Exercise Bike vs. Rower (Everything You Need to Know!)

With many fitness products in the market, choosing the right one can become hectic. This article is designed to make that easier by comparing these two formidable products. While they are both popular in the market, they have subtle differences that make each stand out. An exercise bike for instance is popular for its high intensity workouts. A rower on the other hand is new in the market but loved for a complete body workout that is low impact.

They are both beneficial for cardiovascular health, stress relief, toned muscles and overall wellness. Here is a comprehensive outlook on an exercise bike and rower.

What are the differences between an exercise Bike and Rower? How do they compare?

Exercise Bike
Muscles Worked
Mainly lower body- abs, thighs, hips, knees, calves and shoulders
Upper body and lower body muscles (whole body toning)
Small enough to be used in all kinds of spaces (5ft 2ft)
Takes up quite a bit of space
Calories Burned ( per 1 hour training)
400-800 kcal
400-800 kcal

Exercise Bike vs. Rower – what is the difference

Muscles Worked

Like most home fitness products, both the exercise bike and rower are great for cardiovascular fitness. They both keep the heart healthy by pumping oxygenated blood through the body, raising the lung capacity and increasing the resting heartbeat.

The difference comes in the muscles they tone. For the stationary exercise bike, it will particularly firm up your legs, stomach and bum. A rower on the other hand, works your whole body. You will feel the burn all over as it works your legs, arms, stomach, back and shoulder among other muscles.

If you are looking to build your muscles, rowing is a better try at it because it gives you a full body workout. They strengthen your core and work on your torso.

Calories Burned

An exercise bike and rower both burn fat easily. With adjustments to the cadence, you can easily burn calories. Depending on the intensity, a 1-hour workout session will burn 400-800 calories on both.

Statistically, an hour of fitness spent on an indoor cycling bike burns more calories than when on a rower. However, with the rower you are forced to work your whole body in the process of pulling at the handlebar and returning it. In the long haul, this ultimately proves to be more effective at weight loss and toning of muscles.

Nonetheless, the number of calories burned on either of these products largely depends on your own effort.


The stationary exercise bike is easy on the users’ back and knees. When set at low resistance, workouts on this equipment is even suitable for people who have chronic knee pain. It is even used for physiotherapy after knee surgery. There can be injuries with overuse though.

On the other hand, the rower can be quite harsh on one’s back and knees. This is because the rower is quite taxing. For instance, its design requires complete bending of the knees and arching of the back. If you overuse it, you can also easily hurt your shoulders.


Rowers are generally cheaper compared to exercise bikes. Nonetheless, there are still many affordable options for both exercise bikes and rowers.


A quality indoor fitness product is one that is easily customizable according to the user. For both an exercise bike and rower, the set up can be modified to one’s height and weight. The seat position, handlebars and seat height are adjustable.

Also consider that while exercise bikes are small enough to be non-imposing in a room, rowers are quite bigger. If you are tight on space and you are looking to house one, consider models that can be easily folded and stowed away.

Exercise Bike vs. Rower Overview

Exercise Bike Overview

Schwinn IC2,

An indoor cycling bike is easy-to-use home fitness equipment. It works just like a bicycle only that you get to experience the outdoors while in your gym or home. Some of its components are pedals that are reinforced, adjustable handlebars and seats as well as a console. It also has a lever that allows you to set the resistance to your comfort. Depending on your skill and mood, you can simulate taking a stroll through the park or riding up a steep slope. If you are a fitness guru, you can go for the highest resistance for optimal results.

An exercise bike has other unique features as well. Its front flywheel, for example, is heavy and made entirely out of steel. This makes the bike really stable and secure. You can be assured of intense workouts on it without wobbling about the space. Models like the Fit bike have a 31lb flywheel that adds to the simulation of outdoor experience.

Another notable component is that an indoor cycling bike is easily adjustable according to the rider’s height. This makes it well suited for a wide range of people because the seat height and handlebars position can be tweaked. These modifications are easy to do on your own but it does not hurt to have a professional trainer set up the bike for you. Most models have a weight capacity of 300-350lbs.

To add, modern exercise bikes have simple yet useful touches. An example is the water bottle holder that is a handy feature to keep you well hydrated throughout your workout sessions. The pedals are also adjustable for added comfort.

It has a few drawbacks though. For example, they usually do not come with preloaded workout times. Maintaining your pace and rhythm is up to you. Grooving to upbeat music will help you keep up. Additionally, an exercise bike is mainly a lower body workout. For a complete session, consider doing weights occasionally to make sure your upper body is catered for as well.


  • Low impact exercise that does not take a huge a toll on your knees and joints
  • Takes up minimal space (about 5ft by 2ft)
  • Relatively easy to use at home or with a personal trainer
  • Increases your metabolic rate and leads to lots of calories burned
  • Stress reliever because intense workouts release happy-feel hormones called endorphins


  • Focus is placed on lower body fitness
  • Can be a bit dull for some

Rower Overview



rower vs spinbike

Fairly recent with fitness fans, a rower is indoor fitness equipment that is guaranteed to give you optimal workout sessions. Compared to indoor bikes that are known for lower body workouts, rowers give you full body workout. For each rowing stroke, 60% of the lower body, 20% of the core and 20% of the upper body are worked.

While the rowing technique might take a bit of learning to it, it is easy. First, you want your feet properly locked into the pedal straps. If they are not tight enough, your feet can easily slip out. After that, the steps are to push the handle towards you while working your thighs and maintaining your back upright. Then proceed to release while still holding on. By this simple motion you will be flexing your arms, legs and back as well. If you are a vigorous rower, you can lose more than 500 calories per hour on it. It is still low impact enough to be easy on your body no matter how hard you go at it.

When using the rower, some pro tips are to make sure your feet always remain flat and you do not hunch your shoulders. Also, be sure to maintain an upright posture when finishing so that you have an effective workout. Some of the quality options are Concept 2 and the Stamina 1215 rower. The 1215 orbital rower stands out because it is easy to fold and stow away if you are tight on space.

One downside of this product is that it is quite strenuous on the knees, back and ankles. Also, maintaining your rhythm is up to you as they usually do not have preloaded workouts.

To avoid injuries, make sure you always use resistance settings according to your physique. Overestimating could have you straining at your muscles. Also, remember to keep your back as straight as possible while engaging the right muscles.


  • Does not take up a lot of space making it ideal if you have a small workout area
  • Reasonably priced
  • Full-body workout with particular emphasis on cardiovascular fitness
  • Works quietly
  • Portable


  • This low impact exercise can be quite monotonous after some time


For comfortable yet rewarding home workouts, an exercise bike or rower is ideal. A rower particularly stands out because it will give you a full body workout. Stationary exercise bikes focus on toning your lower body. If you have ample space, you could go for the rower. If space is a bit constrained and you have dumbbells or other equipment for upper body fitness then an exercise bike will work just fine for you. When buying fitness equipment, also remember to check on the digital console, resistance levels and weight capacity. Also learning more about the product’s durability will save you in the long run.