If you’re looking for a low-impact, full-body workout, both cycling and rowing are excellent choices. Both exercises provide numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, stronger muscles, and better overall fitness. However, if you’re wondering whether cycling or rowing is better for you, it ultimately comes down to your personal fitness goals, preferences, and physical abilities.

Aerobic Benefits

When it comes to cardiovascular health, both cycling and rowing are highly effective. However, rowing tends to burn more calories and provide a more intense aerobic workout due to the nature of the exercise. According to a study by the American Fitness Professionals and Associates, rowing burns about 50% more calories per hour than cycling at a moderate intensity.

Muscle Benefits

Both cycling and rowing can help you build and strengthen your muscles. However, rowing is more of a full-body workout than cycling, engaging more muscle groups, including your legs, core, back, arms, and shoulders. Cycling, on the other hand, primarily targets your lower body muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Impact on Joints

Rowing is a low-impact exercise that puts minimal stress on your joints, making it a safer choice for those with joint pain or injuries. Cycling also offers a low-impact workout, but it can put more pressure on your knees, especially if you’re cycling at a high intensity or have poor form.


Both cycling and rowing can be done indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather and your preferences. However, cycling may be more accessible for those who live in cities or areas with bike lanes and cycling trails. Rowing typically requires access to a gym or a rowing machine at home.

Cost Factors

The cost of cycling versus rowing can vary significantly. While cycling can be done outdoors with just a bike, cycling gear and accessories (such as helmets, gloves, and lights) can add up over time. On the other hand, rowing machines can be expensive, with some models costing upwards of $1,000.

Overall Verdict

In conclusion, both cycling and rowing are excellent exercises that offer unique benefits. While rowing provides a more intense full-body workout, cycling can be a more accessible and cost-effective option for many. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your fitness goals, budget, and personal preferences. You can choose the one that can really help you achieve your fitness objectives.