Does Rowing Help With Running

As a passionate runner and someone who has recently taken up rowing as cross-training, I have been curious about the benefits of rowing for running. Can rowing really help improve my running performance? In this article, I will delve into the details and share my personal experiences with both sports.

The Impact of Rowing on Running

Rowing is a fantastic low-impact workout that engages multiple muscle groups and provides a great cardiovascular challenge. It primarily targets the upper body, back, and core muscles, but also involves the legs to some extent. This full-body workout is a stark contrast to running, which primarily focuses on the lower body.

One of the main benefits of rowing for running is its ability to strengthen the upper body and core. A strong core is essential for maintaining good running form and reducing the risk of injury. By incorporating rowing into your training routine, you can develop a stronger core, which can lead to improved posture and better overall running mechanics.

Additionally, rowing can help improve cardiovascular fitness. The intense aerobic workout provided by rowing can increase your lung capacity and overall endurance, which can translate into improved performance during long-distance running.

Building Strength and Power

Rowing also helps build strength and power, which are crucial for running. The leg drive in rowing, where you push off with your legs to generate power, strengthens the lower body muscles, particularly the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. These are the same muscles used when running, so a stronger lower body can lead to more explosive and efficient strides.

Furthermore, rowing helps to develop muscular endurance. The repetitive motion of rowing for extended periods of time can train your muscles to sustain activity for longer durations, which can be beneficial for endurance running.

Cross-Training Benefits

One of the biggest advantages of incorporating rowing into your running routine is its role as a cross-training activity. Cross-training involves participating in different forms of exercise to supplement and enhance your primary sport. By engaging in rowing as cross-training, you provide your body with a break from the repetitive impact of running while still maintaining your fitness level and working on different muscle groups.

Rowing can also help prevent running-related injuries. The low-impact nature of rowing reduces the stress on your joints, specifically in the knees and ankles. This can be particularly beneficial if you are experiencing any running-related injuries or looking to prevent them in the future.

My Personal Experience

As someone who has recently incorporated rowing into my training routine, I have noticed several positive effects on my running performance. Rowing has helped me develop a stronger core, which has improved my posture and running form. I have also experienced increased endurance and overall cardiovascular fitness, allowing me to push harder during my runs.

Additionally, I have found that rowing provides a refreshing change of pace from running. It gives me an opportunity to work on different muscle groups while still maintaining my fitness level. The low-impact nature of rowing has also helped me prevent running-related injuries.


In conclusion, rowing can be a beneficial cross-training activity for runners. It strengthens the upper body and core, improves cardiovascular fitness, and builds lower body strength and power. Additionally, rowing serves as a low-impact alternative to running, reducing the risk of injuries and providing a refreshing change of pace. Based on my personal experience, I would highly recommend incorporating rowing into your running routine to enhance your overall performance and prevent running-related injuries.