Can You Lose Belly Fat By Only Using A Rowing Machine?

Belly fat is the most difficult to get rid of for many of us. Can you get rid of it by only using a rowing machine? Here’s what you need to know.

Can you lose belly fat by only using a rowing machine? Yes, it’s possible to lose belly fat by only exercising on a rowing machine. However, you’ll still have to keep your diet in check to make this possible. Rowing can lower your overall body fat percentage which also reduces belly fat.

Why and how this all works, requires some explanation which you can find below.

How to lose belly fat?

To really answer the question from the title, we have to look at it from a few different angles. Belly fat loss isn’t a very easy topic and there are a lot of nuances.

How Much Does A Rowing Machine Cost?

Before we get into how rowing influences belly fat, we have to get through the basics of weight loss first, and then also specifically belly fat.

Fat loss basics

The basics of fat loss stay the same whether you’re rowing or doing something else.

While there are many complicating factors and nuances to lowering your body fat, the most important foundation is the energy balance. If you take in fewer calories than you use, you’ll lose weight.

There are two parts to that equation;

  • Energy intake (diet)
  • Energy expenditure (daily activities and exercise)

The diet part is actually much more important than the exercise part. There are famous sayings like; “You can’t out train a bad diet” and “Abs are made in the kitchen”. It’s much easier to eat 500 Calories than it is to do exercise that burns the same amount.  If you overeat by a couple of hundred calories a day, you’ll have to spend 30 minutes on the rower to reach a balance.

So it’s important to also get your diet right besides exercising. If you don’t, it will be very difficult to get the results you want.

Of course exercise really does help in raising the energy expenditure but you’ll make it much easier for yourself if you get your diet in check besides exercising.

Maybe you’re not interested in losing weight but just in losing belly fat. If so make sure to read the next segment because it’s all connected.

What’s the best type of rowing machine?

Belly size

The basics of belly fat loss are the same as other fat loss. It’s just that for most people, belly fat is the last place where the fat actually starts to go away.

You can’t reduce fat in a certain location. What you can do is lower your overall body fat percentage. It’s mainly up to your genetics where you lose fat first and last. Some people have an easier time getting rid of extra pounds on the belly than others.

It’s mostly about overall body fat percentage. Lower your body fat percentage and you’ll lose belly fat as well. How much depends on your genetics and also hormone balance. Some people will lose almost all the fat anywhere else on their body before starting to reduce belly fat while for other people it’s more gradual. It isn’t fair but you’ll have to play the hand your dealt.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else about the overall size of your belly though. While the fat on top of your abs is a huge factor in how big it looks, it isn’t the only one. The other factors are core strength and bloating.

However, to see visible abs, it’s just necessary to have a low overall body fat percentage. Men need to have a body fat percentage roughly below 15% to start seeing abs while women start to show abs at around 20% body fat. Notice I’m writing ‘starting to’. Many people will need to go lower than that to have great looking abs. 

Core strength

If you’ve got a really weak core, and especially Transversus Abdominus muscle, you can make your tummy appear smaller by training this. The Transversus Abdominus is a muscle that lies under the muscles that create the 6-pack look. It’s the muscle you use when trying to pull your belly button towards your spine. Strengthening this muscle can pull your belly in without consciously doing this.

Rowing does help with core strength if you keep good form. It can be helpful to train separately though. Here’s a good place to start


Another issue that makes your stomach look bigger is bloating. Many people are intolerant to certain foods without even knowing it. This can cause bloating which makes you feel worse than you could and gives your stomach a distended look. It can be worth it to experiment with eliminating different foods from your diet to see if you can improve this problem.

There are lots of resources on bloating and diet. You can start here on WebMD

Rowing for weight loss

Knowing all of this, how does rowing get rid of belly fat? There is no magic silver bullet. To get rid of belly fat you have to burn more calories than you take in. This will be across your body including the belly. There are two parts to this; Burn more calories and/or take in fewer.

Rowing on a machine is a great way to increase the amount of calories you use. Moderate rowing uses about 200 to 300 calories per 30 minutes. Of course if you row at a higher intensity or use a HIIT program that number goes up.

Rowing is an amazing way of exercising for several reasons;

  • It’s sustainable because it’s low impact exercise which makes injury risk lower
  • Rowing uses a large part of all the muscles in your body, including muscles in the upper body many people don’t often train
  • While rowing doesn’t burn the absolute most calories per minute, it’s pretty high up the list.

Another benefit is that rowing tends to build a bit more muscle than most other types of cardio. Extra muscle mass means you burn extra calories all the time because muscles need more energy to be maintained than fat (or nothing). That means you’re burning more calories all the time without even doing anything. You raise your base metabolic rate. This helps you to lose weight.

Does Rowing Tone Your Body?

All of that combined means that rowing is an effective way of losing body fat and as a result of that, belly fat. The extra muscle will also make you look better and has some other great benefits for your body.

9 Awesome Benefits Rowing Has For Your Body

All that means that; Yes, you can lose belly fat by rowing and it’s a good way to do it because it’s effective and sustainable. However, it’s still necessary to take care of your diet and energy intake. Rowing isn’t magic. All the laws of thermodynamics still apply but there are a few things that do give it an edge for belly fat loss.

Related questions

How often can you row a week? You can row every day as long as you can recover enough. That depends on your diet, sleep and other activities during the day. Of course it also depends on how hard you work out. However to see significant results you don’t have to row every day. 3-5 days a week is enough to see results if the intensity is high enough.

How long should you row on a rowing machine? It depends on how high the intensity of your rowing workout is and your fitness level. To improve your fitness level, you have to push yourself a little. Try to shoot for at least 30 minutes on low to medium intensity or 15 minutes on high intensity.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to I've been going to the gym for about 15 years and am now looking to build my own. In the process I've learned many things I'd like to share with you.

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