W hen it comes to adding a voluminous and expensive piece of equipment to your home gym, paying attention to all the details is a must. This is a good way to avoid those horrendous situations when you struggle to get the large package in, spend half a day to assemble it, and only then realize that it is either too large to work, too loud, or not suitable for the type of training you were looking for. There are a lot of treadmill or rowing machine reviews out there that can help you find the perfect model, but before checking the offer, you will want to take your time to decide if a treadmill is the right choice or you need to be looking into a rowing apparatus that can match your budget and expectations. With the hope that this article will provide you with all the information you need, let’s explore the advantages these machines bring and the main similarities and differences between them.
Getting your heart to work harder once or twice a week will not do it any harm but instead will bring a lot of benefits to your health. Here are the main advantages cardio training offers:
Treadmills are more complex machines that include a high-power motor and a mechanism that is specific to motorized products, so it is no wonder that they tend to be a lot more expensive than a rowing machine. In fact, if you want to buy a decent treadmill, you will need to get at least $3,000 from your pocket, while one of the best rowers out there, which is the Concept2 Model D, will cost you only $1,200.
Regarding the maintenance costs, the rower remains the cheapest, as it has fewer parts and no motor. The only component that may cause any trouble is the LCD, but you need to take into account that treadmills tend to have even more complex screens that cost more to repair and replace. Since the treadmill is motorized, you will need to perform periodical inspections on it to make sure you can use it safely, so besides money, it will also cost you more time.
Rowing is a low-impact sport, while running on a treadmill (or running in general) tends to put a lot of strain on your joints. In fact, this inquiry published in the International Journal of Control Automation and Systems showed that the ankles and joints of the subjects received more intense impulses when using the treadmill instead of walking on the ground. Another research paper, which had the purpose to analyze the way the uterine activity is influenced by exercising on different aerobic machines, highlighted that the treadmill triggered uterine activity in about 40% of the cases, while the rowing machine remained safer, the modifications appearing only in 10% of the cases.
What these studies suggest is that the rower is more suitable for pregnant women and individuals who have suffered an injury or have a condition that requires them to protect their joints. Moreover, the scientists at the National Rehabilitation Research Institute in Seul developed a motorized rower that tested well in helping the recovery of patients suffering from paraplegia, which can serve as an intermediate recovery device before the patient is able to use a rower on their own.
This is the point at which the treadmill wins. While rowing engages most of your muscle groups and can provide good cardio training, it is a low-intensity exercise that will never get your heart pumping like a treadmill. According to this study performed by Dr. Richard F. Macko and his team from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Geriatrics Research, Education, and Clinical Center, if treadmill training is included in the rehabilitation treatment of patients with chronic stroke, it can help improve their cardiovascular fitness. The same goes for healthy individuals, who will be able to increase their heart rate and strengthen their heart so they can lower the risk of developing a cardiac disease in the future.
Both activities engage the upper body and the lower body, but in different proportions. The treadmill will engage mostly your leg muscles, but it doesn’t offer too many options when it comes to increasing or decreasing the resistance level. While it is true that you can increase speed or change the angle of the platform, these variations mostly affect your cardiac rhythm and don’t contribute too much to the development of your leg muscles.
The rower, on the other hand, requires to use your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and other leg muscles basically in the same proportion you use your back and arm muscles. Moreover, in this case, you can adjust the resistance and have your muscles work harder and grow stronger in a shorter interval.
The intensity of the effort determines the number of calories you will burn. The higher your heart rate pulse gets during the exercise, the more calories you burn. This statement is all it takes to establish that a treadmill is more efficient in losing weight. It offers a high-intensity type of training and allows you to increase the difficulty of the exercise by inclining the platform or selecting a higher speed level.
On the other hand, if you are not in a hurry to shed the winter fat, the rower can also be a reliable solution. Low-intensity training focuses on your muscles and activates both aerobic and anaerobic systems. This means that your body doesn’t stop burning calories when the exercise is over but continues to do it for the next 24 hours. As rowing is a more pleasant activity, you have more chances to continue with it for longer.
It seems that it all depends on your purpose and expectations. Both workouts engage most of your body muscles and can put your heart to work, but as shown, they tend to do it differently.