Sports are an incredible way to challenge your body and mind, and some sports are notoriously demanding. Rowing is one such sport that has always intrigued people with its unique blend of power, endurance, and precision. But is rowing really one of the hardest sports? In this blog post, we’ll explore the physical and mental demands of rowing and see how it stacks up against other sports.

Physical demands

Rowing is an incredibly physically demanding sport. It requires powerful leg and back muscles, a strong core, and well-developed shoulders and arms. Rowers have to generate a lot of force with their oars to move their boats through the water at high speeds, which means that they need to be extremely fit and strong.

To put this into perspective, here’s a comparison of the energy expended by rowing at a competitive level compared to other sports:

Sport Energy expended per hour (calories)
Rowing 1,200-1,800
Running 600-1,200
Swimming 500-1,200
Cycling 500-1,000

As you can see, rowing requires a lot of energy and is one of the most demanding sports.

Mental demands

Rowing is not just physically demanding; it’s also mentally challenging. Rowers have to maintain a high level of focus and concentration to execute their technique correctly and synchronize with their teammates. They have to be able to push through pain and discomfort and keep going when their muscles are screaming for them to stop.

In addition, rowers have to be able to handle the pressure of competition. Races can be won or lost by a fraction of a second, so rowers have to be able to perform at their best under intense pressure.

Training and preparation

Training for rowing is an intense and time-consuming process. Rowers typically train for several hours a day, six days a week, to build the strength, endurance, and technique required to be competitive. They also have to follow a strict diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure that they’re in the best possible shape.

Here’s an overview of what a typical training week might look like for a competitive rower:

Day Training session
Monday 2-hour ergometer session (indoor rowing machine)
Tuesday 90-minute weights session
Wednesday 2-hour on-water rowing session
Thursday 90-minute yoga or stretching session
Friday 2-hour on-water rowing session
Saturday 90-minute weights session
Sunday Rest day

As you can see, rowing requires a significant amount of training and preparation to be competitive.


Like any sport, rowing comes with a risk of injury. Rowers are particularly susceptible to back and shoulder injuries due to the repetitive motion of rowing. They can also experience hand and wrist injuries from gripping the oars.

However, with proper training, technique, and recovery, rowers can minimize the risk of injury.


So, is rowing one of the hardest sports? Based on the physical and mental demands, the training and preparation required, and the risk of injury, it’s safe to say that rowing is one of the most challenging sports out there.

If you’re looking for a sport that will push you to your limits and help you build incredible physical and mental strength, rowing might just be the sport for you.