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Connie
Savvy March 2022

Am i Rowing Too Much?

Connie, on February 13, 2021 at 10:33 PM Posted in Fitness and Health 0 17
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I just bought my wedding dress today (yay!) and had mentioned to the boutique attendant that my plan for toning up and losing 5-10 pounds was to use my rowing machine daily along with some workouts via YouTube. I was really surprised when she very quickly warned me not to row too much as that might bulk up my back muscles and cause my dress to no longer zip.

From what I understand, rowing does help to build lean muscle and tone, but generally doesn't bulk people up. I generally row for 30 minutes 5-6 days a week and really enjoy doing it, but now I am afraid of no longer fitting into my dress because of it. Should this be a concern and should I maybe decrease the amount I am rowing? Thank you!

17 Comments

Latest activity by Kari, on March 20, 2021 at 11:42 AM
  • Paige L.
    Super September 2021
    Paige L. ·
    • Flag

    Women tend to build a lot less muscle mass than men, due to our hormones. I think as long as you aren't doing a full body builder schedule, you will be fine! It is difficult to build that much muscle as a woman. You will see some growth in your shoulders, but I don't think it will be enough to not fit in your dress.

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  • Jessica
    Devoted February 2021
    Jessica ·
    • Flag
    I’m sure she’s encountered this before and I would heed her advice
    • Reply
  • Melanie
    Dedicated April 2021
    Melanie ·
    • Flag
    It takes a long time to build muscle, years really. Especially if you’re not using weights and just a row machine. Yes your lats and shoulder could get bigger, but you won’t look huge due to rowing. And you definitely shouldn’t worry about not fitting into the dress! You need to be eating in a surplus too to build muscle.
    • Reply
  • Mrs. Spring
    Master April 2021
    Mrs. Spring ·
    • Flag
    I wouldn't worry and still row. Just Make sure to eat lean meats and veggies
    • Reply
  • Connie
    Savvy March 2022
    Connie ·
    • Flag

    Thank you all so much! I'm not eating in surplus so I don't expect to be building muscle and I only use a light kettle bell for some oblique workouts. I think I'll keep an eye out via measurements for my shoulders and back just in case as I'm sure the attendant has seen similar things happen before, but I am by no means a heavy duty rower. My dress also only zips up to mid-back too, though it is an off the shoulder dress so maybe that is her concern as well?

    Thanks again everyone Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • Nicole
    Devoted August 2022
    Nicole ·
    • Flag
    Finding a healthy habit especially exercise that you love to do is hard!! Please don't give that up for a dress you'll wear for one day. Dresses can be altered!
    • Reply
  • Connie
    Savvy March 2022
    Connie ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    So true! It took me so long to get back into exercising after a long recovery from an unrelated surgery and I'd hate to have to start all over again. I might decrease the frequency a bit at which I row but will definitely keep it up overall!

    • Reply
  • Apryl
    Dedicated March 2022
    Apryl Online ·
    • Flag
    Women don't tend to put on a lot of muscle mass unintentionally.
    I would be more wary of over doing it after alterations are done.
    • Reply
  • Jodie
    Dedicated April 2021
    Jodie ·
    • Flag
    Amen! Please don’t be afraid of exercising. Lift heavy if you want, row more if you want, do whatever makes you happy. Please don’t let anyone tell you to limit your exercise - that’s absolutely terrible advice. Remember that exercising is good for your overall long term health and physique which will last you long past the wedding day. Rowing is more of a muscular endurance rather than hypertrophy exercise anyway. And if you do make such gains that your dress would need altered again, then good for you!
    • Reply
  • D
    Savvy June 2021
    Dani ·
    • Flag
    Are you going to have alterations done?? You probably won’t put on that much muscle from rowing alone. But even if your body does change alterations should be able to help
    • Reply
  • K
    Devoted October 2021
    Kristen ·
    • Flag
    You are probably fine and I DEFINITELY wouldn’t stop an exercise plan that you love because of this... but, I can speak from experience having gotten into rowing a few years back that I built a lot of shoulder and back muscle (like long sleeve shirts got super tight!). BUT this is totally a know yourself kind of thing- I’ve always built muscle so much easier than most women. If you typically don’t, then this shouldn’t be much different and I’d say go for it!
    • Reply
  • Connie
    Savvy March 2022
    Connie ·
    • Flag

    You are all so sweet! I was really anxious and nervous last night trying to figure out if I had to change up my entire routine just for my dress, but am feeling so much better now. I am definitely planning on having alterations done once the dress comes in so hopefully if anything does change, the seamstress can modify as needed.

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  • Connie
    Dedicated December 2021
    Connie ·
    • Flag
    Hey, Connie! I rowed in college, and from my experience, rowing is primarily a leg sport. If you have proper technique, you shouldnt get a huge back and shoulders. But I will say, I had about 20 more pounds of bulk on me in my rowing days than I do now (all my muscles have atrophied). I also gain muscle pretty quickly though. I would take measurements every few weeks or so for your shoulders and chest, just to make sure you won't be taken by surprise when it comes time for alterations. But definitely keep rowing if it is something you love! It would take a lot of extra food and heavy workouts to bulk up massively from rowing.
    • Reply
  • Connie
    Savvy March 2022
    Connie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    A fellow Connie! Thanks for the insights from your experience. Great idea to measure my shoulders and chest! I don't think I build muscle easily especially since I am aiming to have a slight calorie deficit, but other than the dress not fitting, I certainly wouldn't mind some nice back muscles Smiley smile

    • Reply
  • C
    Carolina ·
    • Flag

    It takes a long time to build muscle, years really. Especially if you’re not using weights and just a row machine.

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  • Tory
    Devoted May 2022
    Tory ·
    • Flag
    I wouldn’t stress about building too much muscle from it! Women take a lot longer and a lot more load on their bodies/more supplements in order to bulk up like that. It’s a very common myth that women bulk up from doing weight lifting/rowing, so don’t stress yourself over outdated ideas ❤️
    • Reply
  • Kari
    VIP May 2020
    Kari ·
    • Flag

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say the person working at your wedding boutique isn't a fitness expert.

    The fact that you are already doing sustained rowing workouts leads me to think you aren't starting from a point of complete muscle atrophy and low muscle tone. With that in mind, continuing to do what you are already doing is unlikely to cause significant muscle gain to the point where it would be a major fit issue with your dress. You'd likely need to do heavy weight or resistance training for months, combined with a calorie surplus diet and supplements to see the type of muscle hypertrophy that would be problematic from a dress fit perspective.

    My background: I have a degree in health and exercise science, work full time as collegiate athletic/recreation director, and teach fitness classes, including those exclusively for women. I have never worked in a clothing store or bridal boutique.

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