What Muscles Does Rowing Not Work

What Muscles Does Rowing Not Work?

Rowing is a highly effective cardiovascular exercise that engages a large number of muscles in the upper and lower body. It is known to be a full-body workout that targets various muscle groups simultaneously. However, there are a few muscles that rowing may not directly work or engage as much as other exercises. Let’s take a closer look at these muscles:

1. Chest Muscles (Pectorals)

Rowing primarily focuses on pulling movements, which heavily involve the muscles in the back, shoulders, and arms. While rowing does require some activation of the chest muscles, it does not specifically target or isolate them as much as exercises like bench press or push-ups. If you are looking to specifically develop your pectorals, incorporating additional chest exercises into your fitness routine is recommended.

2. Biceps

Although rowing involves pulling movements that engage the biceps to some extent, it is not the primary muscle group targeted during rowing. The primary focus of rowing is on the back muscles, particularly the latissimus dorsi. If you want to strengthen and develop your biceps, incorporating exercises such as bicep curls or chin-ups into your workout routine would be more effective.

3. Quadriceps

Rowing is a movement primarily driven by the legs, specifically the hamstrings and glutes. While the quadriceps do play a role in extending the knees during the rowing stroke, they are not as heavily engaged as the other leg muscles. If you want to specifically target your quadriceps, exercises like squats or lunges would be more effective in building strength and muscle in this area.

4. Calves

Similar to the quadriceps, the calf muscles are not the primary focus during rowing. While the calves are involved in the leg drive, they are not heavily engaged compared to other exercises like running or calf raises. If you wish to specifically work on your calf muscles, incorporating exercises like standing calf raises or skipping rope into your routine would be more beneficial.


Rowing is an excellent full-body workout that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. While it may not specifically target certain muscles such as the chest, biceps, quadriceps, or calves, it still provides a great overall workout and helps to improve cardiovascular fitness. To achieve a well-rounded physique, it is recommended to incorporate additional exercises that target these specific muscle groups into your fitness routine.

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