Treadmill Vs Rowing Machine

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Which is Best For You?


treadmill vs rowing machineTrying to decide between a rowing machine vs treadmill?

Wondering which one is the best option for you?

Each one has their benefits and there are several differences between them.

The machine that’s best for you will really depend on what you want to achieve (i.e. weight loss, strength training, budget concerns, space issues etc).

So let’s break it down a bit to help you decide

When it comes to the rowing machines, it’s actually quite easy to understand how it works. The machine has been designed so that when you train with it, it’s like you’re rowing a real boat.

A treadmill, as you probably know, is basically a machine for walking or running which also can include incline or decline, faster or slower speeds and built-in workout programs.


Rowing Machine Benefits:

treadmill vs rowing machineThe great thing about this machine is that it can work the entire body (although the main focus is your upper body).

It tends to build and tone muscles in the arms, back and upper body. So if you’re a rower or want to focus on building and toning your upper body, the rowing machine is a great option.

However if you’re looking to burn maximum calories, it might not be the best option. To burn a lot of calories, you want to focus on using the large muscles of the body – mainly the legs.

(This is especially true if you’re a woman. We tend to not be as muscular in our upper bodies as men. So we want to focus on machines to work the larger muscles – which are mainly in the legs.)

Another benefit about the rowing machine vs treadmill is that the rowing machine tends to use less space in your home. It’s also pretty easy to fold these things up and move them out of the way as they are not as heavy as a treadmill.




A final benefit is that the rowing machine can be cheaper than a treadmill since the design is much simpler and you don’t need to account for a costly motor, belt, deck, etc.


Treadmill Benefits:

treadmill versus rowing machineThe treadmill also has a lot of benefits.

As stated above, it’s probably a better choice for burning calories faster – since it can work the larger muscles of your legs – which are calorie-hogs.

For example walking on an incline trainer treadmill like the X9 can burn almost 400 calories in 20 minutes – that’s a lot of calories.

Compare this to 20 minutes on a rowing machine which will burn about 150 – 200 calories and you’ll see the difference.

Another example of calorie burning differences is found in this article from menshealth. The author states that a rowing machine burns about 11 calories per minute whereas a treadmill burns up to 17 calories per minute (and that’s NOT incline training – which is usually even more).

So if you’re looking to lose weight, a treadmill might be the best option.

Another benefit of a treadmill vs rowing machine is that a treadmill gives you a lot more options for training. For example compare the console of a standard rowing machine:


treadmill vs rowing machine - console


to a treadmill:


treadmill vs rowing machine - console


Rowing machine consoles tend to give you very few choices as far as workout programs. They also tend to be harder to read if not backlit (which many of them are not).

Compare this to a treadmill where you can get everything from multiple workout programs, iPod docks with speakers, incline/decline, web browsers, heart rate monitors, built-in fans and tablet holders. This can make a big differences in your overall enjoyment of your workout.

So those are some of the main differences between a treadmill vs rowing machine. It really boils down to what you’re looking to achieve, the space you have and your budget. Good luck!