Health & Fitness

The piece of gym equipment that works almost every muscle in the body

It's not the cross trainer.

If your motivation for going to the gym is more that you should go, rather than that you want to go, you'll probably be looking for the most effective workout you can get. Which is why we were intrigued to hear that we might have been neglecting to use the best gym machine there is for a full body workout all this time.

It turns out the cross trainer, the treadmill or even the exercise bike aren't actually the most optimum when it comes to working as many muscles as possible. Instead, you should try giving the rowing machine a go.

That's according to medical expert and former Olympic rower Dr Cameron Nichol, who told Business Insider the rowing machine offers "the most time efficient total body workout".

Dr Nichol says the machine is so effective because it uses virtually every muscle in the body, which he proved in an experiment for Channel 4's How To Get Fit Fast last month.

During the show, Dr Nichol and a team from Roehampton University proved that rowing worked more muscle groups than running, activating nine whole muscle groups - which is equivalent to 85% of your muscles. It also works both your upper and lower body, tones your arms and can apparently help strengthen your back.

"[Rowing] gives you more bang for your buck," Dr Nichol concluded to Business Insider.

Speaking about why he reckons the rowing machine is often overlooked, he said: "As a rowing industry we've known for decades that we're responsible for not communicating how to row well.

"It's a really valuable movement, but the problem is we don't grow up with it, whereas we do running and cycling."

Another advantage of rowing? Dr Nichol points out that the rowing machine is often free – meaning you probably won't have to wait to use it. So there's that.