Biking & Rowing, Perfect complimentary Cardio workouts

August 31, 2023 4 min read

Biking & Rowing, Perfect complimentary  Cardio workouts

What Muscles Are Used in Rowing and Biking?

Rowing and biking are both excellent forms of cardiovascular exercise that engage multiple muscle groups in the body.

In rowing, the primary muscles used are the legs, back, and arms. The leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, provide the power and drive for each stroke. The back muscles, such as the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids, are responsible for the pulling motion. The arms, particularly the biceps and forearms, assist in the pulling action and help maintain balance. For a fuller article read our What Muscles Does a Rowing Machine work.

Similarly, biking primarily targets the leg muscles. The quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves are all actively engaged during cycling. Additionally, the glutes and hip flexors play a significant role in generating power and maintaining stability. For a fuller article read our What Muscles Does an Exercise Bike work.

Benefits of Rowing

Rowing offers a wide range of benefits for both the body and mind, either out on the water or on an  indoor rowing machine, here are some key advantages:

1. Full-body Workout: Rowing is a highly effective exercise that engages over 85% of the body's muscles, making it a great option for overall fitness.

2. Cardiovascular Health: Rowing is an excellent aerobic exercise that increases heart rate and improves cardiovascular endurance.

3. Low Impact: Unlike activities such as running or jumping, rowing is a low-impact exercise that puts minimal stress on the joints, reducing the risk of injury.

4. Strength and Toning: Regular rowing helps build strength in the legs, back, and arms, leading to improved muscle tone and definition.

5. Weight Loss: Rowing is a calorie-burning activity that can aid in weight loss and weight management when combined with a balanced diet.


Benefits of Biking

Biking, whether outdoors or on a indoor exercise bike , offers numerous advantages for physical and mental well-being:

1. Cardiovascular Fitness: Cycling is a great way to improve cardiovascular health, strengthen the heart, and increase lung capacity.

2. Joint-Friendly: Biking is a low-impact exercise that puts less stress on the joints compared to activities like running, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.

3. Muscle Endurance: Regular cycling helps build endurance in the leg muscles, leading to improved stamina and the ability to sustain physical activity for longer periods.

4. Mental Well-being: Cycling outdoors can have a positive impact on mental health, reducing stress levels and improving mood.

5. Weight Management: Biking is an effective way to burn calories, making it beneficial for weight loss and weight maintenance.

Complementary Benefits of Rowing and Biking

Rowing and biking are complementary exercises that offer unique benefits when combined:

1. Cross-Training: Incorporating both rowing and biking into a fitness routine provides a well-rounded workout, targeting different muscle groups and preventing overuse injuries.

2. Full-Body Conditioning: Rowing engages the upper body and core muscles, while biking primarily targets the lower body. By combining these activities, you can achieve a comprehensive full-body workout.

3. Cardiovascular Endurance: Both rowing and biking are excellent cardiovascular exercises that improve heart and lung health. By alternating between the two, you can enhance your overall endurance and fitness level.

4. Variety and Enjoyment: Switching between rowing and biking adds variety to your exercise routine, making it more enjoyable and reducing the risk of boredom.

In conclusion, rowing and biking are both fantastic forms of exercise that offer numerous benefits for the body and mind. While rowing targets the legs, back, and arms, biking primarily engages the leg muscles. By incorporating both activities into your fitness routine, you can enjoy a full-body workout, improve cardiovascular health, build strength and endurance, and enhance overall well-being. So, grab your oars and hop on your bike for a rewarding and invigorating fitness experience

Exploring how Rowers have excelled when they have changed sports to cycling

Rowers possess a unique set of skills and attributes that make them exceptional athletes. Their physical strength, endurance, and mental toughness are qualities that transfer well to other sports, including cycling. 

1. Cardiovascular Fitness - Rowing is a highly demanding cardiovascular exercise that requires athletes to maintain a high level of endurance. World champion rowers have exceptional cardiovascular fitness, which is a key factor in their success. This level of fitness allows them to excel in cycling, as both sports require sustained effort over long periods.

2. Leg Strength - Rowing is a full-body workout that heavily relies on leg strength. The powerful leg drive used in rowing translates well to cycling, where strong legs are crucial for generating power and speed. World champion rowers have well-developed leg muscles, giving them a significant advantage on the bike.

3. Mental Toughness - Rowing at a world championship level requires immense mental toughness. Athletes must push through physical pain and mental fatigue to achieve their goals. This mental resilience is transferable to cycling, where athletes often face grueling challenges such as long climbs or intense sprints. World champion rowers have the mental fortitude to push themselves to the limit in any sport they pursue.

4. Endurance Training - Rowing training involves long hours of endurance work to build stamina and aerobic capacity. This endurance training directly benefits rowers when they transition to cycling. They already have a solid foundation of endurance, allowing them to handle the demands of long rides and races.

5. Teamwork and Discipline - Rowing is a team sport that requires exceptional teamwork and discipline. World champion rowers understand the importance of working together towards a common goal and following a structured training program. These qualities are highly valuable in cycling, where teamwork and discipline can make a significant difference in race outcomes.


World champion rowers possess a unique combination of physical and mental attributes that make them excellent cyclists. Their cardiovascular fitness, leg strength, mental toughness, endurance training, teamwork, and discipline all contribute to their success in both sports. So, it's no surprise that many world champion rowers excel when they transition to cycling.



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