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Rowing Machine Buyers Guide

If you're looking for a total body workout, a new Rowing Machine is the way to go. Experts say no other exercise besides swimming provides a full body workout as good as rowing. Rowing machines exercise more muscle groups in one motion than any other single piece of exercise equipment. Rowers work your legs, arms, and shoulders, but also isolate your abs on every row.

  • Benefits of Rowing
    • Both aerobic (heart and lungs) and anaerobic (muscle strengthening) benefits
    • Very low impact - Little strain on joints means less injuries
    • Rowing motion is natural so anyone can learn to use a rower
    • Tones the upper and lower body - No other piece of exercise equipment works more muscle groups in one motion
    • Various types of rowers to meet your fitness level and needs
  • Types of Rowing Resistance
    • Piston / Hydraulic - Hydraulic cylinders are attached to the arms of the rowing machine creating resistance
      • Advantages
        • More compact than other models
        • Less expensive than other models
      • Disadvantages
        • Do not offer as accurate of a rowing motion as other types of resistance types
        • Motion is not as smooth as with other types
    • Magnetic Resistance - Powerful electromagnets control the resistance of the rowing machine
      • Advantages
        • Smoother motion than piston resistance
        • Nearly silent
        • Adjustable resistance, creating a custom workout
      • Disadvantages
        • Long main rail that cannot be folded up for compact storage
    • Air Resistance - Requires an initial thrust to propel the fan and then resistance comes from your own pace, with resistance increasing as pace increases. Often used by off-season rowers.
      • Advantages
        • Control of your workout since resistance increases as your pace increases
        • Longer rail is beneficial for taller users
      • Disadvantages
        • Air resistance can be quite noisy
        • Longer main rail makes storage more difficult
    • Water Resistance - Resistance comes from a tank of water and increases as your pace increases.
      • Advantages
        • Adjustable resistance and pressure by adding or removing water from the tank
        • Provides the most control over your workout
        • No jerkiness or jarring, typical of other resistance types
        • True-to-life rowing experience
      • Disadvantages
        • Tank of water makes the machine extremely heavy
        • Second in noise level after air resistance models
        • Not very portable or compact

Extra Features

Most rowers come with basic features such as speed, time, distance and calories burned. Some offer heart rate and other monitoring or the ability to do other exercises. These features will increase the price so we only recommend purchasing them if you plan to use all the features.