Rowing has been a favourite amongst fitness enthusiasts for as long as the sport, and equipment, has been around. We take a look at some of the best indoor rowing machines to be used at home.
Rowing is great all-rounder exercise and is suitable for all shapes, sizes and abilities. It is a full body, low impact and versatile exercise.
Rowing targets all the main muscle groups that we try so hard to tone and provides both aerobic and anaerobic workout. Forget arm day or leg day, rowing gives us an all-in-one day!
Rowing, be it outside or at home, focuses on the larger muscles groups in the body. Using a rowing machine will target arms, shoulders, back, as well as the core, legs and glutes in one movement.
- 1 The Best Rowing Machine Reviewed
- 2 Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5
- 3 Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower
- 4 LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine
- 5 BodyTrac Glider 1060
- 6 Stamina Air Rower
- 7 Types of Rowing Machines
- 8 The benefits of using a rowing machine
- 9 What muscle groups are used?
- 10 Rowing Technique
- 11 Conclusion
The Best Rowing Machine Reviewed
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5
You may well have seen this machine at your local gym or have heard about the rave reviews. It is a sleek, strong and easy to use machine. It is easy to put together, easy to take apart to store.
The air resistance feels great and allows for a natural rowing feel as opposed to a slightly boring and stunted row as felt by some of the other rowing machines.
The noise was a concern but is not as loud as reported. You do hear noise from the air passing through the flywheel, and it wouldn’t be great if someone was sleeping nearby, but it is nowhere near as loud as has been mentioned before!
This is a rower for serious athletes and newbies alike and will cater to any needs.
The PM5 monitor is great and allows you to track and review your progress but you can also add to this by signing up to some online programs which will increase its functionality.
This was a really fun machine, which felt comfortable and encouraged strength and fitness. Once you crave going back onto a rowing machine, you know it must be good.
This rower is a slightly higher price range but is worth the investment. It is built to last!
Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower
This rower was significantly quieter than the Concept2 but equally as smooth. It is a good rower, comfortable and easy to use and perfect for any home. It is a good size that could fit most spaces, and is easy to fold away and store too.
This is a magnetic resistance rowing machine, so does feel a little different to the air resistance Concept2. It feels slightly stunted in that the resistance is set rather than created through rowing. The resistance can only be changed on the monitor which is a slight concern, should the monitor fail at any point.
Nevertheless, the fitness monitor allows you to select from 12 programs, and allows you to track your speed, distance, calories burnt, etc.
Overall, this is a great machine for getting your full body home workout.
LifeSpan RW1000 Indoor Rowing Machine
If you are starting out, or are on a budget and want a rowing machine that will allow you to work out easily at home, you can’t go wrong with the LifeSpan RW1000.
It is simple to set up and fold down and can be stored out of the way when not in use.
It is not as sturdy as the Concept2 or Stamina Avari however and it almost feels as though it may move when rowing. There is a belt as opposed to a chain which does not feel as strong and resistance is not as prominent.
It is quiet and the digital display allows you to see your distance, calories, stroke count.
If you want something a little more affordable, that does the job, this is the one!
BodyTrac Glider 1060
This is the cheapest of the rowing machines reviewed and it is built to be simple yet effective. It is not for you if you are looking for something along the same lines as the Concept2 but you will still reap the benefits of a workout of the BodyTrac Glider 1060.
There is no chain or belt, but instead there are two separate arms on either side of the machine. There are larger footpads on either side of the monitor and tablet holder (which is useful!) in the middle.
This is a no frills machine but for the price is not a bad little rowing machine for beginners or people who want a home rowing machine without breaking the back. It is also easy to transport or store away.
Stamina Air Rower
The Stamina Air Rower is possibly the best compact rowing machine out there.
It has all of the positive points of the other machines without any cons. It is compact and foldable for storage and is sturdy and smooth.
It provides a natural row and is an air resistant machine allowing you to manage your own resistance.
The monitor displays all the standard things you want to keep an eye on whilst rowing like distance, time, calories, etc.
It has footpads to suit any size feet and has a comfortable padded seat which slides with ease.
If you are not able to spend the money on the Concept2 then this is the rowing machine for you. A sturdy, effective, compact machine at an affordable price.
The trend of in-home rowing machines is on the rise and it is a great way to ensure a full body workout from the comfort of your own living room. You can sweat away without worrying about anyone seeing you! The investment is a no brainer.
As great as rowing is it is often hard to know where to start, and if you are taking the plunge and purchasing a machine, it is a mindfield knowing which rowing machine to opt for. There are so many options and variables to each type of rowing machine that it can become a little overwhelming.
Let’s delve into the different types of rowing machines available on the market and explore the advantages and disadvantages.
Types of Rowing Machines
If you have used a rowing machine at the gym, there is a good chance that said machine was an air resistance machine. They are hailed to feel more like the real thing and are often revered by professionals and sports enthusiasts alike.
Air resistance machines do what they say on the tin, they use air to create resistance. The flywheel inside the machine will spin as you pull the rowing handle. This movement will create resistance and is regulated according to your rowing speed, allowing you to control how hard you work. This allows for a real likeness to outdoor water rowing.
The air flow is also quite pleasant in creating a breeze, further enhancing the outdoor experience indoors.
The disadvantage of air resistance rowers is that they are noisier than other rowing machines, and are often a little larger.
With the beautiful Water Rower making an appearance on the popular TV show House of Cards, water resistance rowing machines have gained in popularity.
Water resistance rowing machines are very similar to air resistance machines in that they also emulate a very realistic rowing experience. You can decide how much or how little water to add to the water tank, which also contains the flywheel, and that, along with your rowing speed, will determine the resistance.
The water gives the illusion and feel of rowing on water and is much less noisy and more calming than the air resistance rowers.
Some rowing machines tend towards a drop in resistance during the stroke, sometimes known as the “flat spot”. The water resistance machines do not have this, which is a huge plus.
These rowers are great for home use as they are quiet and attractive. The only slight disadvantage is that they are often a bigger and a little more expensive.
The magnetic resistance rowing machines give slightly more flexibility to a user than the other rowers. They are generally more compact, often foldable for easy storage, and are the quietest of the machines.
The benefits of using a rowing machine
The resistance levels can be adjusted manually or digitally and unlike the air and water resistance rowers, will not change with the speed of your rowing. This may sound like a disadvantage but if you are looking for a simple yet effective workout, this is the one for you. There is no need to think too deeply about how to increase and decrease your resistance, you can just row at a pace that suits and still reap the benefits!
In a world that is becoming ever more demanding of our time we can sometimes feel disheartened and frustrated when it comes to exercise. Trying to fit leg, arm, core, cardio days into our schedule is all well and good but why can’t we focus on all of these areas at once?
Well, it seems that rowing is the answer. It is not only low impact, allowing for all ages and capabilities to do it, but is also great for cardio and strength. It will increase our heartrate while building our muscles and helping us get that strong, lean and healthy body we crave.
If done with the correct form, rowing can also be a good exercise to do if you are recovering from injury (always check with your doctor first however). The natural movements and flexibility with resistance allow for low impact or high strength, depending on what you need.
The diversity of muscle groups used and the fact that you can continuously row whilst changing resistance, if using air and water rowers, allows for endurance junkies to get their fix and gives everyone a full body workout. It is a great exercise for professional and fitness fans alike. It can help build strength for other sports, and will strengthen the body, without straining the joints. It is a great complimentary exercise to running, for example.
Exercising on a rowing machine covers all the bases.
What muscle groups are used?
As mentioned previously, rowing is a full body workout and uses a large number of muscles.
The rowing movement will use the muscles in your shoulders, triceps, biceps through to your abs and back and all the way down to your hamstrings, glutes, quads and calves. Every part of the movement uses these muscles so every row you take, provided you are using the correct technique, will give you a full body, full muscle workout!
When we think of using a rowing machine, we think it’s pretty simple and self-explanatory to use. We grab hold of the bar, pull back, release forward, and repeat. However, the correct technique, to get the most out of your row, is quite specific.
Firstly, make sure that your feet are strapped in to the adjusted foot rests and that your shins are vertical. Next, sit up straight and keep your core pulled in and strong. Lean forward and take hold of the bar keeping your torso straight. Maintaining this strength, pull back aiming the bar to your lower ribs in a controlled motion. This should allow your arms to keep in a straight line with the flywheel.
Once you have extended your legs and your wrists have pulled back to your ribs lean back slightly.
Now, to return to the starting position, straighten your arms and then hinge forward at your hips, continuing to hold the straight torso with strong core. The knees should not start to bend until your wrists have just past them. At this point your body with naturally fold like an accordion to allow you to return to the starting position. Your neck and shoulders should remain relaxed.
The movement should feel smooth and comfortable.
Seeing our selection of the best rowing machines should set you in the right direction to get a good solid machine that will last you for many years.
Rowing is a fabulous workout which will work your heart and help increase your fitness whilst also strengthening your muscles. It is a great way to lose weight and feel great, but will also help athletes and fitness gurus build on strength they may have in other areas and complement other sports.
It is easy to learn the technique, and as seen above you are not only limited to rowing on water or at the gym. There are plenty of home rowing machines out there to suit all fitness levels and budgets.
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Hi I’m James and I’m a self confessed fitness fanatic. When I’m not personal training I enjoy multi discipline endurance events, mma and hitting the gym. I also love to write about my passion and I’m a firm believer in healthy body healthy mind.