Is A Rowing Machine Good For Arthritic Knees?

Rowing exercise can help you exercise without putting any strain on your joints. 

In fact, research shows that rowing machines can be a good way for arthritic people to stay active. 

In this article, we’ll show you whether is the rowing movement good for people with bad knees or not.

Let’s get right into it!

Is Rowing Machine Good For Arthritic Knees?

crossfitter exercising on a concept2 rowing machine in a commercial gym

Rowing machines are one of the best exercises you can do if you have arthritis in your knees. 

It is a low-impact exercise that engages your upper and lower body and works your core muscles. 

Rowing also helps improve cardiovascular health, making it a great option for people who are at risk of developing arthritis. 

With the diverse usage of rowing machines, they can be used to rehabilitate knees that have already been affected by arthritis. They are often a good choice for people with arthritis for a few other reasons as well. 

They are easy to use, require little to no supervision, and are suitable for all fitness levels.

How can rowing exercise benefit people with arthritis?

Rowing machines are great for improving overall joint health. They increase the amount of blood flow to the joints which promotes the flow of nutrients to the joints and removes the toxins that build up there. 

The more blood flow your joints receive, the more cushioning they have from the forces of daily activities like walking, climbing stairs, etc. 

Rowing also strengthens your muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the knee joint. 

Strong muscles and ligaments help to support the knee joint, helping to avoid or reduce pain caused by arthritis. 

Rowing exercise is also great for people with arthritis because it is considered to be a low-impact movement. 

However, if your joints are particularly painful, avoid high-impact activities like running.

Tips for using a rowing machine with bad knees

trainer in a white tank doing rowing exercise

These are some tips to follow when trying to workout on a rowing machine: 

1. Warm up with a 5-minute walk before your session

This will help your knees get used to the movement and prepare them for the exercise to come. 

2. Adjust the seat so it does not hurt your knees

Keep in mind that these machines are part of an exercise routine and should be used with caution. 

You do not want to damage your knees further or cause any serious injuries.

Adjust the rower so it is very comfortable for you and causes as little stress on your knees as possible.

3. Do not keep bending over at the waist

As this may cause more strain on your hips – which could lead to scarred bones or permanent joint damage.

4. Always keep your knees slightly bent as you row

This will keep pressure off of your knees. 

5. Use your leg muscles to push off

Your knees will remain bent (and therefore not be under a lot of pressure) while using the rest of your leg muscles to push you back to the starting position.

If you feel any pain in your knees, stop rowing and try again at a lower resistance level.  


Rowing is an excellent exercise for people with arthritis because it is a low-impact exercise. It is gentle on your joints and can help improve your overall joint health. 

The best way to start incorporating rowing into your exercise routine is to begin with low-impact rowing on a machine at a fitness center.

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