Calculate Calories Burned on the Rowing Machine

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Rowing can burn tremendous amount of calories, especially when one is in good shape. Strength and stamina obtained rowing is very important for many other sports, especially when rowing is combined with running sessions and gym workouts.

Calories burned rowing depend on the weight of the athlete, intensity and duration of the rowing itself.

Data given in the following table represent calories burned during various activities, not only rowing, per hour of the activity, per one kg of bodyweight of the person involved in the physical activity. For example:

If the rowing session lasts 45 minutes, rower (person, not rowing machine) has 90kg (~198.7 pounds), and rowing is done at moderate pace, rower is burning around 7 kcal per kg per hour. During these 45 minutes person will burn:

90kg * 7 kcal/kgh * (45/60)h = 472.5 kcal

472 kcal is little bit more than 50g of burned fat. Perhaps that doesn't sound much, but multiply that with 30 days and that is 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) of fat melted away per month.
In order to increase burned calories, it is better to slow down the pace and increase the duration of cardio workout.

For example, same 90kg athlete can row for 90 minutes, if pace is somewhat reduced, between light and moderate. At that pace, one can expect to burn 5 kcal per kg of bodyweight per hour:

90kg * 5 kcal/kgh * (90/60)h = 675 kcal

675 kcal of additional burned calories on a daily basis leads to monthly fat loss of 2.25 kg (~5 pounds).

Note: when burned, one gram of fat produces 9 kcal, however, one gram of fatty tissue can produce around 7 kcal, making actual weight loss higher, around 2.9 kg (around 6.4 pounds).

Math is great thing, but it will NOT make any differences until you sit down on the rower and start burning calories. After all, there is almost no workout that can outpace bad diet and bad eating habits.

Here is the table of the calories burned per hour per kg of body weight for various activities, rowing of course, included:

Type of activity Calories burned per hour per kg of the users' body weight
Aerobics, general 6.5
Aerobics, low impact 5.0
Aerobics, high impact 7.0
Aerobics, step aerobics 8.5
Aerobics, instructing class 6.0
Aerobics, water aerobics 4.0
Archery 3.5
Backpacking, hiking with a backpack 7.0
Badminton 4.5
Ballet, twist, jazz, tap 4.5
Ballroom dancing, slow 3.0
Ballroom dancing, fast 5.5
Basketball, competitive game 8.0
Basketball, non game playing 6.0
Basketball, shooting baskets 4.5
Billiards 2.5
Body building, weight lifting, light workout 3.0
Body building, weight lifting, vigorous 6.0
Boxing, ring 12.0
Boxing, punching bag 6.0
Boxing, sparring 9.0
Bowling 3.0
Calisthenics, light 3.5
Calisthenics, vigorous, situps, pushups ... 8.0
Canoeing, camping trip 4.0
Canoeing, rowing, light 3.0
Canoeing, rowing, moderate 7.0
Canoeing, rowing, vigorous 12.0
Carrying infant, level ground 3.5
Carrying infant, upstairs 5.0
Carrying 7 - 11 kg, upstairs 6.0
Carrying 11 - 22 kg, upstairs 8.0
Carrying small children, level ground 4.0
Climbing hills, carrying up to 4 kg 7.0
Climbing hills, carrying 4.5 - 9 kg 7.5
Climbing hills, carrying 9.5 - 19 kg 8.0
Climbing hills, carrying more than 19 kg 9.0
Circuit training, minimal rest 8.0
Cricket 5.0
Cross country snow skiing, slow 7.0
Cross country snow skiing, moderate 8.0
Cross country snow skiing, vigorous 9.0
Cross country snow skiing, racing 14.0
Cross country snow skiing, uphill 16.5
Curling 4.0
Cycling, mountain bike, bmx 8.5
Cycling, < 16 km/h, leisure bicycling 4.0
Cycling, 16 - 19 km/h, light 6.0
Cycling, 19 - 22 km/h, moderate 8.0
Cycling, 22 - 25 km/h, vigorous  10.0
Cycling, 25 - 30 km/h, very fast, racing  12.0
Cycling, > 30 km/h, racing  16.0
Cycling, stationary, very light  3.0
Cycling, stationary, light  5.5
Cycling, stationary, moderate  7.0
Cycling, stationary, vigorous  10.5
Cycling, stationary, very vigorous  12.5
Darts 2.5
Fencing 6.0
Football, competitive match 9.0
Football, general 8.0
Frisbee, general playing 3.0
Frisbee, ultimate frisbee 8.0
Gardening, general 4.0
Gardening, cultivating, weeding 4.5
General housework 3.5
Golf, general 4.5
Golf, walking and carrying clubs 4.5
Golf, miniature golf 3.0
Golf, using power cart 3.5
Gymnastics 4.0
Handball, team 8.0
Hiking, cross country 6.0
Hockey, field hockey 8.0
Hockey, ice hockey 8.0
Horseback riding, general 4.0
Horseback riding, saddling a horse 3.5
Horseback riding, grooming a horse 3.5
Horseback riding, trotting 6.5
Horseback riding, walking 2.5
Horseback riding, galloping 8.0
Ice skating, < 15 km/h 5.5
Ice skating, moderate 7.0
Ice skating, fast 9.0
Ice skating, competitive 15.0
Jumping rope, fast 12.0
Jumping rope, moderate 10.0
Jumping rope, slow 8.0
Kayaking 5.0
Lacrosse 8.0
Loading / unloading car 3.0
Marching, military style, rapid 6.5
Martial Arts 10.0
Mowing lawn, walk, power mower 5.5
Mowing lawn, riding mower 2.5
Paddleball, playing 6.0
Paddleball, competitive match 10.0
Playing with children, standing, light 2.8
Playing with children, walk, run, moderate 4.0
Playing with children, walk, run, vigorous 5.0
Polo 8.0
Rock climbing, ascending rock 11.0
Rock climbing, rappelling 8.0
Roller blading, in-line skating 12.0
Roller skating 7.0
Rowing machine, light 3.5
Rowing machine, moderate 7.0
Rowing machine, vigorous 8.5
Rowing machine, very vigorous 12.0
Rugby 10.0
Running, 8 km/h (12 minutes per mile) 8.0
Running, 10 km/h (10 minutes per mile) 10.0
Running, 12 km/h (8 minutes per mile) 12.5
Running, 16 km/h (6 minutes per mile) 16.0
Running, cross country 9.0
Running, general 8.0
Running, upstairs 15.0
Skateboarding 5.0
Ski machine 7.0
Sky diving 3.0
Snow shoveling 8.0
Soccer, competitive match 10.0
Soccer, playing 7.0
Softball, general 5.0
Softball, pitching 6.0
Squash 12.0
Stair machine 9.0
Stretching, hatha yoga 4.0
Stretching, mild 2.5
Swimming, freestyle, fast 10.0
Swimming, freestyle, slow 7.0
Swimming, backstroke 7.0
Swimming, breaststroke 10.0
Swimming, leisurely 6.0
Swimming, sidestroke 8.0
Table tennis, ping-pong 4.0
Tai chi chuan 4.0
Tennis, playing 7.0
Tennis, doubles 6.0
Tennis, singles 8.0
Track and field (shot, discus) 4.0
Track and field (high jump, pole vault) 6.0
Track and field (hurdles)  10.0
Trampoline 3.5
Volleyball, beach 8.0
Volleyball, competitive 8.0
Volleyball, playing 3.0
Walking downstairs 3.0
Walking, under 3.0 km/h, very slow 2.0
Walking, 3.0 km/h, slow 2.5
Walking, 4.0 km/h 3.0
Walking, 5.0 km/h, moderate 3.3
Walking, 6.0 km/h, brisk pace 3.8
Walking, 6.0 km/h, uphill 6.0
Walking, 7.0 km/h 6.3
Water jogging 8.0
Water polo 10.0
Wrestling 6.0

These values should be taken only as general guidelines. You should check your weight once a week, at the same time of the day, in the same clothes - for example, weigh your self on Saturdays, in the morning after waking up.

Good rowers have calorie counters, but their accuracy is often very questionable. Rowers with magnetic resistance systems are perhaps the most accurate, but even they should be taken only as the reference point - good thing is that calorie counters usually make same mistake showing, for example, 15% more, or 20% less, or ... of actually burned calories.

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