We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. These days, there’s no need to trek to a gym and pay costly membership fees if you want to get fit and stay healthy. Rowing machines provide a low-impact, full-body workout that targets almost every major muscle group. Once you choose the model that best fits your needs and find a convenient location somewhere in your home, there's nothing left to do but dip your oars. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best rowing machine on Amazon.
No matter the resistance we set or the power we applied, the machine remains sturdy, centered, and even. We amped up the intensity for 2000m sprints and found that the C2 supports consistent effort in a way water resistance can’t. The machine assists in keeping your intensity uniform, because it stores up remaining energy in the spinning flywheel. Comments about the ride feel of both Concept 2s were noticeably brief. As one tester put it, “It’s unremarkable because it’s good,” and leaves you free to focus on the effort you’re putting into your workout.
The water flywheel is comprised of two paddles encased in an enclosed tank of water. As you pull the cable, the paddles move through the water creating resistance. The beauty of this machine is it uses the mass/density of water. The paddles create the drag, so the harder you pull, the more resistance increases. Think about moving your hands through water. The faster you go, the more dense water feels. The slower you go, the less you feel the resistance. And this type of resistance is excellent for your joints. Click here to read the full review.
Single, and double sculls are usually steered by the scullers pulling harder on one side or the other. In other boats, there is a rudder, controlled by the coxswain, if present, or by one of the crew. In the latter case, the rudder cable is attached to the toe of one of his shoes which can pivot about the ball of the foot, moving the cable left or right. The bowman may steer since he has the best vision when looking over his shoulder. On straighter courses, the strokesman may steer, since he can point the stern of the boat at some landmark at the start of the course. On international courses, landmarks for the steersmen, consisting of two aligned poles, may be provided.
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Single, and double sculls are usually steered by the scullers pulling harder on one side or the other. In other boats, there is a rudder, controlled by the coxswain, if present, or by one of the crew. In the latter case, the rudder cable is attached to the toe of one of his shoes which can pivot about the ball of the foot, moving the cable left or right. The bowman may steer since he has the best vision when looking over his shoulder. On straighter courses, the strokesman may steer, since he can point the stern of the boat at some landmark at the start of the course. On international courses, landmarks for the steersmen, consisting of two aligned poles, may be provided.
If you’re on the hunt for a rowing machine for home fitness, keep in mind that there are many different styles and features that you’re going to want to consider before choosing. As always, high quality comes with a price, but there are great, reliable rowers at lower prices as well. We’ll do our best to break down all the things you need to know below.  And we have included our top rower picks to help you find the best rowing machine for your needs.
The WaterRower Classic is handcrafted from solid American Black Walnut wood, finished with danish oil. The WaterRower's patented WaterFlywheel has been specifically designed to emulate the dynamics of a boat moving though water and is unsurpassed in its simulation of the physical and physiological benefits of rowing. WaterRower will not provide support or documentation for any product transported outside of the original country of purchase

In addition to this, certain crew members have other titles and roles. In an 8+ the stern pair are responsible for setting the stroke rate and rhythm for the rest of the boat to follow. The middle four (sometimes called the "engine room" or "power house") are usually the less technical, but more powerful rowers in the crew, whilst the bow pair are the more technical and generally regarded as the pair to set up the balance of the boat. They also have most influence on the line the boat steers.
Rowing whether competitive and recreational is unique compared to most sports because this type of aerobic exercise gives all your major muscle groups a beneficial workout. Everything from your legs, back, and arms are engaged while rowing. This is a low-impact sport, the rowing stroke is a fairly safe motion, providing little room for the serious injury often found in contact and high-impact sports.
The model E’s seat stands 6 inches higher. And while the model D’s monitor rests on an adjustable arm, the E’s sits on unbending metal. These few technical differences do nothing to impact ride feel. We recommend the $200-cheaper model D as the best buy, but the Concept 2 E will appeal to anyone who values a higher seat and more solid construction.
Our Wooden Rowing Machines are Made in the USA using hardwood from only replenishable sources. We strive to manufacture rowing machines that are of a stylish design and built to last, while maintaining our commitment to eco-friendliness. Our Rowing Machines are functional fitness furniture, designed not to be hidden away like other unsightly gym equipment, but to look at home in your living room. Storing in an upright position no wider than a dining room chair, our rowing machines can be easily laid out for a quick indoor rowing exercise session. 
Like all woods, Cherrywood may vary in color from a red-brown to deep red. The wood will darken in color with exposure to light. For this reason all WaterRower Cherrywood components are kept in light free rooms to protect from shadowing. A new WaterRower Oxbridge Rower will therefore appear quite light in color. The wood will however darken over time reaching a rich reddish hue.

Single, and double sculls are usually steered by the scullers pulling harder on one side or the other. In other boats, there is a rudder, controlled by the coxswain, if present, or by one of the crew. In the latter case, the rudder cable is attached to the toe of one of his shoes which can pivot about the ball of the foot, moving the cable left or right. The bowman may steer since he has the best vision when looking over his shoulder. On straighter courses, the strokesman may steer, since he can point the stern of the boat at some landmark at the start of the course. On international courses, landmarks for the steersmen, consisting of two aligned poles, may be provided.


WaterRower Dimensions: 83" x 22" x 21" / Weight: 108 Lbs (At Minimum Water Level)Built For Home Use & Practically Maintenance Free..., Rowing Machine Targets All Major Muscle Groups (84% Of Total Muscle Mass) W/ Excellent Adjustable Resistance LevelsMade W/ The Elegant & Desirable Solid Cherrywood That Darkens W/ AgeBoasts A Patented Water Flywheel That Mimics The Natural Dynamics Of Rowing Yet Suitable For Users W/ Joint Concerns (Chlorine Tablet Is Available Free Of Charge)Enjoy 1 Year Manufacturer's Warranty (Upgradeable To 3-Year Parts While 5-Year Frame Is Free Of Charge W/ Registration) read more
The OMNI T1X next-generation, cutting-edge, gold standard touring class open water and coastal rowing shell is available for purchase spring 2015!   The new OMNI T1X is 19' long with significant design updates to row and track well on flat water as well as be the ultimate performance and safe rowing shell rowing through chop, wake and swells found on magnificent large bodies of water.   We've modeled the OMNI T1X after the best features of U.S. manufactured open water shells and built-in the efficient, self-bailing open transom found in all European built Coastal Rowing Shells. The OMNI T1X is a versatile, adjustable shell accommodating both tall and short rowers of varying weights.  You'll find the slightly uplifted bow shape slicing through chop with ease, the self-bailing open transom efficiently shedding water against the roughest conditions; the long, tapered built-in keel tracking well and the hull shape & stabiity necessary to catch, lock-on and drive past the competition in the roughest of open water stretches. Meeting the maximum length for Open Water Competition Touring Class shells at 19', the new OMNI T1X is light, stiff and ready to deliver optimal performance for our most competitive endurance rowers and a boat to last a life-time for recreation and fitness rowers. 
When feet are in position and you are seated, ensure you are sitting in a tall yet relaxed position. Try to feel as if you are sitting on your ‘sit’ or ischia bones and rock slightly forwards and backwards on these bones. Your body weight will move from the front to the back of the seat. Ensure you are sitting with a locked core, shoulders relaxed and head looking forwards.
Assembled dimensions: 83L x 24W x 20H inches. Total body aerobic - plus resistance - exercise. Folds for easy storage. Easy-to-use... monitor keeps you on track. American black walnut frame, some assembly required. Assembled weight: 143 lbs.. Manufacturer's warranty included (see product guarantee). American black walnut frame is handsome and sustainably harvestedWater tank ensures smooth-gliding motion and is easy to maintainEasy-to-use training monitor tracks stroke rate, intensity, distance, and timeFast assembly with only a 5mm Allen Key wrench (included)Smooth-gliding seat wheels mounted on durable rails for stable, easy movementHandlebars, seat, and footrest are comfortable and durableWorks 84 percent of muscle mass for maximum resultsCombines aerobic workout and resistance for whole body reshapingManufacturer's warranty included: see complete details in the Product Guarantee areaDisclaimer:WaterRower will not provide support or documentation for any product transported outside of the original country of purchase. read more
Rowing is unusual in the demands it places on competitors. The standard world championship race distance of 2,000 metres is long enough to have a large endurance element, but short enough (typically 5.5 to 7.5 minutes) to feel like a sprint. This means that rowers have some of the highest power outputs of athletes in any sport.[35] At the same time the motion involved in the sport compresses the rowers' lungs, limiting the amount of oxygen available to them. This requires rowers to tailor their breathing to the stroke, typically inhaling and exhaling twice per stroke, unlike most other sports such as cycling where competitors can breathe freely.
The resistance of your rowing machine impacts how it moves. Select from hydraulic and magnetic rowing resistance. Hydraulic rowers are typically more compact in size, while magnetic machines make little noise as they operate. Details like easy-to-reach tension knobs or buttons allow you to increase or decrease the intensity of your resistance as you train.

The WaterRower Club is hand crafted in solid Ash and stained for color. The WaterRower Club has been designed for High Traffic Areas such as Commercial Gyms, Studios, Rehabilitation Clinics, etc. Its Black Rails have been styled to prevent scuffing, other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which is more resistant to soiling than the Natural model.
Both the air rower and water rower machines are very popular choices of rowing equipment, particularly the former type. They have been around in the 80s, and many consumers and those that have tried them in gyms consider the equipment to be the best type ever. These air resistance equipment, often regarded as Ergometers, is the standard base model for indoor rowing sport.
The First Degree Newport rower utilises water resistance for a more effective workout that’s low impact, so it’s gentle on the body. You’ll focus on building up all the major muscle groups as you use a machine that offers a very realistic rowing experience.To increase resistance flip the valve control to add more water to the paddle water tank. To decrease resistance, remove water from the tank and enjoy a less challenging stroke for the cool down or warm up a portion of your workout. The tank on the Newport can hold a minimum of nine litres of water and a maximum of seventeen litres.
The WaterRower Natural is handcrafted in solid ash and stained honey oak for consistency of color. The wood was chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, especially its ability to absorb sound and vibration, which enhances the WaterRower's quiet performance and smooth operation. Ash, like all woods used in the construction of the WaterRower, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. In addition, the wood is harvested from replenishable forests and is hand finished with Danish oil to provide a deep luster.
According to Fritz Hagerman, Ph.D., a professor in the Biological Science Department at Ohio University, “Competitive rowers expended almost twice the number of calories on a 2,000-meter course as a runner in a 3,000-meter steeplechase.”1 However, since rowing is low impact, you will not experience the same wear and tear on your body that you would if you were a runner. Plus, you build strength in your upper body and core.
Some rowing enthusiasts claim that the disproportionate number of tall rowers is simply due to the unfair advantage that tall rowers have on the ergometer. This is due to the ergometer's inability to properly simulate the larger rowers drag on a boat due to weight. Since the ergometer is used to assess potential rowers, results on the ergometer machine play a large role in a rower's career success. Thus, many erg scores are weight-adjusted, as heavyweights typically find it easier to get better erg scores. Also, since crew selection has favored tall rowers long before the advent of the ergometer,[46][47] and bigger, taller crews are almost universally faster than smaller, shorter crews on the water, being tall is a definite advantage ultimately having little to do with the ergometer.
The recovery phase follows the drive. The recovery starts with the extraction and involves coordinating the body movements with the goal to move the oar back to the catch position. In extraction, the rower pushes down on the oar handle to quickly lift the blade from the water and rapidly rotates the oar so that the blade is parallel to the water. This process is sometimes referred to as feathering the blade. Simultaneously, the rower pushes the oar handle away from the chest. The blade emerges from the water square and feathers immediately once clear of the water. After feathering and extending the arms, the rower pivots the body forward. Once the hands are past the knees, the rower compresses the legs which moves the seat towards the stern of the boat. The leg compression occurs relatively slowly compared to the rest of the stroke, which affords the rower a moment to recover, and allows the boat to glide through the water. The gliding of the boat through the water during recovery is often called run.
Unfortunately, the direction of water movement at the top and bottom of the wave (thick arrows) rotate the boat in the direction you don’t want to go. As you realize this you try to pull your down-hill oar up out of the water, but this just pulls you over more in the bad direction. I spare you, gentle reader, a picture of the result. As the wave carries your boat up to a crest you try to lean into it to keep the boat level, but it’s natural to also push down on the down-hill oar to help.
Rowing has long been recognized as the perfect aerobic pursuit, with naturally smooth and flowing movements that don't tax the joints but do boost the heart rate. Now you can take your rowing experience to the next level with the WaterRower Natural rowing machine. Using the same principles that govern the dynamics of a boat in water, the WaterRower Natural is outfitted with a "water flywheel" that consists of two paddles in an enclosed tank of water that provide smooth, quiet resistance, just like the paddles in an actual body of water. As a result, the machine has no moving parts that can wear out over time (even the recoil belt and pulleys don't require lubricating or maintaining). More significantly, the water tank and flywheel create a self-regulating resistance system that eliminates the need for a motor. As with real rowing, when you paddle faster, the increased drag provides more resistance. When you paddle slower, the resistance is less intense. The only limit to how fast you can row is your strength and your ability to overcome drag. And unlike conventional rowing machines, which tend to be jerky and jarring, the WaterRower Natural is remarkably smooth and fluid.
Other details include dual rails with four corner wheels that increase seat stability and reduce the amount of sweat buildup; a frame that flips upright for handy storage; and a weight capacity of up to 1,000 pounds. The WaterRower Classic measures 84 by 21 by 22 inches (W x H x D), weighs 117 pounds (with water), and carries a one-year warranty on the frame and components (WaterRower will upgrade the warranty to five years on the frame and three years on the components with the completion of a registration form).
Medical Professionals and Physical Therapists trust the benefits of the WaterRower and Rowing as an excellent cardio exercise. Burning up to 1000 calories per hour and working out up to 84% of your muscle mass during one exercise, rowing offers a tremendously beneficial exercise without the perceived fatigue and exhaustion often apparent when using other cardio training gym equipment.
Rowing is unusual in the demands it places on competitors. The standard world championship race distance of 2,000 metres is long enough to have a large endurance element, but short enough (typically 5.5 to 7.5 minutes) to feel like a sprint. This means that rowers have some of the highest power outputs of athletes in any sport.[35] At the same time the motion involved in the sport compresses the rowers' lungs, limiting the amount of oxygen available to them. This requires rowers to tailor their breathing to the stroke, typically inhaling and exhaling twice per stroke, unlike most other sports such as cycling where competitors can breathe freely.

By charter, the Schuylkill Navy’s object is "to secure united action among the several Clubs and to promote amateurism on the Schuylkill River."[23] Over the years, the group has had a role in certain ceremonial and state functions.[24] The success of the Schuylkill Navy and similar organizations contributed heavily to the extinction of professional rowing and the sport's current status as an amateur sport.[25]
If you are accustomed to the natural catch and feel of on-water rowing, your rowing technique will immediately appreciate the Apollo’s unrivalled emulation of a boat gliding through water. FDF’s patented twin tank design generates a smooth uniform stroke, including no lag of resistance at the catch and continued resistance all the way to the finish.
Fitness experts as well as health professionals agree that rowing machines provide one of the best workouts possible. Exercising on a rower will allow you to target the great majority of your muscle groups and give them as hard and challenging a workout as you feel like giving them. On the better rowing machine models, you’ll be able to track your progress and see how your splits are improving.
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Con's: Super bummed that for $1160 they couldn't include an internal ANT+ transponder and Heart Rate strap(sub $100 package). The foot straps are crap! Within the first 1000m of moderate rowing they loosen to the point of being able to pull foot out on Recovery of stroke(Yes, even with ball of foot down). I really wish the WaterCoach F.I.T. software for the S4 Monitor was macOS compatible. It'd be nice to able to customer program workouts on my MacBook Pro or iMac.

Con's: Super bummed that for $1160 they couldn't include an internal ANT+ transponder and Heart Rate strap(sub $100 package). The foot straps are crap! Within the first 1000m of moderate rowing they loosen to the point of being able to pull foot out on Recovery of stroke(Yes, even with ball of foot down). I really wish the WaterCoach F.I.T. software for the S4 Monitor was macOS compatible. It'd be nice to able to customer program workouts on my MacBook Pro or iMac.
A 125-pound person moving at an average pace for 30 minutes on a treadmill will burn roughly 250 calories. However, they aren’t able to take advantage of this after-burn effect. The same person rowing vigorously will burn around to 250 calories but will have less stress placed upon their joints and continue to burn calories after the workout has ended. Rowing machines have been shown to burn on average 800 calories an hour if you work harder and are slightly heavier.
The Classic Rowing Machine is designed is extremely easy to use. Additionally, it has a lot of comfort features in its design. It has an ergonomically shaped handle and padded heel rests that accommodate nearly everyone. Everything on the machine can be adjusted quickly. Because there are no movement parts, maintenance is minimal. Even the computer has a lot of one button operations, so the minute you have the rower assembled, you can get to work.

According to fitness experts, water resistance is by far the most efficient technology used in a rowing machine, and the result is a realistic rowing experience that provides a better workout with smoother and more fluid rowing. These machines use a paddle that’s suspended in a tank of water, providing a realistic sensation of rowing outdoors. Extremely quiet running, as you row the only sound you’ll hear is the gentle splashing of water moving with each stroke, which serves to enhance the realistic experience of this style of rower.


Rowing machines were first used in Archaic Greece. Chabrias, an Athenian military general in 4th Century B.C., invented wooden rowing simulators for his inexperienced oarsmen. This enabled them to learn technique and timing before stepping foot on actual water crafts. And it must have worked — Chabrias successfully led numerous naval attacks against the Spartans.

The rowing machine itself is unlike any other on the market with its patented water filled flywheel. It is hard to exactly copy the action of a scull on the water, but the mechanics of the flywheel spinning in water comes in a close second on dry land. The fact that the water is 800 times denser than air means that there is no need for any extra resistance or dampening that you will find in normal air rowers. The faster you pull, the more resistance is generated giving it infinite variability. However, if you want to be able to practice rowing with a faster stroke, you will have to reduce the amount of water in the tank unlike an air rower where you just have to adjust the baffle.
The first known "modern" rowing races began from competition among the professional watermen in the United Kingdom that provided ferry and taxi service on the River Thames in London. Prizes for wager races were often offered by the London Guilds and Livery Companies or wealthy owners of riverside houses.[10] The oldest surviving such race, Doggett's Coat and Badge was first contested in 1715 and is still held annually from London Bridge to Chelsea.[12] During the 19th century these races were to become numerous and popular, attracting large crowds. Prize matches amongst professionals similarly became popular on other rivers throughout Great Britain in the 19th century, notably on the Tyne. In America, the earliest known race dates back to 1756 in New York, when a pettiauger defeated a Cape Cod whaleboat in a race.[13]
The WaterRower Club Rower has been designed for high traffic areas such as commercial gyms, studios, rehabilitation clinics, etc. Its black rails have been styled to prevent scuffing; other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the natural model. Each machine has been hand finished with Danish oil and urethane for protection. Wood has been chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, primary amongst these is its ability to absorb sound and vibration enhancing the waterrower's quietness and smoothness of use. Ash, like all woods used in WaterRower construction, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. For reasons of ecology, all WaterRower woods are harvested from replenishable forests. WaterRower Club Rower Black Rails have been styled to prevent scuffing, other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the Natural model.
A rowing workout can produce sustainable results without negatively impacting muscles and joints. With a reported average of five hundred to a thousand calories burned per workout, rowing machines are the hottest new fitness trend in the industry. Because of this, manufacturers are working overtime to produce a wide variety of styles and types of row machines, all of which can offer an effective low-impact total body workout. With so many choices of models, it can be confusing for beginners to choose the right type. Most consumers automatically choose the cheapest rower, however, cheaper models often feature piston resistance, which is considered the worst type of technology because the workouts are uncomfortable and the machine itself is often poorly designed.
With the smaller boats, specialist versions of the shells for sculling can be made lighter. The riggers in sculling apply the forces symmetrically to each side of the boat, whereas in sweep oared racing these forces are staggered alternately along the boat. The sweep oared boat has to be stiffer to handle these unmatched forces, so consequently requires more bracing and is usually heavier – a pair (2-) is usually a more robust boat than a double scull (2x) for example, and being heavier is also slower when used as a double scull. In theory this could also apply to the 4x and 8x, but most rowing clubs cannot afford to have a dedicated large hull which might be rarely used and instead generally opt for versatility in their fleet by using stronger shells which can be rigged for either sweep rowing or sculling. The symmetrical forces also make sculling more efficient than rowing: the double scull is faster than the coxless pair, and the quadruple scull is faster than the coxless four.
The WaterRower Club Rower has been designed for high traffic areas such as commercial gyms, studios, rehabilitation clinics, etc. Its black rails have been styled to prevent scuffing; other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the natural model. Each machine has been hand finished with Danish oil and urethane for protection. Wood has been chosen due to its marvelous engineering properties, primary amongst these is its ability to absorb sound and vibration enhancing the waterrower's quietness and smoothness of use. Ash, like all woods used in WaterRower construction, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. For reasons of ecology, all WaterRower woods are harvested from replenishable forests. WaterRower Club Rower Black Rails have been styled to prevent scuffing, other wooden components are finished in an attractive rosewood which are more resistant to soiling than the Natural model.
If you are anything like me, you read the negative reviews to see what some of the complaints could potentially be...I have found none that match with my machine or experience so far. The boxes it came in were a little bunged-up but everything on the inside was perfect. Only took about 15-20 minutes to build (first time building a row machine) and another 5-10 to fill with water. We used it for a little while before we added the danish oil.
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