If you’re sick of boring treadmill workouts, you can get a much better full-body burn on the rowing machine.
You’ll hit your arms, back, core, and legs with crazy intensity every workout — you’ll get amazing results regularly using a rowing machine.
And best of all, you can find rowing machines at most (but not necessarily all) gyms.
So what are the best gyms with rowing machines?
Almost every major big box gym chain will have at least a couple of rowing machines, including:
- 24 Hour Fitness
- Anytime Fitness
- Snap Fitness
- Planet Fitness
- Gold’s Gym
- Life Time
- LA Fitness
However, there’s no guarantee that every location will be the same. Smaller convenience clubs like Snap, Planet Fitness, or YouFit may not always have rowing machines. Call or visit your local club to find out for sure.
The types of rowing machines and the number of machines you’ll find at each gym can also vary dramatically from location to location.
Let’s take a closer look at why it’s a good idea to use the rowing machine at the gym, and what you can expect from most of the big chains.
Benefits of working out at a gym with rowing machines
Rowing machines make for great aerobic exercises.
You exercise various muscle groups in your arms and legs. And you can adjust the resistance to give yourself more challenges as you get used to the machine.
But the perks don’t end there!
Provide low-impact cardio
Cardio is great for strengthening your muscles and heart.
However, some forms of cardio, such as running, may not be great for people with joint issues.
On a rowing machine, you simply pull the handle while extending your legs in a smooth motion. It’s a lot easier on your body, drastically reducing your chances of sustaining an injury in the process.
Attain a full-body workout
Rowing machines require you to use lats in the lower back and rhomboids in the shoulders.
You also utilize your abs, pecs, and biceps, making it an essential workout for anyone wanting a stronger core.
But the perks don’t end there.
It also requires you to use your glutes and calves.
With a rowing machine, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re going to focus on your upper or lower body for the day.
You can do both simultaneously for a great all-around exercise regimen.
Burn calories more efficiently
A person who weighs 185 pounds can expect to burn a little over 600 calories an hour with moderate exercise on a rowing machine.
A person with the same weight doing similar exercise on a treadmill can expect to burn about half of that.
Since rowing machines require you to use more muscles, you burn energy at a faster pace.
If the reason you’re going to the gym is to lose weight, then you should highly consider rowing in lieu of running.
(You’ll still have to get your diet in check to see results, however.)
For more, see the pros and cons of rowing machines here.
Which big box gyms usually have rowing machines?
Truth be told, you can find rowing machines at pretty much any major gym chain.
While amenities like tanning beds are considered specialty items only found at a few locations, rowing machines are cardio equipment.
You generally find them amongst the treadmills and ellipticals in the cardio area of the gym.
With that being said, there may still be some variety where you live. Some gyms may have a ton of rowing machines available while others only have one or two.
In general, bigger, higher-end clubs will have more to choose from — think Life Time or Equinox. At lower end clubs like Planet Fitness or Snap you may struggle to find an open machine.
You should schedule a tour of your gym or call ahead to see what the rowing situation is like if that’s something you’re interested in. Plus, some gyms even offer rowing classes.
In general, here’s what you can expect from some of the bigger gyms out there.
1. 24 Hour Fitness
24 Hour Fitness has a wide assortment of equipment available from stair steppers to free weights.
And luckily for you, 24 Hour Fitness gyms tend to have rowing machines available.
Depending on the location, you’ll likely find somewhere between one and three rowing machines at any single place.
Regardless of which gym you go to, these machines tend to be less plentiful than treadmills. A single gym may have a dozen treadmills but only one rowing machine. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait a while to get some time on it.
Most people usually pay between $30 and $50 a month for a 24 Hour Gym membership. That also gives you access to classes and other amenities, such as swimming pools.
24 Hour Fitness is a really solid all-around gym and you’re likely to find almost everything you need there, including rowing machines.
2. Anytime Fitness
Anytime Fitness is quite similar to what 24 Hour Fitness offers in terms of cardio equipment.
However, it appears as though not every Anytime Fitness has rowing machines handy — so check your local club first.
Anytime Fitness gyms also come with fitness experts who can help you set up and stick with a plan. You’ll tell them what you hope to accomplish with a membership and then recommend the proper equipment.
No matter what, regularly using a rowing machine will likely be on the itinerary.
3. Snap Fitness
Snap Fitness locations generally have a wide selection of cardio equipment available.
This includes treadmills, indoor bikes, and rowing machines.
Snap gyms tend to be fairly small and bare-bones, however. So there’s a chance they won’t have any rowing machines. If your local club does have them, there might only be 1 or 2.
While you typically find five to 10 treadmills at any given Snap Fitness, you often find considerably fewer rowers.
4. Planet Fitness
If you just want to use a rowing machine and nothing else, then you may want to check out Planet Fitness.
It’s consistently the cheapest big box gym available, and locations still boast an impressive array of machines.
Planet Fitness gyms don’t offer classes. There aren’t typically many special amenities, such as pools or basketball courts. That’s how it keeps prices low. But this makes it a great option for people who just want to use weights and cardio equipment — including rowers.
Membership costs start as low as $10 a month. You can opt for a premier membership that gives you access to tanning beds and other perks.
But if you just want to work out without breaking the bank, then you may want to head here.
5. Gold’s Gym
Gold’s Gym locations almost always have rowers available.
The company even made a handy video showing you the ins and outs of these machines and how you can increase or decrease resistance.
Gold’s Gym makes it easy (and fun) to try out a bunch of different exercises to see what works best for you.
You can join a group cycle class or partake in personal training to have someone pushing you to your limit.
The great thing about the YMCA is that there’s a little something for everyone.
You can invite some friends to hit up the basketball court. Or you can head over on your own for a personal workout on one of the rowing machines — of which you’re bound to find at least a few at most locations.
Membership fees vary depending on your age. And if you like how you feel on a rowing machine, then you should definitely check to see if your local YMCA offers rowing classes.
In the class, you get sufficient one-on-one time with an instructor to really work on your form.
When you’re able to row the right way, you significantly reduce the chances of having back problems later.
7. Life Time
Life Time is one of the premier gym brands in the country.
As such, you should expect pretty much every kind of cardio equipment imaginable when you sign up here, including rowers.
The gym even has some excellent rowing classes if you want some instruction.
However, considering monthly costs tend to start around $60, you may want to look for a cheaper option if you’re just interested in rowing every once in a while.
8. LA Fitness
LA Fitness is a terrific mid-range gym.
Locations usually have tons of cardio equipment and at least a handful of rowing machines.
However, LA Fitness can vary greatly from location to location. Call your local club to see what they offer and what equipment they have.
Equinox is the grand mac daddy of all gyms.
A membership can cost $200 or more per month, so you can be sure you’ll have access to tons of cardio equipment and will rarely wait to use a rowing machine.
Plus, the amenities at Equinox are unrivaled.
However, if you’re looking for a cardio workout a few times per week, you’ll save a ton of money at Life Time, LA Fitness, or other more affordable clubs.
Gyms that DON’T have rowing machines
Most commercial big box gyms and independent clubs will have rowing machines available for members to use.
However, beware of some smaller convenience clubs like Snap or YouFit.
They often having rowing machines in the cardio section, but some smaller locations may not.
Call or take a tour of your local club to be sure — and that really goes for ANY gym brand and any amenity that might be a dealbreaker for you.
Rowing machines are, in most ways, superior to most other cardio machines like treadmills, ellipticals, and StairMasters.
You’ll get a better full-body workout with a rowing machine, burn tons of calories, and build strength in addition to endurance.
You should be able to find them at most gyms, so you can pick your gym based on price and other amenities — like classes, childcare, and more.
If all you’re looking for is a rowing machine, you can find them at Planet Fitness for around $10 per month. For a higher-end gym experience, you can row at Equinox or Life Time.
LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, and Anytime Fitness are all great mid-range gyms that usually have rowing machines and should be good fits for most people.
Call ahead or schedule a tour to see what all your local gyms have to offer — not every location is the same and some big gym brands sometimes have small satellite locations that don’t have a full variety of equipment.
Before you go, see more gym amenity guides like:
Hope this helps!