How To Prevent An Indoor Rowing Machine From Moving Around

A stationary rowing machine should not be taking a trip through your gym while using it. While rowing outside you want to move but inside you really want your rower in the same spot. Why is your rower moving around and what can you do to prevent it? Let’s find out.

In general, an indoor rowing machine moving around is caused by the surface it’s placed on not providing enough grip. This can be fixed by putting a good quality equipment mat between the rower and the flooring.

What is causing your rowing machine to move and what’s the best mat to fix it? Keep reading to find out.

Why Is Your Rowing Machine Moving Around?

Using a rower means your body is moving back and forth. That means there is going to be some back-and-forth pressure on the feet of the rower. This can cause a rower to start moving around a little. Of course, how much force the feet can handle to stop the movement has a lot to do with if the rower is actually going to move.

Suggested: Rowing machine maintenance guide

There are two parts to this, the material of the feet and the surface you put the rower on. Both have to work together to provide enough grip to stop the movement. The feet of the rower are what they are and there isn’t really an easy way to change them. If you already bought a rower, there isn’t much you can do about the material and grip of the feet.

The surface is something you do have some control over.

Image of a concept2 rowing machine in the gym.


The biggest thing that causes a rowing machine to move around is the surface you put it on. Some surfaces provide more grip than others. Most of the surfaces are pretty obvious if they’re slippery or more grippy.

Suggested: How big is a rowing machine and how much space does it need?

Tiles are probably the worst, gym flooring is the best with many things in between. Just try it with your bare feet. Can you easily slide your feet across the flooring? Then it’s the same for the feet of your rower. Some types of flooring are grippier than others but almost every type of flooring will allow your rower to slide around a little bit (except gym flooring).

If the flooring doesn’t provide much grip, you can’t expect the rower to stay in the same place when moving on it.

Suggested: Can you put a treadmill on carpet?


Another part is the rowing technique you use. Rowing is low low-impact exercise and it should be a relatively smooth motion. While your weight is moving backward, your legs are exerting force forward. So the actual forward/backward stress on the feet of the rower is not that much for most of the time.

Try to make the pushing with your legs and the pulling with your arms one smooth motion. Don’t make things too jerky. When you’re pulling hard, some have the tendency to really throw back their upper body. While good for power production, this can cause extra movement. However, with the proper support under your rower, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Suggested: Is 30 minutes on a rowing machine enough to see results?

So let’s see what the best way to stop your indoor rowing machine from moving around is.

How can you prevent your rowing machine from moving around?

In most cases, it’s pretty easy to prevent your rower from moving around on the floor. Whatever flooring you put it on, it’s a good idea to put your rower on an equipment mat. Equipment mats are made to prevent movement of whatever is placed on top but also a few other things.

Equipment mats;

  • Help prevent movement
  • Reduce noise
  • Protects the flooring underneath
  • Make the area easy to clean

So it’s a good idea to get an equipment mat under your rower (or any other cardio machine), for other reasons than just to stop the movement. Of course, if you have gym flooring in your home gym or wherever you put your rower, you don’t need to have anything else underneath. But then again, with proper gym flooring, you probably don’t have any problems with your rower moving around. Equipment mats can be made from the same material as gym flooring so it’s just the size that’s different.

Suggested: Do you need a mat under your treadmill?

The combination of proper technique and a good equipment mat or gym flooring will get rid of any movement of the rower.

An equipment mat doesn’t have to be expensive and since it prevents the flooring underneath from abrasion and your sweat, it’s actually a good place to spend money in the long run. Replacing flooring is going to cost way more than an equipment mat does. If you have plans to build a full home gym, this might be the right time to just get gym flooring for the whole room. This will cost a lot to start off with but it’ll work out in the long run.

What’s the right mat for a rowing machine?

So what is the mat you should choose for a rowing machine? The most important thing is the size. Treadmill mats are often a bit too short to fit a rowing machine on. You want the whole rower to be on the mat and have some space left over on every side.

One of the most popular indoor rowers on the market (Concept2 Model D) has a footprint of 8’ x 2’ That’s pretty standard as far as rowing machines go. That means we want a mat that measures at least 8.5’ x 2.5’.

If noise damping is not a concern, a thin mat will do fine at stopping movement and managing sweat. If you want good noise control, look for a mat that’s ½” thick or more.

There are a few material choices. Rubber mats are very durable, easy to clean and are the best at damping noise. In my opinion, rubber also looks a lot better than the alternatives although it does come at a higher price. For hardwood floors, a vinyl/PVC mat is better because rubber can discolor some of the finishes that are used for hardwood. If you don’t care about noise control, vinyl/PVC is good since it’s a bit cheaper.

If you’re looking for a high-quality mat that fits under your rowing machine but doesn’t cost too much, check out the following one from Supermats

Favorite Cardio Accessories

Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:

  • Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high-quality choice.
  • Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
  • Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.

To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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