We picked the brains of rowing coaches, fitness experts, and physical therapists to learn what features make for an exceptional rower. Based on their input, we searched the market for air and water resistance rowing machines, then tested the best for ride feel and design. We found one model of each type — air resistance and water resistance — that felt truly superior to the others.
The WaterRower Classic Rowing Machine is a work of art. But before you buy one just to hang it on the wall, the more important feature of course is that this rowing machine is a high-quality, durable, and effective piece of exercise equipment that will help you get in top fitness with ease and low-impact comfort. With a user weight capacity of 1,000 lbs, WaterRower has built the Classic Rowing Machine to take everything you can throw at it. No matter how intense your workouts are, you’re not going to hurt this machine. And it accommodates everyone from beginner rowers to experienced die-hards.
Major domestic competitions take place in dominant rowing nations and include The Boat Race and Henley Royal Regatta in the United Kingdom, the Australian Rowing Championships in Australia, the Harvard–Yale Regatta and Head of the Charles Regatta in the United States, and Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in Canada. Many other competitions often exist for racing between clubs, schools, and universities in each nation.
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 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.
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
The amount of water in the tank simulates the weight of the boat and crew, the more water in the tank the heavier the boat and crew. The standard Calibration Level is Level 17. If the user is lighter in weight, Level 15-16 can be used. If the user is heavier in weight, level 18-19 can be used. The maximum level to fill the tank is Level 19. DO NOT fill above the maximum level – this could void the warranty.
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 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.
This type of calorie burn is better than what you would get from cycling or running, and it’s much gentler on the body. You can also position your hands differently in order to work new muscle groups in your lower and upper arms. Many people will be surprised to learn that rowing works the legs more than any other muscle group, but by switching up your rowing position, you can also focus on your abs, arms and shoulders for a total upper body workout that can provide impressive results just by working out a few times a week.
Water machines are generally quieter than air rowers - you can still hear the water moving in the tank, but users tend to find this a pleasant ambient noise. Water rowers also tend to require little maintenance. Because there's a tank full of water involved, however, these can be very heavy, and larger than most other rowers: if you have a smaller home, a less-than-permanent workout space, or you move frequently, these might not be best for you. And because they're so high-performing, they do come at a high cost.
Instead of air or hydraulic resistance, the Elite Wave Water Rowing Machine emulates actual rowing with lifelike water resistance. The paddles glide through the water housed in the reservoir, making the rowing stroke smooth from start to finish, and like rowing on a body of water, the resistance increases infinitely the faster you row. Not only does this feel like rowing on water, it sounds like water. Different stroke speeds and intensities vary water motion, resulting in realistic water resonance.
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 in solid American black walnut, which may vary in color from rich brown to purple/black. The black walnut 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. Black walnut, 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 three coats of Danish oil to give it a deep luster and warmth.
WaterRower (UK) Ltd was formed in 1991 to market and distribute the WaterRower throughout Europe under license to WaterRower Inc. Initially with offices in Fulham, London, a 1993 agreement provided WaterRower (UK) Ltd with the additional right to manufacture the WaterRower for Europe. Workshops were established in the idyllic stately home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, Mapperton Manor
Assembled dimensions: 83L x 24W x 20H inches. Complete aerobic and resistance exercise. Folds for easy storage. Easy-to-use monito...r keeps you on track. Eco-friendly ash wood frame, some assembly required. Assembled weight: 143 lbs.. Manufacturer's warranty included (see product guarantee). Premium hardwood frame of sustainable ash with Danish oil finishBlack rails prevent scuffing; redwood finish is handsome and soil-resistantWater tank ensures smooth-gliding motion and is easy to maintainEasy-to-use training monitor tracks stroke rate, intensity, distance, and timeEasy to assemble with only a 5mm Allen Key wrench (included)Quality seat wheels mounted on durable rails for dependable, smooth movementHandlebars, seat, and footrest are comfortable and durableWorks 84 percent of muscle mass for maximum resultsCombines aerobic workout and resistance for total 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
Women row in all boat classes, from single scull to coxed eights, across the same age ranges and standards as men, from junior amateur through university-level to elite athlete. Typically men and women compete in separate crews although mixed crews and mixed team events also take place. Coaching for women is similar to that for men. The world's first women's rowing team was formed in 1896 at the Furnivall Sculling Club in London.
For a third option, you can look to hydraulic machines, which use pistons to generate resistance. Hydraulic rowers are quiet, and they also tend to be smaller and cheaper than other kinds of rowing machines, but you won’t get the same smooth rowing feel, or the consistency of resistance, that you would get with an air or water rower. What's more, reviewer after reviewer has found them unreliable and high-maintenance.
Blades, otherwise known as oars to amateurs or non rowers, are used to propel the boat. They are long (sculling: 250–300 cm; sweep oar: 340–360 cm) poles with one flat end about 50 cm long and 25 cm wide, called the blade. Classic blades were made out of wood, but modern blades are made from more expensive and durable synthetic material, the most common being carbon fiber.
The advantages with air rowers is that there is smooth action; there is only small wear and tear to its mechanism; its automatic feature adjusts according to your rate of strokes; and there is a wide range of the resistance readily available in replicating the feel of rowing through the waters. The only disadvantage of this machine is that it tends to be noise indoors.
If you’re interested in using a rowing machine for focused training — whether for outdoor rowing, an indoor competition, or as part of a larger fitness program — you’ll want air resistance. If you’re drawn to rowers for the enjoyability (alongside the full-body, cardio-plus-strength training efficacy) of a rowing workout, consider a machine with water resistance.
Head races are time trial / processional races that take place from autumn (fall) to early spring (depending on local conditions). Boats begin with a rolling start at intervals of 10 – 20 seconds, and are timed over a set distance. Head courses usually vary in length from 2,000 metres (1.24 mi) to 12,000 metres (7.46 mi), though there are longer races such as the Boston Rowing Marathon and shorter such as Pairs Head.
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.