In the 1950s- and 1960s, more sports coaches began to use rowing machines for training and assessment of athletes' performance. One such rower developed at this time was the Harrison-Cotton machine, the brainchild of John Harrison of Leichhardt Rowing Club in Sydney and Professor Frank Cotton, produced by Ted Curtain Engineering. This was the very first piece of equipment able to measure athletic power with great accuracy, and it also imitated the actual experience of rowing more closely than any previous rowing machine.
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Noise level is another large factor that tips the scale more towards water rowers. Air rowers make a fairly loud “whooshing” noise every stroke, which makes them bad for people who like watching TV, have sleeping children, live in apartments, or like working out early in the AM. Water rowers do make some noise but the splashing of water in the tank is a lot quieter and more soothing than the fan noise produced by air rowers.
Heavyweight rowers of both sexes tend to be very tall, broad-shouldered, have long arms and legs as well as tremendous cardiovascular capacity and low body fat ratios. Olympic or International level heavyweight male oarsmen are typically anywhere between 190 cm and 206 cm (6'3" to 6'9") tall with most being around 198 cm (6'6") and weighing approximately 102 kg (225 lb) with about 6 to 7% body fat.
Balanced Tear-drop Handle: The handle of the WaterRower M1 LoRise is made of aluminum for strength and lightness, with a tear-drop shape that fits comfortably into the palm of the hand to minimize wrist torque - a common cause of tendonitis. Because of its strength and lightness, the drive strap of the WaterRower M1 LoRise is high-density polyester webbing, guided by nylon pulleys. The drive strap does not wear and is maintenance-free, requiring no messy lubrication.
Outside of resistance type, we found the number-one arbiter of ride feel to be cord quality. Water ergometers tend to employ nylon cords, while air ergometers feature metal chains — a durability factor we anticipated would result in our favoring air. But while all three water rowers aced our expectation of smooth, high-tension strokes, perfecting the chain seems to be more difficult: Some tug with just a slight rumble, others feature bouncy, grinding chains that are incredibly loud, something akin to angry snoring. As for nylon, the best wind and unwind like elastic silk — no slack, no sound, no catching, just perfectly even tension throughout the stroke.