With brands like the WaterRower having a tiny footprint when you need to store them, you can see why they are so popular for the home fitness user. Great for burning fat and toning, they are affordable and robust.
Rowing machines as the title would suggest simulate the action of rowing a boat and are great for fat burning and body building. They are also low impact so give minimal stress on hips,knees and ankles.
When buying a rowing machine do consider what you want it for and the space that you have available.Rowing machines do tend to be quite long although you can fold some designs up.
Rowing machines in general offer three mains type of resistance: air; magnetic; and water. The magnetic rowers are quieter and the water ones provide a more 'real 'rowing experience. Also consider the LCD screen requirements that you have. Do you want to know how far you have rowed or how many calories you will have burnt?
Rowing Machine Buying Guide
Why Use a Rowing Machine?
Rowing machines can be found in most gyms and prove popular with a large number of users. The main reason for their popularity is that they work out your entire body. Starting with your upper body rowing will work the rhomboids in your shoulders, trapeziums in your back and lats in your lower back. Your biceps and triceps will also benefit and then there are your legs. Rowing will benefit your calves, hamstrings and you will also see an improvement in the strength of your hands and wrists.
So not only will your body get a complete workout but another major benefit of a rowing machine is that is it low impact, so the risk of injury is pretty low. You shouldn’t see any strain on your joints.
Depending on how you row you should also see an overall improvement in your fitness, you can lose weight (research suggests that when rowing you can burn 377 calories in as little as 30 minutes) and gain strength.
So, a great way to work out, and unlikely to cause you injury, but how do you select the right rowing machine?
The Different Types of Rowing machines?
There are three main types of rowing machines: air; magnetic; and water.
A good starting point is to understand the differences between them to see which one is right for you.
Air Powered Rowing Machines
Essentially an air powered rower (sometimes called a flywheel or fan rower) has a large fan which is moved by the user pulling on the rowing handle. It is powered by the resistance of the fan against air. You simply increase the intensity of your workout by rowing faster. Air rowers are popular and you may be familiar with the brand-Concept2 which is an air rower. Rowing on an air rower can feel like real rowing and allow for quite an aggressive row. They can however be quite noisy.
Magnetic rowers use electro magnets to provide the resistance. You can select and vary the resistance. The feel of rowing on this type of rower is very smooth and they tend to be quieter than other rowers. They tend to also be lighter which can be useful in a home gym.
These type of rowers best replicate real rowing. They have an enclosed water tank with paddles suspended inside, when the rower pulls on the handle the paddles turn in the water. They are great for the feeling that you are really rowing and allow for a challenging workout. The main disadvantage of these rowers is that they can be noisy, heavy and they require maintenance as you need to clean the water regularly.
You will also see another type of rower online called a piston resistance rower, these have a pair of hydraulic pistons connected to the rower handle bars. You can manually adjust the resistance on the pistons.
What to Consider Before You Buy
Consider first what type of rowing machine is right for you. We have summarised the main types above to help you here. For example a water rower can be heavy and noisy which may not suit you if you live in a small flat.
It may sound obvious but rowers can be quite large so measure up carefully. Some rowers can be folded which can suit smaller spaces but do remember that even folded a rower is big! Also consider weight, most rowers weigh anything from between 35 lbs to 100lbs.
Always useful to decide what you want to spend first before you start looking, if not you could get carried away and end up with a piece of gym equipment that is not suitable for you.
The seat on a rower is an incredibly important feature, if that isn’t right you won’t be comfortable, nor will you get the right workout for your body. Check the seat material and also look at the length of slide it gives you. Rule of thumb- if you are long legged you will need a long length of slide.
Check that quality materials have been used and that the handle grip is right for how you want to row.
Many rowers will give you additional features, they include calorie count, speed, distance and time, calories burned and a heart rate monitor. Try to select what you think you will use and need as opposed to what looks good as any additional feature will add to the cost.
As with any gym equipment also check out the warranty available, some manufacturers will offer you as much as 3 years parts and labour.