Rowing Machine, Exercise Bike or Treadmill: Which Is Best For You?

Rowing Machine, Exercise Bike or Treadmill: Which Is Best For You?

TreadmillsWhen it comes to indoor exercise machines, there are a variety of choices out there.  Treadmills, rowing machines and exercise bikes are firm favorites for those who want to get fit at home, and all are good machines for cardiovascular exercise; however, they do have distinguishing features.

The rowing machine, treadmill and exercise bike are each great workout tools, so it’s really hard to go wrong with any one of them.  However, we all have different needs, and here are some things to think about if you’re trying to choose between them.

exercise bike

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Choosing Between Exercise Bikes and Rowing Machines

It’s really a personal preference as to which machine you should choose.  They do share a few qualities in common too, such as being easy to store and coming in at a variety of prices.  Both offer a good cardio workout and can be used in any weather since you’ll be exercising indoors.  Whatever your choice, it’s more important that you stick to your exercise regime religiously, and maximize the use of whichever machine you choose.

Pros and Cons of Exercise Bikes

Exercise bikes are quiet machines and are great for those who like cycling in general, but who want an indoor machine.  They are great for apartment use because of their quietness, and are also good for beginners to do cardio exercises.  For those who want to focus on cardio training without over stressing their muscles and joints through strength training, exercise bikes are definitely the better choice.

On the downside, they do not tone parts of your body other than your legs, and do not burn as many calories as a rowing machine.  Many of them also run on electricity, which is a disadvantage when compared to rowing machines.

Pros and Cons of Rowing Machines

Rowing machines burn more calories than exercise bikes, due to the fact that they offer a tougher, whole-body workout.  They exercise all major muscle groups, while still being easy on the joints.  Rowing machines combine cardio exercise with strength training exercises, saving time for those who want a thorough workout in less time.  They also run without electricity, which means even a blackout cannot get in the way of your workout.

rowing machinesOne of the disadvantages of rowing machines is that, since they offer a tough workout, they may not be as suitable for beginners.  Also, while most models are quiet enough, they are not as quiet as exercise bikes.

Choosing Between Treadmills and Rowing Machines

If you have to choose either one of these machines, your choice should come down to your personal preferences and needs. Here are some things you can consider:

  • Purpose: If you are looking for something that focuses on cardio and not on strength training, then a treadmill would be your best bet.  For a machine that would give you both types of workout (strength and cardio), then a rowing machine would be the perfect buy.
  • Calories burned: On average, you can burn around 600 calories per hour during a moderate intensity session on a rower.  You can burn this amount on a treadmill, but it would require an intense session.  Of course, the amount of calories burned varies according to how you perform your exercise, but overall a rowing machine burns more calories due to the power workout it provides.
  • Noise: If you are looking for a quiet option, then a treadmill is probably better since it usually makes less noise than rowing machines.  If you live in an apartment or condominium, you may want to opt for a quieter exercise machine, even though rowing machines are smaller in size.
  • Size: If noise isn’t an issue, then rowing machines make a better choice for homes than treadmills due to their smaller size.
  • Beginner-friendliness: If you are just starting to exercise, whether at home or at the gym, then the treadmill is a better option, as it is simple and less strenuous.  A rowing machine is tougher on the body, and it’s better to ease into that machine once you’re more fit.
  • Risk of injury: Falling off a treadmill or spraining your ankle while running is certainly possible, and a rowing machine eliminates this risk.  However, you have to ensure you keep good posture on a rowing machine, or you may strain your back.


Overall, rowing machines, exercise bikes and treadmills all have their pros and cons, and hopefully the list above has helped you decide which one is better for your needs, and which one you will be most likely to follow through on. Just be sure to stick to your exercise regime no matter what you choose, and you’ll see results.


Garth is a writer and publisher of information on health and fitness, small business development, and other approaches towards personal empowerment.

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