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. 

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.
The WaterRower Classic Rower is unsurpassed in terms of design refinement. WaterRower Classic Rower has a patented WaterFlywheel design emulates rowing like no machine before it. Smooth, silent and storing conveniently upright the WaterRower Classic Rower is perfect for any user and in any environment. The WaterRower Classic Rower has an unique patented WaterFlywheel has been designed to emulate the dynamics of a boat moving through water.

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.
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