of handlebars.

How does it work?

Exercise bikes come with a mechanism where you apply resistance to the pedals to increase the exercise's intensity.

What are the different types of exercise bikes?

  1. 1
    Upright exercise bike 
    The most traditional type that comes with a larger padded seat. They also display basic information like distance, time, and speed.
  2. 2
    Recumbent bikes 
    These bikes come with a backrest, giving you the option to recline back. They're great for those that need additional back support or have back injuries.
  3. 3
    Dual action exercise bikes 
    These are ideal for those that want a full-body workout with minimal impact on the joints. They're similar to a cross trainer, but you'll be seated instead of standing. One example of this type of bike is Air Assault Bikes.
  4. 4
    Spin bikes 
    These bikes have a fixed wheel pedaling system, and you're able to adjust the resistance. They're ideal for tough cardiovascular workouts.

What type of person would benefit from using an exercise bike?

Exercise bikes are great for beginners as they're easy to use. As they also provide a low-impact workout and put minimal tension on joints, they're suited for older individuals or those that have injuries.

What part of the body greatly improves with exercise bikes?

With an exercise bike, you'll be strengthening your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. If you're working the handlebar, you'll also be giving your upper body a workout.

Are exercise bikes good for fitness?

Yes, exercise bikes are great for fitness. They can help with:

  • Improving cardio fitness
  • Improving strength
  • Weight loss

Want to purchase an exercise bike? Here are some great options to choose from.

Rowing Machine Vs. Exercise Bike: What’s The Difference?

With the fitness benefits that each of these exercise equipment provides, it's no wonder that rowing machines and exercise bikes are some of the most popular pieces of gym equipment. Out of the two, however, which one should you purchase? Below, we've answered some questions that'll help you with making your purchase.

What are the calories burned on an exercise bike vs. a rowing machine?

It depends on the exercise's intensity and impact, but exercise bikes typically burn more calories than a rowing machine. While rowing machines effectively burn calories, they induce a great effort, so most workouts on the rower are about 20-minutes. With exercise bikes, however, you can do hour-long cardio workouts.

Which is better for those with knee or back problems?

An exercise bike is better for those that have knee or back problems as the motion of rowing can cause additional strain to your knees and back. Exercise bikes are commonly used for rehabilitation after knee surgery as it works the knees very gently – even when you're pedaling with moderate resistance.

What are the muscles worked on an exercise bike vs. rowing machine?

Generally, the rowing machine works more muscles than the exercise bike. Some muscles that the rowing machine works include leg muscles, arm muscles, shoulder muscles, and back muscles. The exercise bike, on the other hand, predominantly works lower body muscles.

Which one takes up more space?

Rowing machines take up much more space than an exercise bike. If you're looking for a piece of exercise equipment that takes up minimal space, an exercise bike is the way to go. In addition, exercise bikes also produce less noise than a rowing machine.

Which one is more user-friendly?

If you're a beginner, exercise bikes are the more user-friendly exercise equipment. It's easy to use, and well-suited to a wide variety of age groups; all you've got to do is pedal, and you're pretty much good to go. For rowing machines, it'll take time and practice before you'll be able to master the proper technique.

Which offers more exercise variance?

Exercise bikes offer more exercise variance than rowing machines. You can do a wide variety of workouts on an exercise bike, and some pricier models will provide you with stamina and strength training options. With rowing machines, variance is minimal. They will, however, still provide you with a fantastic high-intensity workout.

What about resistance?

Both the exercise bike and rowing machine offer resistance options that will allow you to vary the workout intensity and burn more calories.

Dos and Don’ts When Using a Rowing Machine

  • Do use proper form while using the rowing machine.
  • Don't row with a lot of resistance, especially when you're starting. Instead, take time to get used to the movements and focus on your form.
  • Do power through your legs. Focusing on your legs will help you to maintain proper form.
  • Don't forget to breathe. Try to get into a rhythm where you're breathing out when you push your legs outward and inhaling when you return to the front of the rower.
  • Do strap your feet in properly to help with stabilization and generating the force that you require.
concept 2 rowing machine

Common Mistakes When Using an Exercise Bike: Things to Avoid

  • Not warming up. If you don't warm up before using your exercise bike, you can increase your injury risk.
  • You should never overtrain beyond the capabilities of your recovery. Make sure that you're recovering before workouts.
  • Take time to adjust your bike correctly, or you'll be at a higher risk for knee injuries.
  • Always check your posture. When cycling, you should be in a relaxed position to avoid any soreness or muscle fatigue.
  • Make sure that you're using a resistance level that works for you. Play around with the settings to find levels that you can accommodate while maintaining proper form.
man training on bike

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can you lose belly fat using a rowing machine? Will rowing get rid of back fat?

A rowing machine won't magically reduce your body fat, but it can be an effective exercise as part of a fat-loss program. Rowing is also a great way to target back fat. It also burns calories and helps with warming up and targeting other muscle groups as well.

Is 20-minutes of rowing enough? Should you row every day?

If you're starting, 20-minutes of rowing is more than sufficient. As you get used to it, try to aim for at least 30-minutes on the rower. Your body should always have ample time to rest and recover, so aim to row anywhere from 4 to 6 times a week.

How long should you spend on an exercise bike?

Plan to get on your exercise bike for 30-60 minutes and for about 3-5 times a week. Make sure you're starting every exercise with a warm-up before increasing your speed or resistance.

Is 20-minutes on an exercise bike enough?

It's sufficient when you're starting. If you're finding that it's too easy, you can always up the intensity.


Both the exercise bike and rowing machine are great pieces of home fitness equipment – it depends on your goals. If you're new to working out, an exercise bike is a great option. On the other hand, if you want a full-body workout, opt for a rowing machine.