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Are you considering adding a rowing machine or treadmill to your home gym? You are not alone! The sales of both rowers and treadmills for home use have experienced substantial growth over the past few years. Both pieces of exercise equipment are a large investment; still, both offer the ability to exercise in the privacy of your home, whenever you want and regardless of the weather.
While a rowing machine has the advantage of working your entire body, a treadmill uses the large muscle groups of your lower body, burning more calories per hour than you would on a rower. Both machines promote healthy exercise, but when facing the choice of one over the other, rowing machine vs. treadmill, which should you choose? Let’s consider each:
During the late 1800s, treadmills were used to harness animals’ energy to simple farm or manufacturing equipment. Horses, mules, or dogs would walk on large treadmills and turn grain into flour or milk into butter. As early as 1952, cardiologists began to realize the potential of treadmills for improving cardiovascular exercise. Today, you can purchase a home treadmill with many of the same features as most commercial models.
When shopping for (or comparing) treadmills, consider:
- Motor Size – The typical range in horsepower is 2.25 to 3.5. A 2.5 to 3.0 horsepower motor should be sufficient. You CAN buy a manual (non-motorized) treadmill, but you probably won’t use it.
- Running Area – Treadmill running areas range from 55 inches to 60 inches long and are usually at least 20 inches wide. The taller you are, the longer running length you need.
- Speed and Incline – Treadmill speeds range from 10 to 12 miles per hour. If you prefer sprinting, look for a treadmill with top speeds of 12 mph or more. If you intend to walk or jog, 10 mph is more than sufficient. The ability to increase or decrease your treadmill’s incline (tilt) will allow you to vary your workout intensity.
- Folding – A treadmill that folds can save space in your home. Treadmills that fold may fold flat or fold upright. The flat-folding treadmill folds flat to the ground, so it’s easy to store under a bed while an upright folding treadmill folds vertically for easy storage in a closet. Likewise, there are compact rowing models that can be folded to save space.
- Maximum Weight – Most treadmills have weight capacities in the range of 250 to 300 pounds. Treadmills with a maximum user weight of 350 pounds or higher may provide a more robust and more durable frame.
- Warranty – Look for treadmills with a lifetime warranty on both the frame and motor.
Our Best Treadmill Picks
The Best Value for Money
An excellent value-for-money but quality treadmill from a very known brand. The motor can run at lower RPMs to minimize noise and enhance durability.
As with any fitness machine (including treadmills), there are advantages and disadvantages in using a rowing machine.
Rowing Machine vs. Treadmill: Which Should You Choose?
If you are in the market for a calorie-burning, cardio workout machine, both options are excellent choices! Rowing machines and treadmills have similar costs, similar space requirements, and even comparable calorie burns at roughly 600+ calories per hour. Your choice comes down to personal preference.
If you are a runner, love running, or want to burn calories in front of your television – a treadmill is your best option. A treadmill also allows you to progress through your training from walking to jogging and finally to running and sprinting. You can also combine weights, kettlebells, resistance bands, and bodyweight training into your Bootcamp or HIIT workout by running for a set time, then alternating resistance training, and then back to the treadmill.
If you prefer calorie burning and toning with a full-body workout, a rowing machine maybe your best option. Rowers are affordable and offer a full-body training with minimal impact. If you are spending an hour a day using aerobic exercise equipment, then consider using a rowing machine and get all the extra benefits.