Bike vs Rowing Machines

Exercise Bike vs Rowing Machines: Which is Best?

Rowing machines and stationary bikes are both capable of giving you a low-impact cardio workout at home or at the gym. The rowing machine targets your upper and lower body while spinning works mainly your lower body with minimal upper body movements.

It is important to understand their differences as this will help you choose the right machine for your home workout plan. This article will give you a general comparison of these two exercise machines, so you can easily sort through the many options that you have. Here is the difference between Bike vs Rowing Machines.


Calorie-Burning Capacity

A stationary bike is easy to use. It is similar to riding an actual bike, but easier because you do not have to maintain your balance. It may take a while before you get used to turning the lever or knob to increase and decrease the resistance, but that is about it.

Rowing, on the other hand, is something that not every user is familiar. Most people know how to ride a bike, but only a few do rowing activities. Rowing with a proper technique requires more upper and lower body movements than the spin bike. You need to push with your legs, and then pull the handlebar using your arms and back before returning to the start position.


Rowing Machine Resistance

You can increase the resistance on the spin bike by shifting the lever or knob. If you want to have an upper body workout on this machine, you may incorporate dumbbells. Spin intervals usually need a lower resistance setting, so you can pedal at your maximum cadence.

A rowing machine recruits all your major muscle groups during the workout. It places emphasis on your upper and lowers body. If you want to focus on your upper body, you can use your legs less and pull yourself with your torso and arms. You can switch to using less arm and torso effort to place the focus on your lower extremity. Increasing the resistance setting helps improve your muscle strength and endurance.

Calorie-Burning Capacity

Joint Stress

The spin bike tends to burn more calories than the rowing machine at the same intensity level. However, it is possible to work your entire body using the rower to have a higher calorie burn and after-burn. Your calorie-burning capacity depends on how hard you push yourself to complete a workout. A number of calories that you burn will depend on your weight, fitness level, body composition, intensity, and the type of workout.

A woman weighing 125 pounds will burn 630 calories per hour with a heavy spin bike workout. If she will use the same intensity on the rowing machine, she can burn about 510 calories in an hour. Increasing the resistance on the rowing machine might result in a longer post-training burn.

Read About: 5 Best Yoga Exercises For Saggy Breasts

Joint Stress

These two machines are both easy on the joints. They provide non-impact workouts that will not hurt your ankle, hips, knee, and lower back. You may find the rowing machine placing more stress on your knees when you push, but you will not get the same pressure with a stationary bike. It is possible to get injured due to overuse of one or both of the machines. Another reason why you can get injured is the failure to set up the machine properly. You must listen to your body and know when to stop.


Rowing Machines Usage

The lower and spin bike do not create a huge amount of noise. The noisiest type of rowing machine are the air resistance models because you will hear the flywheel turning as you pull. Meanwhile, the noise that you hear from exercise bikes depends on the resistance type and drive they offer. The more quiet spin bike models have a belt drive and magnetic resistance. Exercise bikes with a chain drive and friction resistance produce the most noise.


Rowing machines are more space-consuming than the spin bikes. There are compact growers that you can consider, but some features are sacrificed. Compact rowers also tend to make you feel a bit cramped because of the size. Rowers need around 9ft x 4ft in room space, while a spin bike only needs around 5ft x 2ft.


Rowing Machine Noise

Rowing machines vary greatly in price as there is a huge range of options available, however, commercial-grade rowers will cost around $900-$1,500 or more while spin bikes of the same quality are around $1,500-$2,000! If you are tight on budget, you can always purchase the most affordable models, usually starting at $100. You should not expect too many features from the lower-end models. They are less durable than the commercial-grade models, too. If you have enough money to spend, it will be wise to invest in a high-quality machine.

Read About: Top 7 Best Apps for Exercise

Bottom Line

These two machines offer great workouts that will help you stay fit. Rowing machines work more muscles than the spin bike, but not everyone enjoys the back and forth motion rowing. Spin bikes can give you a high calorie-burning capacity, but you will need to do a separate upper body exercise to achieve a total body workout.

There are plenty of pros and cons, but the best machine for your home workout plan is one that will match your fitness goals. Take note of the tips mentioned above and you can decide which machine to purchase as soon as you step out of your home.

Holly Nunan is a mother of three daughters aged four, six and eight. She's an Exercise Physiologist with a passion for exercise, fitness, and raising healthy children with natural and alternative remedies. Holly is the editor of, with a simple mission to help each reader that views her articles to take away one new piece of healthy information!

  • Contact

  • Posts

Guest Post Opportunity, Submit Your Article and Get Promoted Your Products and Websites Free!