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 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.
Amateur competition in England began towards the end of the 18th century. Documentary evidence from this period is sparse, but it is known that the Monarch Boat Club of Eton College and the Isis Club of Westminster School were both in existence in the 1790s. The Star Club and Arrow Club in London for gentlemen amateurs were also in existence before 1800. At the University of Oxford bumping races were first organised in 1815 when Brasenose College and Jesus College boat clubs had the first annual race[14] while at Cambridge the first recorded races were in 1827.[15] Brasenose beat Jesus to win Oxford University's first Head of the River; the two clubs claim to be the oldest established boat clubs in the world. The Boat Race between Oxford University and Cambridge University first took place in 1829, and was the second intercollegiate sporting event (following the first Varsity Cricket Match by 2 years). The interest in the first Boat Race and subsequent matches led the town of Henley-on-Thames to begin hosting an annual regatta in 1839.[16]
The WaterRower Xeno Müller Signature Edition rowing machine is handcrafted in solid ash and finished with honey oak stain for color. The WaterRower Xeno Müller Signature Edition has been specifically designed in collaboration with US Olympian and single scull record holder Xeno Müller. This special edition rower features a wider 17" handle and lower footrests for an increased range. Another special feature is Xeno\'s signature included on the rails of either side of the rower thus inspiring you to row like an Olympian!
The frame is beyond durable and is designed for absorbing sound and vibration. There’s no creaking or other sounds that you might expect from wood components. It has a low center of gravity that keeps the rower in place while exerting full rowing power. The polycarbonate water tank is equally durable and practically indestructible. The Classic Rower doesn’t have any moving parts that can wear out, or belts and pulleys that need to be maintained.

The WaterRower Xeno Müller Signature Edition rowing machine is handcrafted in solid ash and finished with honey oak stain for color. The WaterRower Xeno Müller Signature Edition has been specifically designed in collaboration with US Olympian and single scull record holder Xeno Müller. This special edition rower features a wider 17" handle and lower footrests for an increased range. Another special feature is Xeno\'s signature included on the rails of either side of the rower thus inspiring you to row like an Olympian!
It's been nearly 30 years since John Duke, a former Yale University and USA National Team oarsman, set up a small shop in Rhode Island, USA to begin fine-tuning his innovative water-resistant rowing machine. With its beautiful design and unmatched feel, the WaterRower quickly gained a cult-like following of both on-water rowers and fitness enthusiasts that had found their perfect piece of workout equipment. As word spread of the new product that simulated the feel of on-water rowing, WaterRower transitioned from simply a one-off product found within the occasional boathouse to an established brand in both the rowing and fitness world.
According to Men’s Total Fitness, rowing machines are not only great for aerobic workouts, but they also work all of your body's major muscle groups. What’s more, you don’t have to go to the gym to work out on a rowing machine, as many manufacturers make high-quality rowing machines -- and even rowing machines that fold up for easy storage -- that are suitable for home use. Two popular types of rowing machines are the water rower and the air rower.
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.
Rowing is one of the few non-weight bearing sports that exercises all the major muscle groups, including quads, biceps, triceps, lats, glutes and abdominal muscles. The sport also improves cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. High-performance rowers tend to be tall and muscular: although extra weight does increase the drag on the boat, the larger athletes' increased power tends to be more significant. The increased power is achieved through increased length of leverage on the oar through longer limbs of the athlete. In multi-person boats (2,4, or 8), the lightest person typically rows in the bow seat at the front of the boat.
In deep water the speed (or velocity) of a water wave depends only on its wave length. Specifically, the speed is proportional to the square root of the wavelength. Thus, the longer the wave length, the faster the wave, or vice versa. The speed of a single wave is called the phase speed. Amazingly, the speed of a packet of waves (the group speed) is often not the same.
The benefit of a water resistance rower is that it most closely simulates a boat moving through water. Rowing resistance comes from the effect of fluid drag acting on the boat; in other words, resistance increases according to stroke rate. The patented WaterFlywheel emulates this naturally self-paced benefit of rowing. This is a workout with immediate benefits, regardless of your level of experience! Please also note that you can adjust the workout intensity by changing the amount of water in the tank. The more water, the higher the effort level required.
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.
There are various air rower or water rower techniques, but the most basic one is by starting at the back stroke, the knees should almost be completely straight prior to squeezing the shoulder blades together. Then you pull its handle to the sternum. The back of your body should naturally stay in its arched position when doing the whole movement. Do not forget to take a record of the distance you have made after every session. Some people even take it as far as uploading their results online and see how they are ranked from other people who are also doing the same. You clean learn more about rowing machine technique on this page.
As previously discussed, the rowing machine’s big advantage is that it provides more than just a cardio workout. It can definitely help you build muscle and lose weight. Compared to a treadmill, the rowing machine works most of your body. It will really hit your shoulders, core, quads, hamstrings, glutes, arms and back effectively while being low impact thus reducing the stress on your joints. Bigger muscles need more energy and will burn fat to get it, which of course leads to healthy weight loss.
In the starting position, the knees should be bent, with the shoulders and arms extended forward and the shins held vertically. Begin rowing by pushing both feet against the row machine’s platform and straighten the legs until they’re slightly bent. Pull the paddle towards you, using bent elbows as you slightly lean back while focusing on keeping your back straight. This type of motion should be both continuous and fluid.
The Waterrower has recently been made famous by Kevin Spacy as the rowing machine used in the ‘House of Cards’. It is a type of wooden rowing machine produced and manufactured by Waterrower Inc. in New England, USA. The rowers were designed by ex-US national team rower john Duke in the mid 1980’s and the company to manufacture them was established in 1988.

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.


Comparing the rowing machine to the stationary bike, the rowing machine is superior in terms of calories burned. Yet, it’s important to note that the stationary bike is also easy on the joints and only includes the lower body. So, if you have any upper body problems then the stationary bike will be a much better choice. In 30 minutes of cycling 12-13 miles per hour, an 125lb individual will burn around 225-250 calories.
A bumps race is a multi-day race beginning with crews lined up along the river at set intervals. They start simultaneously and all pursue the boat ahead while avoiding being bumped by a boat from behind. If a crew overtakes or makes physical contact with the crew ahead, a bump is awarded. As a result, damage to boats and equipment is common during bumps racing. To avoid damage the cox of the crew being bumped may concede the bump before contact is actually made. The next day, the bumping crew will start ahead of any crews that have been bumped. The positions at the end of the last race are used to set the positions on the first day of the races the next year. Oxford and Cambridge Universities hold bumps races for their respective colleges twice a year, and there are also Town Bumps races in both cities, open to non-university crews. Oxford's races are organised by City of Oxford Rowing Club[41] and Cambridge's are organised by the Cambridgeshire Rowing Association.
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The WaterRower Natural rowing machine is handcrafted in solid ash wood, stained Honey Oak, and finished with Danish oil. Wood is an excellent material for this application due to its ability to absorb sound and vibration enhancing the WaterRower's smooth, quiet operation. The Natural, as with all WaterRowers, features patented WaterFlywheel technology, unrivaled in its replication of the resistance felt in on the water rowing.
 Bring the unparalleled full-body workout of on-the-water rowing home with the premium design and feel of the XTERRA Fitness ERG600W Water Rower. The full body rhythmic nature of rowing makes it wonderfully efficient at burning calories while also developing flexibility and strength. Plus, the "zen-like" water movement you hear from the ERG600W multi-bladed impeller can be soothing and meditative. The large and easy to read 5.5" LCD console with height and angle adjustment includes motivating programmable modes to keep you involved, inspired, and reaching your goals.
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.
Not a lot to complain about on the Classic rower, but when searching for drawbacks of this rowing machine, the S4 Monitor is the one thing that occasionally comes up.  It’s rather basic and it isn’t backlit. Regardless, the monitor has all necessary tracking and features for getting an excellent workout, and in normal lighting there is no problem reading the display.
WaterRower Rowing Machines offer a pleasant rowing exercise while holding true to the dynamics of on-water rowing; burn up to 1000 calories an hour and work up to 84 percent of your muscle mass! Rowing provides an effective, high-intensity, cardio workout, while maintaining a low-impact to the joints. Workout at your own pace as the WaterFlyWheel's self-regulating resistance dynamically adjusts to each of your strokes. Unlike common ergometers, to change resistance on a WaterRower rowing machine you simply row harder!
The WaterRower Classic Rower has been designed to optimize ease of storage. Simply lift one end and the machine stores conveniently upright in about the space of a dining room chair. The WaterRower Classic Rower has a light wooden frame, the positioning of the WaterFlywheel close to the wheels, and the leverage effect provided by the rails, makes lifting almost effortless. When stored the WaterRower's patented WaterFlywheel provides a low center of gravity making the machine very stable.
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.

Do you need a machine that folds up? If you've decided to avoid a water rower for space reasons, you may prefer a model that folds up for storage. Even better, some rowing machines have wheels fitted to them, so that once it's folded up, you can steer it to a storage space out of the way. You can find a foldable design in many magnetic and some air rowers.
Get the WaterRower S1 Indoor Rowing Machine w/ S4 Monitor for your home gym! This exercise equipment targets compound muscles such... as arms, legs, back, and glutes. It's the perfect workout as if you're actually driving a boat with oars. Its construction features a stainless steel makeup with brushed finish--giving it high durability. Moreover, it boasts a patented water flywheel responsible for its natural rowing dynamic. Enjoy self-regulating resistance levels--making it suitable for individuals with joint concerns, along with little maintenance required by replacing the chlorine tablet every 2-6 months. Other specifications include maximum user weight and height of 1000 pounds and 38-inch inseam. What's more, it comes with the S4 performance monitor that displays intensity, Kcalories per hour, Strokerate, Heartrate, and more! So avail a WaterRower S1 Indoor Rowing Machine w/ S4 Monitor today! read more
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One of the most common brand of ergometers is Concept2.[33] The company offers multiple types of models, including the Model D, Model E, and the dynamic rower. An updated Rowperfect brand of dynamic rowers, RP3, produces ergometers that more naturally mimic the feel and resistance of rowing in a shell on the water. It additionally, shows a dynamic force curve of power that provides the rower with detailed information about their stroke which they can use to improve technique and get stronger.[34]

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.
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Function plays a large role in defining good design. When designers look at an object, they don't just consider its aesthetic appearance; they should also challenge it to be more versatile, to respond to the user's need, or to achieve its purpose more elegantly. Good design has the capacity to solve problems that sometimes we didn't even know we had. This is one of the ways design touches and enriches our everyday life.
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