Why Do Rowing Machine Exercises for Knee Rehabilitation

If you’re recovering from a knee injury or looking to strengthen your knees, rowing machine exercises can be an excellent addition to your rehabilitation routine. Rowing machines offer low-impact, full-body workouts that engage multiple muscle groups, including those around the knee joint. In this article, we will explore some of the best rowing machine exercises specifically tailored for knee rehabilitation. So, let’s get started!

  1. Warm-Up with Low Resistance

Before diving into the main exercises, it’s crucial to warm up your body and prepare your knee joints for the workout ahead. Begin by setting the rowing machine to a low resistance level. Sit comfortably on the seat, grab the handle with an overhand grip, and place your feet securely in the foot straps. Start rowing slowly and focus on maintaining proper form throughout the warm-up phase. Aim for a 5-10 minute warm-up to increase blood flow to the muscles and joints.

  1. Leg Presses

Leg presses on the rowing machine are an effective exercise for knee rehabilitation. To perform leg presses, start by pushing off with your legs while keeping your back straight and core engaged. As you extend your legs, focus on pushing through your heels and engaging your quadriceps and hamstrings. This exercise strengthens the muscles around the knees without placing excessive stress on the joint itself. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions, gradually increasing the resistance as your knee strength improves.

  1. Seated Rows

Seated rows target the muscles in your upper back, shoulders, and arms while engaging your core. This exercise helps improve posture and overall upper body strength, which can indirectly benefit knee rehabilitation. To perform seated rows, sit upright with your legs slightly bent and your feet securely placed on the footrests. Grab the handle with an overhand grip, keeping your arms extended. Initiate the movement by pulling the handle toward your abdomen while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly release the handle to complete one repetition. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions, gradually increasing the resistance over time.

  1. Single-Leg Squats

Single-leg squats are an advanced exercise that targets the muscles around the knee joint while also improving balance and stability. Begin by sitting on the rowing machine seat with your feet firmly planted on the footrests. Lift one foot off the footrest and extend it forward, keeping it parallel to the ground. With your standing leg, slowly lower yourself into a squat position while keeping your knee aligned with your toes. Push through your heel to return to the starting position. Perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions per leg, gradually increasing the depth of the squat as your knee strength improves.

  1. Cool Down and Stretch

After completing your rowing machine exercises, it’s essential to cool down and stretch to prevent muscle soreness and promote flexibility. Row at a low resistance and gradually decrease your intensity for 5-10 minutes. Once you’ve cooled down, focus on stretching the muscles in your legs, hips, and lower back. Incorporate stretches such as hamstring stretches, quad stretches, and calf stretches to release tension and maintain flexibility.


Incorporating rowing machine exercises into your knee rehabilitation routine can be highly beneficial. These low-impact, full-body workouts help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knees while minimizing stress on the joint itself. Remember to start with a proper warm-up, gradually increase the intensity and resistance, and always maintain proper form during each exercise. By consistently incorporating these exercises and progressing at your own pace, you can support your knee rehabilitation journey effectively. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist before starting any new exercise program, especially if you’re recovering from a knee injury. Take care of your knees, and enjoy the many benefits of rowing machine exercises!