Swimming Vs Rowing: Which Is Better?

Swimming Vs Rowing: Which Is Better?
Swimming Vs Rowing: Which Is Better? – altinify.com

Swimming and rowing have a lot in common and are frequently suggested as effective fat-burning exercises. Unlike most other aerobic activities like walking, jogging, or cycling, they both target various muscle groups throughout your body. But you might ask, swimming vs. rowing which one should you choose?

Both tasks can be difficult in their own right and may be simpler for someone with physical disabilities due to buoyancy or the presence of a platform.

Read on to find out swimming vs. rowing: which one is harder and which one burns more calories. After reading, you should be able to choose between swimming and rowing or successfully combine them to reach your fitness goals better.

See also: Will Swimming Actually Give You Abs? ( Find Out Here)

Table of Contents

Is Swimming Harder Than Rowing?

Swimming is slightly harder than rowing. However, both swimming and rowing burn slightly the same number of calories in an hour, depending on the person’s weight and the level of intensity of the activity. In other words, both swimmers and rowers use the same amount of energy, which indicates that the physical effort will be identical.

In addition, rowing covers more ground in less time than swimming because when you swim your body generates more resistance in the water.

Both swimming and rowing can test certain muscle areas while also presenting an aerobic challenge. But, all things being equal, the drag created by swimming is larger than that produced by rowing, making swimming the harder option.

See also: 18 Amazing Advantages Of Using An Exercise Bike

Is Rowing a Good Substitute For Swimming?

When swimming is not an option, rowing is an excellent substitute because it helps build critical muscles for swimming and also helps develop your core. Before swimming or even strength training, some people like to paddle for 10-15 minutes as a warm-up. It’s vital not to overuse the rowing machine.

However, while rowing may be a better overall fitness strategy in some situations, it cannot completely replace swimming, cycling, or running.

Rowing is a fantastic way to break up the monotony of swimming, biking, and running. The beautiful thing about rowing is that it not only improves your cardiovascular fitness but also improves your strength and power. These advantages extend from the calves to the shoulders, as well as virtually everything in between. 

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Swimming Vs. Rowing: Muscle groups

Both swimming and rowing target almost every muscle group in your body. If you are looking for a gentle workout to help you with injury, swimming offers one of the lowest-impact workouts, and you will not accidentally twist the injured muscle.

Rowing targets all nine major muscle groups, including hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, back, lats, shoulders, triceps, and biceps.

However, where swimming works mainly the arms and legs, rowing impacts almost the entire body—a total of nine muscle groups: quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulders, triceps, back, and biceps. You can’t go wrong with either workout, but if you want to save time and get an all-around sweat-inducing, calorie-burning, muscle-toning workout, go for rowing and find a rowing class or rowing machine.

With perfect form, rowing may engage almost 85 percent of the muscles in your body, earning it the title of “the” whole body workout. Swimming, on the other hand, isn’t far behind – especially if you change your strokes to engage additional muscle groups.

Swimming Vs. Rowing: Impact and Risk of Injury

Unlike other types of aerobic activities like running, rowing and swimming are low-impact workouts. As a result, even while working out at a high intensity, there is little chance of injury – which is one of the reasons why both of these routines are so effective at losing calories.

Given how similar these workouts are, it’s probably best to just do what you’re most comfortable with. Swimming and rowing both rely heavily on form, so choosing the activity that you can do better at will make things simpler. In any event, you should see the fruits of your labor soon enough, with no need to be concerned about injury.

In addition, rowing is a great method to burn calories and create strong, defined muscles, and it will help you lose stubborn belly fat.

See also: Crossfit Vs. Gym: Which One Should Really Choose?

Swimming vs. Rowing: Which One Burns More Calories?

Both swimming and rowing burn similar amounts of calories depending on the intensity and the person’s body weight. However, rowing has a tiny advantage. As you can see in the tables below, the workout’s speed, technique, and intensity all play a role, and rowing burns roughly 40 calories per hour more on average compared to swimming.

Calories Burned in 60-minute of Rowing

Intensity Level125-pound (56.70 Kg) person155-pound (70.30 Kg) person185-pound (83.92 Kg) person
Rowing, Stationary: moderate420504588
Rowing, Stationary: vigorous510738880
Swimming Vs. Rowing: Which Is Better? – altinify.com

Calories Burned in 60-minute of Swimming

Intensity Level125-pound (56.70 Kg) person155-pound (70.30 Kg) person185-pound (83.92 Kg) person
Swimming: general180216252
Swimming: laps, vigorous600720840
Swimming Vs. Rowing: Which Is Better? – altinify.com

Overall, both swimming and rowing can help you burn calories and lose weight. The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn.

Swimming vs. Rowing: What Are The Benefits?

Both swimming and rowing have tremendous benefits; here is a snapshot of the main benefit of swimming and rowing.

Benefits of SwimmingBenefits of Rowing
– Swimming has long been referred to be a “full-body workout.” A few exercises will give you a full-body exercise.
– Swimming, like rowing, is a low-impact workout, allowing you to move more freely and putting less stress on your muscles, joints, and bones.
Injury risk is lower compared with other types of exercise.
You never sweat since the water continually cools you off.
– Swimming also teaches you how to breathe properly.
– To be a proper and good swimmer, you need to learn numerous strokes like the breast, back, butterfly, and the most popular, freestyle, to get the body moving. In indoor rowing, we just use one stroke and one action.
Swimming can be a demanding activity, and you’re putting in a lot of effort to get that exercise in.
Rowing engages all nine primary muscle groups.
Rowing works all the nine essential muscle groups: hamstrings, glutes, core, quads, lats, back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps.
Rowing is a very low-impact workout; if you are recovering from injury, you can use this during your recovery. 
You can row year-round and almost anywhere.
Rowing is easier to learn than swimming. If you didn’t grow up swimming, then learning later in life could be very difficult. Swimming takes longer to learn than rowing
Swimming Vs. Rowing: Which Is Better? – altinify.com

Rowing is a terrific full-body workout since it engages about 85 percent of your body muscles. It is also a superior kind of workout. In addition, rowing develops functional muscles and helps with everyday movements such as picking up groceries, climbing stairs, and running.

Swimming vs. Rowing: Other Benefits?

Swimming helps alleviate asthma symptoms in children, found a study. Generally, children who performed a six-week swimming program saw improvements in asthma severity, snoring, mouth-breathing, and self-confidence.

The lead researcher concluded that swimming develops good breathing techniques, increases lung volume, and improves general fitness.

Swimming vs. Rowing: Which One Should Choose?

When choosing swimming vs. rowing, start with the one you enjoy because they both address different things. Both swimming and rowing are excellent for cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory fitness, but rowing burns more calories and helps you lose weight fast.

Swimming is an excellent way to cross-train for rowing because they are both mixes of strength and endurance sports, and each targets a fair amount of legs and pulling muscles in the upper body.

Swimming would be easiest on your body in terms of impact on your joints; however, it can also be pretty damaging on your shoulders. And, from a purely cardiovascular standpoint, what matters is your intensity.

See also: How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle With Yoga

Wrap Up

So, swimming vs. rowing: which one should you choose? I would suggest the one that you enjoy more and makes you happier will be a good choice.

Also, I would recommend you cross-train and add both swimming and rowing to your workout regimen. And more importantly, allow yourself to recover if you do the same exercise every day; you set yourself up for overuse injuries.


Hello friends, I am Altiné I am SO excited you are here! I believe in YOUR POWER to transform the world through a healthy lifestyle and diet, and that physical activity and diet are EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. My goal is to offer you a simple and science-based approach to building muscle, losing fat, getting happy and healthy, and living a meaningful and impactful life for you and your loved ones. So YOU can look better, feel better, live better, and go make more impact. Let’s do it.

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