In the 21st century, there is nothing more important than doing regular exercise. However, a challenge comes when choosing the right exercise program. Picking the right exercise program is a daunting task especially when one is a newbie at it. Nonetheless, getting in shape does not mean that one has to scale mountains or hit the pavement for a strenuous run. The first step could be using a rowing machine to improve one’s overall health, and due to its low impact, it is easy and less strenuous for all ages and fitness levels.
The strenuous part is always choosing the right rowing machine to offer the best results. However, we have made it easier for you by selecting the best rowing machines within different classes, price tags and build qualities;
1. Water Rower Natural Rowing Machine in Ash Wood with S4 Monitor
- Stained honey oak finished in danish oil
- American ash-wood frame
- Dual rail design
- Series 4 performance monitor
- Water flywheel
The first rower in line is from the Water Rower Company known for offering its customers equipment of exceptional quality and design. This rowing machine is the holy grail of fitness. One thing that stands out with the device is its beauty.
It is a piece of unique art, and you can quickly put it in the living room without any worries. It is also very quiet, and you can use it while watching your favorite TV shows or when enjoying the gentle splash sounds made by the water.
Another thing, this water rowing machine is a smooth operator with no jerky motions at all. The seat glides effortlessly along the rails. It is handcrafted from solid ash wood and finished with a honey oak stain and danish oil. Its Water flywheel is designed uniquely to emulate the dynamics of a vessel moving through water and is undefeated in its physical and physiological benefits of rowing.
2. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
- Bluetooth and app connectivity
- PM5 performance monitor
- Spiral damper – easily adjusts airflow to the flywheel
- Adjustable footrests
- Nickel-plated steel chain
Simple yet functional is what this rowing machine really is. For starters, it uses air as its chosen resistance method. Air resistance rowing machines are smoother than hydraulic resistance machines and may even feel more natural. However, this takes nothing away from the functionality of the machine.
One of the greatest advantages of air-resistant rowing machines is the availability of infinite resistance levels as they are dictated by every stroke you make. Another great advantage is the lifespan. Air resistance rowers quite literally last a lifetime.
This rowing machine comes included with ten damper levels that control airflow. As mentioned earlier, this rowing machine is simple and folds very easily into two for easy storage. It also comes with wheels for ease of movement around the house and or gym.
Monitoring your workout sessions is a must for greater efficiency of the exercises you undertake. That being said, this rowing machine does come with an LCD monitor as well as Bluetooth compatibility for easy interlinking with your cellphone and consequently your fitness application of choice.
Its comfortable handles and seat will always ensure a stress-free session when you use this rowing machine. The footrests on this rowing machine are sturdy and will definitely help you on the road to fitness.
3. Sunny Health and Fitness Water Rower Obsidian SF-RW5713
- Water performance
- Molded padded seat
- Ant + heart rate belt compatibility
- Light weight sturdy steel
- R2 fitness meter
Looking for an ergonomic rowing machine? Or a compact one? Or maybe one with modern features? Well, this rowing machine has got you covered. It boasts five significant things. One, its water performance feature ensures you enjoy a smooth and steady rowing experience with the flywheel and the steel fan blades offering you an out-of-this-world experience.
The second feature is the design of the machine. It comes with sturdy steel to improve performance and increase durability. Along with the stainless steel design, the rowing machine has three hydro blades that mimic the movements of competitive rowing along with sweat-resistant bars.
The third feature is the rowing machine’s ergo-efficiency. The seat is built with you in mind. It is padded increasing the machine’s comfort-ability and functionality. Also, by setting the seat at a high level, you can get on and off it without straining the back muscles.
The fourth feature is fitness technology with the R2 Fitness Meter designed to track all essential workout metrics accurately. Lastly, the rowing machine is space efficient which means that it will fit plush even in tight apartment spaces. In addition, it is equipped with high-density non-marking rubber wheels that make it easy to move around and store upright when not in use.
4. Fitness Reality 1000 PLUS Bluetooth Magnetic Rowing Rower
- Large foam padded seat for extra comfort
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Extremely quiet and durable rowing belt
- Large anti-slip foot pedals
- Multi-function LCD display
Technology is one aspect of life that we cannot ignore. This rowing machine from Fitness reality makes a great deal in keeping up with the technology at hand today. It has Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to synchronize your fitness data with the help of My cloud fitness app.
With this application, you have the ability to set workout goals and track your workouts, and therefore you’ll be able to know if you’ve made any progress towards your body goals. The application is free with the rowing machine and is compatible with Android and iOS versions.
This machine comes with the all-important LCD monitor which displays the essentials such as distance rowed, time of workout, the total count of strokes and strokes per minute, and also the number of calories burned. It is also comfortable with a good-sized seat with wide, well-padded handles and a sloped beam that’s not too low for getting on and off.
We like its ease of storage since it comes with wheels that allow you to fold and tilt it up and roll it when done with your workouts and thus helping you save space. This magnetic rower gives you a decent cardio workout and works out numerous muscles in the body for strength, tone, and fitness.
With fourteen levels of resistance, it is very easy to mold your bespoke workout sessions. When shopping for a rowing machine, factors such as noise level, space, monitor displays as well as fitness goals should be considered. That being said, this rowing machine is well worth considering especially if you’re on a tight budget.
5. MaxKare Magnetic Rowing Machine
- Fully padded seat for extra comfort
- Integrated transport wheels
- LCD display monitor
- Magnetic adjustable resistance – 16 levels
- Steel tubing frame construction
Are you in the market for an efficient and versatile rowing machine? If so, then MaxKare had you in mind as they set out to design this rowing machine. Suitable for taller people, you will find this rowing machine very usable if you fall under this category of taller people.
The rowing machine has an inseam length of 45 inches and so people over 6 ft will not struggle. The machine comes equipped with all the essentials that you would usually like on your purchase. Included is the all-important LCD monitor to keep track of your exercise sessions.
This monitor is very important and I would go as far as to say it should be a huge buying guide. We like the adjustable resistance that allows you to vary the load on the rowing machine as you row. It is very important as it helps you keep up with what your body can handle or even vary the resistance based on the results you desire to achieve.
We also like the portable design that allows the rowing machine to fold away and in so doing save space. This feature works very well at home, in your apartment where your rowing space is multi-functional.
Comfort is also a great talking point and this rowing machine takes care of that with comfortable foam handles for better grip as well as a thick large seat. It also has very comfortable grips on the steps. This is one great rowing machine that we can always recommend with no hesitations.
6. Goplus Magnetic Rowing Machine
- Magnetic tension system – 8 levels
- Large LCD screen monitor
- Large anti-slip foot pedals and non-slip handlebars
- Built-in transportation wheels
- Built-in stabilizer bar
Looking for a rowing machine that will last you a long time? Well, we might have found you a match. The durability and comfortability of the rowing machine are unrivaled boasting of a high-quality aluminum beam to increase hardness and thickness compared to regular rowing machines.
Also, the material ensures that you can use it for a long time without leaving any traces. Ideally, the six wheels that come with the rowing machine ensure that you have a smooth and quiet rowing machine experience. Another outstanding feature of this rowing machine is the adjustable resistance and foot straps.
The foot straps come with a magnetic tension system with eight levels of adjustable resistance and the sizeable anti-slip foot pedals with adjustable foot straps make the rowing machine suitable for different people to exercise at different levels. Also, it comes with a bright LCD to ensure that you achieve your workout goals while staying focused during a workout. It is also easy to move and offers you the ease of carrying out a full-body exercise.
7. Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic SF-RW5515
- Digital monitor LCD display
- Magnetic tension system
- Anti-slip foot pedals
- Fully padded seat and non-slip grip handlebars
- Built-in transportation wheels
Are you always looking for a rowing session with a flavor of comfort? A cardio session should not be a punishment and this rowing machine ensures you do so comfortably. Similar to many products from Sunny Health Company, this rowing machine is the perfect match for an incredible workout.
It comes with a digital monitor displaying time, count, calories, total count, and scan. The digital console is the right item to enable you to keep checking all your fitness goals. It is also equipped with foam grip handlebars to increase comfort and endurance in times of long rides.
On the feet position, this rowing machine has non-slip foot pedals that promote safe footing in times of demanding and vigorous workouts. The foot straps ensure that the feet remain saddled allowing you to focus on the workout without a lack of balance. The transportation wheels are also a competitive feature of this rowing machine.
The wheels ensure that you can move the rowing machine by merely tilting and rolling out for use or away for storage without a need for heavy lifting and straining of the muscles. Lastly, there is an adjustable resistance allowing you to increase or decrease resistance with a simple twist to ensure that the workout remains challenging throughout the fitness journey. It has eight resistance levels to help you achieve your fitness goals!
8. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machines
- Digital monitor screen
- Hydraulic cylinder resistance
- Full motion arms
- Extra padded seat and non-slip handlebars
- Large anti-slip pedals
Are you in the market for a rowing machine that is more a tool than the toy? Look no further than this rowing machine which is intended to help you accomplish your fitness goals. The full movement motion of the arms will ensure that you burn more calories while increasing strength through the activation of more muscles in the back, shoulders, and core.
Also, it allows you to increase or decrease the workout intensity only with a simple turn of the resistance knob. The LCD digital monitor also allows you to track your strokes, count, time, calories, and total count. The digital monitor also comes with a countdown feature for time, calories, and strokes.
The Sunny health and fitness SF-RW5639 comes equipped with hydraulic cylinder resistance. The rower works with fluid for strength and has only one piston, which are cylinders filled with hydraulic fluid engaging when the user pulls back. The amount of energy exerted on this rowing machine keeps your heart pumping providing an intense but ideal workout. On the foot pedals, the foot straps keep your feet saddled allowing you to focus on the exercise without losing balance.
9. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1410 Rowing Machine
- Extra padded seat and non-slip handlebars
- Hydraulic cylinder resistance – 12 adjustment levels
- Large anti-slip foot pedals and adjustable foot straps
- Full-motion rowing arms
- LCD display monitor
Fitness is the core business of any rowing machine and you will be glad to know that it is indeed the greatest selling point for this rowing machine. The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW1410 boasts of having full-motion arms and an LCD monitor. The full-motion arms facilitate full-range movement with twelve levels of adjustable resistance.
Also, the handles are fully padded allowing a full range of motion while giving you an intense upper-body workout. Due to the multiple levels of adjustable tension, you can change the routine or challenge yourself while still on your fitness journey. One incredible thing about this rowing machine is that no matter your level of fitness, you can still achieve fantastic results.
Another feature of this rowing machine is the LCD monitor that displays time, count, calories, and total counts with a scan mode option. It is easy to read and informative ensuring that you see your progress and meet your fitness goals. This rowing machine also comes with a cushioned seat to ensure that you get proper blood flow in the glutes for increased working out time and a vigorous workout. The extra padding ensures that it relieves pressure points in the tailbone.
10. Harvil Hydraulic Rower Machine Adjustable Resistance with Folding Arms
- LCD display monitor
- Adjustable hydraulic resistance
- Sturdy steel frame
- Molded steel glides
- Foldable arms only
Tough and functional are the two words that best fit this rowing machine. Some rowing machines claim to have very sturdy construction. This rowing machine claims that as well but walks the talk. It is sturdy enough due to the durable steel frame construction that can withstand a maximum user weight of 250 pounds.
It comes with an adjustable hydraulic resistance with a manual control knob. The knob adjusts the tension facilitating easy customization for a workout to fit your needs. The unique armbar is also crucial to exercise the chest, shoulder, and arm muscles.
Ideally, the rowing machine comes with an LCD monitor that displays time, row count, and some burned calories. The scan function scrolls through workout metrics every six seconds. The ergonomic design of this rowing machine is unrivaled. It comes with a molded seat for comfort and gliding the user’s every motion. It also comes with pivoting footplates with safety straps with two straps positions securing any feet size. The design ensures that you row in comfort every time.
READ NEXT: Treadmill vs Rowing Machine: Which is Better and Why?
What is a rowing machine?
A rowing machine is a piece of tool that mimics the motion of a rowing boat in the water, making it a full-body workout equipment.
A rowing machine is a piece of ideal equipment for weight loss, toning, and building muscles while increasing strength. It is a game changer, especially for those that love to exercise and keep their bodies fit.
Using a Rowing Machine
If you have ever been to a gym, one thing you probably have noted is that rowing machines have increased in popularity. However, as earlier noted, a rowing machine can be intimidating if you do not know how to use it the right way.
Some of the most common questions are whether to lead with the legs or arms, whether the shoulders should feel sore, and why the feet keep on slipping out of the straps. The answer to these questions is that a rowing machine is not about power but speed.
That is, if you often get a sore back after using a rowing machine, then you are using the wrong technique. Therefore, rather than concentrating on the lower body push yourself out and then gently slide back in for perfect results. Before checking the right procedure, it is crucial that you understand these terms.
Strokes per Minute– The strokes per minute refer to the number of times you row in one minute. The number should remain at thirty or less since it is about power and not flinging the body back and forth.
Split time– This refers to the number of times it takes to row 500 meters. You should keep it at two minutes or less. When increasing the pace, push out with more power and not just pump the arms faster.
How to Use a Rowing Machine
In most cases, the use of a rowing machine can be challenging, but it is an essential tool in spicing up anybody’s cardio routine once you get the hang of it.
A rowing machine boasts of being an ergo-meter, a calorie buster, and a leg core workout machine. If it is not used correctly, it can make the user to develop back injuries.
However, we have made it easy for you by outlining some of the most important tips while using a rowing machine.
Nonetheless, it is important to highlight a few things that you should do before using a rowing machine;
-Essentially, wear the right attire to avoid fabric being caught in the machine during a regular exercise routine.
-It is crucial to set the resistance at a reasonable level and only to set the machine at two or three if you are a beginner.
-It is crucial that you keep the strokes per minute low. A rowing machine comes with different approaches to measuring workouts allowing you to use the change display button for tracking strokes per minute, burned calories, and kilometers traveled among others.
- If you are a beginner, ensure that the rowing machine is set at a low resistance level until you figure out your limitations. When you do, you can gradually increase the resistance in subsequent rows.
- Always have your feet secured on the pads and make sure the straps are tight enough to avoid feet sliding.
- Next, you should slowly raise your knees and slide them on top of the machine. Ensure you are grabbing the handle with an overhand grip but ensure you are not holding it too tightly.
- Now, pull the handle as you slide to the end of the machine. The legs are to remain straight but slightly bend them at the knees to avoid locking.
Now, lean back slightly while pulling your hands up to your chest, holding the handle, so it is straight below the breasts, with elbows pointing down against your slides. This should be the position when beginning and ending a full stroke.
- At this time, the arms should be moving first then the upper body. The back should remain straight and not slumped with the shoulders, back, and abs engaged as you exercise. When extending out, the upper body position will go from slightly angled back to angled somewhat forward.
- As you lean your arms and body forward, slide the body forward on the seat by bending the legs. Once you are at the top of the machine, the arms will extend, and the legs bend fully. The technique is known as the catch.
- After the catch comes to the drive, here, you should slide back to the finish position by pushing off with the feet to ensure the legs straighten while the arms are still extending and the body is leaning forward.
- The driving technique mimics pulling the oars off the water and propelling the boat forward. The drive works out the legs and the core muscles.
- As the legs continue pushing, the upper body should move to start leaning back.
- At this point, the arms should return to position. As the upper body angles back, start pulling the handle while bending your arms to ensure the handle ends up back to touching the front of the chest in the position you were in when starting the exercise.
Still, avoid gripping the handle hard and power should be on the legs since pulling too hard can cause hand blisters.
- At this point, you should continue practicing the stroke at low resistance until you get used to the position.
Steps to a Perfect Row
- Mastering leg isolations– Here, you should start by holding the oars with extended arms, knees bent, and weight on the balls of the feet (the catch technique).
With the back straight and core engaged, push back using only the legs, rolling through the feet, so they are flat when the legs are extended. The arms should remain extended in the course of the exercise.
- Adding arm isolations– After pushing with the lower body for some time, you should start practicing arm isolations. With the legs straight, pull the oar towards the chest.
You should bend the elbows out to the sides and touch the oar just under the chest. Here, you should continue holding the oar lightly while using the upper back to pull the oar towards you. Engage the same muscles as you do for a push-up or bent-over row.
- Rowing with perfect form– Here, put everything together with the back straight, the core engaged, and the balls of the feet firmly in the straps.
While at this position, push back first with the lower body then use the upper back to pull hands towards the chest. Next, release the arms towards the base and bend the knees to glide back to the position
Mistakes to avoid when using a Rowing Machine;
1. Straining the shoulders by making them do all the work
The fix is pushing the shoulders back and down to ensure there is no tension around the neck area. You should also keep your back straight by engaging the core and breathing deeply. Ensure you take deep breaths.
2. Making a scooping motion in the row process.
The fix is bending the knees before the arms are entirely extended on the return. Also, the move will ensure that you do not hit the legs with the oar. Since rowing is a chain reaction, making one mistake will lead to many other mistakes.
3. Raising the arms too high
Here, the mistake is pulling the oar up to the chin meaning you will end up using more energy than required. Therefore, to avoid this ensure you are bringing the oar to rest just below the chest.
That is, use the upper back muscles to pull the oar toward the chest. In every row, ensure that the elbows are bent at an angle of 90 degrees and forearms should be within the rib cage.
4. Letting the knees drop to the side
This is a common mistake since it means you are not engaging the inner-thigh muscles or activating the hip flexors. The solution is to finish with the knees in line with the hips.
In the process, use the inner thighs to ensure the knees remain close together or zip up the legs to push away and glide in.
5. Holding the grip too hard
That is if you are wrapping your thumbs around the oar or hanging on it as if it is a pull-up bar you are doing it all wrong. Such a grip leads to unnecessary tension in the forearms. The fix is holding the oar with three fingers.
The fix is ensuring that you place your hands on the outside of the paddle and not the center. Hold the oar with the first, middle, and ring fingers of each hand.
6. Use your upper back
Every time you are exercising using the rowing machine, use your upper back, not the shoulders, and the biceps. This will ensure you take pressure off your hands.
Rowing Machine Benefits
- Perfect Cardio Vascular exercise – in the rowing process all major muscles are engaged including the heart and lungs, in the process, you increase the amount of oxygen that the lungs supply to the heart, therefore a good cardio workout.
- Great calorie burner – in the rowing workout process you burn 100- 200 calories in 10 minutes, depending on the weight of your body, the intensity, and the resistance setting of the rowing machine.
- Low-impact activity– using the rowing machine, the motion tends to be of low impact and straightforward movement, there is minimal stress applied to the parts of the body compared to another exercise such as running.
- Breathtaking upper body workout – since the exercise mimics the motion of rowing in a boat, all the parts of the stellar upper body are engaged in the rowing making the shoulders and back strong.
- Astounding lower body workout – since the main legs are involved in the rowing exercise, they feel the burns and in the process build strong legs and glutes, therefore, improving muscle strength and agility of the lower body.
Rowing Machine Maintenance Tips
It is crucial to maintain your rowing machine for a perfect workout in the long term. Anybody who purchases a rowing machine intends to get the best from it. That is, one intends to use the rowing machine for a long time before it breakdowns.
Undoubtedly, a rowing machine has moving parts making it necessary to protect it from premature failures.
Usually, a standard rowing machine will have a warranty for a few years and others for a lifetime. However, it is difficult to find the same guarantee for moving parts within the machine. The reason is that such moving parts are subject to wear and tear.
Nonetheless, the good thing is that you can increase the life of your rowing machine through proper maintenance.
Important tips to ensure that you keep using your rowing machine for a long time;
1. Wipe the rowing machine after use
It sounds basic, but the thing is, most people do not clean rowing machines after use. Usually, a rowing machine or any other exercise machine makes you sweat or is subjected to an intense workout.
Therefore, sometimes sweat gets trapped on the rower which in turn attracts dust. The accumulation of dirt and sweat lead to rusting and weakening of the frame. You can avoid such by wiping the rowing machine after use.
2. Lubricate the chain with the right lubricant
A rowing machine has a chain that attaches the rowing handle to the flywheel. The chain is intended to move efficiently each time you pull the handle. An efficient and smooth motion is possible when the chain is well-lubricated.
Accumulated debris will cause problems to the machine and in the process affect the quality of your workout. Therefore, it is crucial to apply a thin coat of oil at least three times a year for productive exercise. Remove any dirt using a paper towel and an automotive greaser.
3. Check for loose screws and tighten them
A rowing machine has many loose parts, which are joined together with, screws. In the process of using the device, the screws might loosen up and later fall off.
It is for this reason that rowing machines come with assembly tools to tighten loosening screws. Therefore, to avoid losing essential screws, regularly check the screws and tighten the loose ones.
4. Check for any noises
A broken rowing machine will make a lot of noise. However, it is important to mention that such cases are few. Nonetheless, even the best rowing machine will have loose screws.
Therefore, it is essential to check for any noise coming from the rowing machine to ensure that you tighten all screws. In case the machine is broken down, you might need help from a technician.
It is crucial to highlight that rowing machines are not all equal. Different manufacturers build their machines differently causing minor variations and the type of maintenance required. Therefore, it is always essential to consider checking the original instructions that come with a rower to see specific instructions necessary to make the best out of your rowing machine.
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