The overall rowing experience encompasses pulley, seat, and — of course — resistance. Air and water have very distinct qualities, making them impossible to compare but interesting to contrast. Air stores inertia, which feeds into intense, constant effort during a goal-oriented workout. Water’s more sluggish drag makes for demanding exercise, but one that’s less consistent.
If you're looking at a WaterRower, you're probably also considering the Concept2. They're both great machines, but which you choose depends on your needs. I think the WaterRower is ideal for most people, but not everyone. The WaterRower has a number of advantages vs the Concept 2 - it is quieter, the mechanism up front is lower profile, it has a comfortable seat, it is much better looking, it's easier to stand up when you're not rowing and it's just ... zen-like. There is something about the smoothness of the WaterRower that makes it a joy to use, and because it's quiet you can easily stream your favorite binge-series without cranking the volume too high.
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.

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.


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.

At the junior level (in the United States), regattas require each rower to weigh in at least two hours before their race; they are sometimes given two chances to make weight at smaller regattas, with the exception of older more prestigious regattas, which allow only one opportunity to make weight. For juniors in the United States, the lightweight cutoff for men is 150.0 lb.; for women, it is 130.0 lb. In the fall the weight limits are increased for women, with the cutoff being 135 lb.
At the catch the rower places the blade in the water and applies pressure to the oar by pushing the seat toward the bow of the boat by extending the legs, thus pushing the boat through the water. The point of placement of the blade in the water is a relatively fixed point about which the oar serves as a lever to propel the boat. As the rower's legs approach full extension, the rower pivots the torso toward the bow of the boat and then finally pulls the arms towards his or her chest. The hands meet the chest right above the diaphragm.
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The sport's governing body is formally known as the "Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Aviron" (English translation: International Federation of Rowing Associations), though, the majority of the time, either the initialism "FISA" or the English co-name, World Rowing, which the organization "uses for 'commercial purposes,'"[27] is used to refer to it. Founded by representatives from France, Switzerland, Belgium, Adriatica (now a part of Italy), and Italy in Turin on 25 June 1892,[28] FISA is the oldest international sports federation in the Olympic movement.[29]

The Concept2 Model D is the ultra-popular air rower that you’ll see at most gyms. It is one of the best home indoor rowers you can buy period. Expertly constructed and ergonomically unequaled, this rowing machine looks great and rows smoothly without so much as a jarring catch. As an air rower, the Concept2 employs air baffles to create the resistance. A nickel-plated chain pulls the flywheel and you get your workout by pulling against the increasingly higher air pressure that the fan is creating.

There is some minor maintenance. Because it's made out of wood, which can expand and contract, the bolts need tightening every few months or so. It's easy and takes only a couple of minutes. That, and putting in a fresh water purification tablet every six to twelve months, are about it for regular maintenance. The only problem I've had with the rower (the reason for 4 stars instead of 5) was a squeak that developed after about 6 weeks. It took me some time to determine the source of the squeak, which was a metal bracket connecting the footrest board to the horizontal boards above the drum. I had to partially disassemble the top section and tighten four bolts, but that fixed the problem and it's been quiet ever since.
Handcrafted rowing machine with inchwater flywheel inch that replicates actual rowing feelFlywheel sits in enclosed water tank to ...provide smooth, quiet, self-regulated resistanceSeries 4 performance monitor tracks workout intensity, stroke rate, heart rate, and moreHandcrafted rowing machine with "water flywheel" that replicates actual rowing feel read more
WaterRower Dimensions: 83 L x 22 W x 21 H Inches / Weight: 108 Pounds (At Minimum Water Level) / Storage Dimensions: 21 L x 22 W x... 83 H Inches (Easily Store It On End)Built For Home Use & Practically Maintenance Free, Rowing Machine Targets All Major Muscle Groups (84% Of Total Muscle Mass) W/ Excellent Adjustable Resistance Levels / Made W/ Decay Resistant Solid Black Walnut That Displays A Natural Richness & Luster Of GrainBoasts 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) / Entry Height Is At 12 Inches (At 20 Inches W/ Optional Hi-Rise Adaptor)Comes W/ The S4 Performance Monitor For QuickStart Of Functions And Displays Intensity, Kcalories Per Hour, Strokerate, Heartrate, And More! / Noise/Intrusion Levels: Soothing & Relaxing/MinimalEnjoy A 1 Year Manufacturer's Warranty (Upgradeable To 3-Year Parts While 5-Year Frame Is Free Of Charge W/ Registration) read more
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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.  

In addition to its natural, fluid resistance, the Elite Wave Water Rowing Machine features many performance upgrades that push you to row harder, faster and longer. When mounting the rower, you will immediately notice the ease and customization of the footplates and straps. The footplates, which accommodate a wide range of foot sizes with their adjustable length, feature a heel strap that secures the feet while also allowing the heel to rise higher for a wider range of motion. There are also quick-adjust straps with finger loops so you can quickly secure your feet – even in the middle of the workout. Once you push, extend and bend, the seat glides atop the aluminum rowing beam, providing a smoother workout.
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.
This affordable rowing machine is streamlined, simple to use, built well, has a comfy seat with a realistic rowing movement, and especially good for a newbie. Because the cost of this machine is less than $150, it is popular on the net. As it has a hydraulic rower, resistance is provided by just one piston under the main key column. Along with a comfy cushioned seat, LCD screen, this machine provides 12 hydraulic cylinder resistances.
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