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JanoschR

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
70
184
Germany
Hi!

I have an Apple Watch Series 6 and an indoor rowing machine. I always start a rowing workout in the Workout app and that works fine.

However, the calories that I burn during the workout (according to my Apple Watch) are a bit off. While the typical rowing workout should burn between 700-1000 calories/hour, the Apple Watch only displays about 400/h. This is about as much as I get when I do a walking workout and that can't be right.

Does any of you have the same problem or is there a way to fix this?

Thanks!
 

Graham4723

macrumors member
Jan 24, 2018
91
21
Have you looked at getting a specific rowing workout app for the watch to compare against?
A quick google throws up “RowingCoach”, it’s not free but 1 month trial can be had quite cheaply.
At least then, you’ll have other figures for comparison.
 
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michaelb5000

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2015
168
86
are you using a concept 2 rower or something else? the methods for calculating calories burned can vary, and most home equipment devices are not accurate and not valid and overestimate this number. If you are using a C2, the calorie display is a measure of the work you are producing, in calories as the unit. The C2 is extremely accurate at that; thus why it is called an "erg" for measuring work performed. Producing 700-1000 calories on the C2 suggests you are very strong and very fast, and rowing at an elite pace. The C2 calculation doesn't take anything else into account, so no guessing about your weight or adjusting based on your heart rate. The C2 is consistent between users and in different locations and across devices, so 700 calories is the same on any C2 anywhere.

the watch in contrast is basing this on your heart rate. Since rowing is essentially gravity free, your HR is lower than other activities like walking and running. I also don't know if the watch is reporting your extra calories or that includes a basal activity rate (so 400 may be the extra calories from the workout).
 
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JanoschR

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
70
184
Germany
Thanks for your thoughts. In fact, I use the Life Fitness Row HX rower (recommended by Apple btw: https://www.apple.com/apple-fitness-plus/equipment/). My heart rate is about 135-150 when rowing vs. around 100 when doing a swift walk, yet the calories are almost the same.

Is anyone using Apple Fitness+ and see other results when rowing alongside a workout? I can imagine that they must have hit this problem too when putting together those courses and may have adjusted something in this regard (it's not yet available here in German so I can't test it).
 
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7thson

macrumors demi-god
May 13, 2012
1,187
981
Six Rivers, CA
I have a concept 2 and fitness+. During a twenty minute f+ rowing session I will burn around 200 calories, so 600 per hour. The concept 2 estimates higher and it doesn’t know my age, weight or heart rate, so I don’t pay attention to it.
I haven’t been rowing with the watch app much lately but the latest one shows 144 calories in 14 minutes so it tracks with f+.
 
Last edited:
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ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,939
2,502
Between the coasts
Hi!

I have an Apple Watch Series 6 and an indoor rowing machine. I always start a rowing workout in the Workout app and that works fine.

However, the calories that I burn during the workout (according to my Apple Watch) are a bit off. While the typical rowing workout should burn between 700-1000 calories/hour, the Apple Watch only displays about 400/h. This is about as much as I get when I do a walking workout and that can't be right.

Does any of you have the same problem or is there a way to fix this?

Thanks!
I think you have over-estimated your burn potential. I've checked several reputable sites, and 700 calories tends to be the top-end number for a 60-minute "vigorous" rowing workout, not the bottom end of the range. 400/h falls in the range of moderate/light-moderate on the charts I've seen. Unless you're in great shape already, it's pretty hard to sustain "vigorous" over a full hour.

The "fix" may be related to your expectations, not the accuracy of the Watch. Back when I started walking workouts with my Watch I was surprised how "little" I was getting in the way of calorie burn. Sometimes we just want more "bang" for our effort.
 
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JanoschR

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
70
184
Germany
Can you share that site / chart? Would be interesting to check that out.

The reason I was suspicious about the data in the first place is that I (according to my Apple Watch) burn almost as much when doing a walking workout as I do when rowing. And that can’t be right.

It’s not as much about my expectations and I’m happy to adjust them but I was wondering if they oversaw something or if there is a bug related to rowing workouts. Especially since they don’t track strokes (similar to swim workouts) which they could easily do and that would also provide some interesting data and a more accurate calorie burn estimate.
 
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ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,939
2,502
Between the coasts
I searched on "rowing workout calories burned." I found a fair number of sources and charts. Rather than decide for you which are the most authoritative, I suggest you check them out for yourself.
 
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