Row machines aren’t as common in gyms as a treadmill or weight bench, but they should be. You may find one or two models, but they’re usually air resistant or piston operated models, which don’t really offer the best workout. But thanks to many celebrities sharing their love for rowing machines on social media – rowing machines are getting very popular. Realistically, rowing can actually increase endurance, build muscle, strengthen the core and burn fat, making it one of the best total body workouts around. So we decided to present you with our Best Water Rowing Machine Reviews. This type of exercise can put even cycling and running to shame because it burns about fifteen to twenty percent more calories than both workouts at the same level of exertion. Rowing is also considered an excellent core workout because the abs are engaged during each stroke. While it can definitely offer an effective fat burning workout, it’s also an ideal machine to use for people who are rehabbing muscles, the elderly or people with disabilities. With all of the benefits, you may be wondering why this type of workout is so unpopular. The main reason is that most people don’t know how to properly use a rowing machine and improper use can lead to poor results.
The WaterRower Classic Rower is outfitted with a Series 4 performance monitor that's designed to balance technical sophistication with user-friendliness. The monitor--which includes six information and programming windows, six QuickSelection buttons, and three navigation buttons--displays your workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, zone bar, duration, and distance. Plus, the monitor is compatible with an optional heart rate chest strap and receiver, which helps you optimize your workout and achieve your exercise objectives.
At the international level, women's rowing traditionally has been dominated by Eastern European countries, such as Romania, Russia, and Bulgaria, although other countries such as Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Great Britain and New Zealand often field competitive teams.[55][57] The United States also has had very competitive crews, and in recent years these crews have become even more competitive given the surge in women's collegiate rowing.[58]
Rowers may take part in the sport for their leisure or they may row competitively. There are different types of competition in the sport of rowing. In the U.S. all types of races are referred to as regattas whereas this term is only used in the UK for head-to-head or multi-lane races (such as those that take place at Dorney Lake), which generally take place in the summer season. Time trials occur in the UK during the winter, and are referred to as Head races. In the US, head races (usually about 5k, depending on the body of water) are rowed in the fall, while 2k sprint races are rowed in the spring and summer.

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.


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.
Essentially, the water rower uses water as it's resistance and the air rower (click here to read our air rowing machine reviews) uses air resistance. Additionally, the resistance of the water gives a very similar feeling to actually rowing in the water. The rowing machines listed above all have fantastic rowing mechanisms that mimic the exact feeling of a rowing a boat.
Ergometer rowing machines (colloquially ergs or ergo) simulate the rowing action and provide a means of training on land when waterborne training is restricted, and of measuring rowing fitness. Ergometers do not simulate the lateral balance challenges, the exact resistance of water, or the exact motions of true rowing including the sweep of the oar handles. For that reason ergometer scores are generally not used as the sole selection criterion for crews (colloquially "ergs don't float"), and technique training is limited to the basic body position and movements. However, this action can still allow a comparable workout to those experienced on the water.

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Ergometer rowing machines (colloquially ergs or ergo) simulate the rowing action and provide a means of training on land when waterborne training is restricted, and of measuring rowing fitness. Ergometers do not simulate the lateral balance challenges, the exact resistance of water, or the exact motions of true rowing including the sweep of the oar handles. For that reason ergometer scores are generally not used as the sole selection criterion for crews (colloquially "ergs don't float"), and technique training is limited to the basic body position and movements. However, this action can still allow a comparable workout to those experienced on the water.
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
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.

The most commonly damaged piece of rowing equipment is the skeg, which is a metal or plastic fin that comes out of the bottom of the boat to help maintain stability, and to assist in steering. Since the skeg sticks out below the hull of the boat it is the most vulnerable to damage, however it is relatively easy to replace skegs by gluing a new one on. Hull damage is also a significant concern both for maintaining equipment, and for rower safety. Hull damage can be caused by submerged logs, poor strapping to trailers, and collisions with other boats, docks, rocks, etc.


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 Natural 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).

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


I have also received negative feedback about the resistance. After 15 minutes at the maximum level, you will feel that you are hardly putting an effort to row. However, this won’t be an issue if your weight is less. This could indicate an issue with the oil or gasoline mixture in the piston. Also, issues were mentioned by other customers with the footrests. They’d problem strapping their feet. It is a bigger issue as it becomes difficult for people who have small feet as the feet keeps on slipping. The footrest grip is not tight. This is affecting particularly when you would like to experience a workout without any interruption; when you actually want to go with the flow of workout. Fast rowing also becomes difficult with this type of problem as you have to stop and strap the feet back. However, the problem could be solved by using a wide and thick Velcro straps. Use your creativity and be resourceful while coming up with the ideas to solve the problem of slipping feet.
A feature of the end of twentieth century rowing was the development of non-olympic multicrew racing boats, typically fixed seat-gigs, pilot boats and in Finland church- or longboats. The most usual craft in races held around the coasts of Britain during summer months is the Cornish pilot gig, most typically in the south-west, with crews of 6 from local towns and races of varying distances. The Cornish pilot gig was designed and built to ferry harbour and river pilots to and from ships in fierce coastal waters. The boat needed to be stable and fast with the large crew hence making it ideal for its modern racing usage. In Finland 14-oared churchboats race throughout the summer months, usually on lakes, and often with mixed crews. The largest gathering sees over 7000 rowers mainly rowing the 60 kilometres (37 mi) course at Sulkava[38] near the eastern border over a long weekend in mid July. The weekend features the World Masters churchboat event which also includes a 2 kilometres (1.24 mi) dash.[39]
This popular rowing machine utilizes magnetic resistance for a quiet, and very smooth workout. The Velocity Exercise CHR-2001 also features a programmable computer with 12 programs that will keep your exercising varied and challenging for years. The computer also provides data on distance, time, calories burned, pulse rate, strokes per minute, and stroke count. Additionally, the tension resistance is electronically controlled via the computer.  This electronic resistance control feature puts the CHR-2001 ahead of other magnetic rowers that tend to use knobs.
Rowing machines are often used by people who are looking to get a full-body workout, and also by rowers to stay in rowing shape during the off-season. According to Men’s Total Health, rowing is a natural motion, and is therefore fairly easy for anyone to pick up and do properly. Also, rowing is a low-impact exercise, meaning that the potential for injuries to your joints is lower than on such machines as treadmills, for example.
Waterrower dimensions: 83'' x 22'' x 21'' / weight: 108 lbs (at minimum water level)built for home use and practically maintenance... free, rowing machine targets all major muscle groups (84% of total muscle mass) w/ excellent adjustable resistance levelsmade of kiln dried harwood for better wood strength and performance; has honey oak finish that goes well w/ other home furnitureboasts 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)comes w/ the s4 performance monitor for quickstart of functions and displays intensity, kcalories per hour, strokerate, heartrate, and more!Storage dimensions: 21'' x 22'' x 83'' (easily store it on end)entry height is at 12'' (at 20'' w/ optional hi-rise adaptor)noise/intrusion levels: soothing and relaxing/minimal read more
The WaterRower Oxbridge Rower in Cherrywood is designed for equally gorgeous look and performance. Every detail complements the overall aesthetic and performance of this unparalleled machine. Built in America, the WaterRower Oxbridge Rower in Cherrywood is a product of modern European design. It's hand-crafted in solid ash and stained honey oak for consistency of color. Each machine has been hand-finished with Danish Oil, which lends a deep warmth and luster. Wood has been chosen for its marvelous engineering properties; primary amongst these is its ability to absorb sound and vibration, which enhances the WaterRower Oxbridge Rower 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 woods are harvested from renewable forests. The frame is more than stylish; it holds up to 2,200 lbs!
The WaterRower Classic is hand crafted in solid American Black Walnut. Like all woods, Black Walnut may vary in color from a rich brown to purple-black. Each machine has been hand finished with three coats of Danish Oil giving a deep lustre an warmth to the wood. Wood has been chosen due to its marvellous engineering properties, primary amongst these is its ability to absorb sound and vibration enhancing the WaterRower's quietness and smoothness of use. Black Walnut, like all woods used in WaterRower construction, is a premium hardwood with incredible longevity and dimensional stability. For reasons of ecology, all our woods are harvested from replenishable forests.

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 Natural 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).
Rowing is primarily a cardio workout, but it’s also more than that. Your heart rate is absolutely going to be climbing, but unlike a jog in the park, you might also be sore the next day. The rower requires you use your legs more than anything, and as we know, your quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings are the biggest, most powerful muscles in your body. But you’re also pulling with your arms, shoulders, abs and engaging your back. That said, you’re not pulling as hard as you might with, say, a seated cable row machine at the gym. You don’t want to hurt your back, but you can engage them and this will help you get those muscles toned.
I kayak (ocean and flat water, not river), so I was drawn to the WaterRower over a flywheel type rower (which I have used in gyms) because I wanted to hear the sound of the water, which I miss hearing against the hull of the boat during the winter when I can't get out on the lake. I also like the way the paddles engage in the water; it's a very smooth pull and release, and moving the mass of the water instead of a dialed down tension feels more natural. As someone else also commented, the seat (at least on the wood version) is incredibly smooth and solid; no wobbling at all. I generally listen to music on my Nordic Track ski machine, but with the WaterRower I am content to listen to the sound of the water; working out on this is somehow both energizing and calmingly meditative at the same time. In the event that you want to use it while watching tv (this is one use to which I wanted to put it), it is quiet enough to hear the tv without having to turn it up.
The Apollo Pro 2 water rower is a commercial grade, natural wood rowing machine, perfect for group training or high-end home gyms. This rower’s water resistant design, meditative motion and integrity of construction sets it apart from its competitors. Handcrafted from the finest quality American Ash wrapped around a stabilising steel frame, this steadfast indoor rower offers a standout performance even in the harshest of fitness applications.

Originally made from wood, shells are now almost always made from a composite material (usually a double skin of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic with a sandwich of honeycomb material) for strength and weight advantages. FISA rules specify minimum weights for each class of boat so that no individual team will gain a great advantage from the use of expensive materials or technology.
The Club rowing machine by WaterRower utilises water resistance for an intense total body workout. This is a commercial grade model that’s designed for gym use, but the affordable price also allows homeowners to purchase a rower for personal use.This high-end model is equipped with an S4 monitor that’s packed with features that allow you to track progress such as stroke rate, heart rate, duration, and distance covered. The monitor has separated this information in individual windows, allowing you to track certain features with ease.The monitor is equipped with nine buttons. Six are dedicated to specific monitoring features while the remaining three are designed for menu navigation. For added convenience, you can link the row machine monitor to your PC or laptop using a USB cable to use with row machine software programs for training or racing purposes.

The Challenge AR features an advanced computer monitor providing the rower with measurable performance output, an ergonomically designed seat that rides on precision bearings and rollers for absolute smoothness, an upgraded footboard with advanced heel support, and an innovative soft grip handle to eliminate stress on the hands and wrist during the comfortable, but physical workout.


This elegant rowing machine builds strength and stamina by closely simulating a real world rowing experience. Its patented Waterflywheel, which moves through actual water, provides a smooth stroke that exercises 84% of your muscle mass evenly and prevents injuries. When not in use, the WaterRower can be stored vertically against a wall. Made in the USA from ethically sourced walnut wood. Assembly required.
In sweep or sweep-oar rowing, each rower has one oar, held with both hands. This is generally done in pairs, fours, and eights. In some regions of the world, each rower in a sweep boat is referred to either as port or starboard, depending on which side of the boat the rower's oar extends to. In other regions, the port side is referred to as stroke side, and the starboard side as bow side; this applies even if the stroke oarsman is rowing on bow side and/or the bow oarsman on stroke side.
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