The Underrated Gym Machine That’s Better Than a Treadmill

Hands up if you hate the treadmill. Yep, us too. But hey, it works, so we dutifully spend (what feels like) hours slogging away on the popular gym machine.

If you don’t want to spend all day in the gym, however, there is an alternative, a machine that’s sometimes overlooked but will have you just as sculpted and in less time too.

According to Dr Cameron Nichol you need to try the rowing machine at your gym.

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“It’s the most time-efficient total-body workout,” says Nichol, who himself is a former Olympic rower, two-time world silver medalist.

He added, when speaking to Business Insider, that: “it’s a really valuable movement, but the problem is we don’t grow up with it, whereas we do running and cycling.”

As a dedicated rower himself and founder of Rowing Wod its safe to say the doc knows a thing or two about the rowing machine.

He says that rowing uses “virtually every muscle in the body.”

treadmill versus rowing machine

The doctor was called up to prove just that in a Channel 4 News segment of How to Get Fit Fast.

for the trial Nichol recruited athletes of a similar fitness level from the University of Roehampton to compare the impact of running on a treadmill to rowing on a machine, measuring calorie burn and muscle activation.

The athletes completed 20 minutes of each exercise, and the output measurements were taken using electrodes.

Th result? The treadmill subjects burned 350 calories in 20 minutes, while the rowers only burned 300 calories in the same amount of time.

However the rower came into its own when it came to muscle activation, aka a measurement of “how hard and fast the muscles are working.”

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Rowing activated nine muscle groups and 85% of the body, beating running on the treadmill by a country mile.

“It will work your upper and lower body, tone your arms, and strengthen your back,” he concluded.

So if you want to cut time in the gym but still see results, the rowing machine is your best bet.