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  #1  
Old 08-27-2010
BradMM BradMM is offline
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Default Swimming vs Rowing

Which burns more calories?

Ok, ok, I know "it depends" but tell me which one you think, all things being equal, and why.
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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According to The Daily Plate, rowing and swimming burn about the same number of calories per hour. http://www.livestrong.com/myplate/

There are a number of different entries for both sports in their database; below is a sampling.

Rowing:
Moderate: 413
Very Vigorous: 708

Swimming:
Crawl, Backstroke or Breaststroke, moderate: 413
Crawl +50 yds/minute: 624
Crawl +75 yds/minute: 649
Laps, vigorous: 780
Butterfly: 649-858
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Old 08-28-2010
BradMM BradMM is offline
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That's good info! I'd rather swim.
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Old 08-28-2010
naj naj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradMM View Post
That's good info! I'd rather swim.
I do both but I prefer swimming too
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Old 08-28-2010
Grant Grant is offline
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Several years ago I damaged the long head tendon of my left biceps muscle doing vigorous pushups. The sports med Dr advised not to do pushups, dips or chin ups. In short dont push but pull is OK. Rowing was suggested as safe yet helpful for my swimming. I do the rowing 3 times weekly but find my times are off since I have not done the other exercises.
Naj or for that matter does anyone else have any rowing sets that they have found to be enhancing as a cross training method?
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Old 08-28-2010
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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I wonder if water temperature makes a difference? Swimming in very cold lake water must burn more calories than swimming in a warm pool, surely?
I'm always a little sceptical of any chart which claims that swimming X meters at Y speed burns Z calories. There is so much variation in people's swimming abilities. A very efficient swimmer could be burning half the calories for 200 meters in 3 minutes that a struggling thrasher uses for 200 meters in 5 minutes.
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  #7  
Old 08-28-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoda View Post
I'm always a little skeptical of any chart which claims that swimming X meters at Y speed burns Z calories. There is so much variation in people's swimming abilities. A very efficient swimmer could be burning half the calories for 200 meters in 3 minutes that a struggling thrasher uses for 200 meters in 5 minutes.
I agree that an estimation of calories per distance would be inaccurate due to differences in efficiency. However, I think that an estimation of calories burned per hour that factors in perceived exertion should be relatively accurate. The Daily Plate estimations are of calories per hour. The speed ranges are just meant to be estimates for the amount of exertion it would take an "average" swimmer to achieve those speeds.

To compare apples to apples in the example you gave, both swimmers would have to swim for 5 minutes. The faster swimmer would end up covering about 320 meters in that time.

If the faster swimmer was so efficient that a pace of 22 sec/50m seemed like moderate effort vs. vigorous effort, he/she would use the estimate of 624 calories per hour. If it felt like less than moderate effort, he/she would use the 413 calories/hour estimate.

The case of the inefficient swimmer is a little more complex because oxygen deficit can cause a higher level of perceived exertion, even though being short on oxygen doesn't burn calories. If he/she is inefficient but has good breathing skills, the 624 calorie per hour range is probably accurate. If the breathing skills are poor, he/she would use the 413 calories/hour range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
According to The Daily Plate, rowing and swimming burn about the same number of calories per hour. http://www.livestrong.com/myplate/

Swimming:
Crawl, Backstroke or Breaststroke, moderate: 413
Crawl +50 yds/minute: 624
Crawl +75 yds/minute: 649
Laps, vigorous: 780
Butterfly: 649-858
This database has a number of different entries for swimming. I just picked a few for a good sampling.

When I'm swimming at about 50 yards per minute, I use the 413 estimate. That pace feels pretty relaxed to me. Any faster than that, I use the 624 estimate.

I'm never worried about knowing exactly how many calories I'm burning, but I do find the topic pretty interesting. When I'm trying to drop a pound or two after the holidays or a vacation, these estimates work pretty well for me.
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Old 09-02-2010
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradMM View Post
Which burns more calories?

Ok, ok, I know "it depends" but tell me which one you think, all things being equal, and why.
I have a background in competitive rowing and would say without hesitation that rowing is physically tougher, since it uses more muscles and at a higher intensity. In one sense that is balanced by the fact that oxygen availability is more limited while swimming - the sense being that you can get yourself completely out of breath doing either activity. But if we're talking pure power output, rowing wins by a distance.

Which isn't necessarily, I might add, a reason to row rather than swim.
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  #9  
Old 09-02-2010
BradMM BradMM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
I have a background in competitive rowing and would say without hesitation that rowing is physically tougher, since it uses more muscles and at a higher intensity. In one sense that is balanced by the fact that oxygen availability is more limited while swimming
Great point! Hard to do aerobic activity without oxygen! I have at times held a snorkel in my mouth while swimming to work around this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
- the sense being that you can get yourself completely out of breath doing either activity. But if we're talking pure power output, rowing wins by a distance.

Which isn't necessarily, I might add, a reason to row rather than swim.
I plan to do both but, although Terry claims it can be a great calorie consumer, I can't seem to be able to get the same results. I guess it's in my head but seeing and feeling the sweat while working out seems to play some part in my perception.
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