What Clothing To Wear For Indoor Rowing

When using a rower, elliptical, treadmill, or virtually any type of exercise machine, wearing the right clothing is going to maximize your workout results. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but it can help improve form, keep you from stinking up your house, and more.

Common Rowing Attire

  • Tight rowing shorts (spandex, polyester)
  • Form fitting bike or compression shorts (spandex, polyester)
  • “Technical top”, a form fitting synthetic tee or tank top (polyester, nylon)
  • Performance tee shirt (cotton)
  • Socks, running sneakers, Sports bra (for females)
  • Grip gloves (optional)

*Note that these recommendations are ideal for indoor rowing machines such as the NordicTrack RW200 Rower. You’ll want fit, comfortable clothing for your rowing workout.

Which Workout Fabric Is Best?

Workout Clothing Material Basics
Vague adjectives such as fit, tight, comfortable, etc can be relative. There are specific fabrics you should look out for during your search for the best fitness clothes. Here are the different types of fabric you should consider for your workout clothes:


  • Comfortable
  • Loose
  • Good for less body odor
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Does not absorb sweat well
  • Shirt will be soaked with sweat and become heavy
  • Not ideal for performance


  • Mildew Resistant
  • Easily absorbs sweat
  • Breathable and durable
  • Soft and stretchy
  • Not great at absorbing dye so colors are usually low saturated
  • Will feel cold when wet


  • Wicking material (soaks up sweat)
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Inexpensive
  • Non-wrinkle, unlikely to shrink
  • Durable (but not as durable as Nylon)
  • Unlike Nylon, is optimal for bright colors and crazy saturated patterns
  • Stinky
  • Harbors germs faster than cotton

Another fabric similar to Polyester and Nylon is Polypropylene. It is completely water resistant. Even if your shirt is wet, the inside is manufactured to keep you completely dry, making it a great base layer for your workout.


  • Stretchy
  • Most workout clothes contain spandex
  • Can be too tight
  • Can lose elasticity over time
  • Allergic reactions common (Latex Allergy)


  • Made from sustainable plant
  • Soft
  • Cool
  • Comfortable
  • Expensive
  • Process of turning bamboo into fabric is actually polluting to the environment
  • White bamboo will yellow over time

Another Fabric Similar to Bamboo is Tencel. Tencel is sweat-wicking and softer than silk, but extremely strong, breathable, wrinkle-resistant, and biodegradable. Both Bamboo and Tencel are considered more “luxurious” workout wear.

Other Fabric Consderations


  • Great for trapping heat
  • Keeps body warm and insulation
  • Odor resistant


The fabric uses silver (yes, the metal) as an antimicrobial to stop the stinking after a workout.

  • Prevents fungal and bacterial growth
  • Won’t “wash out” or stop working
  • Odor resistant
  • Used by brands such as Brooks, Lululemon, and NorthFace
  • Expensive

What Else To Know About Your Workout Clothing:

  • Polyester is the most popular form of workout fabric.
  • What is Wicking Material? Wicking is material that will absorb sweat and other liquid.
  • Workout clothes and germs: It is important it keep in mind that tight, sweat-absorbing workout clothes tend to harbor more germs than normal clothing. This is due to the fact that you are sweating in them and that this type of material absorbs this. It is important to wash your clothes after every workout.
  • The right fit is just as important as the fabric. Chose workout clothing that is best for you! That is the beauty of the stretchy fabrics that are tight but are also flexible.

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