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Rowing Bootcamp: Benefits of Adding Strength Training to Your Rowing Workout

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Cardio and strength training go hand-in-hand for the perfect regime, but it can be difficult to find time to fit both methods of exercise into a workout routine. Luckily, people can avoid needing to make the nearly impossible choice of choosing between strength and cardio workouts by combining both methods into a bootcamp workout. Bootcamp workouts (also called cross-training) make users utilize both strength and cardio workouts into one workout session that is sure to get anyone in the best shape of their lives. Rowing is one of the best cardio workouts for anyone looking to follow the bootcamp methodology, for a variety of reasons while dumbbells, the strength training standby, delivers a powerful workout when utilized. Read on to learn about the benefits for both of these methods, the benefits of combining them into one workout and a simple (but powerful) sample workout anyone can complete.

Benefits of Rowing

Low Impact - More traditional cardio workouts, including running and jogging, are an excellent way to burn calories, but they’re not excellent for one’s joints. This is because they cause a lot of micro-trauma to the joints and shins. While this works just fine in small amounts, it can cause severe injury when practiced too often. Rowing machines put zero impact on your joints being your body is sliding back and forth on the rowing machines.

Burn Calories - Running is commonly thought of as the most effective way to burn calories, but rowing burns just as much! In fact, an hour of rowing burns just as many calories as running at 6 mph for an hour straight. When one burns calories, when combined with a healthy diet, they can reduce their belly fat (lowering their chances of developing diseases like diabetes) as well as get the body of their dreams.

Build Lean Muscle - Because rowing provides a full-body workout, users are working out nearly every muscle in their body, allowing them to grow their lean muscle mass. While rowing is never going to give you large, hulking muscles, its high rep, low resistance structure allows one to build detailed, fine muscles.

Great for Beginners - Rowing definitely contains its own nuanced techniques, but it’s also easy for beginners to learn how to use the machine. Users don’t require any special instruction to use, nor do they need to worry about a complicated set-up. This means one can start rowing almost as soon as they receive their machine.

Excellent Strength Training Workout - Rowing allows users to not only work out the obvious muscle groups like the legs and arms, but it also allows one to exercise their core and back. The core muscles are engaged by keeping proper form to stabilize as one moves on the rower while the lower back (one of the most common spots for injury) is exercised by forcing users to contact the muscles in the lower back.

Benefits of Strength Training with Dumbbells

Fixes Strength Imbalances - When working out with a barbell, one’s body will compensate for one side being weaker than the other. By using dumbbells, users are forced to make their bodies utilize the strength that’s right for them. This allows users to make sure both sides of their bodies are at the same fitness level.

High-Intensity Training - Dumbbells allow users to intensify their workouts by using high-intensity techniques that simply aren’t doable with other strength training methods, including drop sets.

Large Range of Motion - Imagine someone attempting to do a tricep dip with a barbell. It’s simply not possible. By utilizing dumbbells, users can experience a more thorough range of motion that also allows them to work out different muscle groups.

Stabilization - Who would have thought that dumbbells provide a similar chest and tricep workout when compared to a barbell when performing bench presses while bicep activity was stronger with the faithful dumbbells? This is due to the stabilization required to use dumbbells, which activates more of the muscle fibers.

Muscle Growth - Want stronger muscles? Use dumbbells! Dumbbells facilitate muscle growth, meaning users can increase their muscle size, meaning users will see those biceps bulge as well as burning more calories when not exercising.

Putting Both Together

Combining rowing with dumbbells is an excellent way to get one’s dream body in a fraction of the time it would normally take when completing workouts separately. When one combines both methods in their workouts by creating a bootcamp workout, they are able to work out for a shorter amount of time while still receiving the same results. That’s why Fitscopes’ model is to work out smarter rather than harder or longer than necessary. Combining workouts also allows one to work out less often (for example, the sample plan below shouldn’t be completed more than three times a week). By putting both methods together, one can receive the workout of their lives while living a longer, healthier life.

Sample Workout

Warm-Up - 20 Minutes Rowing

:45 Seconds at Full Strength (this is different for everyone_

2 Minute Recovery Row

Complete Rowing Steps 2&3 3 Times

10 x Rear Delt Fly

10 x Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlift

Complete Rowing Steps 2&3 3 Times

10 x Dumbbell Goblet Squat

10 x Dumbbell Halo

10 x Bicep Curls

Complete steps 2&3 3 Times

Cool-Down - 5 Minutes of Rowing

Please Note: Do not attempt to row and use dumbbells at the same time. Doing so can result in severe injury.


Combining your rowing workouts with your dumbbell program provides an excellent workout for those looking to lose weight and get fit as quickly as possible without spending hours on a machine. Want to vary your exercise routine and start working out as soon as possible? Fitscope offers online studio classes for exercise bikes and strength training with resistance bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc., as well as old favorites like rowing machines, treadmills and ellipticals, in addition to HIIT workouts to allow people to vary their workouts while obtaining maximum benefits. Click here to learn more and receive a free one-week trial.

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