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Best Overall Home Rowing Machine
In nearly every area across the board, the Concept2 Model E either matches or outperforms the competition, which makes it an easy choice for our best overall home rowing machine. Multiple features on this model are geared to making your workout more convenient.
The Model E’s seat rests 20 inches off the ground for stress-free access, it’s adjustable monitor features USB capability and can wirelessly monitor your heartrate, and the spiral damper on the flywheel lets you control resistance and manage your desired type of stroke. Throw in features like the machine’s 500-pound weight capacity, five-year frame warranty and its separable, space-saving design and your long-term solution for exercising at home becomes quite clear.
- Indoor rowing is an effective full-body and low-impact workout; flywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel
- Includes the performance monitor 5, giving you accurate, comparable data for every row; Adjustable monitor arm
- 20-Inch seat height, nickel-plated chain, Adjustable footrests and ergonomic handle
Best Rowing Machine For The Money
With one of the most unique rowing features on the market, the First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR is a tremendous value buy at its price point. Not only does this model replicate the natural sound and authentic feel of real rowing with its water flywheel, but you can actually adjust the amount of fluid you row against with its multiple tanks. Resistance increases the harder you row, so the amount of fluid dictates the intensity of the workout.
Its multilevel computer monitor is complete with a USB port and monitors eight different metrics. In addition, its low-friction seat, adjustable foot pedals and ergonomic rowing handle make for a comfortable workout experience. For all the authentic features it has to offer, the First Degree Fitness Newport Challenge AR is an excellent rowing machine for the money.
- Replicates the feel, sight, and sound of real water-rowing
- Adjustable levels of fluid resistance
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
Rowing Machine Buyer’s Guide
There are a lot of technical terms being thrown around in these reviews, so it may benefit you to brush up on some of the features to look for when purchasing the best rowing machine for your needs. Here is a quick breakdown of some terms you’ll often see and how they relate to your workout experience.
There are four types of resistance available on home rowing machines–air, magnetic, water and hydraulic–and each has its advantages.
Air: These are the most popular type of resistance and often include a damper, which changes the feel of your stroke by altering the airflow.
Magnetic: These systems are one of the quietest resistance forms out there and vary your resistance by moving magnets closer or farther from the flywheel.
Water: These rowers replicate the natural feel and sound of authentic rowing and regulate the resistance based on the speed of your stroke.
Hydraulic: These models are less expensive, less common and often a less effective resistance option. Pistons work through different levels to vary your resistance, but people often complain about the unnatural feel of this process.
Frame Material: The majority of rowing machines either feature metal–usually steel or aluminum–or wooden frames. Both of these options yield pretty comparable results in terms of weight capacity, warranties and the ability to fold. Wood frames are more commonly found on machines with a water flywheel.
Seat Height: Seat height is an important feature to consider when picking a rowing machine, especially if you suffer from knee, joint or back pain. Many people gravitate towards rowing machines as a low-impact workout option, so it’s necessary to find one that has convenient access. Models with a seat height near or comparable to the height of a chair are ideal. This factor eliminates the need to sink into an uncomfortable position just to get on, or propel yourself off the floor to get off.
Fixed Rowing Machines vs Folded Rowing Machines: There are two types of rowing machines for home use: the folding type and the fixed type. Folding rowing machines occupy less space and can be easily stored for convenience, while fixed machines are more space consuming. According to user experience, fixed machines are more durable, but for indoor use folding machine are usually preferred because of their eco-friendly design.
Rowing Machine Benefits: Rowing machines are a great calorie-burning workout, which happen to burn 10 to 15 percent more calories than cycling at the same level of exertion. This is because the rower is a total-body workout, involving more muscles than most other sports or exercise machines. The primary muscles worked are the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, shoulders, back and arms. Rowing is a great core workout because the abdominals are engaged throughout the entire process. Because the rowing machine is a low-impact exercise, it’s a great option for those with joint issues.
How To Use A Rowing Machine: The starting position is known as the “catch,” where the user’s knees are bent, shoulders and arms are reaching forward, and shins are vertical. Once you’re in the catch position, the “drive” position is next. This is the movement of pushing your feet against the machine’s platform and straightening your legs until there’s a slight bend in your knees. Pull the handle toward your lower chest and bend your elbows as you lean backward. Remember to keep your back straight. Lastly, the “recovery” phase is when you return to the starting position or catch position. When rowing, your motions should be fluid and continuous.
Keep these terms in mind when comparing prices and features to find the best rowing machine for you!