A Rowing Machine will directly work the latimus dorsi (the upper back and shoulder muscles that you would use to do chin ups and pull ups). The biceps and the lower back are worked with the wrist and also grip strength in your hands is increased. Your quadriceps ( the front thigh muscles), and your calves are also worked. It is also one of the better seated cardio-vascular exercises, thus encompassing an overall desirable workout in one.
A rowing machine will less directly work your triceps, pectorals (chest muscles), abdominal muscles (frontal and obliques). The main role these muscles serve in rowing is as your core stabilizer, so that you maintain a proper posture whilst rowing.
In short: If you don’t have time to both lift weights and do cardio, rowing on a good rowing machine will help build both muscle and cardio abilities. Most people prefer exercise bikes when it comes to seated cardio even if they’re less useful. However a rowing machine will give your whole body an efficient muscle building and cardio workout.
Rowing Machine Advice
It is easier then you think to injure yourself when using a rowing machine. These machines require and aggressive pulling action when committing to an exercise or repetition on the apparatus. For this reason, it is best that you carry out a full 10 – 15 minute warm up exercise for your whole body, as the rowing machine will work all of your muscle groups. Using an exercise bike for 5 minutes can help loosen up the leg muscle groups. Practicing the pulling exercise that you will execute on the rowing machine can be done with light dumbbells. Ensure to stretch all of your back muscles and if you have had any history of back problems, be sure to consult a Doctor first. To enable more support of the back when exercising on a rowing machine, a support belt may be an option.